Greetings in Christ!
This weekend is the Feast of the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of Christ, or as its more commonly called “Corpus Christi”.
As Catholics, we recognize the gift of the Eucharist as one that is so amazing, its the only Sacrament we call “The Blessed Sacrament”.
I thought this might be a good time to tighten up our reverence for the Eucharist a bit, so I’m going to offer some things I’ve seen that we can work on.
Genuflection: a priest challenged me on this in seminary and it absolutely changed my life. When we walk into the Church, we genuflect toward the Tabernacle. If someone was new to a Catholic Church, it might not be clear to them what we are doing because we can easily fall into the trap of “half genuflecting”. When you go to genuflect, pause and do it slowly. Its using our bodies to remind our brains that we are in a Sacred Place: let’s take our time and do it right!
Language: its not the “bread and wine” once the consecration happens: its the Body and Blood of Christ. That’s important for us to remember: its using our language to remind ourselves that this is a great and sacred moment.
Our Body Posture, make sure we try our best to show reverence and intentionality when we are ministering the Eucharist or receiving it.
It’s good to think about the fact that we receive the Eucharist. We do not initiate, Christ initiates and we respond. There are numerous ways we show that mystery and wonder within the mass and the way we receive communion is one of those ways. We submit to the teaching that “God initiates, we respond” by making sure that we receive communion, we don’t take communion.
That’s why when we receive, we do it one of two ways:
¨ If we receive on the hands, we make a throne with our hands: right hand under and left hand on top (if we are right handed).
¨ If we receive on the tongue, we make sure that we do so in a way that makes it easy to receive: chin up, tongue extended.
We do not take the host out of the priests hands, we receive. This is why we don’t do what is called “Intinction”: taking the host and carrying it to the Precious Blood in order to dip it in: we receive. Whatever way we receive, we want to be sure that we give a loud and clear “Amen” to the statement “The Body (or Blood) of Christ”.
We love each other…that’s part of being a family. However, we want to be sure we show proper reverence and reflection when we process forward to receive Him. The communion line is not a good time to socialize with those we walk by: we focus on Jesus in the Eucharist.
We avoid chewing gum during mass and make sure that, if we are distributing The Eucharist, we act with great love and reverence.
We help those who come to Church but are not Catholic. We do so by explaining beforehand what the Eucharist is and why we ask those who are not Catholic to not receive it. At every Church I’ve been assigned to, I (or others) have found the Sacred Host left laying on the floor or even enclosed in hymnals. No one does something so disrespectful intentionally; they simply don’t know what to do. We can help those we bring to Mass, or if we see someone who doesn’t seem to know what to do after receiving communion, we simply offer to take the Sacred Host and consume it.
It may be that we look this over and it sounds picky, but I promise you its not. St. Paul tells us that “Whoever eats the flesh without considering it eats and drinks their condemnation”…wow. It’s that important! So, I’m using this Feast as a time to remind us as a family to pause and make sure our familiarity with the Eucharist doesn’t unintentionally move into disrespect for this incredibly sacred and special gift from God.
May our love and reverence for the Eucharist translate into a deep love and reverence for each other!
God bless you!