Any Catholic who has committed a mortal sin cannot receive Holy Communion unless they have been to confession, the Pope has said.
Continuing a series of talks on the Mass during his General Audience on March 14, Pope Francis reminded Catholics of the need to obtain absolution for grave sins before receiving the Eucharist.
In remarks to Polish pilgrims after his catechesis on the Our Father, the Pope said: “We know that one who has committed a serious sin should not approach Holy Communion without having first obtained absolution in the sacrament of Reconciliation. ”
“Lent is an opportunity to approach the latter, to confess well and to encounter Christ in Holy Communion,” he added. “The encounter with Him gives meaning to our life.”
During his talk, he also said the words “our daily bread” refer “not only to food for our body but also Eucharistic bread, food for the soul.”
The prayer also opens a person’s heart to forgiving others as God has forgiven him or her, the Pope said.
“Forgiving people who have offended us is not easy,” he added, so people must pray to the Lord “to teach me to forgive as you have forgiven me.” Human strength or will is not enough to be able to forgive, he said; it requires grace from the Holy Spirit.
The prayer prepares people for the rite of peace in which the celebrant prays that the peace of Christ will fill people’s hearts and, as a sign of hope, the assembly exchanges a concrete sign of peace, he said.
This expression of ecclesial communion and being reconciled in mutual, fraternal love is key before receiving the sacrament of Communion, the pope said.
“Christ’s peace cannot take root in a heart incapable of living in fraternity (with others) and of piecing it back together after it has been wounded,” he said.
Pope Francis prayed that by celebrating the rites with greater understanding people would experience the Eucharist more fully as the sacrament of their communion with God and with their brothers and sisters, Pope Francis said.
Additional reporting by Catholic News Service
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