When we prepare for Holy Communion, we prepare ourselves like a bride to her bridegroom. This sacrament is the source and summit of our faith. It is the source of grace that provides strength so we can reach the summit of our faith- perfection in Christ.
The CCC, explains, “The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend” (1374).
If this is our source of grace that allows us to be perfect like our heavenly father is perfect (Matt 5:48), it must happen through union with Christ because he is the only way to God (John 14:6).
If we want to go to heaven and be connected to God, not only in a Spiritual sense but participate in the self-giving love of the Trinity, we must be united to Christ. As the communion of saints, we make up the body of Christ and we are meant to be his bride one day.
Why would we want to be united to God? Let me give you an example. If I got married tomorrow, why would I want to be united to my husband on our honeymoon? Because I want to be united to him and share in not only a spiritual communion, but physical become “one flesh”.
When other denominations choose not to receive the consecrated host, they not only deny Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, but they are choosing to not unite to their bridegroom. They are not only missing out on being one with God, they are missing out on the communion of saints.
So how does the communion of saints work? When we consume the body of Christ, we unite not only to Christ, but each other. This means we’re family now, we share the same blood; the blood of Christ running in our veins.
As a convert I can tell you that there is a strong sense of genuine brotherhood and sisterhood in the Catholic faith, and I believe it is because of Holy Communion. When we get to heaven we will fully understand that the communion of saints is not just a spiritual communion, but physical unification. The Church is one body and we will be presented to Christ as his bride- purified through His mercy and grace.
Fully participating in the communion of saints takes willingness and faith. We must retrain our self centered tendencies and be truly present to those we encounter. When you realize we share the same Spirit of God, you can encounter God in each and every one of your Catholic friends, acquaintances, and even strangers.
A beautiful example of this union through Christ is Mother Theresa and John Paul II. When I see pictures of them together, I know they shared the light of Christ to each other in this life and they are fully united in heaven waiting and praying for us to join the ultimate union with God.