No you can't have the little white thing! An example from 14 centuries ago

Ruins of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, the burial place of St Mellitus. (My photo)

Today is the feast day of Saint Mellitus who was sent to England by St Gregory the Great from the monastery of St Andrew on the Coelian Hill in Rome. In London he set up the first Church of St Paul.

When the Christian King Sabert died in about 616AD, his three sons, Sexred, Seward, and Sigebert, succeeded him. They were pagans, but wanted to get the white thing that the Christians had at their religious service. They asked Saint Mellitus for the white bread to strengthen them. He told them that they could receive Holy Communion if they were baptised, but despite his repeated and patient explanations, they refused to accept that they needed this extra ceremony as they saw it. They became very angry at what they considered his intransigence, and exiled him and his Christian community from London.

Plus ca change! Today also, people want to receive Holy Communion without understanding that it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They become angry if any demands are made on them as a condition of receiving. They do not know that they are asking to receive God Himself made man, but somehow, they know that there is something extraordinary about Holy Communion - they want that white thing, that biscuit, that holy snack because it is something special.

They are right. It is more special than they could ever guess because it is the living body of Christ Himself. And the answer to their desire to receive is the same as St Mellitus gave to Sexred, Seward, and Sigebert. Everyone can receive Holy Communion; all you have to do is to be instructed in the Christian faith, to repent of your sins and live accordingly, to make a declaration that you now believe the Christian creed, and to be baptised. That is the answer today as it was in the early 7th century in Anglo-Saxon London.

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