If you read this blog regularly, you probably realize that I am a huge Bad Catholic fan. So are at least two of my readers. His latest post on the reception of the Eucharist was a really good one. Now, the debate over whether to receive on the tongue or in the hand is the stuff of legend with regard to me and my best friend. I think it's more the stuff of consternation to anyone listening in on us. But anyway, we come to the article by Marc Barnes, published on 9/17/12. And I quote, claiming fair use*:
Now when I unworthily receive the body of Christ, I should do so with the profound understanding that it is not by my power that I receive Him, but by the authority of God made manifest in his Church. ... The Eucharist is the gift of God to us, Love Himself made vulnerable to our ingestion. It is not a thing we can take or claim — it is a person we receive. Receiving on the tongue expresses this truth in the body.
-Marc Barnes, "Why I Receive Communion on the Tongue," probably accessed 9/18/12.
As usual, I realize that I am most certainly not Marc Barnes. As usual, if I had a hat, I would remove it.
And I realize that perhaps this Latin-Rite Catholic, who may never have been to a Byzantine Divine Liturgy, seems to understand our only mode of receiving Communion (at least where the laity are concerned) with a more piercing insight than I think I've ever heard before.
Our Liturgy makes it quite clear at various points that we are receiving a Gift, not extracting a payment. From my memory of the Latin Rite Mass, it's not quite as explicitly emphasized there. And yet he gets it and articulates it as only Marc Barnes can.
Barnes brings out in his article what our prayer implies: that the Eucharist is, above all, a Gift. And he points out that reception on the tongue shows this in a very physical way. Our method of reception shows the reality: that we are receiving the Eucharist. It is not something God owes us, nor is it something we deserve. As you can quite plainly see even without reading the article, Barnes gets it.
So now I'll leave you to go and read the full article.
*I know there's a lawyer who seems to read this with some frequency. Does this count as fair use?