A corporal work of mercy.

A corporal work of mercy.
Click on photo for this corporal work of mercy!

Sunday 15 March 2015

Getting Jesus off the floor - one person at a time and it begins with you!

An reprint of an old post of April 28, 2008

Image result for padre pio communion
It was good enough for him. who are you that you should do otherwise?
After work one day, I attended St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto for the late afternoon Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I arrived early and was able to pray the Rosary during the exposition and adoration which occurs daily at the Cathedral from after the lunch hour Mass until the end of the day. This daily exposition and adoration has been going on for as far as I can remember. It is probably what has kept this wretched City from sinking even further into the abyss.

After I received the Eucharist (on the tongue) I had no sooner closed my mouth and the woman who preceded me let out a little gasp; there He lay dropped on the carpet, two inches from my right foot and my steel-toed construction boot. She dropped Him, she dropped Him from her hand and He bounced off the toe of my boot.

How is this possible that she dropped Him from her hand? I mean, did she just let go!

Everyone stopped, including me. I stood perfectly still with Our LORD lying there beside my foot. Father bent down slowly and picked Him up and held Him in his hand against the ciborium

If that were not enough, a few moments later, as I was kneeling on the right aisle the last communicant approached; she took the Host and started to walk away without consuming. I put up my hands to gain Father's attention and was prepared to stop her if he could not. Fortunately, she got the message and consumed Our LORD. Perhaps, she was just lazy or sloppy, perhaps she meant no sacrilege. Or perhaps she did.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta often opined that this change (an indult which is optional for the local Bishop to accept and will be abrogated by a future pope) was the worst problem in the world today; "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand."

If you are in your late 50's, you will have had a similar experience to myself. When I celebrated my First Communion I was on my knees at the communion rail. Together, with my other classmates we held a white linen cloth which was hung over the rail by the altar boys and which we held up under our chins. An altar boy accompanied the priest holding a brass plate called a paten and placed it under our chins. The priest approached and held up the Holy Eucharist and with it made the Sign of the Cross whilst saying; "Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen" which translates to, May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ bring you to eternal life. Amen.

A few years later I was told that I was "lucky" because I was part of the first class of altar boys that did not need to learn Latin. By this time, and in the new church building, there was no communion rail and nobody knelt any more for Holy Communion. People lined up and approached the priest in a similar fashion to what they do at McDonald's. We altar boys still held the paten and people received the Eucharist on their tongues. When the last person had communicated the altar boys would carefully carry their patens horizontally to the Altar and assist the priest with the ablution. I can clearly remember seeing little pepper sized particles of the Eucharist on the paten which the priest wiped off with his fingers into the chalice after which I rinsed his fingers over the chalice and he would consume the remains.

I don't need to describe how Our Blessed LORD is received today. So instead, let me pose a few questions:

Do you wash your hands before receiving his body?

Do you "make a throne with your left and receive Him in your right" and then bring your hands to your mouth to feed yourself? Or, do you take Him with your fingers and pop Him into your mouth like a cracker or a potato chip?

Do you purify your hands afterwards as was the actual practice in those days prior to the ninth century when the few laity that actually did receive the Eucharist received in their hands?

Have you ever noticed any particles left on your hands?

Do you think any particles would have fallen to the floor to be tramped under afoot, or mopped up and poured down a municipal drain or vacuumed up from the ubiquitous carpet?

Do you think someone did not consume the Sacred Species but instead stole Him so as to dishonour and defame Him in a black satanic ritual?

Did you ever find Him in a hymn book or under a pew or lying on the asphalt in the parking lot?

Something to think about isn't it?

There is an abbreviated Latin saying in the Church, Lex orendi, lex credendi. That is to say, the law of prayer becomes the law of belief. We are sensory beings and how we worship, how we pray, what we see and smell and hear affects how we think, how we believe and what we believe.

Receiving Holy Communion in the hand was an abuse that began in Holland and spread to Belgium and then to England before crossing the Atlantic. It was the late 1960's and it was wrong. Pope Paul VI, was either incapable or unwilling to stop what was considered to be an abuse and abomination. He condemned it, regretted it and then, legalised it!

Just because we can does not mean that we should.

Throughout history, it was often the laity, or one nun as in St Catherine of Sienna or a holy priest as with St. Philip Neri with the gifts of the Holy Spirit who helped to rescue the church from its corruption. Who says that it cannot be you and me, one person at a time. You can fix the problem, it really is very simple and you can begin the next time you attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

You can join Pope Benedict's plan which is becoming clearer.

I just didn't think it would be lead from Kazakhstan.

This situation today is a perfect time to send you to read here about the Archbishop of Lima in Peru. He has just banned Communion-in-the-Hand!

Here is a podcast by the ubiquitous Father Z on the subject.

Here is a lengthy and necessary read by Jude A. Huntz which appeared in the March 1997 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

This was just posted by Fr. Thomas Kocik on the New Liturgical Movement.

Be sure to read this essay by the Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider, Auxilary Bishop of Karaganda in Kazakhstan.


Mary Ann said...

Problem is, most priests no longer know how to give Communion on the tongue. And many are so old and frail that the difficulties created by the standing posture (distance and height) make it more likely that a shaky hand will miss, will bump the Host against you and onto the floor, or will put the Host and a few fingers into your mouth.
So sad.

Anonymous said...

Attend the Traditional Latin Mass, and that problem will no longer exist.

Don says

Vox Cantoris said...

What Don says!

TLM said...

I remember when they 'ripped' the Communion Rail out of Churches on a grand scale, and we started to march up to receive Our Lord like an assembly line. And then, in the hand!! That is when the respect and reverence left. The percentage of laity and even Priests that don't believe in the real presence since then has grown by an astounding number. What does that tell you? The whole thing is a monumental abuse. I remember years ago, I started to receive on the tongue years ago when after receiving in the hand the Host indeed crumbled as the Deacon placed it there. I liked my hand all the way back, being horrified this happened. Never again did I receive in the hand. (I think the Lord may have been giving me the message.) That said there are many who almost have missed even giving me the Precious Host on the tongue. They don't WANT to, and don't know how, but some are used to me and have gotten more of the hang of it. It's a terrible terrible abuse to distribute in the hand, I agree with Mother Teresa. I think it is a good part of the reason respect and reverence has been lost.

Sacerdos Indignus said...

Priests often deplore the lack of reverence in our parishes, but what surprises me is how few draw the logical conclusion between "communion in the hand" and all the other abuses that happen. Pray for your pastors that we will be filled with zeal and holy love to correct these errors and abuses. Pray for us that we will be courageous to withstand the devilish anger of those who oppose a return to reverence and piety in the churches!