Thursday, August 17, 2006

Submitting our wills to God

Continued reflection on the reception of Holy Communion.

"...when the faithful themselves receive Communion, they receive It kneeling at the altar rail, and directly onto their tongue. This is very significant. Receiving Communion whilst kneeling means that the faithful line up in a row before the sanctuary, and thus have time to prepare themselves for this most sacred of events: coming into spiritual and substantial union with Christ Himself. The communicant kneels down, and whilst he waits for the priest to make his way around, he can settle himself, concentrate on the upcoming Communion with our Lord praying intensely. When it is his turn, the priest says the prayer: "May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul until life everlasting. Amen". This means, besides the beauty and the significance of the words themselves, that the priest says the word "Amen" so that the communicant need not invoke his voice to receive the King of Kings, allowing a constant stream of prayer and thanksgiving to flow from soul to Saviour. The communicant simply needs to expose his tongue, and his side of the proceedings is complete. Upon receiving Christ, he can continue praying for a little while, and only then does he need to return to his seat, leaving room for the next communicant. Moreover, having the priest come over to the communicant signifies that Christ comes to us, feeds us with His own divine life, whilst we wait kneeling and unmoving like little children totally dependent on His love, mercy and compassion. This is the message of the Gospel: to become like little children, submitting our wills to His and depending totally on Him for everything. We cannot even feed ourselves without Christ's help, and the action of Communion in the traditional manner demonstrates this in a very vivid manner." -- from The Beauty and Spirituality of the Traditional Latin Mass by David Joyce, Latin Mass Society of England and Wales


Blogger Ginny said...

This is so perfectly said!!!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Damn straight, Pater!!! You keep tellin' it like it is!!

6:57 PM  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

I appreciated reading this post.

I grew up in a fairly "traditional" parish (though not Latin or Tridentine Mass) and our pastor had altar rails installed for the distribution of Communion when I was about ten years old. I much prefer receiving Holy Communion in this fashion, because as stated in this excerpt you posted, it gives the communicant the opportunity to prepare to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I'd also point out that it allows the communicant to consume the Blessed Sacrament before walking back to their seat. I always feel uncomfortable walking away with the Blessed Sacrament still in my mouth when I'm at parishes where Communion is distributed in a standing line-up. I've also found that our pastor seems to be better able to ensure that people are consuming the Blessed Sacrament when receiving at the altar rail. Most people in my parish receive Communion on the tongue, yet when someone chooses to receive in their hands the pastor is able to watch out of the corner of his eye to make sure they consume the Blessed Sacrament before leaving the altar rail.

Sadly, the parish I attend while away at school (simply because I live a few houses away from the church) does not have altar rails. It doesn't have pews for that matter. It doesn't have confessionals for that matter. . . sigh. . . at least it has a Tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament and a validly ordained priest. . . I guess you can't expect much more than that. Needless to say I often make road trips to a nearby Benedictine Abbey or the FSSP parish in our archdiocese.

10:24 AM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

Excellent comments ladies and gentlecaveman. Kepp upliving your great faith.

8:50 PM  

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