Communion on the hand verses on the tongue
Which is preferable?
A physical posture that represents the most humility and gives the Lord the most dignity is preferable. That would be kneeling and receiving Communion on the tongue. After several years of taking communion on the hand, I (Hugh) had an experience while in line for Communion. It felt almost as if a hand was on my shoulder, lightlly pressing me towards kneeling and receiving on the tongue. It was palpable. I've been receiving on the tongue while kneeling ever since, except when it was forbidden during COVID.
It is valid to receive Communion on the hand or abstain from Communion and take Spiritual Communion if there are health concerns, but we should not abstain from because of a philosophy that is critical of Vatican II, the Novus Ordo Mass, and popes since the council that says Communion is not valid or it is automatically "unworthily received" if on the hand.
Is taking communion in the hand receiving the Eucharist unworthily?
Many are concerned that this is an apologetic against communion in the hand.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink without discerning the body,[i] eat and drink judgement against themselves. 30 For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined[k] so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brothers when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. (1 Cor 11:27-33)
St. Paul was concerned about communion being received worthily. He was worried about our faith, our intentions, and the state of our souls. It is most likely that early Christians, INCLUDING Paul, received communion in the hand. Jesus said "take this and eat it."
There are no traditionally minded apologists who argue that Communion in the mouth was common in the first centuries of Christianity. Instead they defer to later disciplines.
Frequent reception of the Eucharist verses infrequent reception
For many centuries it was rarely taken because Catholics felt unworthy. Pope Pius X was the champion of frequent communion, issuing Sacra Tridentina to encourage it in 1905.
In the early Church, Christians received the Eucharist frequently, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46), so it seems that frequent communion is preferable under normal circumstances.
Should we refuse Communion in the hand if there is ever a true Pandemic?
It turns out Covid was not as serious as the main stream media portrayed. It was a bad flu that should not have been used to shut down the world, and shut down Churchs while "esssential services" like abortion and liquor stores remained open for business.
If there ever is a true pandemic, we should know we have options regarding how to receive communion. The Lord is sovereign and can remove any physical virus from the Eucharist or the priest administering it, but we have the examples of St. Faustina, St. Therese, St. Damien, St. Kateri, and countless more saints who died from contagious diseases. Many priests died during the black plague, while giving communion to the sick and administering last rights. This was heroic, but it also demonstrates that God's purification of contagions and his healing of the sick is more nuanced than prosperity gospel advocates and our Catholic counterparts believe.
Here's how to prepare your heart for communion
- Believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. If you don't believe this, don't take it.
- Go to confession before receiving Communion. Don't receive it if you have serious sin that is unconfessed, and confess at least once a year. We recommend once a month or more.
- Be intentional: Don't be distracted. Try to have a slow Saturday and extra prayers on the Saturday before Mass. The devil's favourite tricks are:
- To create a fight or annoyance or disruptions with family members before leaving for Mass, or on the way to Mass.
- To get men to think unchastely about attractive women in the communion line or in a pew in front of them just before reception.
- To create a situation where you are late for Mass, or to encourage you to leave early. (Judas was the first Christian to leave Mass early)
- Follow up: Pray sincerely after Mass. I (Hugh) like to visualize the Lord moving through my body healing problems, and then moving though my marriage, and children, and my work and then radiating out to the wider Church and then the entire world.