Sunday, May 21, 2006

On receiving communion host

Since reading about receiving communion host on the tongue from Angry Twins, I've found out more about the practices of communion over the years and believe that between receiving our Lord on the tongue and on the mouth, the latter is definitely more reverential. (Also, not to mention, we will avoid scandals like selling of John-Paul-II-consecrated-host sale on eBay!)

So, in my effort to draw closer to Him, I started receiving the communion host on the tongue. It was awkward the first time; but I believe it to be a more reverential attitude and stuck by it. Some few weeks ago, however, the eucharistic minister at the Church of the Holy Cross began denying this practice, forcing me (and perhaps a few others) to receive the Lord on our hands. It was upsetting, but I thought better than to raise a scene (or I was just being a wimp!). So that's just one guy. The next mass I went, another eucharistic minister placed the host on my tongue. The next one, another one denied me. And the next one, the priest himself forced me to take the host on my hand. I did not understand and went for mass at the Cathedral instead.

Today, the parish priest announced that the "ban" on receiving communion host on the tongue has been lifted. I do not understand how could such thing be subject to a ban! I am puzzled, indignant but relieved nevertheless!


antonia said...

That is so ridiculous; noone has any right to 'ban' you because the Vatican has said that Communion can be recieved on either the tongue or in the hand, so NOBODY has the right to over-rule that.

If you are denied again (especially by a Eucharistic Minister who have no power whatsoever), then I would either

a- stay there and keep your tongue out

b- go straight up to them after mass and ask why they refused you.

If you priest said that the 'ban' has been 'lifted' then I guess it wont happen again...but if it does, then I would stick to your ground!

God Bless!!

Actus Essendi said...

Alamak, so the 'ban' had been lifted already?

Should've stuck out my tongue last Sunday :P

Antonia said...

Imelda, that's right :) I only found out after the mass!

Antonia, I was such a wimp that I didn't confront anybody (it wasn't my parish!). But I'll definitely muster more courage next time I encounter this (though I hope never happens!)

Virgin said...

Anthonia's blog

Its really absurd I must say, for you having to put up with all these. but then for the love of Christ which we bear we often may have to endure misunderstandings and tolerate the actions of others even when they seem strange to us at the moment. As a community of varying understanding,perceptions and spiritual maturity/experience we are bound to think and act directly even under certain specified rules. Eg 1. Prayer: some prefer Vocal prayer to Silent Contemplative prayer. But in the real sence of it, God listens to his children's prayers no matter how we choose to express it to him. Eg 2 Different Societies in the Catholic Church with different Charisms, but all work towards uplifting the soul in the Catholic faith.

Over here in Nigeria (West of Africa), receiving Communion on the hands is still very alien to us.

Our culture as a people demands utmost reverence towards holy/sacred things. More often than not, Catholics going for holy communion here would feel so unworthy if asked to receive the Holiest of Holies in their hands. Though these two options have been adopted by the vatican, it might take a very long time (if at all possible) for our people to opt into receiving Jesus on the hand.

However the issue at hand is a very dicy one. I as a person cannot make a definite final or accurate judgement on it, however I can only explore the essence and implications of these practices.

The meaning and essence of receiving Jesus in Communion need not be forgotten so soon.

God is so great and is to be highly feared. He is the holiest of holies and demands utmost respect and reverence from his creatures.The Old Testament speaks more about this awesome glory of God and the fear/reverence accorded to him by his Chosen people.

However, this same God, whom we are not worthy to approach wishes to become our closest friend and brother whom we can feel, touch and commune with. He wishes to become our food and strenth on our journey to the kingdom of heaven. He wants to become one with us, wholly united to us and sharing everything we have with us.

He is our Father and at the same time our Brother, He is our king and at the same time, our friend. He is our God and yet still a little child whom we can hold, feel and experience his marvels.

In receiving Jesus with utmost reverence in the tongue, we need not forget that He too wants to experience our own weaknesses. Not just as a superior directing the way for us, or providing the strength needed to overcome, but also as a consoling friend and brother walking side by side with us and sharing our every mood and pain. One whom we can feel his physical presence and at the same time experience his awesome glory.

On the other hand, receiving him on our hands frequently might tempt us into belittling his ominipotence and glory. Out of profound humility, He comes to us as a friend and brother but at the same time He is our King and God. (Imagine yourself dining with a Powerful King who has the authority to take your life away at a snap of a finger, without being questioned). Much so if we Catholics belittle or take as ordinary what is "the very essence of our faith", then our seperated brethen would only find an easy oppurtunity to a make great mockrey of us.

Some of the laity / clergy over the years may have developed preference for one of these pratices over the other based on their individual values, understanding / disposition, however these practices do not remove or reduce the graces recieved from each worthy reception of communion.

They are all practices / disciplines that should lead us towards a closer reverence and love for God. They are only means to the end. They are not the end in themselves

Being open to experiencing the glory and love of Christ anytime we receive communion is the most essential message here. Feeling his glory and love in which ever practise we choose to use.

If both options are placed before us, receiving him on the tongue seems more reverencial/humble and preferrable hovever if at the moment of reception, we feel his healing touch is what we desperately need, we can still opt in to feel his loving touch for a while on our palms before placing Him on our toungue.

It is not just bread that we are eating or touching, but Jesus Himself, physically and spiritually present with us.

Jesus our King and our friend,
Jesus our God and also our Child

(Whoever does the will of God is my mother, brother, sister /friend)

(You call me master but I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I received from my father...)

Due to some excesses observed from the faithful(laity) over the years, some priests may prefer one practice to the other, however there is great need for these priests to cathechise parishoners on the reason for such preferences rather than leave them in ignorance or utter confusion. The fact that one priest prefers to give communion on the hand should not intimidate those who desire to receive it directly on the tongue. I would advise you just respect to the circumstance at hand and latter confront/dialogue with the priest in question to find out his own view/motive.

Below are two of my old poems that speak on Jesus love for us.

Best Regards




Day and Night, I sit and sob
Waiting for a visit from all who care
Year by year, I sit in silence
Caged in a quiet lonely cell

But why did they condemn me?
Why did they sentence me to death?
And why am I still here today?
Caged in this quiet lonely cell

Many were shocked when they saw me
Is this a man? He doesn't look like one
Nations were all astounded
And kings stood there speechless
For they were witnessing something never heard
They were seeing something never told

And yet, theirs were the sufferings I bore
Theirs the pains I endured
I was despised and rejected by men
A man of sorrow, farmiliar with grief
And like one from whom men hide their faces
They despised and took no account of me

And yet, theirs were the sufferings I bore
Theirs the pains I endured
I was striken for the transgressions of my people
Crushed for their iniquity and sin
I was regarded like one punished by God
Striken and brought low

I was wounded because of the sins of my people
But in my wounds they found their healing
I was treated harshly, but endured it softly
Without raising my hand nor saying a word

Like a lamb about to be slaughtered
Like a sheep before the shearer
I was arrested and sentenced to death
And no one cared about my fate

I was put to death for the sins of my people
Buried in the grave of evil men
Even though I never committed a crime
Or ever told a lie

But God says:

It is my will that 'You' should suffer
Your death - a sacrifice that brings forgiveness
And after a life of suffering,
You will again have joy
Knowing that you did not suffer in vain
My faithful servant bears the punishment of many
And for his sake, I will forgive them
I will give him a place of honour
A place amongst the great and powerful
Because he willingly gave his life
And shared the fate of evil men
Because he took the place of sinners
And prayed for their forgiveness

Consoled by His words, I embraced my fate
After the great agony in Gethsemane's garden
Down to calvary, I dragged the cross
And wept for the sins of my people

I was beaten, whipped and scourged
Slapped, insulted and spat upon
Blindfolded and crowned with piercing thorngs
Agony and pain became my food

And like wheat that is beaten, broken and crushed
Before it becomes bread
I was beaten by the pride of my people
Broken in the crucible of humiliation
Crushed in the furnace of pain
That I may become for all
The bread that gives life eternal

My flesh was thorn and hung on a tree
My blood gushed out like water
My life was taken as a ransom
To free my people from sin and death

For their sake I came to earth
For their sake, I gave my life
And for their sake I choose to remain
Imprisoned in this holy bread and wine

That I may become your food and strength
On your journey to the kingdom of heaven
That I may become a consoling friend
Waiting to share your worries with you

I am Jesus, the lonely prisoner
Hidden in the guise of bread and wine
Caged in this tabernacle day and night
Oh! Will you come and visit Me today?

Note: Most of the content of this poem come from the books of ISIAH

: Goodnews Bible (Catholic Edition)

However the style of presentation, comes fresh from the hands of the poet ......Virgin.....


The shepherd is calling

The sheep are running

The sky is frowning

The stars are falling

'Hunderd' of them in number they were

Under the care of a master so dear

'Ninety nine' only, found the cave

The midnight rest, they all must claim.

And where did 'one' go?

And where did 'one' stroll?

A note of appology wanting

The shepherd drowns in worry.

An old story it was

The story of love unheard

The story of an old good shepherd

Whose life is sold to save his sheep

A true story it was

The story of love unheard

The story of a lovely shepherd

Whose love is lavished on his sheep

The price paid is dear

The pearl held as ransom

The sacrifice made is rare

And back to hay, he brings his sheep

His goodness is told for ages to come

He forms her and gives her life

Treasuring her in his garden of love

Hoping she’d live to love him in turn

But alas! For a sheep ungrateful and faithless

She rejects his love and seeks for lust

She deserts the gifts in his garden of love

Breeding pain and sadness all the way

And what could be done? That he did not do

Sending sheep by sheep to call this sheep

A deaf ear was all he could count his own

A plan he devised to break the odds

The Creator is now but a mere Creature

The Good Shepherd born as a lowly sheep

The Wisdom of Love is called to play

As the Good Shepherd comes to save his sheep

Remember the price he had to pay

Longing to find his sheep so dear

Remember the path he had to trail

Longing to bring this sheep to hay.

His blood, the object held as ransom

His flesh is thorn on a tree

His sheep mocking and jeering at him

Behold the price love must pay

And he cares not all that happens

Takes no notice of insults and threats

His heart is set at finding his beloved

His heart is sore for love of his sheep

And finally, finally the price is paid

Finally accepted is his offer

Justice Divine is calmed by his blood

The gates of heaven are laid wide open

But how on earth can this be proved

The wisdom of Love, the folly of lust

And while in darkness, lost in sin

The Good Shepherd comes to claim his sheep

And now man, the miserable sheep

Must turn to God, the Good Shepherd