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Holy Communion Increases Sanctifying Graces

Holy Communion Increases Sanctifying Graces


The Eucharist, as a sacrament, produces in you an increase of habitual, or sanctifying, grace by its own power. Its effects are like those of food: it maintains, increases, and repairs your spiritual forces, causing also a joy that is not necessarily felt, yet it is real.

Holy Communion not only preserves the life of your soul, but increases it, just as the body is not only supported by means of natural food, but increases in strength.

Holy Communion also preserves and increases all the various virtues, which are bestowed upon your soul together with sanctify­ing grace. By increasing the theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity), Holy Communion enables you to enter into closer union with God, and by strengthening the moral virtues (prudence, tem­perance, justice, and fortitude), Holy Communion enables you to regulate better your whole attitude toward God, your neighbor, and yourself. By rendering the seven gifts and the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit more abundant, Holy Communion opens your understanding and will to the inspirations and promptings of the same Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit sanctifies souls by the supernatural gift of grace. The highest type of grace is sanctifying grace, which is a spiri­tual quality, dwelling in our soul, making it like God Himself. Our Lord spoke of the reception of this life as a spiritual birth when He said to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born anew, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Sanctifying grace is also called habitual grace, because once we have received it, it remains as a habit in our soul. Once it has been received, sanctifying grace remains in the soul unless it is driven out by mortal sin.

The Holy Spirit is the skillful gardener. The root of the vine is the sinful soul. Through grace the Spirit gives it His divine life so that it may blossom forth into virtues.

Before our Lord went forth to His Passion, He left to His Apostles and to us all a last testament in His parting discourse. When His bodily presence had to be taken from us, He earnestly and repeatedly enjoined, “Abide in me.”

The bond uniting Him and you can be only a spiritual one, yet it is something real and living, something enduring, not passing, and rooted in the very essence of your being. He used the signifi­cant parable of the vine and branches to illustrate: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.”

The stem and the branches are one same being, nourished and acting together, producing the same fruits because fed by the same sap. In the same way Jesus and the faithful are united in one Mysti­cal Body. He makes the sap of His grace to spring up within you, especially by means of Holy Communion, and thereby increases and develops the divine life of your soul.

Pope Pius XII in his encyclical letter on the Mystical Body of Christ says, “In the Holy Eucharist the faithful are nourished and strengthened at the same banquet and by a divine, ineffable bond are united with each other and with the Divine Head of the whole Body.” You will be able to say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

To have sanctifying grace is the first, most essential, and abiding condition of union with Christ, and the basis of all gifts and powers that make up the spiritual life. This grace is a real, spiritual, and abiding faculty of your soul, a partaking in the divine nature and image of the divine Sonship in a spiritual manner, so that you become like Christ, who is the Son of God by nature. As long as sanctifying grace remains in you, He is and remains within you that you may be one in Him and in the Father, as They are one. “That they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in us.” The Father and the Son are one by the possession of the same divine nature. You possess an image of that nature in sanctifying grace.

Surely you ought to be eager to go to Holy Communion often in order not to lose life everlasting. This is the greatest loss possi­ble, for the smallest degree of sanctifying grace is worth more than anything that the world can offer. Even the greatest earthly happi­ness is nothing in comparison with that of possessing sanctifying grace and eternal life in God. Look into your soul, for Heaven’s beginning is there in the form of grace.


This article is from a chapter in The Basic Book of the Eucharist by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik which is available through Sophia Institute PressSanctifying Graces

Art for this post on sanctifying graces: Cover of The Basic Book of the Eucharist, used with permission. Detail of La [última] comunión de Santa Teresa (The (last) communion of Saint Teresa), Juan Martín Cabezalero, circa 1670, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Charlie McKinney

Charlie McKinney is the Publisher of Sophia Institute Press and President of Sophia Institute for Teachers,,, and Charlie is a convert to the Catholic Faith and is a regular guest on Catholic radio and television. He and his wife have four children and they reside in New Hampshire.

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  • cypressevent

    I make spiritual communion because I’m trying to be obedient to the church. My husband is a non Catholic and refuses to get his first marriage annulled. So where does that leave me? I regularly attend mass. I’ve been instructed by my priest that I should not receive the Sacraments (confession and communion). Am I left outside of sanctifying grace?

    • Patricia

      Has your husband been baptized? That may make a difference. Perhaps you could go to your Dicesian website and look for Office of the Tribunal. call them and ask that question of a priest on the tribunal.

    • Cissy Mpiima

      Continue to receive the spiritual communion. Jesus sees you and He knows what is in the depths of your heart. He who is merciful will one
      day prove his mercy to you. But also ask for the intercession of Mother Mary.

      • LizEst

        Thanks for your beautiful and pastoral response, Cissy. God reward you and bless you!

    • Fr. JPS

      You are not left outside of sanctifying grace because there are other ways to receive sanctifying grace such as through corporal works of mercy by helping the poor or visiting the sick at hospitals and nursing homes. Also, Cissy gave you some good advice and that is great that you are regularly attending Mass.

  • Anneli Sinkko

    I have been contemplating Paul’s words ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’. What does it mean … somehow I felt that I was unworthy to say these words. But then it came to me that now ‘I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.’ It wasn’t a matter of what I am but it was a matter who my Lord Jesus is.

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  • Patricia

    From today posting:”To lose life everlasting is the greatest loss possi­ble, for the smallest degree of sanctifying grace is worth more than anything that the world can offer. Even the greatest earthly happi­ness is nothing in comparison with that of possessing sanctifying grace and eternal life in God.”

    Our Lasy of Fatima said:” If men knew what eternity was they would do everything possible to change their lives,”

  • Jeanette

    “What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist? It is God who, as our Savior, offers himself each day for us to his Father’s justice. If you are in difficulties and sorrows, he will comfort and relieve you. If you are sick, he will either cure you or give you strength to suffer so as to merit Heaven. If the devil, the world, and the flesh are making war upon you, he will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist, and to win victory. If you are poor, he will enrich you with all sorts of riches for time and eternity. Let us open the door of his sacred and adorable Heart, and be wrapped about for an instant by the flames of his love, and we shall see what a God who loves us can do. O my God, who shall be able to comprehend?”
    – St. John Vianney

    • Patricia

      Sr. Lucia, one of the three visionaries of Fatima, had a later vision, known as the Vision at Tuy, on June 13, 1929. She saw the the Trinity above and on the cross. Under the left arm of the Cross, some big letters, as it were of crystal clear water running over the altar, formed these words:”Grace and Mercy” Sr. Lucia said “I understood that it was the mystery of the Trinity shown to me”.
      She interpreted this vision to mean: ” God’s dominion is through His grace and mercy, which flow from the crucifixion by which He saves all those who repent from their sins and take up their crosses, following Him. As the visions shows, He nourishes us with His Sacred Body and Blood.” – Vision from Heaven

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