“Not Catholic,” Receiving Eucharist.

[Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.]

August 21

Eucharist

I went to Mass on Sunday, and I receive. I receive the Eucharist. I can’t not. I want to be a part of it. I’ve been baptized, I believe. I go to Mass. No, I haven’t had first confession, but still. In Sunday Mass, where I’m unknown, in a group of hundreds, I go with the flow of the group. I receive.

I don’t always receive, because, it can be totally awkward. Standing up there with my arms crossed over my chest. The Eucharistic minister lifting the host, and then surprisingly putting it back for a hasty blessing. Several times I’ve not even received a blessing. They just stand there like, “Why are you even in line?”

I usually don’t receive in daily Mass, I just enjoy. Bask in the presence. I meditate. I consider what it would mean to go through Confirmation. Why I may, or may not, do it. I let myself be seen there, not receiving, amongst what I assume must be the most needy and committed Catholics. In the more intimate, daily Mass settings, maybe I’m making a statement. Maybe I’m being honest with myself and everyone around me.

I’m not being dishonest on in Mass when I receive on Sunday. The experience of receiving Eucharist is very meaningful. The experience of going up to a Eucharistic minister and being blessed is meaningful. The experience of just sitting in my seat and not going anywhere, nor receiving, during Eucharist is also meaningful. Whatever you believe, do what the Spirit leads you to do.

My Catholic journey began pre-conception. My dad’s family is Catholic. However, through the entirety of my childhood, my dad was not Catholic. We would occasionally go to Mass with my extended family, and we all awkwardly stood in the pew during Eucharist time. People would be squeezing between pews by seven giant redheads, and then again as they returned to their seats. One time, when my Grandma was too weak to get up and go to the front to receive Eucharist, my brother went up, got a host, came back and gave it to her. She was pretty sure that wasn’t allowed, but took nonetheless. It was still the body of Christ, someone had to consume! All that to say, our Mass going was rare.

Besides, my mother, her five fiery children, and sometimes her husband, had other church to attend to: Wednesday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night, Church of Christ services. Every. Week. Forever. Well, it seemed like forever sometimes. Though it seems almost silly now, especially since I’m going to Mass everyday. Church of Christ really isn’t all that different from Catholicism.

(More thoughts on this in the present here: Receiving Eucharist and Catholic.)

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Author: Paige

Explorer. Healer. Eater. School counselor, teacher, party planner. Personal passions are holistic healthcare education, spirituality, food, and writing.

4 thoughts on ““Not Catholic,” Receiving Eucharist.”

  1. I have so many thoughts about this post, so many. It is difficult to articulate them in a comment. Maybe it’s unrealistic to consider, but I’d love to discuss this. I’m glad that you come to the table. I’m sorry when you get the wtf looks. Crossed arms sadden me, after all – Jesus’ arms are wide open, waiting to gather us all into one. I have this image on my head, where he’s the one giving the wtf look to the lay minister staring at you.

  2. Three thoughts –
    First, when I was in college, one of my friends was the campus Catholic priest. He had a Sunday morning service at the Newman Center and I thought about going to that service (even though I wasn’t Catholic). I suppose that the reason that I wanted to go was because it was a little more laid back than the traditional service I usually attended (that meant I got to wear blue jeans to church instead of a coat and time; also note that this was in the late 60’s/early 70’s). I asked him what he would do if I got in line for communion and he essentially said he would not let me.

    That bothered me because, coming from the Methodist tradition and it’s open table, I figured everyone had an open table. But I also knew that I was sorting testing the boundaries at that time and he did as well. Communion isn’t the place to test the boundaries. (A few years later, I attended another Catholic service but didn’t partake of communion because I knew the rules a little bit better).

    Then there was the Sunday that I took communion at a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. Per the rules of the Missouri Synod, I meet with the pastor before hand to get “clearance” in order to take communion. Normally, those who are not members of the church can take communion if they respond appropriately to four questions about communion (a result of the catechism, I suppose). But the pastor knew who I was and that I was beginning the path to the ministry so he slipped in a fifth question. I answered the question appropriately and was given permission to take communion. But though I could have, I never again returned to that church. If I am not allow to bend the rules, neither should the pastor or the priest.

    And there is the communion that probably changed my life. Rather than write out this story, I will link to the piece on my own blog where I first wrote about it – https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2006/01/08/that-first-baptism/.

    Communion is a very important part of one spiritual journey and I hope that those who seek to take communion are able to do so. And I hope those who have the chance to share in the communion do so as well, for in doing so, we continue the tradition of the Last Supper and open the future to great and wonderful possibilities.

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