Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quick Thought: Holy Communion in the Hand...

"Traditional" Catholics don't like the idea of receiving Holy Communion in the hand, and this is fine; if they prefer to receive Communion directly into the mouth whilst kneeling, even with the Novus Ordo Missae this is acceptable. I've grown up with taking Holy Communion in the hand, and to be quite frank and I don't see what the big deal is about it: when Christ distributed the bread, his body, at the Last Supper, he didn't get his apostles to kneel before him and avoid touching the bread at all costs. Anyway, that being beside the point, I did some digging around and found this snippet form St. Cyril of Jerusalem regarding Holy Communion in the hand:

"When you approach Holy Communion, make the left hand into a throne for the right, which will receive the King. Then with your lower hand, take the consecrated Host and place it in your mouth" (~350 A.D.).

Just as our bodies become the tabernacle of the Body of Christ when we consume Holy Communion, our hands become, like St. Cyril suggests, the throne on which Our Lord and King will sit. Before Christ resides in us, we must first welcome him with great respect and reverence.

For more information about Holy Communion (the Eucharist), follow this link

God bless.


  1. Christine/niblet0March 29, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    You know, I had actually heard from (I think) the apologist Patrick Madrid who said that his "issue" with receiving in the hand was that people do come into the church to receive the Eucharist into the hand only to keep it, leave with it, and desecrate it in unholy ceremonies. I guess he would know. I have come into the Church within the last couple of years so I've always taken it in the hand. Anyway, food for thought there. God Bless.

  2. That's a very valid point, Christine/nibleto, but I believe the priest or the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion need to keep a watchful eye and ensure the host they transmit is consumed by the recipient, but it's not like they can ask people to "prove it", so to speak. A great deal of trust is displaced upon anyone receiving Holy Communion.

    I remember years ago being at Mass with my mother and younger brother, and he being told off by a nun for coughing out the host. He was actually on the verge of having a coughing fit because of it - so swallowing was difficult - but to the nun it must have looked like he was refusing to consume the host (to throw it away or something; she would have constructed her own conclusions).

    And yes: there are those who would "steal" a host to later use in unholy ceremonies. But whether the host is given in the hand or in the mouth directly, what's stopping anyone from hiding the host to use later to desecrate? If a person's intention is malicious, I'd bet they'd be willing to do ANYTHING to steal a host, even if it means keeping it the mouth for a fraction of time, removing it and then placing it in their pocket.

    What we have to remember is that if a person comes to Holy Communion unworthily and undiscerningly (1 Corinthians 11:27,29), brings judgement upon themselves.


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