Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On The Tongue, Thanks

As in, "How JK would prefer to receive Holy Communion." I wish I could tell you I had some pious reason for that, but no. I am more confident in the functioning of my mouth than my hands. Then again, not wanting to drop the Lord is a pious reason.

I do not take the chalice, unless charity has required it. That is, recently, a dear woman was so forward about serving me that it seemed right to do it. I am not at all confident that liquids will go where they should, even on my very best day. People might ask, "What is it really like, to have a severe physical disability?" This is my best attempt to describe it: Consider for the moment if you had to think about every movement of your body before you made it. What if you were simply used to not being able to move certain ways at all? Realize that a random twitch, spasm, or tightness could completely foil what you are trying to do, even if you've done it the same way hundreds of times. You'd have to be ready for almost anything to happen, and frankly, to accept it with grace. Like anybody, I like to do things myself when possible. The reality is, I don't do anything as quickly as I'd like. Nothing. I still am reminded of this all the time. I try not to scream at the sky when something goes wrong, but that is a work in progress, depending on the situation. A dear friend was telling me he admired my patience. It's not patience; it's the (forced) redefinition of annoyances or inconveniences. Taking 10 minutes to put on a shirt is merely annoying; getting stuck somewhere (hopefully free of pain) is awful. That is rage mixed with fear and whatever else. Three minutes extra in the McDonald's parking lot waiting for hot fries doesn't even register. I digress.

Did you know that the Council fathers ["Council Fathers" seems weird, yet correct.--ed.] of Vatican II did not envision Holy Communion under both species as terribly common for the laity? Vatican II did not change anything like that. They want us to recall the faith of the Church: That Christ is present--body, blood, soul, and divinity--in either. The passionate Protestant objection that the chalice was denied the laity proceeds from unbelief in the Real Presence! Stew on that for awhile! I'm not missing anything. Aside from reasons of piety (avoiding spillage) I should desire to exercise as much faith as I am able. Do I believe what the Church teaches me? You'll find out, if health or prudence demands receiving one or the other. Every time a "Communion" story makes national news, I think, "If these people held the faith of the Church, this is a non-story." And that makes me sad and angry every time.*

*Or in conduct of life, when Communion is denied for manifest grave sin.

I suppose the ubiquity of the chalice for the laity is a big plus, given the apparent relative commonality of gluten-related problems. Yet low-gluten wafers/Hosts are now common, also.

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