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Meagan wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a baptized Catholic who has never attended any other classes within the Church and never received Holy Communion. I attend church and I am a firm believer in God and Christ.

I completely understand the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross for us. My question is this:

  • Without partaking in Communion, will I be condemned for all eternity?

I am confused.

  • I know that Jesus says, I will have no life in me but does that mean I will not be in Heaven for all eternity?

Meagan

  { Without partaking in Communion am I condemned for all eternity? }

Mike replied:

Hi Meagan,

Thanks for the question.

We really can't provide an answer until you fill in some important missing information.

You said:
I am a baptized Catholic who has never attended any other classes within the Church and never received Holy Communion. I attend church and I am a firm believer in God and Christ.

  • Were you baptized as a baby or did you convert to the faith as an adult from a Protestant or non-Catholic denomination?
  • If you converted as an adult, did you receive RCIA instruction/classes at a Catholic parish?
  • If not, can I assume a priest or deacon baptized you or did someone else?

When an adult joins the Catholic faith, part of that process always includes receiving what we call, the Sacraments of Initiation. They are:

  • Baptism
  • The Eucharist, and
  • Confirmation

If you can answer some of these questions, we can help you more.

Mike

Meagan replied:

Mike —

Thank you very much for taking the time to help me. I appreciate it more than you know. I was baptized when I was a baby by a priest at the urging of my grandmother. (My Father's side)
All of my father's side are Catholic and were baptized in the Catholic Church.

My parents divorced when I was 2-years-old and my mother had custody of us and never followed up with the Church or classes.

My grandmother, once again, was the one who introduced my sister and I to God and the Church. I am now 31. When I was in my mid-twenties, I signed up and started RCIA classes with the Church. About midway through the classes, I moved and was never able to finish. I am once again signing up for the classes and have the desire to finish and complete all that is required of me. I am saddened when I go to Mass because I am unable to partake in receiving Holy Communion. I also have one other similar question if you will:

  • When we believe in the Lord we are made righteous through him, so why I would still be considered unworthy to receive Holy Communion if all believers are made righteous through the Lord?
  • Can you help me understand this?

I want nothing more than to be with God for all eternity!! I am not selfish and want it for everyone and I do mean everyone. I hope my reply helps to answer both of my questions.

Again, I thank you.

Meagan

Mike replied:

Dear Meagan,

By what you have said it's clear to me the Holy Spirit is working in your life.

I run a FREE Catechism of the Catholic Church for Protestants and non-Catholics and one of my recent Catechism participants asked the same question you have. This posting should clear up a lot of the confusion:

I've also sent my reply to a colleague of mine, John, who has done RCIA in his parish. John can probably elaborate more, but joining the Church is more than just accepting Jesus as Our Savior.

Yes, that very important and key, but it also involves being in a Common Union with His Church on His teachings.

That's not to say everyone is in a Common Union, but they should be.

Anything I haven't covered, John should be able to address.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Meagan replied:

Dear Mike,

Thank you very much for the information you provided me. It really does help me understand the process.

I am not only going to become a member, but I am going to complete all the requirements through the Catholic Church so that I may not only be in a common union, but to be as close to Jesus as possible. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed and if, for some reason, I would pass, I want nothing more than to know I will be in God's hands! Not just for myself but for my children, family, and friends and for all people of the world. I desire this so much. Thank you for being such a helping hand.

If John would like to elaborate on anything else I would love all the information possible.

Thank you again and may God bless you and yours!

Meagan

Mike replied:

Hi Meagan,

Thanks for the reply and Welcome to the family!

I assume they will provide Catechisms of the Catholic Church in your RCIA class. If there are any questions the Catechism doesn't answer, just use the Ask Us quick link:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/AskUs

If there is something about RCIA that you don't understand, John would be the best person to ask. He's a good friend with an interesting background.

Mike

John replied:

Actually Meagan,

It's great that you are going through RCIA. Hopefully it will be a solid program. That said, if you were baptized into the Catholic Church, but for some reason, never received the other sacraments, you are now a Catholic.

For you to start receiving Holy Communion, I believe all that is required for you is to have your First Confession, and that will put you in a state of grace in order to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Now you may want to wait and receive your First Communion as part of the RCIA class when you are confirmed but actually you're a candidate for Confirmation. Depending on your parish and your age, your parish may just have you go through the RCIA classes to be confirmed. Seeing you never attended any faith instruction as a child or youth, it's still a very good idea to attend these programs. You'll get a lot out of them, assuming they are solid. I served as the director of the RCIA program in my parish for while. I can tell you that many are very good; some — not so much. It depends on the parish and how deep they get into the Mysteries of our Faith.

Talk to your parish priest. I'm curious, when you say, I attend church:

  • Are you attending a Catholic Church?
  • Or are you attending some other kind of fellowship?

God Bless,

John

Meagan replied:

Dear Rev. John,

I first wish to thank you for answering as well. I do attend Mass at St. Mary's Catholic church in Omaha, Nebraska.

I don't mind other fellowships yet I was baptized into the Catholic Church and find comfort there. That is what I am used to. That is why I remain with them.

Just to elaborate, I never received any of the other sacraments through the Church because my mother never attended church and she never took us to complete any of the other sacraments.
I myself started the RCIA courses when I was in my mid-twenties and then had to stop before completion because we moved. I want to complete them and am looking forward to starting up again through the Church. I truly desire a closer relationship with God. I do read the Bible daily and pray often, each and every day. Even though I believe strongly in God and always pray for the forgiveness of my sins, I know life is not guaranteed.

  • That said, if I were to pass away not receiving Holy Communion, would I be eternally separated from God?

This question troubles me and I am seeking an answer. Please help if you can. I am trying to learn as much as possible. I do know that God is a very loving and forgiving God and I want to be in His Hands and only His Hands.

Thank you and I appreciate what you are doing for me and all others.

God Bless you.

Meagan

John replied:

Hi Meagan,

First of all it's John and not Rev. John; I left the pulpit many years ago to return to the Catholic Church.

It would seem that technically speaking you need classes in order to receive adult Confirmation. Some parishes just incorporate that into the RCIA program. It just made more sense for us.

  • Have you talked to your pastor at St. Mary's about jumping in to the RCIA program?

They may want you to wait until next season (typically in September). On the other hand:

  • You've been through some of this before.
  • You're going to Church.
  • You're already a Catholic
  • Your not converting.

Again, it depends on how long you have to wait for these classes to start.

  • If they'll let you in right away and confirm you this Easter, you might want to wait until next year and have your First Holy Communion when you're confirmed on Easter Vigil.
  • If they make you wait until September to start and then until next Easter, you might just decide to go to Confession and start receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

So the priest might let you just pick up as best you can since you're just studying for Confirmation. You need to make sure you explain this him. You don't want him thinking you're converting. Maybe they would allow you to come up to speed on what has already been previously covered. In the mean time, as I indicated before, I don't believe there is a thing preventing you from receiving Holy Communion, except for the fact you haven't been to Confession, so talk to the priest about that. He'll talk you through your First Confession.

It's a good idea to go often. I try to go at least once a month. If you have any questions about Confession, again, your priest can answer them or you can get an examination of conscience print-out. That's an outline of what actual sin needs to be confessed. The Catechism will also help you with that.

So talk to the priest ... this weekend if you can. Get the ball rolling.

John

Mike replied:

Hi Meagan,

I just wanted to follow-up on John's reply.

You said:

  • That said, if I were to pass away not receiving Holy Communion, would I be eternally separated from God?

God can save whoever he wishes; He is not bound by His own Sacraments. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

CCC 847 Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

I hope this answers your question.

If you are unsure how solid your knowledge of the Catholic faith is, I'd buy a low cost Catechism of the Catholic Church on Amazon.

Mike

John replied:

Meagan —

In addition to what Mike said, we have ask ourselves,

  • What is our concept of God?

Meagan, the Lord is not trying to find a reason to keep people out of Heaven. Quite the opposite, He paid a great price because He desires all men to be saved. The only thing that keeps us out of Heaven is our refusal to accept His great and infinite Love and Mercy.

The Sacraments are a means of grace. The Eucharist, of course, is Jesus Himself and so by partaking in Communion we partake and participate in His Divine Nature. Putting it in blunt, human terms:

We become who we eat.

God's not sitting in Heaven with clipboard checking off reasons to let us in or keep us out of Heaven. Yes, there are unfortunately people who will be damned by their own choice. They will reject God's love and in rejecting it, the same Love of God will become their source of torment. God is still going to love them, even in Hell and as I said, it's the love which will torment them because they rejected it.

Throughout the centuries, there have been many paradigms used to describe Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. There have also been many paradigms to describe salvation. One of those paradigms we call juridical. By that we mean God is judge. And yes, God is indeed judge and will judge us but He judges us as a Loving Father. His punishments are intended for our benefit.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrews had the what is called the Ark of the Covenant. In the Ark, among other things, was kept the Ten Commandments but above the Ark, was the Seat of Mercy: the message being that Mercy triumphs over judgment and The Law.

Yes, God is truly concerned with our sin but only because our sin hurts us. God is more interested in Life and Death. He wants to give us Eternal Life. Sin stands in the way of us accepting that gift when He offers it but it's our choice to accept it or not to accept it. He just wants to forgive us. He wants to restore us and make us whole again.

I hope this helps.

John

Meagan replied:

Dear Mike and John,

Thank you both very much for your help.

Both of you have made a difference for me. I really appreciate you both for taking the time to answer my questions. I now know more than ever what I need to do for myself, my children, my family and my friends. Thank you.

I have set up a meeting with my parish priest to discuss all concerns you have brought up and to fulfill all the requirements of the Church and God, of course. I am very grateful for you both and this web site for a place to turn to.

May God Bless you both and all others as well.

Again, thank-you,

Meagan

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