Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do We Really Believe?

A great post from Lex Orandi Lex Credendi, who's only 15 years old.
Do we really believe that what we consume and what some handle at Mass is truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? If so, then why do we approach it with such an informal manner and even touch the species and consecrated vessels that contain God without any sort of reverence or knowledge of what we are doing?
The Sacred Species or Sacred Vessels are not to be touched by anything that isn't consecrated, including the lay people. We are not priests!!
That is the whole purpose of having a priest in the first place! We put forth a trained and ordained man, to go before God and act in persona christi consecrating the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
The priest's hands were consecrated at his ordination Mass, allowing him to touch and hold the Sacred Species and Vessels. We, as lay people, are not consecrated to do such tasks. So then comes the question, "Why do we receive Jesus in our hands?" The answer is, we shouldn't.
Some are thinking, "well, our tongue isn't consecrated either, so it doesn't matter what we receive from." But this has an explanation! (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 so that it could receive Holy Communion. Sadly, we've done away with this tradition.
Not only are we not consecrated to hold the Sacred Species and Vessels, but it is also impractical (clunky) and disruptive to receive in the hands. 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 (Do we really believe?). Some communicants even go to an extent of putting out only one hand, or don't pay attention, and fumble around with the Host, and 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 my own observation as a altar server is that in using the Paten, it is hard to catch or prevent dropping the Host, when people are fiddling around with it in 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. There should be no question or worry about where the Host is to be or how it is to be handled at all times. 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 both cases of Eucharistic ministers distributing and cleaning the vessels it becomes a more serious issue.
The lay take it upon themselves to touch (with their unconsecrated hands) Jesus, and distribute Him 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? It becomes confusing for the priest to know where his role is in the Mass...-- 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 if done correctly and appropriately.
(And if you really think about it, it wouldn't take that long for a priest and deacon to distribute communion-- if it did take a longer period of time, isn't it worth it to take that time in distributing our Lord in a worthy and exact manner?)
Not only is touching the Host an issue, but also touching the Sacred Vessels before, during and after cleaning is an issue. Every fragment of the Host and Precious Blood 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.
Rather it is the place of the clergy. The priest and deacon (if serving at Mass) should be the ones who handle the Sacred Vessels and clean them properly and accordingly. The priest is the one ordained to clean those vessels, and to remove the fragments from them. He is the one ordained to do such, and no one will question whether they have been taken care of properly.
The priest will then wash his hands afterwards to remove all fragments of the Host. That is why we see priests keeping their index fingers and thumbs together after the consecration. This way no pieces of fragments fall. Each of these tiny microscopic fragments are 100% of Jesus's soul and divinity. If we really believe that, then we won't let it fall or be handled improperly.
This is MY opinion. It is what is most respectful to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
To Jesus hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament;Saint Faustina Kowalska
"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 souls recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration."


Brooke H. said...

Amen, a thousand times over!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

15 year old wisdom, this is one of my reasonings for working with teenagers, on occasion, they produce great products.

Mama said...

Bishop Sheen would have loved this young boy. He removes all the modern interference and brings it back to the simplicity if the tradition. Lovely.

Brian said...

The Vatican would certainly prefer Catholics to receive Jesus on the tongue. If I am not mistaken, receiving in the hands (in the USA) came out of a problem of abuse - which was difficult to correct - so the Catholic Bishops asked permission from Rome, and received it. Yes - this has caused all kinds of abuse. In my parish we have seen people placing the Host in their pocket and running out of the Church. I had a person come to receive with gloves on! And so many people take the Host - not consuming until they are almost back to their pew. So - it is better to receive on the tongie. It solves many problems.

God bless!

Colleen said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.
A priest once explained to me about receiving the host in our hands. He said we are at the Lord's Supper. When we go to someone's home, we do not feed them by placing the food in their mouths. We pass the bread to people and they take it with their hands and feed themselves. We receive in communion with each other as a family.
Jesus gives us Himself. He lives in our hearts. Why would he not want us to touch him?

Batjacboy said...


Your priest has it wrong. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should not be dumbed-down to a supper, even if we call it the "Lord's Supper". It is the Sacrifice of Calvary, re-presented. Christ told His Apostles, His consecrated ministers, to do as He did, and they passed it down to their consecrated successors. The Church's traditional teaching is that only consecrated hands should touch the host. We, the laypeople, are simply not worthy to touch that Body that sacrificed Himself for us. To claim otherwise, is to make us more than we are, and Him less than He is.

You shared your priest, and I have one for you: a priest once told me he recognized that the "communion in the hand Catholics" weren't nearly as devout as the "communion on the tongue" Catholics. And this was not a Traditional Mass priest. Just a Novus Ordo priest who'd been watching over years.

The "Lord's Supper" is an event in the Bible; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is God presenting Himself in His Sacrificial form. Nobody, not even the priest, is worthy to handle Him.

But He told His priests they could, and we should leave it at that.


Thank you for the post, Molly.

Just a heads up: you are using Google ads on your blog, and from my area (Canada), the ad is appearing for abortion services. Shows you how sinister advertisers can be. They set algorithms up to search for Catholic blogs and put adverts that are directly against the Holy Faith and outright evil. Perhaps you might try "Crisp" ads, as it lets you select which advertisers.

God bless. - TH2

Jen said...

My family and I were at a novus ordo mass about a month ago and the lay woman refused to give my family and I communion in our mouth so my whole family of 8 asked her for communion and when refused went arround her to the priest and recieved God's body the only way we ever will, in our mouth. we were looked at like we were crazy when we said we cant touch Him and when we asked the priest after he said "it was probably because of the flu she was probably scared don't make a big deal about it" WHAT!!! God is a "Big deal" thanks for the post girl and the awesome comment batjac

Gina said...

Great article!
Totally agree!
I read a book on a woman who saw souls in Purgatory, & she said there were bishops in purgatory for pushing for communion to be received in the hands.
Although receiving on the hands is approved by Vatican, I just personally cannot do that anymore since becoming more informed.

Molly, did you get my email on what places to visit in Australia?

Molly said...

Hi Gina,

I did get your email & I'm sorry for not responding. I really liked your suggestions and truly appreciate you taking the time. I kept your email so that we can use it to help plan our trip, whenever it may be.

I'm not sure if we'll make it there this year, but I hope it wont be too long before we get there.


Molly said...

And thanks to everyone for your comments on this post. I love hearing the thoughts of others on such topics.

I just wish that everyone felt the same way this 15 year old boy does.

I guess all we could do is pray!

Catholic Teen said...

Good points Batjacboy!


Some people use the argument that in the second vatican council it says that we should make of ourselves a throne.

This wasn't intendedfor our han to recieve Jesus! It was meant in the server making himself a throne by bearing the lectionary and laying it against his forehead--showing how he humbles himself before the Word of God.

Who are we to touch Jesus with our own dirty, gruby and un-ordained hands!?

That's why we have priests! They are trained and blessed to do such! Otherwise they have no purpose.

Molly said...


Thanks for the heads up, I will look into it. However, when I viewed the ad it was an advertisement for adoption.

Thanks again.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina said...

Glad to hear you got my email.
If and when you do come, you are always welcome at my place, not that where I live is very exciting or a site-seeing place.
God bless you.

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