Weekend Coffee Share – Many Changes

It has been a long time since we shared a cup of joe together.  So let me catch you all up on what’s happening.

The first news is that my wife and I are no longer living in Beverly!  We decided that we needed to find a more affordable apartment; and since my job is in Quincy, in the South Shore, we decided to search there.  Long story short, we found an apartment in Bridgewater, MA; and on July 13th, we moved in.  The commute to work is now much easier, less stressful.

The only downside was that I have to leave the three Beverly Catholic parishes I have been serving at since 2012.  Because of the short window of opportunity, we had to move fast on the process; and I had to give very short notice to our parish administrator and the parishioners themselves.  Leaving those people I have been with close to 5 years was very sad.

Now, I am between assignments; and feeling a bit out of sorts.  For two Sundays now, I have participated in the celebration of the Eucharist in the pews, with the congregation, and not at the altar.  It should not make at difference, and it does not make a difference.  But it still feels strange to me right now.

The process of getting a new assignment is longer than I thought. I have to first check a page listing the parishes seeking a deacon, and if any are within striking distance from where I live.  Arrange an interview with the pastor.  Then, if we are in agreement, ask the Archdiocese to assign me to that particular parish.  So, we will see what happens.

As we drain our cups, I will share with you that I still do not have a working computer; and an IPhone does lend itself to long essays.  But I do intend to post a little more frequently.  I hope.

Well, the cups are in the dish rack; and I wish you God’s blessings and peace.

Can We Linger for Awhile?

TabernacleKissing your feet with all the love I am capable of, I beg you to show the greatest possible reverence and honor for the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things, whether on earth or in the heavens, have been brought to peace and reconciled with Almighty God (cf. Col 1:20). (St. Francis of Assisi, Letter to a General Chapter. Omnibus of Sources)

Times that I have lingered. Before I continue on, a point of information for those who are not Catholic. The Church teaches, and Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is truly present, and remains present in the Bread and Wine, the moment the priest repeats Jesus’ words: “Take and eat; this is my body,” and “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant,…” (Matt 26: 26-28) At the end of the distribution of Communion, any remaining consecrated Wine is consumed; any remaining consecrated Hosts are placed in a container, called a ciborium, and placed in a tabernacle.
As a Deacon, I assist at two Masses on Sunday morning. After the first Mass, I get everything set up for second Mass. One of my responsibilities is to check the ciborium, to see if I need to set out more unconsecrated hosts for Communion. I open the tabernacle; look into the ciborium, then close the tabernacle. It is at that moment that I may just stand there, because I am aware of a Presence, of Christ’s Presence. I cannot describe the experience, I just know, and that I do not want to leave the spot. Eventually, after a few minutes, the Lord lets me go, and I go on with my work.
I believe that God is always asking us to linger for just a moment, and be open to His Presence. Sometimes, we stop and open our minds and hearts; sometimes we let the anxieties, the cares, and the distractions of this world get in the way. We rush about, here and there, doing this or that. If Christ was to knock on the door of our heart, would we linger?
Linger

An Old Argument Re-Surfaces; How to Receive Communion!

Communion in the hand

A long time ago, I was reading an issue of “Saint Anthony’s Messenger,” published by the Franciscan Friars.  I was scanning the comment letters, when I saw a letter in which the writer was complaining about a previous magazine cover depicting a woman holding a communion host in her cupped hands.  The writer was outraged that a Catholic magazine who depict a layperson (cannot remember if he made reference to gender) holding a consecrated Host.  The writer went on to state that because of this practice, the Eucharist was being demeaned in the eyes of the faithful.  Well, this letter got my dander up (I still had hair at the time!), and I wrote a reply, which actually was published.  As I recall what I wrote, I am sure I stressed that receiving on the tongue, or in the hand, were both valid choices.  What upset me, and continues to upset me, are those who believe that I am desecrating the Eucharist, when I receive in the hand.  For me, it is the greatest honor, the greatest joy, to be able to receive my Eucharistic Lord, in my hands.  To realize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, loved me; loved all of us so much, that He humbles Himself each day to be with us, to feed and strengthen us.  He is willing be present in simple bread and wine, so He can be one with us.  This realization for me is awesome!

All this came to mind when I saw an article by Mathew N. Schmalz, a contributor to the website Crux.  He also was commenting on how divisive how one receives Communion has become.  It is becoming a litmus test, a way to determine if you are for Vatican II reforms or against them.  Are you a “traditionalist,” or a “liberal” Catholic?  Do you believe in the sacredness of the Eucharist or not?  What should be the highest experience of Christ’s Presence among, has become just another theological or liturgical argument!

Since I was ordained as a deacon in 2012, I have distributed Communion at many, many Masses.  The vast majority of those who come forward to receive Communion come with their right hand cradled in their left hand.  Many approach me with a look of anticipation, a look of reverence in their eyes, as they receive the Body of Christ in their hands.  There are some who do come up to me and receive the Host on their tongues.  I see the same sense of reverence, in their eyes and in their voices, as they say “Amen,” and I place the Host on their tongue.  Whatever way we chose to receive the Eucharist, it is vitally important that we remember who it is we are receiving, and be open to His Eucharistic Presence.