I spend a lot of time on social media. Maybe too much time if I’m honest. Over the last couple days I have seen some Facebook posts and tweets that are a little concerning. They both had to do with the reception of Holy Communion. Both said that if you don’t receive on the tongue while kneeling that are not Catholic. One even said that reception in any other manner means one is a Lutheran. We don’t know the disposition of one’s heart towards the eucharist. It is dangerous to believe otherwise.
A Heart Issue
The argument that these individuals gave is understandable and commendable. The Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. We are unworthy and should kneel in respect and adoration in from of the blessed sacrament. If one does not receive this way it is imprudent to judge. We don’t know the heart of the person.
Maybe the person is obeying the Bishop and receiving in the hand. Perhaps they have a physical disability that prevents them from kneeling. The church allows reception on the hand and the tongue. To chastise someone for doing one over the other isn’t right. That includes looking looking down on someone who receives on the tongue instead of the hand. I have seen it both ways. It is sad.
Reverence For The Eucharist
I understand the passion being displayed. Like me, they see a disrespect for the holy Eucharist. If respect for the Eucharist is lost, then eventually everything else will be. It is a slippery slope. What good is kneeling in front of the Eucharist when someone may think it is merely a piece of bread? It is a heart issue and a catechesis issue.
If you are of the opinion that one should only receive on the tongue then explain why. Don’t just say that one is not Catholic if they don’t receive that way. The church as a whole, including you and I, need to do better at teaching what the Eucharist is.
Closing Words On The Heart
Bottom line is we don’t know someone’s heart. Someone may have all the love in the world for the Eucharist and receive on the hand. Maybe that is how they were taught. Maybe they don’t know another way. Receiving on the hand does not make one Protestant.
Don’t turn into that person who thinks the only way you receive is the right way. Only God can judge the heart. That is his job. It is too heavy a burden for us to bare. Legalism in any form is dangerous.
The eye can only see, and the hand can only touch, the white substance of the bread, and the taste can only taste the savor of the bread, so that the grosser bodily sentiments are deceived; but the soul cannot be deceived in her sentiments unless she wish to be—that is, unless she let the light of the most holy faith be taken away from her by infidelity.-St. Catherine of Siena
One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve the soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise again. It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine Sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away through an excess of fear and scrupulosity.-St. Ignatius of Loyola
Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.-St. Augustine
When you have received Him, stir up your heart to do Him homage; speak to Him about your spiritual life, gazing upon Him in your soul where He is present for your happiness; welcome Him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of His Presence.-St. Francis de Sales