GUEST POST: “Ten Commandments of Reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament”

An old friend of mine, Msgr. Charles Mangan noticed my answer about safeguarding the Blessed Sacrament and sent me this to share with you.

“Ten Commandments of Reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament”

Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

1. Attend Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, even daily if possible.

2. Prepare well for every Mass by: abstaining from food and drink (medicine and water may be taken) for at least one hour before receiving Holy Communion; going to Confession to a priest and stating any and all mortal sins that you have not confessed before (a mortal sin is a thought, word, desire or action that concerns grave matter carried out with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will); praying before Holy Mass and performing acts of charity and self-denial Furthermore, only those persons who are practicing Catholics, who believe as the Church does regarding the Most Holy Eucharist and whose marriages are recognized as valid by the Holy Catholic Church may receive Holy Communion.

3. Genuflect when entering and leaving the Church and whenever passing before the Tabernacle or the Altar on which the Body and Blood of Christ rest. Dress modestly—avoiding revealing and sloppy clothes—and do not chew gum. Speak accurately about the Most Holy Eucharist, never referring to It as “bread and wine.” And if you assist with the sacred music in your parish, do all you can to ensure that the texts reflect the truth about the Real Presence.

4. Refrain from useless chattering before the Tabernacle before, during and after the Holy Mass in order to adore Him and to concentrate attention on the Risen Lord Jesus. Talking unnecessarily in the holy presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament destroys a golden occasion to learn at the Feet of the Master.

5. Receive Holy Communion with joy and fervor. We receive Jesus on our tongues or, in a country where it is permitted by the Episcopal Conference, in our hands (a profound bow before receiving Holy Communion is very appropriate). When we receive Jesus on our tongues, we simply say “Amen” and permit the priest, deacon or installed acolyte to place Christ there. If we receive in the hand, then we make a throne for the Lord, placing our “stronger” hand on the bottom and our “weaker” hand on top. Proclaiming “Amen,” we receive the Host (rather than lunging for It), take a step to the side, stop and place the Host in our mouth using the stronger hand underneath. We must never receive the Sacred Host “on the run.” [I’ll just add to this my hope that people will stop receiving in the hand altogether.  There.  I said it.]

6. Pass time with the Eucharistic Jesus outside of the Holy Mass. The Eucharist is always to be adored—before, during and after the Mass, whether exposed in the Monstrance or reposed in the Tabernacle.

7. Make frequent Spiritual Communions in which we invite the Lord into our souls in a similar manner as when we sacramentally receive Holy Communion. These may be made anytime and anywhere.

8. Cultivate a special relationship with Mary, the Woman of the Eucharist. Pray her Most Holy Rosary. Wear her Brown Scapular and her Miraculous Medal. Ask her for the virtue of chastity for yourself and in all your dealings with your neighbors. Purity is vital. If you fall grievously, go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion. [GO TO CONFESSION!]

9. Develop a friendship with the Saints who are remembered for their incredible love for the Holy Eucharist. To become aware of their affection for Holy Communion stimulates our capacity to develop in love for and adoration of Our Eucharistic Jesus.

10. Request the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to be offered for the living and the dead. There is no gift more beautiful and effective than the Holy Mass.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. andia says:

    As a recently returned Catholic I have to say I love you for this article! I do have a question or three for you. First is it permissible ( or even wanted) for people to have masses said for living priests?

    Second how often should one go to confession, is weekly too frequent?

    Third, if t-shirts and jeans are legimately the best clothes one has, is it ok for them to come dressed that way to Mass? What constitutes “sloppy dresss”?


  2. Geoffrey says:

    “Second how often should one go to confession, is weekly too frequent?”

    Members of Opus Dei go weekly. St John Paul the Great went weekly. I believe the Holy Father goes every 8-9 days…?

  3. Sonshine135 says:

    I go weekly, but recommend you go whenever needed. If you are performing a daily examination of conscious, you will know the answer. If the Saints and the Pope go weekly, how much more should I go?

    I love this post Father. Thank you.

  4. ChristoetEcclesiae says:

    Dear Andia,
    First of all, welcome home!

    Yes, it is wonderful to have Masses said for priests. I sometimes have one said for the “priests of the diocese” as a whole, or when I know one is having an anniversary, or when one seems to need special help. These are natural men being asked to do supernatural things — and they need all the graces they can get in order to live their vocations well. Having Masses said is an act of love for the man, for the priesthood, for the Church, and for the Lord. Also, if there is ever a priest with whom you don’t see eye to eye, have a Mass said for him! Pray for him, and love his priesthood.

    This is a beautiful post, but I’m not surprised, considering its source. Monsignor Mangan just celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination, and his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to our Blessed Mother is inspiring to witness. Please pray for him!

    I have found confession to be a great aid in the spiritual life, and try to go at least every two weeks. Whatever you decide, get in the habit of going, and keep your regular appointment with yourself and Him.

    As to clothing, I would simply ask myself, “What attention is due the Lord? What do I owe Him?” It always seems strange to me that we usually dress better for a job interview than we do for the sacred liturgy, and we too often dress for the sacred liturgy as if we’re going to the beach, flip-flops and all. I think “Sunday best” means just that: we are to do the best we can, and dress carefully and modestly, mindful of the fact that we are about to go participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This doesn’t mean “fancy” necessarily, but simply and appropriately. We don’t, in any way, want our appearance to be a distraction to others. But if jeans and a tee shirt are our best, there is no shame in that. The Lord knows that, too, and he knows your heart. We should always be sure to be neat and clean. It’s respectful, and really the least we can do.

  5. Laura R. says:

    Reverence for the Blessed Sacrament was a large part of what brought me into the Church. When I was attending Mass as an RCIA candidate, the devotion and reverence shown by many of those going up to receive Communion greatly intensified my desire to be a Catholic. Reverence is not just important for your own spiritual well-being, it can have a good effect on others as well.

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  8. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Thank you for this, Monsignor Mangan and Father Z. Very helpful.

    Sometimes some of us stay behind after Mass to enjoy quiet time with the Lord. Then another parishioner with whom I am friendly (but not really, as it happens, friends outside of church) stops by to chat. We chat for two minutes in hushed tones. I don’t want to leave the sanctuary to socialize, and my acquaintance must hurry off to work or to an appointment, or whatever. So the conversation is rather brief. Anyway, sometimes I wonder whether this kind of conversation before the tabernacle may be inappropriate. On the other hand, to wave someone away, or to insist upon leaving the sanctuary to speak when the other person is on their way out the door, would seem to put the kaibosh on having any conversation with that person at all. Thanks for any light you may shed on my question.

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