Sunday, January 18, 2009

Receiving the Holy Eucharist

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded all of Fr. Z's podcasts onto my ipod (which- btw, I did all of them wrong, and had to do all 77 over again... grrr..). Anyway, I put them all on there and have been listening to them now and then; and I must say, they are excellent!


I stumbled upon a few that talked about the reasons against receiving the Eucharist in the hand (I believe they were podcasts 53 and 70-something, for any of you who wish to listen). Fr. started out by explaining how the Sacred Host or Sacred Vessels are not to touch anything that isn't consecrated. The reason for this is quite simple, if we believe what the church calls us to, then who are we as lay men and women to touch, and grasp Jesus Christ in our hands? Not to mention, how extremely dirty our hands are. Some are thinking, "well, our tongue isn't consecrated either, so it doesn't matter." But this has an explanation too! (I love being Catholic) In the old rite, at a child's' baptism, the priest would exorcise salt, and put it on the infant's tongue, thus consecrating the communicant's tongue.

Not only this, but also the fact that receiving in the hand is impractical. People don't take reverence in what they are receiving, when they see the physical actions of walking up the aisle, and putting their hands out like they are entitled to receive something. Some communicants even go an extent of putting out only one hand, or don't pay attention, and fumble around with the Host, almost (and in some cases) dropping it. There has also been an increase in the Host being stolen, to be sold, or desecrated, since receiving in the hands was allowed. I'm not blaming the desecration entirely on receiving in the hands, but it is a major contributor to that act. Instead of people being physically oriented (educated or not--- which is the faithful's responsibility, whether it be privately, or contacting your priest) to receive our Lord, and having the priest put Him where He needs to be, and not have the chance of something sacrilegious occurring, we put ourselves in a position for spiritual failure.

One point from a server's observation is that in using the paten, it is hard to catch or prevent dropping the Host, when people are fiddling around with their hands. Part of this is due to the faithful's orientation when receiving. If one were kneeling, and receiving on the tongue, then there would be NO question as to where the Host was going, and prevent the Host from being dropped as often. But I digress...

Another issue is lay men and women touching the Sacred Vessels, whether it be in the role of Eucharistic Ministers, or in removing the Vessels, uncleaned, from the altar. In the case of Eucharistic ministers, the result is more serious. The lay take it upon themselves to touch (with their unconsecrated hands) Jesus, and distribute it to the faithful, as if they were ordained. This is where one would see how priests lose focus in the meaning of their role. If any Joe-schmo can walk up on the altar and handle Jesus, then what is the purpose of a priest?-- This is one reason why I feel that deacons (permanent) are very important to the Mass. They can help distribute Communion in place of lay men and women. (And if you really think about it, it wouldn't take that long for a priest and deacon to distribute communion-- if so, isn't it worth it to take our time in distributing our Lord?) Not only is touching the Host an issue, but also touching the Sacred Vessels before cleaning. Every fragment of the Host is 100% God in all of His divinity. This not only gives a reason as to why receiving in the hands is discouraged--because, if you do, you will have thousands of tiny particles on your hands, going wherever your hands touch-- but also touching the sacred vessels, which contain our Lord. Who are we as lay men and women to touch the very consecrated objects which carry God? It just isn't our place.

This is MY opinion. It is what is most respectful to our Lord, Jesus Christ.


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Prayer of St. Faustina before the Eucharist-


I adore You, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I adore You for all the works of Your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord. You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about Your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of You, incomprehensible Beauty. And although You have hidden Yourself and concealed Your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration.

My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here You light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see You loved and Your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy.

O Christ, let me glorify Your goodness and mercy to the last moment of my life, with every drop of my blood and every beat of my heart. Would that I be transformed into a hymn of adoration of You. When I find myself on my deathbed, may the last beat of my heart be a loving hymn glorifying Your unfathomable mercy. Amen.


4 comments:

Dixi said...

I agree with you 100%! My family always tries to receive Holy Communion from a priest. We are so fortunate that we are able to go the reverent Latin mass and use the Communion Rail. At our parish that doesn't have the Latin mass some people often find Consecrated Hosts in the song books. So sad

Joe S.R. said...

From another server;s opinion, I can;t stand communion in the hand. We use patens at my parish, and each of the two acolytes with patens is supposed to make sure that the communicants actually consume the host which is a whole lot easier when you're 99.9% sure where the host has gone.
I've never received communion in the hand.

lizaanne said...

Hi Nate! I found you through Diane's blog. :-) You can find more awesome free podcasts at the site of the apostolate where my husband works:

http://www.catholictelevision.org/index.php?nav=04&content=20

http://www.catholictelevision.org/main.php?nav=04&content=22

At the bottom of the second link there is a show called View from the Pew - that's my husband's show. :-)

Also check out www.realcatholictv.com , he does work for them as well.

Enjoy!!

~Liza

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