Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Holy Communion in the Hand

At times I have to sit back and reflect on what this blog is all about. My title talks about homeschooling, but in a deeper sense I think it is more about joy. What are the things that bring joy into our hearts that make it easier to homeschool? What can we do to become holier so that we can be more joyful so that homeschooling becomes a joy and not a chore?

When I look at it that way, I think it opens up this blog for a wide variety of topics. It is for this reason that I've not found myself limited to posts just on homeschooling. It's why I like to talk a lot about building up your prayer life and about things that will make us think about becoming holier.

With that being said, I found another nugget of gold in the book I've been reading about the Holy Souls in Purgatory called Get Us Out of Here!!" - Maria Simma Speaks with Nicky Eltz. At the end of this book there is an addendum about receiving Holy Communion in the hand. Want to start a heated debate? Bring up this subject in your church group.

The author provides many detailed reasons why receiving the Eucharist in the hand is wrong and why it goes against what the Church and Pope wants. In one section, he makes a comparison to fine art in a museum or to the President of a country and Jesus in the Eucharist. I thought this was such a powerful argument that I'd like to share it with you.

"If museums never let the people touch their most cherished exhibits (just try touching the Mona Lisa, the Hope Diamond or the Declaration of Independence without prior permission!), and if armies of security never let the people touch their Presidents...why do some people still think they may touch the Eucharistic Jesus, our God and our Savior, without such a permission and privilege having been bestowed upon them by the Church and thereby through the Holy Spirit?...When the Consecrated Host is touched by the general public then subconsciously it becomes denigrated to the level of another general blessed thing or object."

I've heard that Pope Benedict will not give anyone Communion in the hand - only in the mouth and if they are kneeling. Of course, many Catholics still don't understand why this is. I think that the example given above is a powerful way to help explain how important the Eucharist really is and why it is so important that only consecrated hands touch the Eucharist.

If you want a much more detailed reasoning on this subject, then I highly recommend you get this book and read it. It is definitely an eye opener! The reason for our existence, after all, is to get to Heaven. It is helpful, therefore, to read and learn about things that will bring us closer to God. According to Maria Simma and the Holy Souls, right now the Church is in the worst shape it has ever been in. Therefore, according to the author,

"God's Holy Church needs truly holy and not somewhat holy men! The tide of ruin is stronger than the mediocre, so how should it be conquered by mediocrity?"

My daughter has a t-shirt that says, "Get Holy or Die Trying". I think that might be a good motto for the times we live in.


  1. Laura...I agree. There was an extended time I was receiving in the hand. I am not sure how long ago I felt led to start receiving by mouth again but I can't possibly imagine receiving it in my hand anymore. Thanks for sharing that excerpt...very good comparison.

  2. Laura -I am blown away by the analogy of that quote! God will reward you for encouraging this reverence.

    EXCELLENT post!

  3. I do receive by the tongue but I understand receiving by the hand for some people. It can easily be irreverent but at a time I had to receive by the hand. I had a large head gear that made it hard to stick out my tongue and have a host easily placed on it. I received it in the same reference as if it was on the tongue, placing it in my mouth before moving away.
    I think the most reverent way I've seen of receiving Holy Communion was in a Greek Slovakian rite Catholic Church. The Holy Body is risen, and is placed in the Holy Blood. The priest then places the Holy Body soaked in the Holy Blood on your tongue with a golden spoon, for the Eucharist is too holy for even him to touch.

  4. The analogy of the painting and the eucharist is funny. What if we let the 'general public' eat the painting?

    I find it ironic that so many people find holding Jesus to be wrong, and yet chewing him to paste and digesting him in stomach acid is not.

    The best way to respect the Body of Christ is to respect the manner in which Christ gave us his body - under the appearance of bread and wine. We don't eat bread with forks. We don't drink wine with a straw. We break bread with our hands and eat it with our hands (as the Apostles did at the last supper). We pour wine into vessels and drink the wine from the vessel - not gulping, but sipping.

    While it is clear that receiving communion in the hand opens up more potential for abuse than kneeling, it is not intrinsically wrong. It might simply be a bad idea in these irreverent times. I suggest kneeling and receiving it as Saint Cyril taught - holding one's hands like a throne above us.