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Students Speak: How to Demonstrate Reverence for the Eucharist

Editor’s note: Vivifica is a pen name for two Catholic university students studying theology. Established in the summer of 2017, Vivifica aims to revive and restore Catholic traditions through web videos, blogging, and parish missions.


Each Sunday, during holy days of obligation, and during the week when we can, we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Church we attend is not very big, and we usually sit at the sides of the pews. During the administration of the Eucharist, we can see people, who have just received Christ, walk down the aisles to go back to their pews.

Although we should be focused on the Mass, sometimes our eyes drift to others taking the Body of Christ. Sadly, there are people who act as if they were eating a snack rather than receiving Jesus. We see people pop Him in their mouths as if He were a cough drop, suck for a while as on a mint, and even wait to take Him back to the pews to place Him in their mouths. We also see people, with slouched shoulders or a relaxed posture, approach the priest, looking bored out of their minds.

As we see people irreverently receive Communion, we both glance at each other with concerned and worried expressions. It makes us wonder: why would anyone treat Christ as if He were a gumdrop or mint? Do these people not realize that this is actually Jesus and not a pack of peanuts? Where is the reverence Our Lord deserves?

The Institution of the Eucharist

When Christ instituted the Eucharist, He took bread and broke it, saying to His apostles, “This is My Body” (Luke 22:19). Then He took a chalice of wine, blessed it, and said, “All of you drink of this; for this is My blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 22:20).

The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is a magnificent sacrifice where the Body and Blood of Christ, under the forms of bread and wine, are offered and given to us. Many people will claim that the bread and wine are just a symbol of His Body and Blood. However, Christ did not say that these substances are a representation of His Body and Blood; He actually said that the bread is His Body and the wine is His Blood! The whole substance of bread was changed into His Body, and the whole substance of wine was changed into His Blood.

You can see that the Eucharist is truly Jesus! How can anyone deny it? Jesus said it Himself! Yet there is little to no reverence given to Our Lord by some of our Catholic brothers and sisters. They treat the Eucharist as if it were simply bread and not the Savior of the universe. Action must be taken to preserve the reverence for this Blessed Sacrament.

Reverence for the Mystery of the Eucharist

A good place to begin concerning reverence is to ask why the Eucharist is even important. We are not here to claim we know the full mystery of the Eucharist – for if we knew God entirely, He simply would not be God. We cannot possibly figure out the mystery of Christ’s infinite power contained in a white host. This mystery is the first and foremost cause for reverence.

Pope John Paul II in Mane Nobiscum Domine explains how we try to understand the mystery of the Eucharist:

We are constantly tempted to reduce the Eucharist to our own dimensions, while in reality it is we who must open ourselves up to the dimensions of the Mystery. The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation.

Take the example of the Magi, who upon discovering the infant savior “prostrated themselves” (Matthew 2:11). Although these men believed in the stars and astrology, they recognized that Jesus was the Messiah and thus deserved reverence.

After Christ was born, He was laid in a manger – a food trough for livestock. Christ becomes the Bread of Life for us, and He continues to be our source of refuge every time we celebrate the sacred Mass. If our King was humble enough to be born in a place suitable for farm animals to eat from, would we not want to humble ourselves as much as we can before we receive Him from a ciborium and chalice?

As Catholics, we know more about Christ than many of the people who lived during His time did. With this knowledge of Christ so easily accessible, we are equipped to truly humble ourselves for Him and recognize our finite nature.

So how do we humble ourselves before Christ when receiving Him? How do we receive the Eucharist worthily and reverently?

Preparing to Receive Our Lord

We can start preparing to receive the Eucharist before we step into Mass by dressing neatly and modestly. When we dress modestly, it demonstrates to our Lord that we desire to show reverence toward Him. The Mass is a banquet where Heaven meets Earth, with God present at all times. Why would you dress immodestly in front of our Lord at His banquet?

Before 1957, it was required by the Church that Catholics fast from midnight before receiving Holy Communion. Pope Pius XII changed the fasting laws to abstaining for three hours from food, but water was acceptable to drink. Paul VI, in 1964, declared that we needed to abstain for only one hour. Thus, before we receive Communion, we need to abstain from food for one hour at the very least. If we are able to abstain for three hours or even from midnight, we should attempt to do so. Of course, those who are ill or in danger of death are exempt from this fast.

Before we receive Christ, we must examine our conscience and ask ourselves if we are free of mortal sin. If we have mortal sin on our soul, then we cannot receive Communion, for it is a sin to receive Him in that state. We can receive Him only in the state of grace. Venial sin does not prevent us from receiving the Eucharist, but it does prevent us from receiving more of the graces that we receive from Communion.

St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:27-28 that we should not receive in an unworthy way:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

As St. Paul says, to receive the bread of our Lord in the state of mortal sin defiles the Eucharist. He says we must examine ourselves before we receive Christ, making sure our souls are clean, so we do not commit this offense. Thus, we must receive Holy Communion worthily by being in the state of grace.

How Should We Receive the Blessed Sacrament?

When we walk up to receive the Eucharist, remember Whom we are receiving. We are truly taking in the Body of Christ, the man who suffered and died for the sake of our sins! Meditate on the beauty of the Eucharist: Christ gave His Body and Blood to us, and now we get to receive Him! So how should we receive the Lord of Lords? Should we get down on our knees or stand? Take Him by tongue or by hand?

The controversial topic of receiving Communion in the hand versus receiving on the tongue has gained much attention since the Second Vatican Council. Many believe that receiving Communion in the hand is a means of making the Eucharist seem simple, yet others believe that it is acceptable as long as you are being reverent.

Think of it this way: if you were to see Jesus, how would you react? Surely, you would show Him the most respect you can possibly express. Would you fall to your knees in awe and wonder like the Magi and the disciples, or would you just shrug your shoulders and treat Him as if He were dust? Most likely, you would fall to your knees and worship Him. Thus, when we approach the priest or deacon to receive Jesus, we want to be as devout as possible, because Christ is present before us.

Receiving the Eucharist on our knees shows that we are physically offering our submission to God by humbling ourselves. When we kneel, we demonstrate that we are ready to unite ourselves to the suffering and death of Christ with the hope that we will be redeemed.

In an article published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Bishop Athanasius Schneider comments on why we should kneel for the Eucharist: “[kneeling] symbolizes the attitude of humility and the spirit of spiritual infancy, which Jesus himself requires from all who want to receive the kingdom of God.”

Although receiving in the hand is acceptable, it is not as reverent as receiving the Eucharist on the tongue. In fact, we should not be touching the Eucharist at all unless there are circumstances that make it absolutely permissible. The host is extremely sacred, for it is Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Bishops, priests, and deacons are the only ones who should be allowed to touch this Blessed Sacrament. The bishop and priest, by virtue of the sacrament of holy orders, are acting “in persona Christi,” which means “in the person of Christ.” The deacon also represents Christ as a servant by ministering to the parish and assisting at Mass.

Saint Thomas Aquinas explains the sacredness of the Eucharist and how it must be properly handled:

[O]ut of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency. (Summa Theologiae, III, 82, 3)

If we receive with our hands, we also face the possibility that particles of the Blessed Sacrament will remain on our hands, which may be washed away or even fall to the floor.

The Lord deserves to be united directly to us through the mouth, rather than in our hands first. In Memoriale Domini, Pope Paul VI (not Pius X –ed.) explains how the practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue must continue as the main form of reception in order to keep the proper reverence for our Lord:

This method of distributing holy communion must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of-tradition behind it, but especially because it expresses the faithful’s reverence for the Eucharist. The custom does not detract in any way from the personal dignity of those who approach this great sacrament: it is part of that preparation that is needed for the most fruitful reception of the Body of the Lord.

Going Forth with the Effects of the Eucharist

Once the sacred host is placed on our tongues, we should not let it dissolve in our mouths, nor swish it around as if it were a mint. As we kneel before Christ, we should spend time praying and meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and the beauty of the Eucharist. We can spend that time thanking the Lord, asking Him for blessings or help in being able to love and obey Him more, or simply adoring Him. There are multiple prayers after Communion that we can pray: the Anima Christi, the Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas after Communion, the Prayer of St. Bonaventure, the Offering and Prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola, etc.

After we take in the Body of Jesus, we carry the effects given to us by this sacrament. Ven. Fulton Sheen in his Sunday Missal explains the effects of the Eucharist:

When I rise from the communion rail I not only have the divine Life in my body, but I am also about to carry with me into the world something of his Death, dying to everything that would separate me from him, dying to my concupiscence, my pride, my lust and my anger in order that there might be nothing between the Lover and the loved.

As Ven. Fulton Sheen wrote in his Sunday Missal, we carry into the world Christ’s sacrifice for us. By receiving our Lord, we become in union with Christ by love – not physically, but spiritually. This union increases our sanctifying grace and assists us to grow in our love for God, as well as our neighbor. Holy Communion helps us persevere against mortal sins and venial sins, lessening our inclinations to sin and guiding us to perform good works.

Jesus said in John 6:54-58, regarding the need for the Eucharist:

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.

Thus, the effects of the Eucharist will lead us to salvation if fervently taken. If we cannot take the Eucharist reverently, how will we be able to receive the effects or even achieve eternal life?

The Holy Eucharist deserves the highest reverence we can possibly give it, yet many have been taking it for granted. Many Catholics forget that we are actually being united to Christ’s Body and not just a piece of bread. Even we, the authors, forget sometimes that we are receiving Jesus. Therefore, we must remind ourselves that this is the Lamb of God, the Savior of the World, the God who became man and died for us! If we can remember that, we will be able to show greater respect to the King of Kings who instituted this beautiful sacrament.

92 thoughts on “Students Speak: How to Demonstrate Reverence for the Eucharist”

    • These priests and their teen followers have had their reward: personal adulation for the priests, and good times for the young people. There is nothing else for them, for they have taken their eyes off heaven. They want attention and hence, they are the boring ones. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati always said “Verso l’alto” (towards the heights).

    • This highly sexualized dancing by “supposed” priests is happening directly in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima! What a blasphemy! Of course this cannot even come close to the blasphemy that has been occurring at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal! In an earlier post in reply to another article, I mentioned the “flying figure” with suggestive body parts above the outdoor altar in the place where a crucifix should be. This situation has gotten worse. It has driven all prayerfulness from the open piazza area of the Shrine. Now, all that is left are beach-clad young people taking selfies. Anyone really seeking serious prayer is forced to find a chapel outside of the Shrine area. It seems that the clergy at the Shrine have totally caved in to the corruption of the culture. There is no longer any silence observed in the original Basilica – even near the altar area. It is strictly beachware, loud talking and selfies galore, all the time. Love and honor towards both Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament are not on display at all in the original Basilica and the open public areas of the Shrine. Fatima used not to be this way! It is a great tragedy. The big question is whether there is a bishop, or cardinal, anywhere who cares enough – to take charge of this situation and rectify it. And then the deeper question is how long will Our Lord tolerate this – without real consequences for all – the worst of which is to withdraw Grace and His Own Real Presence from our tabernacles. Scholars on the Fatima messages have suggested that this withdrawal of Grace is the real chastisement announced by Our Lady in the unrevealed part of the 3rd Secret — which then leaves “the world” bereft of Grace – and brings about the material calamities and suffering prophesied by Our Lady at Akita & elsewhere — and in so many visions of Catholic mystics.

      • I don’t see what this video has to do with the article.
        The video did not seem to be in a liturgical setting, and I don’t believe it to be highly sexualized, or even moderately sexualized. And while I’m not a fan of priests looking silly, I’m reminded of 2 Sam. 6:13-17 in which David danced almost naked in front of the Ark of the Covenant (a type of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

        • You clearly do not know what an “ephod” is, my friend. 2 Sam 6:14 says David wore a linen ephod when he came before the Ark. This was a sacred vestment worn by Aaron and others who were priests to lend dignity to their office and work. Coming before the Ark of the Covenant with dignity and honor – now that is the priestly role. Breakdancing hardly fits in this category. And doing so in front of Our Lady of Fatima is a deep offense. If you cannot see this, I am sure nothing I would say here can help you.

          • Evidently I don’t, thank you for the correction. Nevertheless, David did dance and leap.: “And when the ark of the Lord was come into the city of David, Michol the daughter of Saul, looking out through a window, saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord: and she despised him in her heart.”

            Not sure what you meant by “nothing can help me”, I trust you weren’t making any embarrassing assumptions.

            I’m also confused by your saying “supposed” priests. Are these not priests?

          • “Ah, you say, you are making more of it than there really is! I say too much about it? Very well, then. Listen. Did the Holy Fathers of the Church say too much about it? St. Ephraim tells us that dancing is the perdition of girls and women, the blinding of men, the grief of angels, and the joy of the devils. Dear God, can anyone really have their eyes bewitched to such an extent that they will still want to believe that there is no harm in it, while all the time it is the rope by which the Devil pulls the most souls into Hell?”

            St. John Marie Vianney — “Be Religious or be Damned”


          • OMGosh…Footloose JUST came on lie…clearly the Holy Spirit is with me on this ; )

          • If you think a couple of priests dancing around like this are good for the faith you should re read your catechism and sermons of the Cure of Ars

          • Thank you for the quote, I’m familiar with it. Call me naive, but I don’t believe St. John Marie Vianney was talking about any old type of dance. He was referring to particular dances or parties where things got out of control.
            “Si le Curé d’Ars interdit les danses, c’est qu’il s’aperçoit que la danse a une influence néfaste, surtout sur les filles qui parfois sont abusées.” His concern was for the young women who would be taken advantage of.

            “Qu’est-ce qui nous conduit ordinairement à ce vice honteux ? Il me répondra simplement : Monsieur le Curé, ce sont les danses, les bals, les fréquentations trop familières avec des personnes de différent sexe ; les chansons, les paroles libres, les immodesties dans les habits, les excès dans le boire et le manger.” The Curè d’Ars was preaching against excess and imprudence, not against dancing itself.

            Dancing is not prohibited by our faith:
            As I mentioned above, David danced before the Ark of the Covenant.
            A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4
            And when Jephte returned into Maspha to his house, his only daughter met him with timbrels and with dances: for he had no other children. – Judges 11:34
            And many many more…

            Scripture does caution us against some dancing, however:
            Use not much the company of her that is a dancer, and hearken not to her, lest thou perish by the force of her charms. – Sirach 9:4

            Again… a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance…

          • Oh, okay, things look in control in that film clip. Obviously you’re not familiar enough with the passage, follow the link and read it in it’s entirety and pray on it.

          • Thank you for your concern. I’ve read the sermon I its entirety, both in English and in the original French.
            I think you misunderstood. I was not approving or disaproving of the video, I was responding to your insinuations that all dancing is forbidden.
            What of the passages I mentioned?
            And what does this video have to do with the article?

          • You evidently don’t understand it clearly enough in English or in French, you may want to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary daily.

          • John, your comments are dangerously close to ad hominem attacks rendering them entirely meaningless.

            I don’t need to defend me relationship with my Holy Mother Mary to you, suffice it to say that you know noting of it.

            Again. What of the scripture passages I mentioned? Any constructive (key word) insights on them?

            Thank you.

          • Jebidiah, you should seek out seek out a good solid spiritual director who is grounded in the traditions of the faith, a good place to find such a priest may be at your local FSSP chapel but not there alone. I just had a wonderful confession at my local Novus Ordo diocesan church. My spiritual advice is not ad hominem, that’s the same spiritual advice I gladly give friends and family.
            My strong suggestion if you think it’s normal or okay or “all in fun” for a priest to dance around like this for entertainment of young people, you may want to consult on the matter with a traditional priest rooted in the faith.

          • John, yours is not the place to give me spiritual advice, especially not after a single online interaction. That you believe it is your place betrays a great deal of hubris.
            I won’t risk embarrassing you by mentioning where I go to Mass, who runs the parish, or what community my spiritual director belongs to.
            Moreover, you may want to pay more attention while you read my comments as I clearly mentioned that I wasn’t pleased with the video.

            Do you have anything to add to the discussion or are you going to continue to attempt to belittle me?

          • I have a hard time believing that folk dance, etc. is what was condemned. I agree with Jedidiah’s take on this matter.

      • The bishop of Fatima is a disgrace, he should leave immediately for a monastery and not come back until he has lost his clericalism and found Our Lord again.
        Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us all, grant us real bishops who know what it is to father his flock, not the blind fool there in Fatima.

      • “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath.

        For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” – Matthew 24:15-22

    • “The media could not be played” (at least on this laptop). Just as well, perhaps, given the following comments!

    • Sigh. Reminds me of the ACTS retreat I went to once when I first converted. May as well of been protestant summer camp.
      Divine Mercy Chaplet led by a fag. Rocknroll mass. Whew, springtime.

      • Where do you live (or did you at the time)?

        I’ve been considering going to one for a while, but might skip it if it’s like what you described. (Not worth the money, clearly)

        How do you know the guy was gay?

        • It was a group in North Louisiana. It is very “charismatic,” very “praise and worship.” We had a hippie-looking Baptist strumming on the acoustic guitar. There were cheesy little skits meant to induce an emotional response. Everything was engineered to tug your emotions, so that at the end, you had your “conversion experience.”
          Of course, an emotional conversion is not in and of itself bad, but it is temporary at best.
          The only Catholic theology we received was in pamphlets on our beds at the end of the night.
          During the homily at Mass, the priest made it clear that Protestants don’t receive Holy Communion, and the Eucharist wasn’t necessary for them anyway.
          It was ecumenism and indifferentism on steroids. There was 24/7 adoration, yet no down-time to visit the chapel; an emotion-inducing skit, activity, or story-sharing was always planned.
          The sodomite who led the Divine Mercy Chaplet was a very “catty” man; very effeminate. Do you know those little wristlets of fishing hooks ACTS members wear? When they were passing them out, he was explaining the purpose. He mentioned that you have to be careful when using the term “fishers of men.” Of course, everyone cracked up because here was this pansyman, who talked all weekend about his lifetime supply of Big Sexy hairspray, giving a different connotation to “fishers of men.”

          One of the activities they had us do, had something to do (for whatever reason) with making light of some of the staff. I was in a group of Protestants and so, naturally, they wanted to make fun of the priest.

          Anyway, I’m sure not all experiences were like mine. I never got a call back from the “brothers” because I made a point that I was Catholic and not a generic Christian. If you’re into indifferentism, ecumenism, Protestant praise and worship… then ACTS is right up your alley.

          • Ecck…sounds like a high school retreat. Whatever happened to “when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

            I live in southwest Louisiana so hopefully the infection was not spread south. Most of the men I know who have made ACTS retreats are solid, masculine (if not particularly traditional) men. And the chains I’ve seen aren’t made of fishhooks but actually chain…which I think has something to do with being a “slave of Christ.” Plus, I wasn’t even aware Protestants were involved (which they might not be in this diocese.)

          • The group I went with was the Monroe group. The local group (central LA) actively invites protestants, supposedly for conversions, but from what I’ve heard the local group is very kumbayah, too.
            Does your parish retreat at Maryhill?

          • I don’t think so. Our diocese (Lake Charles) has it’s own retreat center. But I think the retreats might be held at the parishes that host them.

          • Ah I gotcha. Maryhill is the place where North/Central LA retreats at. It’s definitely not a bad place for a retreat… if the retreat itself isn’t nutty.
            South Louisiana is like night and day from North & Central Louisiana. A seminarian we helped sponsor was denied entry into seminary in North because he was…too orthodox. He came down from Shreveport and was allowed to enter.
            If you’re into African drums during Black History Month at Mass and effeminate priests who let the women in the parish council run everything, North Louisiana is apparently the place to be.

          • Ewww…no

            Lake Charles is pretty solid. Latin Mass in the Cathedral every Sunday. Very traditional priests, especially the young ones. Even the Novus Ordo-y ones are reverent and relatively orthodox, even if some are Francis fans.

            I’m told it wasn’t always this way though.

          • That’s good to know if we’re ever in the area. We used to have the traditional Mass offered in the Cathedral once a month, but that didn’t last too long. We’re blessed with a great priest who offers the traditional Mass every Sunday, after nearly 30 years of a wreckovator that stripped the church of statues and the stations of the Cross because Protestants wouldn’t understand it.
            He’s been slowly rebuilding.
            The modernists will surely have a problem on their hands if these younger priests continue on in their work.

    • Well this is awkward.

      I know the parents of the young woman who posted this. (Her dad is in the Knights of Columbus council with me.) And from what I heard, she got a lot of heat for setting up an event at our Diocesan high school that involved students watching everyone’s favorite gay-affirming Jesuit, Fr. James Martin, on video chat or something.

  1. When some people come to mass they wear the most sloppy clothes one could imagine. Is this respectful? One certainly wouldn’t dress this way for a wedding and one would be shocked of a priest dressed in sloppy dress. is this the way to dress to receive the King and Lord Jesus?

    • You’d be surprised, though. My husband and I were invited to a wedding once, and we were the best dressed ones there! Ohmygosh!



      They knocked him to the ground, but all he cared about was the Eucharist

      Inma Alvarez | Jul 26, 2017

      This image speaks volumes about the priesthood.

      This photo speaks volumes: A priest, knocked to the ground as he was distributing Communion, who uses the strength he has left to gather the hosts and particles of the Eucharist that had fallen to the floor.

      The picture was taken by an eyewitness who was at the attack in the town of Gangjeong.

      The picture isn’t new — it was taken Aug. 8, 2012 — but it continues to speak to us of the great dignity of the priesthood.

      The event occurred in Jeju, South Korea, as reported then by UCANews.

      Father Bartholomew Man Jung-hyun was celebrating Mass at the doors of a controversial naval base the government was building in the area, and which was opposed because of the environmental impact it would have on the local populations and the island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

      The priest was celebrating a Mass for the citizens who were protesting the base, and was distributing Communion when the police interrupted the liturgy and began to beat those present, including Father Bartholomew.

      The Diocese of Cheju immediately demanded an official apology from the police, as those present reported that one of the policemen stepped on the Hosts that had fallen to the floor. The police denied this.

      But looking beyond the details of the event — the police brutality and the protests — we see the humble gesture of this priest, in pain and struck down, thinking not of himself but of his Lord … it’s an image that says more about the priesthood than a thousand theology books ever could.

    • But is this something we should be focusing on? For others, I mean. Let’s say someone has just begun attending Mass, or has just come back after a long time away. Should our thoughts be about their clothing? What if it’s a harried family with lots of kids, or an older couple who are poor? I guess I’m trying to say that clothes don’t make the man. By all means hold oneself to a higher standard, but be charitable enough to see beyond what others are wearing.

  2. ‘Once the sacred host is placed on our tongues, we should not let it dissolve in our mouths, nor swish it around as if it were a mint.’ All due respect, my understanding is that most traditional Catholics don’t chew the Host; they swallow it whole, and especially if you’re in an Ordinary form parish (where the hosts tend to be thicker), some ‘dissolving’ is necessary for it to be soft enough to get down. As a matter of fact, this is one reason I don’t receive from the chalice anymore (besides the obvious danger of spilling the Precious Blood, and the multiplication of extraordinary ministers); the Host is still in my mouth. But no disrespect is intended – just the opposite; and I’m sure the same is true for some others who are trying to reverently consume a thick, whole-grain Host without getting bits of it stuck between their teeth. Comments?

    • According to the council of Trent , Christ Is whole and entire, Body and Blood Soul and Divinity under both species. So when you refer to the precious Blood, you are actually talking about the Body and Blood of Christ.
      At the Consecration the bread and wine are consecrated separately to indicate the separation of Christ’s body and blood….his death. In Holy Communion we receive the living risen Christ.

      • I agree, which is why it isn’t necessary to receive under both kinds in order to make a valid Holy Communion. But once the contents of the chalice are consecrated, it’s no longer proper to refer to it as ‘wine’. But you have to call it something, and the common nomenclature that I’ve heard is Precious Blood, even though (as per Trent) the smallest drop of what was previously wine is now body, blood, soul and Divinity of Christ. Likewise with the Host; the priest when administering it says ‘Corpus Christi’ (Body of Christ), even though it’s the whole Christ, not simply His body.

      • If you actually chew the Host, some Particles will be left in your teeth. Please DON’T chew the Sacred Host!. Thank you.

        • That is a ridiculous response.
          Jesus said “gnawing”. The host remains inside the mouth and is consumed. That is the nature of eating. We eat bread, we don’t let it melt and then swallow.

          • Why is it ridiculous? After the first Consecration, the Host IS NOT bread – it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ under the appearance of bread. (C.f. Council of Trent & Mysterium Fidei by Pope Paul VI)

            St. John used the word “tragon” to emphasize the reality of the Real Presence. It doesn’t mean that we should chew the Host like ordinary bread. The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the smallest Particle of the Host and the tiniest Drop of the Precious Blood. We should receive Him with the utmost reverence and respect.

          • To the best of my knowledge, neither of us is an ordained priest. I’m talking about the laity receiving the Host.

          • I made my 1st Holy Communion in the Traditional Church and was taught categorically that one should not chew it like food.

            I’m not a biblical scholar, but the word tragw (τρώγω) only meant chew, munch, gnaw exclusively in Attic Greek and even then usually of animals (or men chewing vegetables). In later Greek, which we are obviously talking about here, it was used simply to mean eat generally, which would be ἐσθίω in Atiic.

            If you take at look in Liddell and Scott, you’ll see that this later, general usage is illustrated by quotes from the Evangelists.

          • I’ve just checked the New Testament Greek Lexicon which seems to give both meanings equal weight so, looking at it purely from a language point of view, common sense would determine that we’d apply the general meaning ‘to eat’ because no-one would say ‘take this (food) and gnaw it’ (unless, of course, he were making a point of saying ‘have a good gnaw at it’, which wouldn’t fit the context here.

            I’ve listened to Bishop Barron speaking on other subjects – he doesn’t seem to follow Catholic teaching unless it suits him and if he won’t offend anyone by defending it, so personally, I’d take anything he says with a pinch of salt.

          • I would agree. However, I would not use Bishop Barron as the final authority on anything

          • A few points, from one who is no scholar of any kind :

            At the Last Supper the Apostles may well have had to “chew” because the bread they were given by our Lord was real bread … not the small wafer we know today;

            I received my First Communion in 1959 … and we were taught not to chew, as particles might remain between the teeth. Perhaps this was one of the reasons that (while it may simply have been a ‘pious practice’) on returning home after Mass, we would take a drink of water, before consuming any other foods after Communion;

            in my own case, today, (with a full upper denture) I keep the Sacred Host on my tongue, away from my teeth, until it is softened and moistened enough that I can safely swallow without risk of the Host sticking to the upper denture.

            Some of this dispute, though, risks pharisaism, I think. I was taught, and have subsequently read, that the degree of grace received in a worthy reception is proportional to the degree of preparation and the interior disposition of the recipient. But by all means, as much reverence as you can possibly muster!

          • I was about to point this out.

            Every Extraordinary Form Mass at which I have received Holy Communion had Hosts that easily dissolved in my mouth. Not so much for Ordinary Form…

      • Found a few pointers from the Fisheater’s website (

        ‘When you receive the Host, don’t chew on it like it’s a piece of steak; let it soften in your mouth, then swallow. One does not respond “Amen” or with any gesture but the Sign of the Cross after receiving the Host, unlike in the Novus Ordo.

        ‘After receiving Communion, keep a “custody of the eyes.” Walk back to your seat with eyes in front of you, toward the floor. The most traditional posture after receving Communion is to walk with your hands in the “prayer position” — palms together, fingers pointing upward, held at chest level. When you reach your pew, it is customary to kneel after Communion.

        ‘Both before and after you’ve received, maintain this “custody of the eyes” and don’t watch people as they return to their seats. Though the Eucharist unites us into one Body, it is, paradoxically, a very intimate time that calls for intense gratitude and individual contemplation (you may see people cover their faces with their hands or veils for a sense of privacy).’

        • This is what I remember from my instruction on receiving Holy Communion. From what I’ve seen of people a generation or so behind me in the Church, they are not taught to have the same reverence and devotion toward Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

          Well, what can you expect, when the powers-that-be remove the Tabernacle from the sanctuary, practically “outlaw” Eucharistic Adoration, and don’t teach the dogma of the Real Presence?! It’s a scandal.

      • Imagine receiving the kind of bread Jesus broke and passed to the disciples and trying to let it melt in your mouth! I used to receive at a monastery where the monks baked their own unleavened bread. One had to chew. This is another one of those things that serve as a distraction for Catholics and a turn off to potential converts.

          • I must have replied to the wrong comment. What I was saying was unfair was the idea that if a person is turned off from conversion by good Catholics arguing over whether or not to chew the Eucharist than he is not really interested in conversion to begin with.

          • I think things have got a bit confused here. I was replying to the comment “This is another one of those things that serve as a distraction for Catholics and a turn off to potential converts.” All I meant was that if people are ‘turned off’ from conversion to Catholicism by discussions about the correct way to receive Communion as taught traditionally, then they probably aren’t interested really in learning about Traditional Catholicism. It’s something I remember very clearly from Ist Communion class – that one should never chew the Host but swallow it whole – as soon as possible. It’s not really possible to discuss this without talking about chewing – or not! To be honest, it’s probably the only thing I remember clearly – because I remembered it at every Communion for decades!! They taught reverence back then!

          • I don’t think I’ve ever NOT chewed the Host, except the times I’ve gone to Mass in the Extraordinary Form. But now I’m gonna be thinking about it…

          • I can understand you’d need to ‘eat’ if they’re using chunks of bread as hosts – but there again, I’d not be going to Communion in those circumstances – although I remember some strange things being done or talked about in the 70s, so it started way back.

    • Since receiving my First Holy Communion at age 6 — May 22, 1960, to be exact — it has never occurred to me that I should “chew” Jesus. It has always struck me as barbaric and disrespectful.

      I returned to receiving on the tongue several years ago, stopped serving as an EMOHC, and have *always* allowed the Sacred Host to melt on my tongue. During that time, I meditate on being joined to His Presence and pray the “Sanctificame…”

    • I received First Communion in 1965 and the nuns instructed the entire 2nd grade class not to chew the Host. I was surprised this article seems to say otherwise but this may be another example of the chaos and confusion since VII. The Mass should not be rushed and there should be sufficient time for prayer after Communion and therein may be the problem, the desire to move the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass along at sometimes breakneck speed, but I also think there may be others, i.e. emphasizing the aspect of bread, minimizing the Real Presence, etc. for reasons sadly all too clear today

    • Hello! Thank you for your feedback on our article. After seeing this discussion, we realized that we may have worded this unclearly. We should NOT chew the Host, because like you said, we would get it stuck in between our teeth. We took this information from the Baltimore Catechism, which instructs us to swallow the sacred host as soon as possible and not allow it to dissolve in our mouth. Of course, we need to soften it up to swallow it (by letting it sit in our mouths for a few seconds), then we swallow it immediately. What we were trying to say is do not let it sit there and dissolve; we must swallow it immediately once softened. I hope this helps!

    • The host is NOT to be chewed, but swallowed whole nor is it to be allowed to dissolve in the mouth. It may be allowed to soften to make it easier to swallow, but nothing more.

      It is also a sign of irrevence to receive either the body or the blood of Christ from an unordained person, precisely because that person’s unconsecrated hands have defiled the sacred hosts and the precious blood by touching the consecrated vessels. When I was an altar boy, prior to Vatican II, I was not permitted to touch the ciborium or the chalice with my naked hands and could only touch the handle of the paten unless a special cloth, consecrated for that purpose, were used.

      My practice is to receive the Body of Christ from the priest, if possible, or, secondly, from a deacon. If a priest or deacon is distributing the Blood of Christ, I will receive that as well. But in my parish it is usually a layperson, in which case I forgo receiving Christ’s Blood, because either species contains ALL of my Lord and God.

      Furthermore, receiving the Body of Christ on the tongue is an explicit outward sign of submission and humility as we allow ourselves to be fed like an infant child of God by our very God and creator, who also happens to be our bigger brother.

      Finally, we ought to be willing to humble ourselves before our God Who not only humbled Himself by becoming man and enduring the cross, but humbles Himself still further by coming to us in Finest Wheat in the form of helpless, defenseless, common inanimate objects. Consider that the creator and OWNER of all that exists, whether supernatural or natural, because He wants to be with us and in us, submits to being eaten, swallowed, undergoing immersion in one of the most caustic of acids and being digested and broken down into nutritional compounds. Actually, as I recall, the Church teaches that once that last step has begun the Eucharistic species are no longer the physical Body and Blood of Christ, but His spiritual presence and the graces remain.

  3. Hear hear! Well said! All of these actions, postures, demeanors, and dispositions ought to be an external reflection of an interior reality, that being our state of preparation to receive Our Lord. And it works both ways, as you prepare yourself to commune, your body reflects it, and as you adjust your body you help to prepare yourself interiorly. Some advice I find helpful is to begin every day on which you plan to receive Our Lord by inviting Our Lady, St. Joseph, and any other saints into your heart to prepare it for His coming; asking them to remove anything that is not of Him and replace it with what He loves, and asking your Guardian Angel to stand guard at the gates of your heart barring entrance to anything that is foreign to God.
    Reverent reception of the Holy Eucharist requires a full engagement of body and soul.
    Incidentally, in the original Greek John uses the term trogo instead of phago (which he also uses) to refer to the eating of Christ’s body. Trogo translates to gnaw, which is much more graphic, and is what you would be doing when chewing flesh. I’m not alone in thinking this is intentional, it expresses the reality of the carnal nature of the Holy Eucharist, the True Presence of Christ, and it also elevates our own bodily nature to its rightful dignity. Because of my Catholic sensibilities I used to receive Our Lord in a very delicate way waiting for the accident of bread to dissolve in my mouth, but when I learned about this word, trogo, I began chewing the Body of Christ, and even now my heart swells, just at the thought of the closeness I can experience with the Living God through the Most Holy of Sacrament if only I’m well disposed.
    An addition I’d like proffer, to the well disposed, Holy Communions absolves venial (not mortal) sins.
    Also, I’m curios to learn where the Ven. Fulton Sheen discusses a spiritual union with Christ. To my understanding the union is just as much physical as it is spiritual, could you point me in the right direction?

  4. In Scotland, in the Edinburgh (Arch-diocese) the clergy met and then agreed to foist this way of receiving the Blessed Sacrament down our throats. They were clearly of one mind. A very clerical mind. There were horrible instances, too many to mention, that I personally observed of priests shouting down the aisle at people who moved from one line (where Extraordinary “ministers” where administering the Eucharistic Lord) to the priests line. We were told to stand and put out our hands.
    There was much “preaching” about this new way. And the docile ( including myself) obeyed. I do not obey any more as I have come to a clearer understanding of this vicious clericalism that mocks the belief of the faithful. We were led by men in costume, who’s arrogance was shocking.
    I for one have had enough and am very suspicious of any “new” ideas from the men in the pointy hats ( the bishops) when they change anything liturgical. I now read the doctors ( and other saints) and how they approached Our Lord at communion and will try to follow their divine teaching and not the pointy hat people we have today – whose “pastoral” direction for first holy communicants is dreadful.
    The Church is in schism and the pointy hats keep on as if we are in a “springtime”, they are either deluded or liars!
    Too many scandals, that just keep coming and pointy hatted men who appear to do very little about them. Not fit for purpose comes to mind. We must continue to pray for our bishops and priests, so clearly in the thick of this schism, that they appear to be blind, weak and rudderless. Sacred Heart of Jesus fill your holy ministers with the extra graces they need in this very bad time in Your Church’s life. Amen.

    • Fantastic post! Tragically, you are 100% correct in your analysis of what is going on. This is all contained in the unrevealed part of 3rd Secret of Fatima. The real chastisement is the loss of the Catholic Faith, due to the Apostasy which begins at the top of the hierarchy. Our Lady also warned about this in Lasalette, France in 1846. We who have been given the Gift of knowing, loving and practicing the True Faith must hang on to it and boldly proclaim and practice it – at all cost! We must resist the Apostasy coming thru many clerics of all ranks. We are Our Lady’s “foot soldiers” in crushing Satan. The Victory over Satan has been given to Her by the Blessed Trinity, from the beginning (Genesis 3:15). She is now calling Her “army” to wake up and arise – and resist this Apostasy and stand as witnesses to the Truth of the authentic Catholic Faith. You are right. Reading and learning from the Great Saints, mystics, doctors and fathers of the Faith is the way to go! Pope St. Pius X, pray for us!

    • –And the docile ( including myself) obeyed. I do not obey any more as I
      have come to a clearer understanding …. —

      Exactly. I have been a great sinner, but the idea that I would purposely ‘disobey’ would have been unthinkable even just two or three years ago but, thanks be to God, I now understand that one must not obey if it leads to sin and sacrilege. Of course, we were never taught this as teenagers back in the 70s.

    • Mr Taylor,
      I concur with your feelings. We live in the same Archdiocese. What worries me is the undue influence of the Faith Movement in the archdiocese – many of the top chaps in the archdiocese, in charge of the formation of the young, are members of that movement. The Faith Movement maintains a veneer of Orthodoxy and a Conservative outlook that conceals a real misunderstanding of the relations between faith and reason. I have heard the most absurd enormities regarding the “animal parents” of Adam and Eve, for instance. I have no doubt there are priests in the movement who, not knowing better, think the Faith material could actually help in evangelisation and apologetics.

      This article, published in Christian Order, gives a balanced view of the Faith movement and its dangers:

      • MPCato, thank you for the link. I have read it.
        I live in a very rural part of the Arch-diocese, where there is not even a Catholic school, so the children have Sacramental preparation based on what comes from The Arch bishops pastoral center. The fruits of which are there for all to see – none.
        The younger children get the usual non-sense, go out of the Mass and draw pictures till after the sermon. It really is amazing how sheep ( the parents allowing this) simply follow.
        I have not heard of the Faith movement, but thank you for warning me. I always think I will not be shocked, but invariably, I am.

  5. Who can surpass the angelic doctor in the precision of this thought, and the wisdom of his teaching on this issue? Who exactly? Evidently, whoever approved of “communion in the hand” thought he knew better than St. Thomas Aquinas.

  6. What is the difference between the Catholic Mass and the Protestant service and yet do we Catholics behave any differently ? This here is the heart of the problem the clergy have to come to the realization and return to the former practice.

  7. I work in a Catholic school system where many children who don’t believe in Jesus attend school masses and treat the host with absolute irreverence. It is soul-destroying for me to partake in this wholesale disrespect for Jesus but when I am literally one of the only ones who believes in transubstantion, what can I do. I often get up and walk out. How would Jesus think of this? What do ppl on this forum think?

    • Teresa,
      It is very difficult, but the children are really not to be fully blamed. Their parents, the priests ( who can clearly see this irreverence), you just need to pray and offer Our Lord your reverence to in part ammend for these scandals.
      Maybe invite ( if you are in a position to do so) faithful parents to these school masses so you can get some support in changing this bad situation.
      In my little parish, it isn’t so much children as middle aged to older people who show no understandiing of Our Lord in the tabernacle, it appears ( or I should say sounds like) to be a social gathering for many older people. The priests are malformed who do not address this.

    • I have determined that when my daughter makes her First Communion in six years, I will be the catechist and if the students learn nothing else, they will know Who it is that they are receiving and how to do so in a reverent manner that speaks to that Truth. I just pray that I will still be in a parish where the pastor will support me on that


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