Monday, July 9, 2012

Giving Eucharist a Hand

During today's daily Mass, I was aware that several people received Holy Communion on their tongues. I would estimate we had about 35 people there (which, is a good number) and most of them were female (which is ordinary in most churches).
Of those taking Communion on the tongue:
1. Female law student (under 30 years old)
2. 40-ish-ishish female visitor from Memphis
3. Female Middle School teacher (under 30 years old)
4. Male Knight of Columbus 50ish

With my mathing skills, I estimate that is around 10% that took Holy Communion on the tongue.

Another percentage took Communion on the hand in the "take it and pick it up and put it in your mouth" mode that is the ordinary way it is done in most parishes. As far as I could tell, there were about 10 or so who did it in this manner.
The Pope gives Communion on the tongue.

Now for the rest, they took Communion in the hand but in the way I instructed a couple of years ago based on this instruction credited to St. Cyril of Jerusalem:

When you approach Holy Communion, make the left hand into a throne for the right, which will receive the King. Then with your lower hand, take the consecrated Host and place it in your mouth.”

And the Pope gives Communion in the hand.
I amended it to the more DRE-ish instruction:
Communion in the hand: There is only one correct way to receive Communion in the hand. Place your dominant (or writing) hand underneath your other hand, with the palms facing up. Once the host has been placed in the palm of the hand on top, move your dominant hand out from underneath, take the host, and place it in your mouth.

All three ways are allowable and, despite some of the remonstrations of clergy and such, one way of taking Communion doesn't define someone as "liberal" or "conservative". Some priests have beat up some people for taking on the tongue because they are "too conservative" to the point of disallowing Communion. That's why I submitted the ages and walks of life of those who took on the tongue. 

On the other hand (haha..pun), sometimes traditionalists will color those who receive on the hand as going against the Pope and not being orthodox. The Pope, Benedict XVI, has given on the hand, by the way.

There seems to be NO pictures of men getting Communion by tongue on the 'net. That's creepy.
Since it is the most popular way in the USA to take, I have a few notes concerning receiving on the hand:
1. Keep your hands free. I see more folks bringing up the cell phone or car keys while taking Communion. Don't do that. 
2. If you can, no stamps, inked in phone numbers or generally dirty hands. Clean your hands to take Our Lord. I know those nightclub stamps are hard to wash off, but do it.
3. Don't snatch the host or pinch it out of the fingers of the priest (or minister). Allow it to be given.
4. When you take the host, don't rub it on your shirt or "adjust it" to put in your mouth. If you can't get it right when it's given, just take on the tongue.

The older I get, the more I understand about Communion on the tongue and like it. However, I also have no problem with taking on the hand and, when I do find the chance to be in another parish, I generally take Communion that way if I take at all. It's the "norm" and I'm all about the "norm" these days.

Age does that to a man. That and rebelling takes so much energy.