I’m in the middle of my first year of catechetical school and we are studying the Eucharist, also known as the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, etc. About six years ago, I had no idea that the Eucharist was called the Blessed Sacrament. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far I have come in my faith journey. I want to share my thoughts on the reception of the Eucharist.
One of my biggest pet peeves now is when people refer to “taking” the Eucharist. Maybe some look at this from the perspective of the Eucharist was placed on their hand so they are “taking” the Eucharist and consuming it; however, I believe that this is actually said because they believe somehow the Eucharist is there for the taking.
This is error.
No person “takes” a gift. They are given gifts or rather, they receive gifts. It’s what we teach our children about gift giving. Don’t be stingy. You don’t “take” it. You must wait to be given it. Usually they have to wait until their birthday or other special day to receive the gift. Finally, they must thank the person who gave them the gift. The Eucharist is a gift. It is not to be taken.
When we go to Mass, it is a sacrifice. That is why it is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is not a service. It is not entertainment. While we are under obligation to go to Mass, we should not approach Mass as “just an obligation.” Never approach Mass as the weekly check off box item. Your full participation is required. This is your mental participation. Your disposition, not merely sitting in the pew but active in your worship.
I often ponder why so many Catholic’s do not believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist and I wonder if it’s because they approach the Eucharist as their “exchange” for showing up. I came; therefore, I better “get” it. It’s the participation “trophy” or “gift bag” because they were there.
If they truly believed in the Real Presence; that Jesus Christ is fully present in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, they would never demand Him and they certainly wouldn’t stand to receive Him or even meet him standing. After professing they are not worthy to receive Him, they approach the King standing and demand placement in their hand.
What pride that is! Are you so arrogant that you are “good” enough to stand there? I use the term good because so many people use it, “I’m a good person.” Interesting.
To what do we owe the King? Obedience.
How do we approach the King? On our knees
How are we received by the King? With Love and Mercy
When the King gives himself to us, what is our response? Thanks
I know one of the number one questions people ask about this is that is receiving the Eucharist in the hand a main contributor to why so many Catholic’s do not believe in the Real Presence. Honestly, I think there is something to this. I have blogged before how some people I have talked with so strongly believe they do not need to kneel. It’s beneath them to kneel and since the Vatican says they don’t have to, they are unwilling to kneel. Such pride!
I was asked today about my experience with my First Communion. How old was I? What memories do I have of receiving my First Communion? Has our study of the Eucharist deepened my appreciation of the Sacrament? I will share what I shared with my instructor:
I do not remember anything about receiving my First Communion. There are various reasons why I believe I can’t remember but nothing seemed very significant to me growing up. It seemed as it was the “next” step in the process of being “Catholic.” I remember our religious education teacher but only because she taught us for over a decade and still teaches today! This section hasn’t helped deepen my appreciation. My transformation to the Latin Mass has been a catalyst in deepening my appreciation of the Sacrament.
When the Sacrament was taken from us during COVID, there was a longing for the Eucharist that I never experienced before which brought me to the realization that many people do not have access to the Eucharist as frequently as I do. I was attending Novus Ordo at that time but had recently moved from receiving the Eucharist in the hand to on my tongue and kneeling. This was no longer an option during COVID .
What I began to realize is that receiving on the hand did not deepen my relationship with Jesus. It seemed to be something given versus something I received. When I began attending the Latin Mass, I discovered an intimacy with Jesus I had never experienced before. After the initial, “am doing this correctly?” I began to experience a profound intimacy.
I was kneeling for our Lord, in front of our Lord, closing my eyes and opening my mouth to receive Him. There is an immense amount of trust that needs to be placed in that position. You are extremely vulnerable in that position. With eyes closed, anything could be placed on the tongue. Anything could happen to you in that moment, yet the sweetness of Jesus is placed on the tongue. He has made Himself available to you in a very intimate way.
He gives us His flesh and lives, literally, inside of us in that moment. It is very similar to the union of the bodies between husband and wife yet on a completely different level. If we are what we eat, we eat Jesus, and He will fill us in a way nothing else can. While some saints at a young age have felt this deep longing, I regret that I received Him for so long without the deep longing to be united to Christ.
I can no longer imagine standing to receive Him. It’s not intimate and it places me on the same level as Christ. I am not worthy to receive Him at all, yet he offers Himself to me and asks me to receive Him. In fact, He demands it.
I hope and pray more people will read this and want that intimacy. I can’t imagine having that sort of intimacy standing in a line waiting to have the Eucharist placed in the hand but I am certain someone feels that intimacy. If they feel it there, I wonder how much more intimacy they may feel kneeling, eyes closed, opening their mouths and waiting for the sweetness of the Lord?
I originally intended to write about receiving the Blood of Christ because many are anxiously awaiting the return of the lay people receiving His Blood. There was a question today that basically was about demanding they receive this species. So many don’t or haven’t ever received the Blood. How presumptuous of you to deem yourself worthy of receiving Him in that way.
In fact, one person stated that if they cannot receive the Blood due to Infection Control Prevention (let’s not even address this lack of faith), they should be able to dip their Eucharist into the cup of Blood. My dear Catholics, you shouldn’t even be touching the Eucharist. We are not worthy.