The Eucharist, or Holy Communion as it is sometimes called, is the life blood of the Catholic throughout his or her life. Just as we need food to sustain our bodies, intellectual food to keep our minds growing, the emotional food or good friends and loving family, so too we need food for our spirit. The Eucharist is the main course of this spiritual food, as the Eucharist is JESUS Himself.
Jesus, before leaving us and returning to the Father, wanted to ensure that we were sure of His loving and close presence in our daily lives. He makes Himself present in many ways: through daily personal prayer; through reading scripture daily (the bible); through the community of believers; in encountering the poor and fragile; and in the glory of nature and life! At the heart of His dialogue with us, is the Eucharist, however.
Every Sunday, we receive His Resurrected Holy presence (His body and blood) into our soul (spirit). This Holy food, goes straight to our heart, to nourish the Divine life rooted there from our baptism.
Children can receive the Eucharist at any age. The orthodox Christians give this sacrament to new born baptized babies, and to infants, as well as to the adult community. The western Latin Church has opted to reserve the first of the many communions to the age of reason (7 or 8 years of age). This way, children understand better what they are doing. Before receiving, children are taught to make a confession of their sins, so as to prepare properly to receive the Lord in the Eucharist.
Catholics should regularly attend the sacrament of Reconciliation as part of religious practice. This ensures that we are striving to conform our lives to the call of Christ. It is important to receive the Eucharist is a state of friendship with God (state of grace, is what is sometimes called). The Church does not ask us to be scrupulous about this, but to ensure to be relatively at peace in our conscience with the Lord.