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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do you chew Jesus?

Two topics:
1.  Take the Eucharist on the hand or the tongue?  What impacts do each of these entertain?
2.  Should you let The Body of Christ dissolve on your tongue or is a chew here or there okay?

I have not actually ever entertained either of these ideas.  Completely boggles my mind why I have gone to Mass every Sunday for the last 27 years (1404 Masses give or take a few) and never had entertained this idea.  I do remember seeing someone take it on the tongue for the first time and asking my mom about it.  She didn't seem to think it was a big deal.  She said that was an old way of receiving the Eucharist.

The idea is reverence.  Sure you don't want to manhandle The Body of Christ too many times before He is in you.  Well, several people have touched Him before that EM is offering Him to you.  A priest, deacon and the EM has most probably touched the Host.  Basically you should be concerned if your hands are clean.  (Most people probably know my feelings on that matter.  I cringe at the thought of unclean.  I do shrug it off occasionally and you may see me act nonchalant about it but inside my brain is screaming the absurdities of the situation.  I do it to make myself appear normal and condition myself to being okay with it.  Well, hopefully I'm okay with it someday.)

Goodness and now I've been made aware of an argument about whether it is okay to chew the Eucharist.  I'm pretty sure that I was told not to chew but I recall that I have caught myself in the past with a chomp here or there to help things along.  I am not usually eager to get Jesus down but as I am walking back to my seat I don't think my mind is on how He is doing in my mouth.  And I am appalled if people are pointedly looking at me to see if I am chewing.  What are they doing if they are noticing this?  I think it is better to be an unconscious chewer than a busybody during Mass.  My mind is at least in the right place as well as my spirituality.  After reading Father Z's discussion board I hope I am not tempted to look around and see who might be chewing.

After a thoughtful internal debate I finally decided that I would like to implement receiving on the tongue as habit for myself.  I think that by doing so I am lessening the profanation of Jesus and it just feels right.  I have prayed about it and read a few things and it is not wrong to do so nor do I think it is wrong to receive in the hand.  For myself, I feel like I am receiving my Lord and my God in a better way.  I also desist from chewing.  The past three weeks have been an experiment.  At first it was consciously hard to not want to chew if He moves around too much.  And He was stuck to the roof of my mouth for a bit and I was close to panic on how to treat that problem.  I think I finally have it down-pat.  I am happier in my decision than I was before.  What do you think about all that?

Note:  I found this direction on how to receive the Eucharist on the tongue.  I plan on giving it a whirl on Sunday:

It’s really very simple – while your mouth is closed, make sure your tongue is touching the inside of your lower lip. Then, maintaining this tongue position, open your mouth as wide as you can by lowering your lower jaw. Your mouth and tongue are then in the correct position for the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister to place the Host on your tongue.

They, of course need to learn the correct method of placing the Host on the tongue so that only the Host touches the tongue – using forefinger and thumb only (I’ve seen some EM’s use two fingers and thumb). Place the tip of the Host on the recipient’s tongue and, while pulling the thumb (underneath) back, press down with the forefinger.

The recipient should not, of course, close their mouth until the person placing the Host has drawn back their hand!

Hyper (over) extending the tongue is likely to result in instability and the possibility of the Host dropping!

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