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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Receiving Communion, and Personal Preference

Our priest obviously does not care to distribute the Body of Christ by placing It on the tongue of the communicant.
I've noticed it especially lately as he will, when I reach the head of the line, (I'm sorry, it's not a procession, it's just a line,) quite deliberately return a Host to the ciborium, and instead take up the more sizable portion created when the large Host was broken at the fraction rite, the wedge shape giving him, as it were, a handle.
When I realized his discomfort, I thought for a moment about receiving in the hand whenever he has Mass, and I am seated in the section where I will most probably be in "his" lane. Perhaps he had a legitimate reason for his eccentric ways.
I've known priests, and EMHCs, too, who were shaky, or had bad eyesight, or were extremely short, and the palm of my hand is a bigger "target," and I have more leeway on where I put it.

But then I recalled overhearing someone, several years ago, speaking of how discomfited she was by "Father". This is someone I knew always did receive in the hand, and she thought he recoiled a bit as he proffered the Body of Christ, lest he touch the communicant.
"He DROPS the host in my hand, like he thinks he's going to catch something!" (And this is a woman with the state of whose hands a surgical nurse would find no fault.)
The other women in the convo affirmed that, yes, that was how he did it.

So I decided there was no reason I should worry about his preference.

But more recently there was a youngish woman ministering, a bit of a high maintenance type, and I was, frankly, disgusted by her long nails as I received, (not a good distraction,) and I decided if I were to find myself in "her" line I would receive in the hand.
Well, she approached the altar during the agnus dei this morning and stood on the side of the church on which I was kneeling, so I whipped out the purell for my hands - you see, I don't much care to consume food I have touched (I have a skin disease, there's almost always some foul-tasting medicine on my hands, and between the time I leave home and communion there's been a zillion door knobs, grungy hymnals and unavoidable contacts of various sorts.)

So "disinfected" hands at the ready, I made my way up toward the sanctuary and then found that they'd changed the formation, and I would be receiving from the priest.

And so I received on the tongue.

And now I'm feeling a little sheepish, since I was willing, for my own comfort, to forgo the manner which I find is more powerfully ritualistic, and yes, reverent BECAUSE  IT  TAKES  A  TINY  BIT  MORE  EFFORT  AND  ATTENTION -- but not for his comfort.

And I admit, I don't know why her grungy nails were such a big deal to me, I'm not bat-guano squeamish, I've come to terms with the Host tasting of Acqua di Gio, and I have eaten the Body of Christ off the floor more than once...

I don't know.

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