Does reception of the Holy Eucharist at Holy Communion increase the supernatural life of our soul?

Mission Lab

Yes. One of the principal effects received from the Holy Eucharist at Holy Communion is the intensification and strengthening of supernatural life. Being a sign of nourishment, the Holy Eucharist is meant to do for the soul what material food does for the body, and that is to preserve life and to protect it. As material food enables us to continue living and tends to protect us from fatal disease, so Holy Communion preserves the spiritual life of our souls, forgives our venial sins, and protects us from the spiritual disease of mortal sin.

Jesus Himself is our food in Holy Communion. He (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) is entirely ours as the food of our souls. He is united to us in order to make us like Himself. He said, “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51). The sharing of divine life means that God lives in us and we in Him, and that as God the Son has by nature the same life as the Father in its infinite fullness, so do we share it by grace.

Holy Communion preserves and increases all the various virtues which have been bestowed upon our souls together with sanctifying grace.

Our Lord compared the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar with the manna given to the Jews, because the Holy Eucharist was intended to be the daily spiritual food of Christians, just as manna was the daily food of the Israelites in the desert.

It was in the midst of a meal, under the form of food, that Jesus chose to institute the Eucharist. He gave Himself to us as the nourishment of our souls: “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55).

Jesus Christ is not only glad to accept our invitation to come into our hearts, but He told us that we must receive Him as our Guest. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53).

Sanctifying grace is that grace which gives our souls new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself. Sanctifying grace makes our souls holy and pleasing to God, especially by increasing divine love in our hearts. Sanctifying grace makes us adopted children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit.

Just as our souls are the life of our bodies, so sanctifying grace is the life of our souls. We need sanctifying grace to save our souls. Mortal sin brings death to our souls, because it takes away sanctifying grace, and this means losing God Himself.

To understand why the Church incessantly stresses the advantages of receiving the sacraments frequently, particularly the Holy Eucharist, we have but to recall her doctrine concerning sanctifying grace.

The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament that produces in us, by means of Holy Communion, an increase of habitual or sanctifying grace. It not only preserves the life of our souls, but increases it, just as the body is not only supported by means of natural food, but also is strengthened.

Holy Communion also preserves and increases all the various virtues which have been bestowed upon our souls together with sanctifying grace. By increasing the Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity, Holy Communion enables us to enter into closer union with God. By strengthening the moral virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, Holy Communion enables us to regulate better our whole attitude toward God, our neighbor, and ourselves. Holy Communion also opens our understanding and wills to the inspirations and promptings of the Holy Spirit.