Saturday, January 16, 2010

Encouragement to receive kneeling

I am currently away from home and attended Mass tonight somewhere I don't usually attend. At communion time, I noticed that almost everybody was receiving standing and in the hand, with an occasional reception standing on the tongue maybe every tenth person (just a guess; I was not paying too close attention, as I was preparing myself to receive, but since I was near the end I had a chance to witness most of the parish go before me).

I decided that I was going to receive kneeling on the tongue, as I usually do at my home parish. Of course, being at a different parish I was unsure whether the priest would say anything to me about it, stare at me blankly, fumble around or what. My worries were groundless, however. When I knelt in front of the priest to receive, his face lit up in a way I have seldom seen; I'd almost swear it was a literal glow. His eyes got big and round and a huge grin spread from ear to ear. He had the most angelic, pleasant countenance, a look that said, "I've been waiting for months for somebody to receive like this!" He very slowly (slower than he had done with the others) and reverently took a host from the paten and said "Body of Christ" with a very solemn intentionality before placing the Body of our Lord on my tongue. It was clearly a joy for him to distribute communion to me this way.

I know nothing about the background of this priest or the parish, but two things were evident: (1) Nobody there received kneeling, but (2) the priest was overjoyed when somebody did. This was a great encouragement to me and a reminder that just because we walk into a parish when we are on vacation and see everybody receiving standing in the hand, we ought not to presume that the priest is "against kneeling." There are so many factors that could be involved...I was certainly not expecting the almost heavenly look he gave me when I knelt, but it was quite comforting and reassuring.

I encourage everybody to kneel regularly for reception of holy communion, but perhaps especially in situations where it is uncommon to do so. It might just make the priest's day, and in making his, it might make yours.

5 comments:

Walter said...

wonderful story. I havent gotten the courage yet to receive kneeling but I always receive on the tongue.

thnk you.

Louis Figueroa said...

Awesome post!!! This put a smile on my face.

I think you are right. We should at least try to receive kneeling. What is the worse that could happen? We could brighten the priest's day, or be denied the Eucharist with a baffled look, but either way, it's worth a try.

RKL said...

Thank you for sharing your story; it is encouraging. I'm a student and love the church (that regularly has reverent masses and a TLM on Sundays) I attend while away at school, but it's always a struggle attending mass with my family while I'm at home. Just yesterday, I went to a different church with my family and when it was my turn to receive the Eucharist from a lay person, I knelt, stood up, said "Amen" and opened my mouth to receive, the minister gave me a look of extreme annoyance and relented. I relayed this to my mother after mass and she said "Well, what did she expect? You're the only one who's wearing a veil at the church."

Anyway, here's to hoping that I will have an experience similar to your's one day! Thanks again!

TopTech said...

I received kneeling for years, until just recently, due to degenerative arthritis in my hips. I can get down, but getting back up can be a problem because it takes a long time and I need something to brace myself with. I don't want to be a distraction or cause a delay, so I just stand and receive on the tongue praying that the Communion Rail gets used again in the future.

Kneeling Catholic said...

http://www.txcatholic.org/images/mulvey_m.jpg

God bless you Walter!

My hero, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, also speaks of the great joy it puts into his heart, when he sees people fall to their knees before Jesus. For those who do it now, freely, suffering the disapproval of the multitude, it is more of a blessing than when the fiat comes and every knee shall bend!

pray for me,

k.c.