Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bishop: Communion on Tongue is Best

Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan in what is labeled a "historical-liturgical note", wrote that it is a much better practice to receive communion while kneeling and on the tongue.
"If some nonbeliever arrived and observed such an act of adoration perhaps he, too, would 'fall down and worship God, declaring, God is really in your midst,'"

"The awareness of the greatness of the eucharistic mystery is demonstrated in a special way by the manner in which the body of the Lord is distributed and received," the bishop wrote.

In addition to demonstrating true adoration by kneeling, he said, receiving Communion on the tongue also avoids concerns about people receiving the body of Christ with dirty hands or of losing particles of the Eucharist, concerns that make sense if people truly believe in the sacrament.

"Wouldn't it correspond better to the deepest reality and truth about the consecrated bread if even today the faithful would kneel on the ground to receive it, opening their mouths like the prophet receiving the word of God and allowing themselves to be nourished like a child?" Bishop Schneider asked.
This Bishop really sees what is going on. It is not about the laity being any less than the Priest, or something like that. It is the sacramental sign that the Eucharistic species is the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is but the least of things we would do if everyone realized what the mass really was, and what the Eucharist really was.

I do not forsee the day when we completely do away with communion in the hand while standing, though I think it should go away quietly. Perhaps, one day, no extraordinary minister of Holy Communion will look at you funny when you step up to them and do not extend your hands. Maybe that's asking too much.

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