Do We Really Believe? How Will We Then Receive?

Do you remember that last time you held a newborn baby? Take a moment to consider the beautiful little one here with mother’s loving delicate care carefully supporting every element of the infant as if the baby is vulnerable, and sacred – because it is.

The child is vulnerable and sacred as is the Lord when He offers Himself, defenselessly, to us, in the Blessed Sacrament. Do we treat Him with the same care, or do we act as if the encounter is with a mere piece of bread or just a cup of wine?

An initial question is important for us to consider. Do we truly believe, without doubt, without reservation, without qualification, that the Lord is present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and that we receive Him, consume Him, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion?

If our answer is a visceral joyful proclamation, “YES!” then we must consider another pressing question; “How could we ever approach Him without the same grave caution and care as we would a tiny defenseless child?” How could we ever choose to approach this encounter in a way that could cause injury, desecration, irreverence, or any other injustice to our precious Lord? Most, even those who’s belief is marginal, would at this point exclaim, “never!”

How can we honor Him? How can we give Him all the love and gentle reverent care He deserves because He is the Kings of Kings and He has given everything to us – and He is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Our Church teaches that this is definitively true down the last fragment of the precious Body of our Lord.

What you see in this photo is a paten. Many Catholics don’t know what this is because the vast majority of parishes do not understand or care enough to use them. A paten is used to protect the Lord in the Eucharist from being dropped on the floor and egregiously desecrated by trampling and disregard.

Think about this for a moment. The Lord is presented to us, humble and defenseless, and He is dropped and trampled…

This paten is one that a priest is holding to reveal the fragments that fell from the hands of communicants during the reception of communion during a typical Mass. These fragments of the Lord came from the simple passing of the Eucharist from the hand of the priest to the hand of the recipient which was then handled again by the recipient (as happens whenever communion is received on the hand).

Do we really believe it is the Lord? Allow me to reveal another perspective via short video to further explore this vitally important matter of our solemn worship of the King of Kings:

Please note that the hosts used here were not consecrated.

If you watch an attentive holy priest during Mass, you will notice that he habitually rubs his forefinger and thumb together over the chalice after touching the Eucharist. If you didn’t know why I suspect you do now. You can learn a lot about a priest through this simple gesture of love and care.

Here are two more brief reflections on related aspects of our reverent reception and approach to the Lord in Holy Communion:

And now to us. We are allowed to receive the Lord two ways. Do we really believe? How should we approach the Lord and receive Him in all His love and vulnerability? Should we do so in a manner we might prefer or in one more fitting for so precious an encounter?

To be more direct and to the point, if we do really believe, how can we allow for what we have seen and heard by receiving on the hand? How can we allow the increase of the handling, possible fragmentation, possible dropping of the Lord and even worse, desecration by trampling Him underfoot?

I think the answer is simple. Please honor Him the next time you receive. The norm in Apostoli Viae will always be to encounter our Lord with sacred and appropriate reverence, kneeling (if possible) and on the tongue (always). He deserves nothing less.

16 thoughts on “Do We Really Believe? How Will We Then Receive?”

  1. Great article. Add to this the use of way to many Eucharistic Ministers and the problem compounds. I just went to mass on Saturday at a parish with no communion rails, no patens and at least a dozen EM’s. It broke my heart even though it’s a parish I attend almost monthly due to their wonderful variety of parish retreats and worship opportunities. The EM’s panic when I don’t hold out my hands for communion and either press the host down really hard on my tongue or they treat the host like a token in a video game. I always feel a bit perturbed about that but then I feel sad for them in the end.

    1. Yes, I have experienced this as well and it is sad. I am encouraged that you are saddened for them rather than angry. One of the traps of the enemy, with respect to those who care about the liturgy, is to become angry and bitter against those who don’t know or don’t care as they should. Instead, our hearts should be broken and we should pray for their conversion. A norm which will be presented at this years investiture, is to pray a litany of reparation after communion or after every Mass for mercy for these abuses and for a restoration of reverence. Another trap is to become prideful because we do understand and do pursue a path that is objectively more appropriate. Both are easy temptations to fall to. The enemy spends a great deal of time in this area because this is where Christ is most present to us and desires to pour out His grace upon us for our salvation and that of the whole world. May we be holy witnesses of His real presence.

      1. Hi Dan, LOVE your response bc it is so helpful, but I am curious if you might expand on this bit: “Another trap is to become prideful because we do understand and do pursue a path that is objectively more appropriate.” What do you mean? Thanks!!

        1. St. Teresa reveals that a common trap the devil uses to get a fervent soul off track is to have them focus on the sins of others rather than on their own. This happens because they are making progress – the are sensitive to sin – they are more aware of the truth and the right way. As this awaress rises, the enemy begins to turn their attention to the defects in others. Hope that helps.

          1. Yes, this answer greatly helps Dan. I struggle so much with the lack of reverence, afraid I was becoming to prideful in this regard. Was told by a priest in confession, “get over yourself” his words. They hurt at the time but after much prayer I realized just what you stated. Must continue to offer consolation to Our Lord for all who do not reverence Him and pray for them and myself not to be judging, just try to love them and be an example of reverence, especially in receiving the precious body and blood of our Lord.

  2. At Cana, Jesus turned water into wine. We witness a miracle at every Mass when the wine is turned into His Most Precious Blood. Yes! And after receving Him, do we really believe that Our God is coming to us and that He is transforming our soul and preparing us for Heaven? There is no gift greater than the Eucharist!

  3. At a recent staff meeting our pastor was reflecting on the truth that what the Church allows and what she intends are two different things. He was referring to women on the altar – altar girls, specifically, but the conversation turned to reception of Holy Communion and extraordinary ministers.
    He has begun the practice of having the other priests come over to the Church to distribute Holy Communion during the high weekend Masses; we still have other ministers but it is moving to see all the priests coming out to distribute Communion.
    I think in general the Holy Spirit is moving the Church in this direction; Father also said several people have individually approached him saying they feel urged to receive kneeling, and he is considering reinstalling the altar rails which were sold for scrap metal a few pastors ago.
    There is no better catechism on the reality and power of the Sacrament than the reverence of those approaching it.

  4. I agree with everything in this post and the comments as well. We can ask Mother Mary to help us to love Jesus in imitation of the way she loves Him and to help us receive the grace to reverence Him as much as possible. The more reverently and lovingly we receive Jesus in Communion, the more He will grace us. We cannot fake real reverence. Others do see what we do and hopefully will receive the grace and experience the freedom to be more reverent before the Lord Jesus too.

    1. Well said. I like this, “We cannot fake real reverence.” I agree. It must come from the inside out motivated by love, and not by how it appears to others or by a check-the-box mentality.

  5. I absolutely, 100% agree with every word of this. I was blessed to have made my 1st Holy Communion in the mid 50’s! We were taught a very devout reverence for the Eucharist, and this reverence was reinforced by a much more “Catholic “ society(tv and movies). I was taught never to touch the Eucharist, even with my teeth. I was away from the Church for 28years and missed the craziness of the early post-Vatican ll years. I was shocked when I saw people receiving in the hand, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. (in 2000) I tried to participate in these practices, but eventually went back to receiving on the tongue. I am not able to knee without an altar rail or kneeler but do use them when made available. It is heartbreaking to see people nonchalantly “pop” Our Lord into their mouth with little or no attention to what is happening. I wish all parishes would show your videos and teach their people the truths of the Real Presence. ( I am being led to use a veil, again)

  6. We have been to many different churches in Corpus Christi and I have been amazed because I believe that at every one, the Eucharist is always distributed with a paten, regardless of how contemporary the parish may or may not be. It has been so refreshing!

  7. Was just listening to an explanation, by Aux Bishop Athanasius Schneider, of why communion in the hand is problematic. He is a strong proponent of “on the tongue”. A viewer asked, if Christ gave the first Eucharist in the hand, why not us? First, the gospel is silent on how it was given, second, the apostles were priests, and third, the Greek word was not “take” as in touching, but as in ” RECEIVE”. ‘Take’ as in touching is another word.

Leave a Reply