As a child, I would watch the Communion line and look at all the different people walking by to and from the altar. Tall, short, young, old, sloppy, well-kempt, and so on.
My parents taught me how to receive the Holy Eucharist and, as I grew into an adult, I’ve learned more reverence for his presence. However, not everyone knows or believes enough to be as respectful as they ought. I’m sure I have a ways to go as well.
Priests do what they can to education from the pulpit or even in the Communion line, but people are people.
In the meantime, see if you recognize some of the types of communicants from your parish.
1. The Walker
This Person barely pauses to receive the Host and keeps walking while receiving. Seriously, I’ve seen priests’ baffled faces as they try to move with them. Oh dear…
2. The Taker
Definitely not appropriate but seen in a few parishes. The Taker will grab the Lord right from the priest and pop Him in their mouths like a piece of candy. The priest is left stunned. Please pray for these people – and educate them!
3. The Kid Chaser
Little ones are a joy, and when they’re mobile, they’re fast! We’ve all seen a parent or two scramble after a little one, pause to receive Communion, then resume the chase.
4. The Arms Full
Diaper bag, one or two kids in arms, maybe a baby carrier. This person has their arms full and needs to crane their neck over the stuff (or kids) to receive.
5. The Time Taker
Perhaps the intentions of this person are best as he or she is being prayerful and reverent. Perhaps they don’t care about the impatient people behind them. (They really shouldn’t.) This person is slow, sometimes super slow, and showing respect.
6. The Slow Kneeler
Like the Time Taker, this person may cause impatience, but that’s okay. Be kind as this person may have bad knees but is insistent on kneeling before the Lord. Stand back and be patient, or assist if needed. Reverence leads to holiness.
7. The Tongue Sticker
Intentions are all well but this person can be alarming to the priest when they jab their tongue out suddenly and too far forward. I’ve seen a poor priest jump back in alarm, hoping not to touch the person’s tongue. Timing, people!
8. The Speedster
Ah, here’s the impatient person. The person is bouncing a foot in line, peering around the people, and nearly runs the person in front over. Chill, dude; it’s a time of prayerful meditation as we receive the Lord!
9. The Line Jumper
This person can be merged with the Speedster but sometimes it’s a person who prefers the priest’s line over the deacon. Still, it can be surprising to those about to get in line when they jump in ahead.
10. The Escaper
Mass isn’t over until the last prayer or the last note. Many stay to pray longer. Still, the Escaper skips out once Communion is received, often slipping through a side door on the way back from Communion.
So, are you any of these? How many have you witnessed? What are we missing in this list? Surely some parishes are more likely than others to have a variety, but there are two takeaways here:
First and foremost, the Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity are present in the Holy Eucharist and we must make every effort to be respectful, reverent, and fully present for Him.
Second, it’s easy to judge others, but only the Lord knows their full story and their hearts. Let’s be patient, teach with clarity and charity, and pray for those who seem less reverent than they ought. Let’s pray for our own devotion to the Lord’s Super to increase as well.
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