On my most recent visit to my partner, I decided to attend his brother’s Catholic church for a Sunday morning service. It had been the first one I had gone to since Christmas. I struggle with organized religion and the structure that comes within most of them so I rarely frequent any service, but given that my partner was working all day, I decided to tag along with his brother’s family.
During the car ride with them to the building where the church service was at, I asked if communion was being held that morning. While I thought the only answer was either going to be a “Yes” or a “No”, what I received instead surprised me. They thought that communion could only be done for those that were Catholic. I had never heard of such of thing as I’ve attended many church services in my life who opened their communion tables up with words stating that everyone was welcomed to come up and receive the sacraments.
I can be a Google fanatic when it comes to not knowing such things so I decided to look up the factual information based upon their claim. Sadly, there was great truth to what they were saying and then some, at least based upon the Catholic religion. From what I read, the long and short of it is that there are a set of five requirements that one has to adhere to in order to receive the sacraments of communion. They were listed as follows:
1. One must be in a state of grace.
2. One must have gone to confession since their last communion.
3. One must believe in transubstantiation (which means one believes that conversion of the body and blood from within occurs when taking them).
4. One must have fasted at least one hour prior to taking communion.
5. One must not be under an ecclesiastical censure (which means not being excommunicated form the church).
I read in more depth about each of those five requirements and frankly, it exhausted me. I definitely failed to meet several of those requirements as based upon the language I read. One description even said that no practicing homosexual was ever supposed to partake in communion. This is the main reason why I continue to refrain from taking part in any organized religion on a daily basis in my life.
In my spiritual path with God, everyone is welcomed, all the time, to come before an “alter” of God and take part in any practice that helps bring on closer to God, such as communion. Each and every day, I ask God to guide me in all my thoughts, words, and actions, and at the end of the day, I do my best to account and pray for release from anything that I may have done that wasn’t in love and light. I also have come to the belief that God brought me here as a gay man to learn how to love those who may not love me and to understand the pain of racism and prejudice. In my heart, I know God sees how much I do everyday to grow closer to him. And to be denied communion because of rules and regulations seems like something that doesn’t come from God, it comes from man.
So ironically, I chose to go this church’s alter and take the sacraments. I asked God as I took them, to bless the Body and Blood as they entered me. I believe that God always welcomes me and continuously has open arms to embrace me. Unfortunately, as I continue to see in society today, organized religion conforms people to restrained mentalities which only persist the fear out there that not all are welcomed before God.
It pains me to say this but there are many people out there who are so misguided and fail to ever find a close relationship with God solely because they are pushed away due to the rules and regulations that organized religion brings. But I will continue to accept things differently in my spiritual journey by trying to help those who might not feel accepted at God’s table. I believe God loves everyone, at all tables that come before God. I believe that everyone, from all walks of life, can receive the Body and the Blood or any other message of love from God. The only rejection that comes at any table before God is what man defines and no one else.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson