Splendid Love

There is a great feature article today at Faith and Family Live – check it out if you get a chance. I think that many of us builders have had similar experiences, but I will only speak for myself when I say that I did not fully appreciate the splendor of the Eucharist until I arrived at college. Actually, it is quite ironic that I had to leave a wonderful Catholic high school and head off to a secular university in order to encounter people who were serious about daily Mass, prayer in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and Adoration. I can honestly say that while I understood that the bread and wine truly transform into the Body and Blood at Holy Mass, I was knocked off my feet when I realized that many super-busy Princeton students and faculty would take time out of their day to attend daily Mass. Then I came to realize that no matter what time of day or night I entered the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray, more likely than not I would find others kneeling in earnest prayer already. Finally, the longing that I had felt in my body and soul for so long was starting to make sense: I was created to worship and adore Christ, and the most intimate way to do this was to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and spend time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.

Anyway, enough from me – head on over to Faith and Family Live and read the article for yourself. God bless all of you this Tuesday morning!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, thank you Kat. That is beautiful–both the Faith and Family article and your testimony in this blog post. I could have written the exact same thing as you, except as a non-cradle-Catholic, about the impression that Eucharistic Adoration made on me during college. I also will never, ever forget a Holy Thursday late-night pilgrimage (the Easter that I became a Catholic) to St. Paul’s Church in Princeton where the Eucharist was removed to the side altar in a shining monstrance and surrounded by candles and flowers and a banner of a lamb. There were twenty people there on their knees at midnight. I was so sure and so deeply in love. I need to find a way to go to Adoration again soon, and regularly. I think too much time away from Adoration is a real cause of spiritual dryness.

  • Anonymous

    It is a beautiful article. Thanks for the link. I’m not at all surprised that so many Catholics don’t know about the real presence. With all the liturgical abuses, disrespect for the Mass, moving the tabernacle to the back or side of the church, receiving on the hands, no longer kneeling during the consecration (I’ve seen this in some churches!), it is hard to imagine how these practices wouldn’t make the Eucharist seem less important, and less “real.” The way most priests approach the Mass makes people think it is just a symbol. It is very sad…but the liturgy and rituals of our faith really do leave an impression on the laity.

  • Kat

    Red, you mentioned receiving on the hands…I’m not sure I think of this as a sign of disrespect, but please correct me if I’m wrong! Our priest has actually encouraged parishioners not to receive on the tongue, for the purposes of not spreading illness. As a Eucharistic Minister, I can attest to the fact that many people don’t stick their tongues out far enough!, so there are many times that I am touching someone’s tongue, and then reaching back in for the next host. This is different than receiving from the cup, because the Minister wipes the cup and only the tips of the lip touch the edge of the cup…Much less likely to spread germs this way. nThoughts?? PLEASE let me know if I’m wrong on this!

    • Anonymous

      Receiving in the hand is less respectful than directly onto the tongue, but I’m not sure it falls into the category of abuse. Anyway, maybe I’m overspiritualizing this, but I always figure that God is the Lord of health and it’s hard to imagine his Sacred Body (or the hands that distribute it) ever transmitting illness as another soul receives Him. Same with the Precious Blood.

      • Anonymous

        JM, agreed. It isn’t an abuse, per se, particularly if you have a good reason to receive in the less traditional way. I just wanted to point out that it is less respectful (provided you don’t have a good reason) AND, when done on a wide scale, it tends to give the impression that the Eucharist is not the real presence. Obviously the Holy See has given an indult for certain areas to receive on the hands, but it is important to keep in mind that this is a variation from the norm, and it can lead to abuses.

  • Anonymous

    Kat,nnI think that a general policy of receiving on the hands shows less respect for the Eucharist, and leads to abuses (people putting in their pocket and walking off–I’ve witnessed this!), and shows little difference between a Protestant “Communion” and Catholics. It was once thought that the Eucharist was so sacred that we got on our knees to receive and didn’t touch it with our dirty hands. Your hands have probably been exposed to far more germs (into the hands and then into your mouth) than a properly trained priest putting the Eucharist directly onto your tongue). After all, if he’s practicing the liturgy properly, he has just washed his hands! nnA properly trained priest has never once touched my tongue when I receive in the mouth. I have only had this happen with Extraordinary Ministers (an unfortunate regular practice at most Parishes) and Priests that are not used to distributing communion directly into someone’s mouth. And even then, I think I am exposed to far less germs than from my own hands.nnIf someone is sick, can’t kneel, or has another personal issue then obviously these thoughts don’t apply. Certain people have medical conditions making it unwise to fast, but we shouldn’t give up fasting as a church. Likewise, certain elderly parishoners have trouble kneeling (I do too when I’m pregnant!), but we shouldn’t give up the practice. Those that can’t shouldn’t, but the rest of us should participate. Small things show GREAT respect. That woman who wrote that article had her life changed by seeing people kneel!!!! in adoration of our Lord. Likewise, seeing person after person walk up to Communion and feel the host so sacred that they don’t want to touch it with their hands can make a difference. I have literally been brought to tears watching some of the middle school kids in our church get on their knees and receive communion on the tongue. Praise God for their families and our Parish, which encourages these sorts of Eucharist centered practices.

    • Anonymous

      Kat, this is a nice little explanation:http://catholicism.about.com/b/2008/06/26/pope-benedict-sets-the-norm-for-receiving-communion.htmnn”Where does this leave Communion in the hand? As Monsignor Marini points out,nn it is necessary not to forget that the distribution of Communion in the hand remains, even now, from the juridical standpoint, an indult from the universal law, conceded by the Holy See to those bishops conferences which requested it.nnIn other words, it is an exception to the norm, and Pope Benedict is making it clear what the norm has been and still is: Communion on the tongue while kneeling.”

  • Kat

    JM, I tend to have a similar feeling about germs and the Precious Body and Blood, and our pastor has no qualms about receiving from the cup, even during flu season…But he did make a point of saying (in a bulletin) that he would prefer for people to receive on the hands. He’s very reverent when it comes to the Eucharist, so I took note when he said this.nOn a related note, I remember that when I was pregnant with our first child, I was concerned about receiving the Precious Blood every day because of the alcohol content. I remember asking our priest if the alcohol wasn’t present anymore once the wine transformed into the Precious Blood, and he smiled and said that yes it was. It’s fully wine and fully the Precious Blood, as Jesus is fully human and fully divine. He assured me that it was probably just fine :)

  • Kat

    Red and JM, thank you for your explanations, lots to pray about! nRed, I love your point about kneeling…I once spent a few weeks in a small village in Austria, and the local church had long kneelers in the front where everyone was expected to kneel and receive the Eucharist on the tongue. I loved this! There was such a sense of anticipation for what was to come, an excitement that is often lost when we simply file up the aisle, receive the host, and walk back to our pew. We probably don’t do this in our parish for the sake of time and convenience…But perhaps it would make sense to have a shorter homily to allow time for this!n

  • guest

    I attended a Catholic College that is connected to a Benedictine Monastery, and at the Abbey one does not kneel during the consecration. In the early church it was tradition to stand during the Consecration/ Eucharistic Prayers. It wasnu2019t until after 1200 A.D. that kneeling became the more common practice. While I am not able to give you the best explanation, (as it has been several years since I discussed this with a Benedictine Priest), during the mass when one is praying you are typically standing (opening and closing prayers, Our Father, etc.), the consecration and Eucharistic Prayers are seen as the highest point of the Mass and the highest point of prayer; therefore, it was seen as more perfect to be standing vs. kneeling. It is also more common in America to kneel during this time than it is in other places throughout the world. At the Abbey you we were encouraged to stand, as that is and always has been the practice of the Benedictine Monks, but if we felt more comfortable and more focused kneeling that was acceptable as well. I know that not ever Church where the congregation stands (there are some where they even sit!) during the consecration does so for the proper reason, but there are some that feel it more fully unites them in the prayers and the consecration.


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