Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Body of Christ. Amen!

I love the Mass. In fact, I love Liturgy in general. I serve in various liturgical ministries in my parish, and love serving at Mass as often as possible.

One of those ministries is as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  I've seen enough on social media outlets to know that some Catholics just stopped reading. That's a post for another day, maybe. However, there is a need in my very large parish, I was asked several times, and I finally gave in, serving as a substitute when there is a shortage of ministers.

I am marked but don't label me

I was born in 1967, post Vatican II, so my childhood saw remnants of the past being replaced, changed, or removed.  (Just lost a few more I think.)  But please don't stick any labels on me.

I remember going to Mass as a very young boy and watching my parents receive Holy Communion at the altar rail. By the time I received Holy Communion for the first time, the altar rail had been removed, and we were taught to receive on the tongue or in the hand. I have always preferred to receive on the tongue, and truth be known, I would love for the Communion rail to come back. I embrace the few times we get to respond or sing in Latin. I love that connection to Church history. That doesn't mean that I think something's wrong with you if you think otherwise.

Steam-punk Sacred

However, there is a serious reason that I long for a past that I really never experienced. It's called reverence. For quite some time I have noticed a lack of reverence for the Eucharist, and I'm sorry to say that it does not appear to be improving very much.

The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ present in the Eucharist should make us tremble with awe and Holy Fear of the Lord. Too often, though, it is evident that for many it is just another "altar call" or that time when we get to get up out of our seats and walk around a bit.
“The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined”, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. “However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms” (Redemptionis Sacramentum)

Residential Reverence

Don't get me wrong, my pastor (and his predecessors) and our Liturgy Commission have spent quite a bit of time and effort trying to educate people about properly receiving Communion. More than one priest has reminded people that Judas was the first to leave the table. It seems as though some do not listen, or worse, do not care.

Let's face it. Children are going to learn to show reverence (or not) for the Eucharist in the example of their parents first and then that of those who they regularly observe at Mass. No matter what our priests and catechists teach, they will watch closely and emulate. As if approaching Christ is not enough in and of itself, let us all be mindful of the children, the future of the Church.

Begin With Basics

This is a video which was approved by my pastor for our parish. It is not all-inclusive but it at least touches on some of the very basics. Norms outside of our parish may differ. If you are ready for something beyond the basics, read Redemptionis Sacramentum.

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