3. Devotion and Attention. Given the infinite value of the Lord, it should be evident that we should receive Him with great devotion, attending to our reception of Him and not to other matters. St. Paul states,
1 Corinthians 11:28-29 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.
While this certainly applies first and foremost to belief in the Real Presence, it also applies to the practical application of that belief, how we receive Holy Communion. If we had the opportunity to have an intimate meeting with the President or the Pope we would not have our minds, hearts and attention wandering all over the place. How much less ought they to be when receiving Holy Communion. If it is disrespectful to the President or the Pope to ignore them while they are talking to us, how much more serious is it to ignore God when He is giving Himself to us!
Our interior disposition cannot be separated from our exterior disposition. If we go to Communion chatting with our neighbor, or with our hands in our pockets, we are unlikely to have sufficient devotion to receive. A casual posture and behavior bespeaks a casual interior attitude toward something that is holy and deserves our full attention, body and soul. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us,
1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
If we do not satisfy the first two conditions (the state of grace and the fast) we may not go to Communion. If we do not satisfy this third one, we ought not go to Communion, unless we correct it by stirring up our fervor. We would receive Our Lord vainly, if we lacked devotion and attention to Him. We could even receive Him sacrilegiously, if we acted as if Holy Communion were NOT Him (1 Cor. 11:29). So, as a matter of morality Catholics must pay attention to their interior and exterior disposition when going to Communion.