The origins of the Eucharist are found in the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his Apostles. – CCC, no. 1337, citing Council of Trent: DS 1740 “Through participation in the Eucharist, we participate in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, in his dying and rising, which is made present for us in the Eucharistic sacrifice.” This participation in the Paschal Mystery of Christ reaches its conclusion when we receive his Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Christ’s victory and triumph over death is then made present in the lives of those who participate in the Eucharist.

Holy Communion increases our union with Christ. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person.” (Jn 6:56). Communion with the Body of Christ preserves, increases and renews the life of grace received at Baptism.

Holy Communion separates us from sin. We receive the Body of Christ ‘given up for us’ to save us from sin. We receive the Blood of Christ ‘shed for many for the forgiveness of sins’. Divine love wipes away venial sins.

Holy Communion offers us strength, called grace, to preserve us from moral sin. By deepening our friendship with Christ, this Sacrament makes it more difficult for us to break our union with him by mortal sin.

Holy Communion expands the life of the Church. The Church as a communion is bound ever more closely together through the celebration of the Eucharist. In receiving Communion, we are more fully united to the Church.

Holy Communion commits us to care for the poor. Saint Paul reminded the Corinthians that in sharing the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, they were also called to care for the poorer members of the community (cf.1 Cor 11:17-34).

Copyright © Irish Episcopal Conference 2014 Further reading: Chapter 17 (pp. 236 – 259) Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults