Nathan will be making his First Communion on May 9th. We are so thrilled for him! He seems fairly excited too, but I think he might be a tad bit nervous. Nervous isn't necessarily bad. In fact, I believe it's better than having a "too casual" attitude. I think sometimes, I am guilty of that. I can get caught up in all the chaos that 3 children can bring to any event. The physical chaos can lead to spiritual and mental chaos as well. This is so sad when you really think about it! Thankfully, God understands our state in life and delivers the graces anyway.
Over these last several months, Nathan's preparation has included many discussions and questions about how to receive communion. Not just the first time, but every time. We've talked about our attitude, our thoughts, our deeds (both done and undone), what we wear and how our posture should be. Most recently, we've started talking about whether or not we should take our Lord on the tongue or in the hands. His teacher and the Sisters have taught the class that both are valid and perfectly fine.
There is a part of me that would encourage him to "do what feels right" to him. The thing is, this isn't about him. It is true that...as long as he is reverent, he can receive our Lord on the tongue...or in his hands. It is STILL OUR LORD no matter how he receives Him. Personally, I haven't taken communion in my hands in a very long time. This is not because of some deep theological reason. It's mostly because for the last several years, I've either been holding a baby or holding the hand of a toddler or young person. However, as a result, I have come to really see this as the highest form of worship and reverence that I can give to Jesus. I want as little of me between He and I.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ (CCC 1416, emphasis mine).
Christ forgives, preserves, strengthens and reinforces! He does this all through the selfless gift of Himself. This is what we receive when we extend our tongue...or our hands. The priest declares, "The Body of Christ"! And we say, "Amen"...."yes"....."so be it"!!! We say yes to His forgiveness, His preservation, His strengthening and His reinforcement! For me, this is a miracle. What a gift! It is for this reason that I will suggest to Nathan that he consider receiving Jesus, at least for this first time, on his tongue. Let nothing interfere with the reception of this Holy and Precious Body and Blood....not my sins, not my weaknesses...and not my hands. Say to him, "I accept you without any reservations, without any assistance or intervention on my part, so then...it is only you"!
Oh to have that chance again...to receive Him for the first time once more! Thankfully, after each reception, I am renewed and strengthened. I am ready to face all that separates us. I am ready to accept "Christ himself, living and glorious, present in a true, real and substantial manner....His soul and His divinity".
How do you prefer to receive our Lord?