I started receiving holy communion at the age of 9. Trust me when I say I didn’t know about this sacrament. Everything I was made to know in preparation for First Holy Communion was typical cramming, there was absolutely no depth to it.
Around August 2009, I started attending catechism classes. This is where qualified adult Catholics teach about the catholic doctrine to children (and sometimes, adults) who are preparing for their First Holy Communion. It was here that I learned that if you received the Holy Communion without being in the state of grace, the Communion would either get stuck in your tongue or you would start vomiting blood and confessing your sins right there. I believed. We all did. We were just kids.
During confession week, which is like a few days before the first Holy Communion, one of our instructors caught me talking with my friend, Winifred, during catechism class and specifically pointed me out that I wouldn’t do the first holy Communion with everyone else. I was already cleared for confession, and First Holy Communion was in one week.
I thought it was all anger and jokes until the catechist got involved. Catechist begged on my behalf. Other instructors pleaded. My parents pleaded. But he listened to no one.
Winifred who had indulged me in the conversation that got me implicated had catechist’s daughter privileges, so no one saw her.
This instructor guy later made it known that his reason for sending me away was because I was too small to receive the Holy Communion. That I was only 8. Mind you, Winifred was 8. Every other person was 8, 9, 10, or 11. Every Catholic person knows this. Kids as little as 6 can join catechism classes.
The following year, I came back. This time was a little different as I didn’t need to read the catechism book all over again. I still had most of the teachings in my head.
I did my first Holy Communion in April 2010 at the age of 9. In August of that same year, I was Confirmed. At 9 I knew nothing about the sacredness of the holy communion except the scary vomiting stories they told us in catechism.
I didn’t joke with the Holy Communion and did my best to stay clean from sin so I could join in.
2020 was when I started battling with my faith, became inconsistent, and eventually fell out.
It happened that each time I went for confession, I didn’t last a week before going back to my old ways. Each Sunday at church, I kept wondering how people are able to receive communion every Sunday. Could it be that they don’t commit sin at all?
In the catholic church, there is something called Penitential Act and it usually takes place during the beginning of Mass just before the readings. This is the time everyone confesses their sins to God and receives forgiveness for them.
In catechism, we learned that all sins are not equal and are therefore classified based on their gravity. Mortal Sins are the gravest of them all and are concerned with acts that directly disobey the 10 commandments of God. Venial Sins are lesser sins such as sins that are committed casually like being rude to a stranger. We were taught that the sins that get forgiven during mass are Venial sins. For the Mortal ones, you would need to obtain forgiveness and reconciliation through Confession, often called the sacrament of penance.
There has been an argument that Catholics abuse this sacrament and tend to sin against God as often as they please because they can always come back, confess, and get forgiven. Now, here is the problem.
I stopped going to confession because I needed to get to a certain level with God on a personal note before I could seek penance from a priest. And I wasn’t there yet.
During the lockdown, I was stuck at home with my family and couldn’t give any excuses for not joining in holy communion when everyone else did. I felt like a sinner and had to endure the glares of people who sat on the same seat as me.
One Sunday my mom asked me if I’d be receiving the Holy Communion, and I said no. Her response afterward broke me. The following weekend, I fled to a priest and confessed my sins.
Truth is, even after that, I didn’t feel like I was that holy to receive the body of Christ. I felt like I was committing an even graver sin by receiving the Holy Communion with the way I was feeling.
One problem I have with the catholic church is this, they don’t care much about your personal relationship with God provided you stick to the church’s doctrine. This is a personal observation, you are free to correct me if I’m wrong.
My fight got to the point where I started reaching out to Christian creatives online to help me find my way back to God. The catholic church (In underdeveloped areas especially) doesn’t make the church welcoming for the ones who are lost. You just have to blend in by following a set of rules and patterns. You cannot find such a community as a struggling youth there. Don’t even mention CYON, because I’ve been there and it didn’t give me anything close to what I needed.
I am at that point in my life as a catholic where I won’t go back to being a communicant until I have fixed my personal relationship with God. Confession only fixes things for a few weeks. I want something strong and everlasting. I don’t want to do it because everyone else is doing it or because my family is watching.
I want to say Amen to the body of Christ when and only when my heart is truly open to receive him. And until then, I am practicing my glaring skills. Anyone who shoots at me, I will shoot at them back.
Everyone should just make sure they are not bringing condemnation upon themselves by receiving the Holy Eucharist with sin sitting heavily in their hearts because this stuff is really powerful. More powerful than what these adults taught all of us in catechism classes.
Are you a communicant? Have you had your fights too? Please let me know in the comments as your contribution could help others who are struggling with receiving the Holy Communion.