The Eucharist is the source and summit of all that we do and all that we are as Catholics. Proper reverence for and reception of the Eucharist are essential to our formation from little on. Eucharist completes Christian initiation.
It is important to remember that “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsists. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ,“(CCC#1377) hence, the significant role we play in the Body of Christ.
Upon reception of the Eucharist, Christ is truly with us and never leaves. Reception of the Eucharist should then be done without, in my own words, internal complication. As I explain to the students, when we are expecting company, we make our homes cleaner than usual and prepare an environment that is out of the ordinary to make our guests feel special. Preparation for the Eucharist should be just like that, making our “homes” cleaner than usual and preparing an environment to make Jesus feel special. Fasting allows for that to happen. Reconciliation allows for that to happen. It puts Eucharist in its proper perspective – “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) gives us clear directions for how to prepare our “homes” for Jesus in the Eucharist.
“To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest” (#1387).
There is something to be said about mindfulness and intentionality here. The common practice for the fast is one hour prior to Holy Communion.
Jill Fischer in the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.