Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rethinking Communion

Thanks to Andrew at Angry Twins, I found out about receiving Communion practices.

I am a 'recent' convert (nearly ten years ago, but boy, it seemed like yesterday, so slowly is my faith growing..), and not growing up in a Catholic family (my parents and I were baptized as a family at the same time), I had no idea what are the customs and traditions of Mass rituals and Communion. I did not know why we genuflected, why we made the sign of the Cross prior to the Gospel, or why some people received the Host on their tongue! (I wrote in an earlier post about my lack of catechization)

So it was with interest and hunger I tried to find out about these reverential customs, and an angry twin posted a link about how and why Communion started to be received on the hand, and why it is sad to see this in Masses everywhere.

Yesterday I went to two Masses, and I watched the column of the faithful receiving Communion. Perhaps only one out of thirty received Jesus on their tongue. In the morning Mass, I was queuing up to receive the Communion from Archbishop Chia, and my heart was beating so much faster, as I gathered courage to receive the Communion on the tongue, for the first time ever! It felt strange, because it made me realize deeper, how unworthy I was (still am :-|), to touch Jesus. In the evening mass, I observed that nobody took the Communion on the tongue (except yours truly, a new convert!).

In any case, one prayer came to mind immediately as I recited it with deeper realization:

I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation.
May it be a helmet of faith and a shield of good will.
May it purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions.
May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in the power to do good.
May it be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual.
May it unite me more closely to you, the One true God, and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with You.
And I pray that You will lead me, a sinner, to the banquet where you, with Your Son and holy Spirit, are true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end, and perfect happiness to your saints.
Grant this through Christ our Lord, AMEN.

—St. Thomas Aquinas (one of my favorite saints!)

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