Sunday, October 19, 2014

I PUT THIS AT THE TOP AS I THINK IT NEEDS MORE COMMENT: WHEN LITURGY AND COMMON SENSE COLLIDE! AND COMMUNION TO THE HAND RISKS GREATER POTENTIAL FOR SPREADING VIRUSES THAN COMMUNION TO THE TONGUE!

Two Texas dioceses that are contiguous with one another, Dallas and Fort Worth, have two different approaches to the common chalice and the risk of contagion it exposes to communicants as it concerns flu viruses and other such "bugs".

I would say that this policy from Fort Worth was not written by a liturgical ideologue but by someone with pastoral common sense (press here for the complete policy):

The Blood of Christ (under the form of "wine") will not be offered during Mass. The Host will be placed in the hands, not on the tongue. At the "sign of peace" no handshake or kiss should be exchanged simply a smile or nice eye-contact. And the faithful should not hold hands while reciting the “Our Father.”

The only thing I quibble with is not allowing Holy Communion on the tongue. The reason is that there is a thought that the minister's fingers will touch the saliva of a person's mouth when giving Holy Communion to the tongue. However, as the photo below shows clearly, most of us who distribute Holy Communion to someone's hands touch there hands directly, which are contaminated with the most germs and viruses  possible and then that person takes their hand that hasn't be washed, touches the host and places the Host in his mouth--lots more germs and viruses this way!

(Please note how the hand of the one distributing Holy Communion touches the hand of the communicant, who then uses his hand to place the Host in his mouth and his hand may well have serious contagious viruses on it! The Fort Worth Dallas got this completely wrong!
Notice with Pope Benedict distributing Holy Communion to a communicant's tongue that the person receiving doesn't use her contaminated hands to touch the host and transfer a contagious virus to her system. The Holy Father does not touch her at all! This is especially easy to do when the communicant is kneeling, not to touch the tongue when giving Holy Communion in this way:

However, the Dallas Diocese has a very ambiguous, warm, Utopian view of how to prevent contagion without impinging on post-Vatican II "signs and symbols" of the fuller experience of receiving Holy Communion. This has to be written by a liturgist who cares only for liturgy and not people (my comments in red):


There is no reason to withhold the Precious Blood for Holy Communion: it is the decision of each individual to receive the Precious Blood. If Catholics suspect the onset of influenza or are simply not feeling healthy, then they should make the decision to refrain from receiving the cup. Receiving the Body of Christ (consecrated host) is advised until the person feels well again. Pastors are encouraged to continue to offer Holy Communion in its “fuller form” (cf. GIRM, n. 281) since there is no clear evidence of any epidemic. Personal common sense regarding the sacramental species is the best course of action. [This is like asking criminals to police themselves. We all know that sick people who are pious don't think that the Lord would allow anyone to get sick from the common chalice and that it is a lack of faith to think one can! So they go to Holy Communion asking God for healing. This is the most egregious thing I have ever read! This opens the diocese to lawsuits in spreading false information about no reason for withholding the Precious Blood (meaning consecrated wine, as the Body and Blood of our Lord is present in either form of the Holy Eucharist!)]

The faithful should be advised of their individual responsibility in taking the Precious Blood, which depends on their own personal health situation.[I am sorry, this is just plain naivete of a liturgist who can't let go of agenda for liturgy! I don't trust communicants, they are sinners!]  Again, individual responsibility is the norm. [Really?!!!!]

(You can tell a damn liturgist wrote the following caring nothing about people at Mass but only safeguarding their idea of good liturgy but suggesting that everyone practice good hygiene! We can't get Catholics to observe the one hour fast are we going to trust them with hygiene?! Such small mindedness and naivete!)Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should practice good hand hygiene before leaving their seats to minister the Body of Christ and the Precious Blood. Rather than ritualize the act of hand-washing at the credence table (this is not part of the Catholic Mass), ministers should use a small alcohol-based hand rub after the Sign of Peace, and then move to perform their ministry. (Recall also that direct contact with body fluids promotes the spread of the Ebola virus; healthcare workers must be especially vigilant, it seems doubtful that those who distribute Holy Communion would have occasion for this type of contact.) Sacristans and others who wash the vessels (noting that the priest, deacon, or instituted acolyte must purify the vessels beforehand [And drink the ablutions that contain bacteria, viruses and maybe Ebola! This really makes my precious blood boil!]) should take care to use detergent and hot water to wash the vessels. (Does the Health Department make sure that vessels are properly sanitized after 30 people have drunk from them?)

My final comments: Oddly enough, before these edicts came from the two Texas dioceses, one very good but with one fatal flaw and the other one pure garbage, I contacted Bishop Gregory Hartmayer asking if he would be issuing any guidelines or if the decision to eliminate the common chalice could be a local pastoral decision as we approach the flu season (which has already begun with serious cases involving children). He told me that he had no planned diocesan decision but that each pastor could make his own determination. 

I have done so and beginning next Sunday and for every Mass, the common Chalice will be eliminated. This in part will be in next Sunday's bulletin:


Beginning the weekend of October 25/26, we will no longer provide the common Chalice to the congregation. As we learned from the H1N1 Flu epidemic a few years ago, it is quite possible to contract this virus and others like it from the common chalice because of saliva that is on the rim of the chalice and actually in the Consecrated Precious Blood.  Many of our parishioners have voiced concern to me about this possibility especially with the flu season about to gear up. We cannot prevent anyone from receiving from the chalice that has a bad cold, the flu or some other kind of communicable virus. 


Every parish in which I have been for the last 35 years has had the common chalice available for those who wish to receive the Precious Blood from it. However, we were taught in the 1970’s when this custom was made available to the laity that the alcohol content of the wine, the use of a purificators (napkin) to wipe the rim of the chalice and the turning of the chalice would prevent most germs from spreading. We now know that this was and remains false. H1N1 flu, other flues and other viruses can indeed be spread by drinking after one another from the Chalice. Saliva is a bodily fluid!


However, I want to make clear that when the laity only receive the Consecrated Host, the Precious Body of our Lord, they are receiving our Risen Lord completely, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. You are not receiving only half of Jesus’ glorious risen Body under the palatable form of “Bread.” You receive Him completely under either form of “Bread or Wine.” You are not being short-changed in any fashion whatsoever of the abundant graces our Lord gives to us in Holy Communion when we receive Him worthily!
 










33 comments:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When I transfered this to the top and deleted the original, I forgot about the comments in the comment section, so these are lost. Sorry.

I think PI said one could get more germs from a priest or EMC touching the lips or tongue of a communicant receiving in such a way rather than someone's filthy hands.

Gene pointed out how nasty some people's hands are like some of our street people who are Catholic.

I might mention that last night a parishioiner who heard that we are eliminating the chalice complained to me that he/she believed that if there was a virus on the chalice or in the Precious Blood that he would be preserved from getting anything by God Himself and so he would always go to the chalice even if sick because he needs the Precious Blood more when he is sick.

How many Catholics believe this and go to the chalice when sick!?

Certainly I'm not ruling out miracles in this situation, but this is what Catholics think who otherwise would never, ever drink after someone else let alone 30 someone elses!

Anonymous said...

The Mass I went to today was at a university chapel where they only consecrate enough hosts for those receiving communion. Everyone puts their own host into the "ciborium". I happened to be sitting in a row behind where the wine and altar breads were sitting on a table. I watched as someone got up and took the whole lot of hosts from the ciborium into their hands and then counted each one back into the ciborium - no doubt making sure there were enough. I couldn't help but think, "How many hands have now touched those hosts?" at least three people before anyone received from the hands of the priest. The chalice isn't given at that Mass.

Just one more reason for preferring the Traditional Mass.

A few months back I was making a visit at the local "cathedral". The sacristy door was open and the caretaker who does all the odd jobs around the church was pouring hosts from one vessel to another. I presume they were unconsecrated as this person is not a Catholic and not an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. To top it off as he was pouring the hosts into the containers he had a hacking cough and was coughing and spluttering the whole time. I was grateful that I had already been to Mass elsewhere that day. But who knows ...?

Another reason why I prefer the Traditional Mass.

At another parish I happened to be attending confession before Mass. While Father was in the confessional a woman was up at the altar with her handbag sitting on the altar. She took the ciborium out of the tabernacle, took the lid off and was peering in. She did this several times, taking the lid off and on and peering in. It honestly looked like a housewife with a crockpot. She absolutely had no conception of what she was handling. I presume she was an Extraordinary Minister but as I don't go to that parish very often I have no idea.

Another reason why I prefer the Traditional Mass.

Jan

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When it comes to hygiene in terms of the sacristy, I think there are legitimate questions about how the hosts are handled (and having them exposed at the entrance of the Church for the procession is problematic too as flies and other debris could contaminate these when in an open vessel).

The other concern is how well the chalices used for the laity are purified after Mass, meaning after the proper purification, which is sloppy in and of itself today and done in an irreverent way if in the sacristy rather than at Mass. But are these then washed with hot soapy water to remove all bacteria that could fester if not properly cleaned with soap and water?

There are problems and Jan you hit the nail on the head. YIKES.

Robert Kumpel said...

If you look closely at the photo of Pope Benedict, notice that he is holding the host in the "underhand" position. I have noticed that more experienced priests know to do that which almost infallibly means that the priest's hand will not touch the communicant's tongue. Most of the Extraordinary Ministers who have given me communion (besides look momentarily baffled when I open my mouth instead of raising my hands) always deliver the host in a sort of "overhand" or "pinching" manner that is both awkward and invariably ends up with part of their finger on my tongue. I think better training could prevent this from happening. Again, look closely at the photo of Pope Benedict.

George said...

"I might mention that last night a parishioner who heard that we are eliminating the chalice complained to me that he/she believed that if there was a virus on the chalice or in the Precious Blood that he would be preserved from getting anything by God Himself and so he would always go to the chalice even if sick because he needs the Precious Blood more when he is sick."

Even our saints were not spared sicknesses and calamities. If things worked the way your parishioner thinks, would any Catholic need to get say, a Flu vaccination? Well, perhaps those who received in mortal sin. C'mon.

Gene said...

I think most people's attitude toward the Host today is reflected in the little sacrilegious song we used to sing as kids and feel so naughty:

"Jesus Christ is mighty nice, but I like Oreo…
Christ is nice but, boy, what icing comes with Oreo…"

The decline of reverence and awe is disturbing and can, I believe, be traced directly to ad populuum, receiving in the hand, and other such progressivist nonsense.

rcg said...

i believe the transfer could even be done with forceps, right? In any case, the washing of the hands and preparation of the priest for Mass is actually a good prevention for most situations. Even the saline solution of the Holy Water has a slight antiseptic effect. How to give communion on the tongue seems like and easy think to teach.

FrAJM: why don't you make a Youtube video showing how it's done and why. Would be interesting of people start to clamor for this method.

rob said...

Father,
Why is it that so many bishops are so against intinction? Wouldn't that eliminate so many problems?

Rob

Anonymous said...

Even though some of you serious "Traddies" might still have dial telephones and cook on wood-stoves, we do live in a high-tech world.

There are gadgets now that can give you a "shot" without using a needle...just a little puff and your immunization is done. The same technology could be developed to create a device (it could be made of gold...with gems) that with a little puff would launch a Communion Host into your mouth without you or even the priest or the (yuck) extraordinary minister ever touching it or each other.

I submit this to demonstrate how asinine I think this whole discussion is.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:47 pm

Your disapproval is duly noted. You and a couple of other trolls have been letting us know how stupid we are and how superior you are for some time now. Great. Feel better? Now please leave us alone.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - I did not say that "one could get more germs from a priest or EMC touching the lips or tongue of a communicant receiving in such a way rather than someone's filthy hands."

Try again.

There is no need to believe in miraculous protection from pathogens when receiving from the common cup. Sharing a common cup can be a vector for germs.

BUT, so can using door knobs or door handles, being in an elevator with someone who sneezes, eating in a restaurant that has inadequate cleaning procedures for tableware or kitchenware, holding hands with your grandchild.

While the POSSIBILITY of infection surrounds us daily, the CHANCES of infection are remote.

Anonymous said...

I fully support withdrawing the Chalice for hygiene reasons.
Day in and day out I personally see what is inside those mouths.
Plus, drinking after others is a sure fire way to spread Fever Blisters and a bunch of other viruses (year round).

Additionally, may I suggest concern for those parishioners who are Gluten Sensitive and have been skipping the Host and partaking in only the Precious Blood?
Parishes can have a standard station where low-gluten Hosts are regularly available.

I have seen this in other parishes when on vacation.
It seems like a generous caring pastoral practice.
Anyone can legitimately receive a low-gluten host, and those who actually need it would not have to choose between going without Holy Communion or experiencing genuine gut pain.

Allowing the option of intinction (option because alcoholics often need to avoid the Precious Blood) and a low-gluten station seems a good way to go..IMHO.
It seems to me, that these are reverent and pastoral ideas..IMHO.

BTW: I'd be happy to communicate with the Bishop if helpful.
Thanks and God Bless,
Sheila

Gene said...

Well, Ignotus, it is convenient that your original post has been deleted…however, we have had this discussion before and I seem to remember you being pretty adamant about how remote is the possibility of a disease being transmitted from the common cup. Yes, this was in a discussion in which a physician and a nurse disputed you, but you remained insistent. LOL! This is in keeping with former discussions in which you informed us, at various times, of your heavenly singing voice, your (apparently) first-hand knowledge and understanding of women, your profound understanding of biology and physics (I believe you have a college level bio degree), and your penetrating Biblical scholarship. LOL!

JBS said...

Standing to receive Holy Communion on the tongue could be the chief culprit. Kneeling stabilizes the communicant, making it easier for the minister to administer the Sacrament. So, if germs are a worry, then either stand and receive in a flattened hand, or kneel and receive on the tongue. Save the chalice for small groups on special occasions.

Joseph Johnson said...

My wife gets very concerned and stirred up about talk of epidemics, etc. She gets also can get very frustrated with me because, so much of the time, I tend to "blow it off" and talk like Pater Ignotus does about door knobs, etc.

I accept that we live in a dangerous risk-filled world. This does not stop me from leaving the house every day and interacting with people and the outside world. Still, I know that some common sense and prudence is warranted to avoid unnecessary exposure to sickness. I just don't dwell on it.

Call it asinine if you want but my BIGGER CONCERN when it comes to Holy Communion has to do with how the current prevailing practices of handling and distributing Communion fail to deal with the issue of Host fragments and particles and well as how current prevailing practices do not emphasize the Real Presence in the minds of the recipients as was once the case.

I truly believe in the Real Presence in visible fragments of the consecrated Host as well as in droplets of the Precious Blood. It is for this reason that I simply cannot fathom why the Church does not reconsider these issues of handling/reception and (antiquarian early Church practice notwithstanding) revert to the former (still the norm in the EF) system of handling/distribution. Alternatively, the Church could go to intinction with the use of Communion patens and the ablutions (finger rinsing over the Chalice) as in the EF. I just don't understand why so many bishops seem to have a problem with this.

Not long ago, I brought all this up (including the words of the priest in the older form, "May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto everlasting life") in an adult class discussion led by my pastor (no traditionalist). To my pleasant surprise he acknowledged that many of these things (especially that blessing at Communion) were done "because people forget about the Real Presence and they need to be reminded." Yes, in these times where Communion is frequent and is often received in a casual popcorn-like manner, people are sorely in need to be reminded. Independent of that consideration, the Lord deserves the utmost care and reverence that we can give Him. He should NEVER be brushed off on trouser legs, put in purses or shirt pockets or trampled on the floor (far less likely with the practices still used in the Extraordinary Form). Our bishop could cure this in his diocese and other bishops could do the same---why don't they?

John Nolan said...

If you read the Fort Worth document carefully you will note that the diocese encourages the faithful to take Communion in the hand but does not say they may not receive on the tongue; it cannot do so as the latter is the universal norm whereas the former is a local concession, and always has been. Also reception in the hand is not allowed if Mass is according to the Rite of 1962, as an increasing number of Masses are.

Before the liturgical changes there were occasions when those who wished to communicate would place a wafer into the ciborium on the way in. As an altar boy I was taught to hold the ciborium through the veil, as we didn't directly handle the sacred vessels. If the ciborium contained consecrated Hosts only the priest was allowed to handle it.

The bishops don't like intinction a) because it makes EMHC redundant and b) because it doesn't give the faithful the choice of receiving in one kind only, which has been the custom in the Roman Rite for many centuries.

One can hardly interrupt the priest before he has a chance to say 'Corpus et Sanguis Christi' with 'noli intingere!' or in the vernacular 'don't dunk mine, Father!'

George said...

This is also a teaching moment to convey to parishioners that they receive the Body,Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ just from consuming the Host itself. I will acknowledge that a person could be miraculously cured of an illness by receiving Holy Communion. It could happen - but that is a different subject altogether from that of the transmission of bacteria and viruses via the chalice. It also is good to convey that while the substance of the Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, it is the accidents that remain which can harbor a virus.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
Probably 98% of the time, I receive the Host only as well. I would be perfectly happy (and feel no loss) if the Church reverted to giving only the Host to the lay faithful.

In suggesting intinction (by the priest or deacon and administered on the tongue only) I was merely trying to suggest a compromise way of having both forms available but also accomplishing the desirable goal (for the reasons I stated above) of denying Communion in the hand as well as EMHC's (I have never been able to accept either---but, as to EMHC's, especially when they distribute the Host--those pesky Particles again--as well as being raised to believe that only the ordained should handle the Host).

I have always suspected that bishops don't want intinction because they are SO wedded to the idea of EMHC's and Communion in the hand--not because they want to preserve the centuries-old tradition of the option of one form (the Host) for laity like us.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
Re. "noli intingere!":

Maybe there could be an intinction line and a Host-only line!

Paul said...

What about the sacramental oils? What about the Pews (especially the padded or cloth-covered ones)? Are church bathrooms monitored? This could go on and on and would be mostly applicable to any social or communal gathering. Prudence and Diligence are the order of the day.

The best description I heard of how to place the host on the tongue is to think placing the host on a spindle as was once done with notes, orders and calendar pages. The tongue is rough for a reason -- the host will not slip off. The EMHCs I've encountered have tried flicking, micro-toss, trying to place the host away from the tongue and into the corner of the mouth (!?!!?).

What needs to be communicated: If you're sick/contagious, stay home, God knows why you are not at Mass -- he'll also know if you went to mass and were knowingly sick/contagious.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI, I have never placed my mouth on a doorknob and I am much more conscious today because of hygiene awareness not to place my hands near my mouth and nose! However I filled in for a priest who was away this past weekend and followed his custom of purifying the priest's chalice and four congregational chalices at the credence table after Holy Communion and yes I felt as though I was licking doorknobs, absolutely disgusting and only in Church could this idiotic procedure be done and publicly to boot!

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - I'm glad your mother taught you to turn doorknobs with your hand, not your mouth. And I'm glad you are, apparently, are a quick learner.

Your hand go near your mouth and nose about 12 times a minute. Ask one of your staff to count the next time you have a staff meeting. (It's OK, really, since you have a reasonably well developed immune system that will protect you from standard contagions.)

If you didn't want to clean the vessels used in communion here at Holy Spirit you didn't have to. You could have said, "I am a holy priest of God, so one of you peons whose health and life is worth less than mine must do this disgusting, idiotic task."

Anonymous said...

Children...children...behave yourselves and be nice, or you'll have to go to "time out".

Anonymous said...

Well, here goes--I was never going to tell this story, but now feel an obligation:
We have a friend whom we met at church 15 years ago, an EMHC for at least that long. We occasionally ate out with her after Mass as she is elderly and lonely. In using bathroom facilities I noticed that she never washed hands after using the john. I finally commented on this, and she told me she hadn't been "brought up this way to worry about stuff like that." About a year ago she developed a persistent "runs" problem. Over the course of three months she was seen multiple times by her family practice doc, ER visits four times, and hospitalized three times. In between all this, she continued as an EMHC on occasion. On the third hospitalization, she asked me to get involved due to my medical knowledge and experience (now retired). She was severely dehydrated with a persistently high WBC count. The one thing I noted in reviewing her chart was that a stool sample had never been collected for analysis in ANY of her work-ups over the three months; I asked her Hospitalist doc about this. He ordered a sample to be sent. The result (a simple serology test) showed Claustridium difficile, a spore-forming bacteria. The spores are highly impervious to most antibiotics. It is a pretty virulent and highly communicable disease, and like MRSA the bane of hospitals.
It took four months of intense treatment, and she is now back to normal life and an EMHC once more. After many lectures from me about using Clorox and washing hands at home, I surely do hope she is compliant at church, but who really knows?

IMPORTANT fact: alcohol wipes are ineffective against C diff and viruses! A 10:1 bleach solution is what must be used. We used this to clean dialysis machines for hepatitis and AIDS prevention.

Gene said...

"one of you peons whose life is worth less than (Fr.MacDonald's)…" I vote for Ignotus. LOL!

Gene said...

"one of you peons whose life is worth less than (Fr.MacDonald's)…" I vote for Ignotus. LOL!

Anonymous said...

The restoration of the chalice to the laity (which I'm not sure why was denied us for hundreds of years) was a good product of Vatican 2. Indeed, aside from the "salvation by faith" controversy of the Reformation, the denial of the chalice was one of three other issues Martin Luther raised with the Church (two others being liturgy in the vernacular and clerical celibacy). Episcopalians mention such access (to both) in their Book of Common Prayer. As for the Eastern Orthodox "It is clear from numerous historic sources, that the earliest way that Christians received Holy Communion...was the reception of the Blood of our Lord by directly drinking from the chalice, and receiving the Body of our Lord in the hand...the major theological difference between East and West (on the issue of administering Communion) has not been the particular means of administration, but rather the denial of both elements to the laity, as practiced in the past by the Roman Catholic Church." (From pages 84-86 of "The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers, by Fr. Stanley Harakas, 1988). Today though, Orthodox administer communion by the spoon. "In the Orthodox Church, the laity as well as the clergy always receive communion under both kinds." (Page 294, The Orthodox Church, by Father Timothy Ware, c.1979)

No plans at my parish about 95 miles up the road from Macon to stop such distribution---in fact, our parish is asking for even more Eucharistic ministers and is staring a "winemaking" class so our parish can have our "home-grown" wine in use for Masses. Ordinarily I think laity should have the option, but maybe intinction would be an alternative, and in any event, I think rational people should be understanding of a health crisis or "practicality" situation (say a large Papal mass in a stadium) where distribution communion in both species would not be practical.

Of course in fundamentalist Churches, the distribution of communion is almost a moot point, as unfortunately they seldom celebrate that ceremony---maybe four times a year if that.

Anonymous said...

Good information here: http://www.pastoralliturgy.org/resources/0705ReceptionEucharistTwoSpecies.php

Joseph Johnson said...

The Church is very consistent and scrupulous in its teaching and insistence that the tiniest unborn fetal child is equal in his or her human dignity to any person living his or her life independently outside the mother's womb, regardless of age or physical condition. This is why abortion, certain forms of birth control, and artificial insemination (which, for cost reasons, is said to require the creation of "spare" fetuses, which are often later destroyed) is morally unacceptable. Tiny and hard to see is equal in dignity to large and easy to see. Human is human and size and age are irrelevant.

The Church, in its liturgical practices, used to maintain a similar and parallel consistency when dealing with tiny particles of consecrated Hosts and complete consecrated Hosts (or large, easy to see consecrated fragments).

The Church's more recent and relaxed liturgical practices with Communion in the hand and its recent (since the 1970's) lack of care in protecting consecrated Particles shows a loss of Faith. What's next? Will the Church one day relax its current teaching and become less insistent that a tiny fetal child is still equal to other humans? I hope not and I am not inclined to believe that this could happen.

Jesus is True God and True Man. The True God and True Man is Really and Truly Present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. Tiny fetuses are also "true" men (truly people) though they are not God. If we show such great care and respect for human life in this early, very tiny, form, shouldn't we show at least an equal, if not greater, respect for the tiniest visible particle of the True God and True Man?

We either believe these things or we don't and, as Flannery O'Connor once said, if it's not real, it's not worth a damn. Respect for life and respect and reverence for the Eucharist are inseparable . . .

Paul said...

Those who advocate abortion have a problem embracing something so small as a fertilized egg as a human being -- nothing but a mass of cells to destroy, like a foot crushing a dead ant.

Compared to God we are less than a crumb, less than a sub-atomic particle. Yet, here we are and God loves us.

We are called to love each other as God loves us -- God loves the particle. We must do the same.

Gene said...

Joseph, Flannery said, in a response to a comment during a seminar about the "symbolism" in her stories,
"Dear, if it is only symbolism it ain't worth a damn to me." Amen and Amen.

Joseph Johnson said...

Gene,
I didn't have the time to research the context of the O'Connor quote but I thought she actually gave a similar statement specifically referring to her belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist (that is, if it's only a symbol, it's not worth a damn). Correct me if I am wrong.

Gene said...

I don't know Joseph, but I will look it up. I wrote my master's thesis on Flannery. Surely, I have it in my notes.