The Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is the third of the Sacraments of Initiation. Even though we are required to receive Communion at least once per year (our Easter Duty), and the Church urges us to receive Communion frequently (even daily, if possible), it is called a sacrament of initiation because, like Baptism and Confirmation, it brings us into the fullness of our life in Christ.
In Holy Communion, we are eating the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, without which "you shall not have life in you" (John 6:53).
Preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Communion:
A fast of all food and drink except for water for one hour is required before reception of the Holy Eucharist. Because of the intimate connection of the Sacrament of Holy Communion to our life in Christ, we must be free of any grave or mortal sin before receiving it, as St. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself”.
If we are aware of having committed a mortal sin, we must participate in the Sacrament of Confession first. The Church sees the two sacraments as connected, and urges us, when we can, to join frequent Confession with frequent Communion.
Biblical references: Jn 6:35-71; Mt 26:26ff; 1 Cor 10:16; 1 Cor 11:23-29; Ex 12:8,46; Jn 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7; Jn 4:31-34; Matt 16:5-12; 1 Cor 2:14-3:4; Ps 27:2; Is 9:18-20; Is 49:26; Mic 3:3; 2 Sam 23:15-17; Rev 17:6,16