If You Receive Communion in the Hand, the Devil Has this Message for You

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The reception of Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, is a profound act of worship and love. How we receive Communion, whether on the tongue or in the hand, has been a topic of discussion and sometimes debate among Catholics. The central focus of this article is to understand the reception of Communion in the hand and any misconceptions that might arise from it.

What the Church Teaches About Receiving Communion

The Significance of the Eucharist

The Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324). It’s the moment when Christ gives Himself to us in the form of bread and wine, which become His Body and Blood.

“By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity” (CCC, 1413).

Reception of Communion: Tongue or Hand?

The Church has allowed two main forms of receiving Communion: on the tongue and in the hand. Both forms are valid and have their roots in early Christian traditions.

The manner of receiving Communion in the hand was granted as an indult, or permission, in some parts of the Church in the 20th century. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states: “The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant” (GIRM, 161).

The Devil and the Reception of Communion

There have been voices suggesting that the devil prefers that we receive Communion in the hand, implying that this method is somehow less reverent or opens one up to spiritual attack.

A Universal Teaching or Theological Opinion?

It’s essential to clarify that the belief that the devil prefers one method of receiving Communion over another is not a universal teaching of the Church. This idea is more of a theological opinion held by some individuals. The Church does not teach that one manner of reception is more spiritually protective than the other.

Biblical and Historical Context

The Early Church and Communion

While the Bible does not give explicit directions on how to receive Communion, it is evident about the reverence due to the Eucharist. St. Paul writes: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

In the early Church, receiving in the hand was a known practice. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his catechetical lectures, mentions the process of making a throne with our hands to receive the King (Christ).

However, as traditions developed and due to various reasons, including combating potential abuses, receiving on the tongue became a more standard practice in the Western Church.

The Devil’s Ploys

Scripture teaches that the devil is a deceiver (Revelation 12:9). His primary focus is not necessarily on the manner we receive Communion but on causing division, confusion, and doubt.

Concluding Thoughts

To receive Jesus in the Eucharist is a profound privilege. Whether you receive Him on the tongue or in the hand, the focus should be on the incredible mystery of God’s love being present to us.

It’s also crucial for all Catholics to be informed and ensure that they approach the Eucharist with reverence and understanding, as the Church teaches: “To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest” (CCC, 1387).

Let us always approach the Eucharist with a heart full of love and awe, ensuring that our discussions on the matter bring unity rather than division.

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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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