I have already posted twice (1 & 2 ) about my love and longing for the Eucharist and I haven't even partaken yet! But here comes time number three! I have decided to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. I'm sure that if you've read my other two posts you aren't a bit surprised. This was something that I determined a few months ago, and was quite stressed about because the parish in which I'll be joining is a bit on the liberal side, and I had never seen anyone there receive on the tongue, in fact, I don't even know how well it'll go over when I inform the priest and Sister (RCIA leader) of this decision. They'll certainly think I'm crazy...I guess we'll see tonight (practice for Saturday) This was almost a no brainer to me. Once I realized the fullness of Christ's presence I was like; "What makes me worthy to hold the body of Christ?" Nothing. Nothing makes me worthy to receive it, either, other than of course, His grace, love and mercy. His selfless, sacrificial love for me, that's what makes me worthy of receiving it, His desire to share it with me. By His love alone.
I had struggled with this not wanting to touch the Body for a bit, noticing that everyone that went up (I stay in my seat, I do not go up for a blessing) received in their hand. This had me concerned, surely not every single one of those people are entirely reverent with their hands before, during, and after receiving the Eucharist. I mean, one should make sure their hands are cleaned directly before Mass (touching Christ with dirty hands?!?!) then be entirely careful to not drop Him on the floor, and then make sure that any remaining crumbs on your hands are consumed (no wiping fragments of Christ on your skirt) honestly, that's a lot of responsibility. That's a lot of anxiety to have during Mass. That's a lot of worry focused elsewhere that should be focused on Christ during that time.
My best friend (and sponsor) had been deciding if she would receive on the tongue during this time, but honestly, trying to figure this all out for myself I tuned her out on some of this, I didn't want her reasons to be mine, she was also careful about what she said regarding this and other matters as well. During this time we attended a Latin Mass, and I saw everyone kneeling and receiving on the tongue, and I was like; "YES" it was beautiful. You could see the love and devotion to Christ in their demeanor, and the way they looked afterward, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It felt right, I wasn't concerned about their reverence, I knew that if I received in a similar matter that I wouldn't be bogged down with worries of if my hands were clean enough, if my hand slipped, if I was careful enough with my hands afterward. I would only be concerned with Christ, with that Gift, and encounter with Him...and if my mouth was opened enough.
I knew then that I would be receiving on the tongue. Honestly, I would like to kneel as well, but I know that is pushing it a little too far for the parish I am in. I will make a point to travel the two hours to attend Latin Mass, at least once a month, I think, or I'll try. Anyway, a few other thoughts on this: the dependency on the priest to administer the Eucharist to you is so beautiful, such a symbol of our dependency on Christ. it also reminds us of the priest's closeness and serving of God, I think we tend to under-appreciate them at times, and this, to me, is another symbol of who they are, and why they do what they do. Just beautiful.
Next, is my decision to begin veiling. This is actually something I have been praying about longer than I've been praying about becoming Catholic! Covering my head during worship made sense to me, even in my Protestant church (no one did) but the reverse of the humility men show by UNcovering their heads was just beautiful to me. Humbling yourself before God makes sense to me. To me, it was just another outward sign of my love and devotion to Christ, my desire to serve Him, and fully submit to Him, just like the cross I wear around my neck, and the skirts I wear. A reminder to me, of who I am, and more importantly, who I serve.
So, in my private devotions I have been covering anyway. I kind of put doing it during church on the back burner because this whole, should I be Catholic decision popped up and took center stage. Now, as Easter draws near, and most of the other concerns are finally starting to climb into their boxes, this one has re-emerged. Lately I have been re-evaluating whether or not to cover my head in church, and know that while slightly more acceptable in the Catholic church (depending on your parish, no one at the one I am joining does) it's still not really that well received by many.
What has finally brought about my YES to veil during Mass (beginning after my baptism- though, I still am not sure if I should begin on Holy Saturday, after my baptism, wait until Easter, or next weekend...if anyone has thoughts on this, please share! I am really not sure when would be most appropriate!) is reflecting on what is veiled in the Church. Chalice, tabernacle, and crucifixes, and statues, toward the end of Lent. What do all of those things have in common? They are all sacred, precious reminders of our faith. They are all worthy of beginning veiled. They are all worthy of being hidden, so that when they are revealed we will once again be reminded of their beauty, importance, and significance. What is the one other thing that was once commonly veiled during Mass?
Women. So, beyond humbleness, beyond modesty, beyond 1 Corinthians is the Church saying; "YOU are worthy of being veiled." Whoa. How could one argue with that? Well, this one could not.
So, there you have it. That's why, and hopefully knowing that someone is making these choices will help someone else coming into the Church that was lost like me when all they wanted was a virtual hug to know they aren't the only one that has made these choices prior to entering the Church. The Catholic church is getting one more crazy traditionalist. I am so excited for this weekend! I am also nervous, as I know that these things may not be acceptable to those around me, but I have come to the conclusion that the only approval I need is God's. Remember, the world will hate us, because it first hated Him.