It was HIM!

Ralph Roister-Doister at Rorate Cæli writes on reverently receiving the Eucharist. His thoughts mirror my own; I had an epiphany of sorts about a month ago while discussing the same topic with some friends over at the local Newman Center.  Never having done anything other than receive in the hand, other than the one odd time that an EMHC placed a Host in my mouth even though I had my hands out, I was perfectly content.  Then, one of my friends relayed his own experience while in Rome, when he realized exactly how much more reverent it was to receive on the tongue: much less chance of sacrilege, but beyond that, it defines "receive" rather than "take."  Protestants "take" communion…

After that conversation, I have been unable to contemplate receiving in the hand, even if that change does mean that I get odd looks from folks around the parish.  If the Blessed Sacrament is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord, then how could I do anything else?  I should be falling on my face in front of it, weeping as I receive, and overwhelmed by grace.   

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3 Responses to “It was HIM!”


  1. 1 georgie April 21, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    Ed..that last sentence was beautiful.

  2. 2 Jeff April 23, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    I do not think that there is anything inherent to Protestant belief that would necessitate a concept of “taking” communion. If I were to examine the variations of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, there would be a consistent use of the word “receive.” And the Anglican doctrine of Holy Communion is fairly consistent with Calvin’s view of the Sacrament, which is my own.

    Then, even as I write these words, I realize that I am appealing to a Protestant Anglicanism that is all-but-gone in the United States. Here’s article XXVIII of the Articles, “Of the Lord’s Supper”

    “…it is a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which is we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ. &c.”

    The Sacrament of Holy Communion needs to be rightly reverenced and Protestant Churches need to recover the rhythm of Word and Sacrament in the life of the congregation. And it might be a tad bit rash to suggest that all Catholics go around receiving the Sacrament in ecstasy whereas Protestants “take” it!

  3. 3 Edmund C. April 23, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    Jeff,

    I concede that I was a bit rash, but I was just operating on previous experience. I’d say that your understanding, while it is the correct one, is not the prevailing one in the desacramentalized Evangelical world. Correct me if I’m wrong…

    And I am by no means asserting that all Catholics receive the Sacrament in ecstasy.

    Indeed, I wish more of them/us took 1 Corinthians 11 seriously. Doing some simple math, based on the order of magnitude difference between lines at Confession and the numbers receiving the Eucharist, and hoping that my own sinful tendencies aren’t far in excess of the average churchgoer, there’s some less than proper reception going on.


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