Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sustaining the Joy of Holy Communion

Like many who are blessed to serve Holy Communion, I crouch down whenever children come up to receive. It's certainly easier to make eye contact with them and significantly reduces the probability of Jesus ending up on the floor. And, let's face it, my quadriceps could always use a workout.

I almost didn't move into distribute-ready position last Wednesday when the boy came up my line. He was so little, I assumed he had not yet received First Eucharist. He was surrounded by similarly little siblings and his mother cradled an infant in her arms, so I focused on her -- but not for long.


That he sang out "hello" rather than "hi" or "hey" captured my full attention. My "hello!" in return rang out more loudly than I'd intended as I knelt before him. "The body of Christ," I said in the most reverentially friendliest way I could muster as I placed the host in his little hands, cupped and outstretched to receive.

"Not in your hands," hissed his mother as she hustled him off to a pew. And not for the first time, I wondered about the hazards of piety and the ways we unwittingly obliterate joy.


  1. Reminds me of the "Say Amen" lady at a church I once served. That's what she was always hissing at her kids at the communion rail. I love the last sentence of your post -- beautifully articulated.

    As that woman would insist on me saying: "Amen."

  2. Sigh...and she probably told him not to drink from the Cup.

  3. What a beautiful post. Just found this one through a tweet and it's a gem! We're such a funny people when it comes to the presence of Christ, too easily we forget the sheer joy of the love being offered! Peace and God Bless!

  4. This is so sad and frustrating... it is fun to watch the kids in my congregation take communion (done Protestant 'in the pews at your seat' style most of the time)

  5. Meredith,
    This is so sad and frustrating... I love to watch the kids in my congregation take communion (done Protestant 'in the pews at your seat' style most of the time)
    Thanks for this share... many different angles to digest this one from...


  6. On the topic of joy and eucharist, is it wrong to do a little semantic hairsplitting here? I am so rarely a semantic hairsplitter, but this one has stayed on my heart all day...

    Jim Kane - I speak with respect and in peace. I am not sure if you are Protestant or not, which is not an issue for me.

    That said, in the way that I have come to know and understand Catholic eucharistic theology, communion is not taken, but rather given and received.

    For me, understanding it this way has made all the difference, as it leads me to try and be aware of what I receive, and what I give.

    See. I told you it was semantic hairsplitting.


    Hope I don't sound like a jerk.


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