Saturday, June 6, 2009

Communion in the hand brouhaha

In the June issue of St. Anthony Messenger, a Franciscan monthly magazine, there were several angry letters concerning the cover for their April issue (see above), which was a discussion about the sacramental life of the Church. The April cover shows a woman who had received Holy Communion in the hand, in a manner keeping with the rubrics of the Church. The letters were taking the magazine to task for showing a layperson holding the Host in their hand; one writer was especially upset that it was a woman. All felt that the magazine was showing a practice that was disrespectful to the Blessed Sacrament; one even called it a desecration.

Since reception of Holy Communion in the hand was approved by U.S. Conference of Bishops, and confirmed by the Vatican in the ‘70’s, I have been receiving Communion in the hand. And it upsets me when people judge me as being disrespectful to the Blessed Sacrament because I choose to engage in that practice. I believe that Jesus Christ, God the Son, is really present in the consecrated bread and wine. When I approach the Sacrament, it is with a feeling of awe and wonder. When the Sacred Host is placed in my hand, I am moved when I realize that my Savior loves me, loves us all so much, that He willingly comes to us in the form of simple bread and wine. That through our eating of the Bread of Life, we are united with Him. It is a moment of grace, and I approach it reverently.

The practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand means a lot to me, and I hope we never lose the privilege.

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