Before considering Holy Communion, let us realize what food does for our bodies.
Eating is an act of communion (union with) the elements of creation embodied in the plants and animals we eat. For example, what happens when we eat whole wheat bread? Bread is made from the seeds of a plant (e.g. wheat) which has embodied in its being the elements, inorganic and organic, found in the soil and air by its use of solar energy. When we eat whole wheat bread we break down its content into its more elemental levels. Its starches (sugars), minerals and vitamins are carried by the blood to every cell of our bodies to energize it, promote its growth and facilitate bodily foundations such as the heartbeat which keep us living.
St. Thomas Aquinas saw a parallel between natural food and the Eucharist as he states: "This sacrament does for the spiritual life all that material food does for the bodily life, namely, by sustaining, giving increase, restoring, and giving delight. Accordingly, Ambrose says (De Sacram. v): "This is the bread of everlasting life, which supports the substance of our soul." And Chrysostom says (Hom. xlvi in Joan.): "When we desire it, He lets us feel Him, and eat Him, and embrace Him." And hence our Lord says (John 6:56): "My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed." (Summa, Part III, Q. 79, #1.)
Communion is God's self-communication to man in Christ and the Spirit. This union of eating is so close as to resemble Christ's union with Mary in her womb. The presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine last only as long as the appearances last but the grace and love bestowed in the Eucharist endures in the soul as Christ said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him". (Jn 6:56)
Communion is food for the soul by increasing and preserving the life of God in us which enlivens our conscious life of Faith, Hope and Love diminishing the promptings of evil desires. Our living relationship with God is a continuing process which needs to be renewed constantly. The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is essential in renewing our relationship with God through Christ. If we fail to worship, we will lose our living relationship with God in Christ who affirmed, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." (Jn 6:53) Further, Holy Communion obliterates venial sins and any punishment due to sin because it engenders in the soul an act of perfect love.
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