Skip to comments.The manner of receiving holy Communion(Catholic caucus)
Posted on 11/04/2011 8:23:23 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
The manner of receiving holy Communion
This column continues the Denver Catholic Registers New Roman Missal series.
Nov. 2 2011 - How we handle objects says a lot about how we regard them. When looking at fine jewelry, for example, we are mindful to handle the gems carefully. When observing fine works of art, we dont even touch them at all. When we hold a baby or hug a loved one, we do so gently and with care. The things we handle carefully are usually the things we hold in high esteem.
When it comes to the holy Eucharist, the living sacramental presence of Jesus Christ, this should be true all the more. Because we believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharistbody, blood, soul and divinitywe reserve the Eucharist in a secure tabernacle, constructed of the finest materials available. We situate the tabernacle in a place of honor in the Church, usually in the center of the sanctuary, and we genuflect before it.
To reverence our Lords sacramental presence, we use chalices and patens for the celebration of the Eucharist, not ordinary dishes. We call these sacred vessels. Made of precious metal, they are set aside for sacred use only. Priests and deacons wear beautiful vestments during the celebration of the Eucharist and most of us, out of respect for our Lord, put on our Sunday best when we head to Mass.
When we receive our Lord in holy Communion, we should receive him in the way we encounter a loved one: with reverence, care, gentleness and humility. For in the holy Eucharist, the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, Christ, God and man, makes Himself wholly and entirely present (1374).
Recently, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect for the Vaticans Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, encouraged Catholics to consider receiving holy Communion on the tongue as a sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. When we do so, he said, we know that we are before God himself and that he came to us and that we are undeserving. To receive the Eucharist on our tongue, he said, is to signify our humility before the Lord and to recognize that it is God himself who feeds us.
For this reason, some Catholics choose to receive the Eucharist not in their hands, but directly on their tongues. Receiving the sacred host on our tongue ensures that we do not treat Christs presence as an ordinary piece of bread.
Reception of holy Communion on the tongue has been a tradition of the Church for more than 15 centuries. It began, largely, as an effort to affirm that the Eucharist was not a symbol or a ritual, but the living presence of Jesus Christ. In recent years I have observed that a growing number of young Catholics, particularly seminarians, choose now to receive holy Communion on the tongue.
To be sure, the Church permits Catholics to receive the Eucharist either on the tongue or in their hands, at the discretion of the one receiving holy Communion. Both modes of receiving holy Communion have their own value and their own beauty.
Some Catholics feel more comfortable receiving the Eucharist in their hands. For some, touching the Eucharist makes them feel more connected to Jesus Christ himself. It takes humility to accept the Lord, present and visible, in our own hands. Many of the Fathers of the early Church recognized that our hands could be a throne for receiving holy Communionthe Lord, the King of Kings. To make a throne for the Lord with our hands is to signify our total commitment to worship and to Christian service.
Catholics who receive in the hand should ensure, above all, that their hands are clean as they prepare to literally touch the presence of Christ. When they receive, St. John Damascene counseled that they should put their hands in the form of a cross. They should receive right away, not when they return to their seat. To pluck, grab or pull the Eucharist into their hands is a sign of great disrespect and could lead to accidentally dropping the sacred host. An even greater danger and sacrilege is the possibility of someone stealing a host for trivial or even evil purposes. Sadly, this actually happens.
As we prepare to receive the new English translation of the Roman Missal on the first Sunday of Advent, let us take this opportunity to reflect on the manner in which we receive our Lord in holy Communion. It is my hope and prayer that we not only use this historic moment in the liturgical life of the Church to celebrate a new English text of the Roman Missal, but that we also make this a time of true liturgical renewal in every aspect of our worship and communion with the Lord.
Some may choose to receive the Lord on the tongue while others choose to receive in the hand. All of us should receive with great reverence and respect. And to demonstrate reverence and respect, the Church asks us to offer a slight bow of the head immediately before receiving holy Communion. For to receive our Lord in holy Communion is, indeed, the most profound union we can have with God this side of eternity.
Bishop James D. Conley is apostolic administrator of the Denver Archdiocese. Father Daniel Cardo and Father Marcus Mallick, members of the archdioceses Implementation Committee for the New Roman Missal, contributed to this column.
I receive on the tongue first out of reverence and second because the liberal liturgists just made me shake hands with a bunch of strangers.
Our parish...on the tongue and kneeling.
Well Barney the big purple dinosaur told me to never share cups.
I don’t do that either.
how do you know the hands of the Eucharistic minister/priest placing it on your tongue are clean??
then again i’m in the same boat- always tongue as i feel i am not worthy to put it in my hand....
If you are a Catholic then you know there is a hand-washing/finger-washing ceremony in the Mass. We also have hand-sanitizer for the priest in case he needs it.
>>how do you know the hands of the Eucharistic minister/priest placing it on your tongue are clean??<<
I see the Priest wash his hands.
As for anyone else, we are blessed to have Ushers (who do not shake hands, but stand the whole mass), when one of our four priests can’t make it out. Besides, receiving by intinction gives one that bit of alcohol that kills germs. It’s not the “lipstick on the cup” deal.
i’ve never seen a Eucharistic minister wash there hands on the alter...as an alter boy at one time yes, the priest has a “hand washing” ceremony but be serious- its just the altar boy pouring cold water on his hands...
And some, like me, would refuse to even enter a church at which Communion in the hand is occurring.
On the tongue, kneeling when possible. After genuflecting and making the Sign of the Cross. No matter how clean I try to make my hands, if cannot be enough.
1) Eucharistic minister/priest - is redundant since only a validly ordained Priest is a Eucharistic Minister. You probably meant Priest, Deacon or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
2) As for the Priest, he washes his hands during the Eucharistic Prayer. Thus, receive only from the celebrant and your worries are moot.
The Orans - Latin for praying - position adopted by the laity is a violation of the rubrics. The next time you are at Mass watch the deacon and see if he assumes the Orans position. He does not. Why? Because he is not a Priest. Just as you are not allowed to recite the Eucharistic Prayer, you shouldn't be mimicking the posture of the Priest. There is an important distinction between the ministerial priesthood of the ordained and the common priesthood of the believer. Sadly, many attempt to blur that distinction. Simply fold your hands reverently and pray.
The washing away of iniquity - Lava me, Domine - occurs during the Liturgy of the Eucharistic just prior to the commencement of the Eucharistic Prayer.
"I will wash my hands among the innocent; and will compass Thy altar, O Lord: That I may hear the voice of Thy praise: and tell of all Thy wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house; and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with bloody men: In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts. But as for me, I have walked in my innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the direct way: in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord." Psalm 25:6-12
Besides, receiving by intinction gives one that bit of alcohol that kills germs. Its not the lipstick on the cup deal.
Of course this is irrelevant. The Sacrament is the Body and Blood of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Is it possible that during his earthly life when he healed lepers one could have ever believed that the next person he touched would be infected by cross-contamination? The suggestion would be beyond absurd frankly. The Lord's touch heals; it does not infect. The idea that the Body and Blood of God Almighty could be a disease vector is beyond impossible. Alcohol never enters into it.
All our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion sanitize their hands before distributing either the consecrated Body of Christ or Blood of Christ.
The Orans position is for only the priest to use.
People who try to do that are being arrogant.
>>Of course this is irrelevant. <<
God gave me a brain. I use it. Christ is complete in the host. He isn’t splintered. No need to take a risk of infection.
>>Is it possible that during his earthly life when he healed lepers one could have ever believed that the next person he touched would be infected by cross-contamination? <<
I’m not really sure “one” knew about germs in Christ’s time. Perhaps Christ washed his hands. The Priest does.
>>The Orans position is for only the priest to use.<<
>>Personally, I prefer the ‘orantes’ posture.<<
The orans position is a Priestly gesture reserved for the Priest and Deacon only. It is NEVER directed to the laity in a Latin Catholic mass.
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