Wednesday, March 21, 2018
WHEN IT COMES TO THE MANNER IN WHICH HOLY COMMUNION IS RECEIVED, THE HOLY FATHER DOES NOT SAY ONE WAY OR THE OTHER BUT BOTH WAYS, KNEELING OR STANDING, IN THE MOUTH OR ON THE HAND,--THAT'S A STEP!
UPDATED WITH PROPER VATICAN ENGLISH TRANSLATION:
At the Wednesday audience Pope Francis continued His Holiness' catechesis on the Mass with a focus on receiving Holy Communion.
This is what His Holiness said in part with my opinion in red:
Catechesis of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
...And let us continue now with the catechesis on the Holy Mass. The celebration of Mass, the various moments of which we are going through, is ordered to Communion, that is, uniting with Jesus. Sacramental communion: not spiritual communion, which you can do at home by saying, “Jesus, I would like to receive you spiritually”. No, sacramental communion, with the body and blood of Christ. We celebrate the Eucharist to nourish ourselves with Christ, Who gives us Himself both in the Word and in the Sacrament of the altar, to confirm us to Him. (Actually, Holy Mother Church nourishes us.) The Lord Himself says so: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (Jn 6: 56). Indeed, the gesture of Jesus ,Who gave to the disciples His Body and Blood in the Last Supper, still continues today through the ministry of the priest and the deacon, ordinary ministers of the distribution to their brothers of the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation.
In the Mass, after breaking the consecrated Bread, that is, the body of Jesus, the priest shows it to the faithful, inviting them to participate in the Eucharistic banquet. We know the words that resound from the holy altar: “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb: Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world”. Inspired by a passage of the Book of Revelation – “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19: 9), “marriage” because Jesus is the Spouse of the Church – this invitation calls us to experience the intimate union with Christ, source of joy and of holiness. It is an invitation that causes us to rejoice and at the same time urges an examination of conscience illuminated by faith. If on the one hand, indeed, we see the distance that separates us from Christ’s holiness, on the other we believe that His Blood is “shed … for the remission of sins”. We were all forgiven in baptism, and all of us are forgiven or will be forgiven each time we partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And do not forget: Jesus always forgives. Jesus never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness. Considering the salvific value of this Blood, Saint Ambrose exclaims: “I who sin always, am always in need of medicine” (De sacramentis, 4, 28: PL 16, 446A). In this faith, we too turn our gaze to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and invoke Him: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. We say this in every Mass.
Although it is we who move in procession to receive Communion, we go towards the altar in procession to receive Communion, it is actually Christ Who comes to us to assimilate us to Him. (Thank you Holy Father, our Lord processes to us to assimilate us to Him!)
There is an encounter with Jesus! To be nourished by the Eucharist means to allow oneself be changed as we receive. Saint Augustine helps us to understand it, when he tells us about the light received in hearing Christ say: “I am the food of strong men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you convert me, like the food of your flesh, into you, but you shall be converted into me” (Confessions VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). Each time we receive Communion, we resemble Jesus more, we transform more into Jesus. Just as the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, those who receive them with faith are transformed into a living Eucharist. To the priest who, distributing the Eucharist, says to you, “The Body of Christ”; you answer, “Amen”, or rather, you acknowledge the grace and commitment that leads to becoming the Body of Christ. Because when you receive the Eucharist, you become the Body of Christ. This is beautiful, very beautiful. While it unites us with Christ, tearing us from our selfishness, Communion opens us and unites us to all those who are one in Him. This is the prodigy of Communion: we become what we receive!
The Church strongly desires that the faithful also receive the Body of the Lord with consecrated hosts in the same Mass; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is expressed with greater fullness if Holy Communion is made in the two forms, even though Catholic doctrine teaches that one whole Christ is received in one form (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 85; 281-282). (Good clarification!) According to the ecclesial practice, the faithful approach the Eucharist normally in a processional form, as we have said, and, standing with devotion or kneeling, as established by the Episcopal Conference, receive the sacrament in the mouth or, where permitted, in the hand, as preferred (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 160-161). (Thank God His Holiness doesn't rule out kneeling for Holy Communion and on the tongue!) After Communion, to keep the gift received in our hearts, we are helped by silence, silent prayer. Prolong a little that moment of silence, speaking with Jesus in the heart helps us greatly, as does singing a psalm or a hymn of praise (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 88) that helps us to be with the Lord.(I am glad too that the Holy Father doesn't make "singing while receivng Holy Communion the thing that unites us! It is Jesus of course. And the Holy Father rightly states that sacred silence can be even more beneficial as the means to help us to be with the Lord!!!!! Thank you Holy Father! Of course His Holiness doesn't rule out singing, either by a schola or the congregation, but it isn't turned into a liturgical mandate as Praytell and other modern liturgists are prone to do!)
The Eucharistic Liturgy is concluded by the oration after Communion. In this, on behalf of everyone, the priest turns to God to thank Him for making us His guests and to ask that what has been received may transform our life. The Eucharist makes us strong to bear the fruits of good works for living as Christians. Today’s prayer is significant, in which we ask the Lord “May the mysteries we have received, O Lord, bring us heavenly medicine, that they may purge all evil from our heart and strengthen us with eternal protection” (Roman Missal, Wednesday of the Fifth week of Lent). Let us partake of the Eucharist: receiving Jesus Who transforms us into Him makes us stronger. Very good and very great is the Lord!