A dear reader recently asked me if I might share a few reasons why I choose to receive our Lord on the tongue? Yes, I will share.
But this is a love story. It is not a heady, theological exposition, nor is it meant to “convert” anyone to receiving Him on the tongue. No, this is a love story, wherein a soul abandoned our Lord, only to passionately seek Him again years later.
You must remember that I did not grow up in a prayerful family–a family that perhaps knelt together and prayed an Ave or closed the day with an Our Father. No, prayer was absent, and we were not catechized.
Deep down, though, deep deep down, I knew our Lord. I saw his goodness all around me–in the verdant trees surrounding our farm, in the muddy creek winding through the pasture, in the mourning of the doves, and yes, in the love of my family, for our parents loved us dearly.
Ah, but I shelved Him in time. I came to college and thought why not? Why should I not do these things I once thought harmful? And so, I pushed Him out of sight and embraced The World.
This was a miserable and confusing time. Once one ever steps into a dark path, it only leads to more and more darkness. It can be no surprise that I jettisoned whatever faith I had left. I no longer attended the Mass.
Many of you are familiar with my conversion story, and so I will not go into it here. It is enough to say that even though I abandoned our Lord, He did not abandon me. When I cried out to him from the bathroom floor of a hotel in Italy, He was already there, holding me. When my friends whispered into my ear that I could not be Catholic, He held my face and said yes.
When I came back into the Church in 2004, it cost me everything–my friends, my family*, my fiancé, and my pride. But I had Love itself.
But What About Receiving Our Lord?
It was at this time that I read a book about a mystic. I don’t even remember who the mystic was, but I do remember her having a stark vision of bishops’ hands burning black in hell for encouraging the faithful to receive our Lord in the hand. It was striking then; it is striking now. That was when I began receiving our Lord on the tongue. I figured, why chance it? It was something like Pascal’s Wager for me.
Over time, however, I began to think of other things. I thought of all the saints who for hundreds and hundreds of years knelt and received our Lord on the tongue. I thought of St. Thomas Aquinas writing about the Eucharist–he never knowing anything but receiving our Lord on the tongue. I thought of the Fatima children kneeling before the Angel of Peace and receiving our Lord on the tongue. Why wouldn’t I want to imitate these great saints?
And then, I married and a different thought entered my mind as my husband served for the TLM. During Communion, he would hold the communion plate, which follows the Host as it travels from Father’s consecrated hands to the recipient’s mouth, and nearly every single Mass there were particles on this plate at the completion of Holy Communion. Of course we know that Jesus is present in these particles, however small they may be, but I wondered, where were the communion plates at the Novus Ordo? Surely nobody wants to neglect or trample on our Blessed Lord.
Oh, but what am I trying to say? In the end, it has to be about love. I can only say that my interior disposition is different when I receive Him kneeling and on the tongue. It’s deeply humbling to lower oneself to the ground and be fed like a baby. If an altar rail is present, one need not rush away chewing, but may take the time to receive Him and make a Sign of the Cross. I don’t kneel for anybody or anything else after all–only for my King. It is Holy; it is beautiful. It is Love.
I’m afraid that my explanation may not be very coherent or comprehensive. In other words, I realize I’ve fallen short.
Be sure to ask if you have any further questions.
If you’d like a few more thoughts on posture and the Eucharist, click HERE for an old post of mine.
*My family has since then been very supportive of my decisions. How I love them!