Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

5/23/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hard to really capture in words, the act of kneeling and receiving the Eucharist on the tongue has deepened my  affection for Jesus and given me opportunity to pay Him homage in way that I'd previously been neglecting. Understandably the devoted are no longer required to kneel and for some people the position may be impossible, but for me there is no longer any other way. Not because I think myself a better Catholic (I am not), but because I can no longer quiet that still, small voice that beckons me to lower myself and receive, rather than stand and take.

Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/23/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Eucharist, Holy Communion, Altar Rail, kneeling to receive, Tara K. E. Brelinsky


ZEBULON, NC (Catholic Online) - Receiving the Holy Eucharist in my hand in order to communicate myself had long been part of my routine, before it finally came to my attention that there was another, more preferable way for me. I suppose I just hadn't given it all that much thought, sadly. In grade school we'd been taught the proper hand positioning, but my generation missed out on the altar rails and their purpose.

Yes, intellectually, I knew that the Body and Blood of Jesus is truly made manifest in the Eucharist, but I'd adopted a "casual" reverence. Hands crossed I quietly waited my turn in the communion line, until reaching the Extraordinary Minister at which point I accepted the Blessed Sacrament in my palm. Sliding back into the pew, I'd pause for a bit of head down-turned, silent prayer. For years that moment signaled the fast approaching end of Mass with only the final blessing and closing song to follow.

I remember distinctly the very first time a priest introduced me to the "old" kind of reverence. He was visiting our parish, the kind that hosted 45 minute Masses on Sundays. Once the last communicant headed back to his seat, Father returned to the altar singing "O' Sacrament Most Holy" while with careful attention and genuine devotion, he cleaned each chalice and paten until not one miniscule speck of Jesus could have been left behind. Entranced by curiosity, I followed his every movement as he wiped and inspected, rubbed and examined. Father's obvious love for the Blessed Sacrament and want to protect Jesus from any careless indignity, captivated me and stirred an ember in my heart.   Unfortunately, Father's appearance was a one time blessing, but it was enough to inspire a sincere reflection.

Time passed at that parish and then the witness of an egregious sacrilege at a First Holy Communion celebration caused me to reconsider the lessons I was now allowing my children to encounter. My son came home distressed from Sunday school one week because a little classmate had hidden Jesus in her pocket. And then there was the Faith Formation teacher who'd told my little ones that Communion was merely a symbol of their Lord. For if my own focus had been skewed by perfunctory worship, how could I ignore the long lasting affects of errors and omissions in my children's faith journey.

After much prayerful discernment, we left and God planted us temporarily in a parish dominated by seniors. What a gift that was to our growing family, being immersed in a church home where traditional reverence was the norm. No more jeans and sneakers (for us as well), no more homilies that left us thirsting and most importantly no more rushed communion lines and swiftly discarded vessels.

It never ceases to amaze me how patient and gentle God is with me. The perfect Father, He knows just how and when to reach me. Never impetuous, like me, He redirects and corrects a little here and a bit there as the gardener who sets out to straighten a bent tree.  

A move led us to search out a new parish, but we did so with cautious consideration. Not that I advocate church-shopping, but history had led my husband and me to weigh the merits of attending more versus less traditional Mass celebrations and the latter now seemed unsatisfactory.

By the grace of God, we found our new parish home and instantly knew it was where He intended us to raise our family. From that very first liturgy, that ember in my heart which had been stirred into a slow burning flame was fed all the more. Like that visiting priest, Father moved slowly through the consecration, giving thoughtful consideration to each word he uttered. And upon returning to the altar he would show no less care and love for the sacred vessels. His silent motions were a visible prayer.

My understanding of and love for the Blessed Sacrament increased beyond the intellectual, but there was more to come. It was a simple statement posted on facebook by a seminarian. "Kneel for Jesus," he typed.

Kneel? I'd never considered that position, but after reading those three words I was convicted. It just seemed proper although so foreign to me. Sharing the experience with my husband, he seemed ready to adopt that humble stance without hesitation, as well did our children.

Admittedly, it took some courage those first few Masses to lower myself before Jesus. Not that I struggled with recognizing my smallness, but I worried that somehow someone might misconstrue my kneeling as a sign of "holy pride." "Look at that woman with all those kids, she's trying to appear all holy, you know." But then again I suppose perhaps there was greater merit in learning to forget the judgment of others because none of this was about me.

If Moses had to cast off his shoes in order to step on sacred ground, how is it that we came to this time in history when we've so removed ourselves from the right practice of reverence? More than Moses, we are able to partake of the very real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but casual worship has blinded many of us to the treasure resting in our hands. We may never even consider whether our hands are even clean enough to touch His Precious Body or that we could carelessly drop our Lord on the dirty ground.

Hard to really capture in words, the act of kneeling and receiving on the tongue has deepened my  affection for Jesus and given me opportunity to pay Him homage in a way that I'd previously been neglecting. Understandably the devoted are no longer required to kneel and for some people the position may be impossible, but for me there is no longer any other way. Not because I think myself a better Catholic (I am not), but because I can no longer quiet that still, small voice that beckons me to lower myself and receive, rather than stand and take.

Remember the woman who bent down on the floor in order to anoint the feet of Jesus and how she dried them with her own hair. What an act of charity that was. Remember that Jesus Himself got down on His knees in order to wash the feet of His Apostles. What a lesson in humble service that was.

Like Moses, we are privileged to meet our God. We are called to His table and invited to consume His Living Bread and the realization of that should knock us off of our feet, literally.

-----
Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of seven living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede (and a little soul expected to arrive in August). Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, a fish, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog "Blessings In Brelinskyville" (www.http://brelinskyville.blogspot.com/).

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Living Faith

Take Pope Francis' quiz: Do you have any of these 15 spiritual illnesses? Watch

Image of Pope Francis prays will a disfigured man. What matters more however, is what our soul looks like on the inside. Are we disfigured inside?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has provided a list of 15 things he wants the Curia to be on guard against. Describing each of the 15 conditions as a disease, the Holy Father spoke addressing the Curia itself, in his Christmas address. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Listing 15 ... continue reading


'Every word has a spark of fire and life inside it!' Pope Francis urges the Catholic media to be wise with words Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Words are one of the most powerful things in the world today. It is the media's duty to distribute information using words; how those words are used means everything. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "In a world where words and images are used to manipulate or to ... continue reading


No one should be hungry during the Christmas season

Image of

By Tony Magliano

In early December, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) stopped feeding 1.7 million Syrian refugees. For two weeks these poor, battered fellow human beings who had fled the misery of civil war, and the barbarism of the "Islamic State," were told there is no ... continue reading


HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Beloved Pontiff turns 78 today Watch

Image of Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Today is Pope Francis' 78th birthday and well-wishers celebrated the day singing and dancing for the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Born on December 17, 1936, the man who would become Pope Francis has ... continue reading


Turned into the wild, Pope Francis offers hope to displaced faithful in Middle East Watch

Image of Patriarch Younan said a major focus of their synod was on priestly formation since their communities have faced so much upheaval.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Times are hard and arduous for those who practice their Catholic faith in the Middle East. In a special audience with Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, along with about 350 of his faithful from the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis offered words ... continue reading


Mary hailed as 'great missionary' who brought Gospel to Americas by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Francis and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis along with thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Vatican. The Pope celebrated Mass to the sounds and rhythms of many of South America's indigenous peoples. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Your Friday Feel Good Story: Watch what happens when the mic goes out during the American National Anthem at a hockey game in Canada! Watch

Image of Ina  heartwarming gesture of respect, Canadians sing the Star Spangled Banner when the microphone game out before a game featuring a team from the USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Here's your Friday Feel Good story! Enjoy your Friday and don't forget to share! During a hockey game in Canada between American and Canadian players, the microphone failed, silencing the singer. Without audio, the Americans would be without their national anthem, but ... continue reading


Irenaeus of Lyon on Eve and Mary

Image of An Icon of Ireneaus of Lyon

By Ireneaus of Lyon

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to ... continue reading


Taking the Kingdom by Force: Learning from John the Baptizer Watch

Image of The choice is ours. Just as it was with John the Baptizer. He shows us the way to give away our freedom in love - and then find it anew in the One who truly sets us free. (John 8:36). The kingdom of heaven is still being taken by force. The force of love. The Lord is seeking men and women in this hour who will take the kingdom by force like John the Baptizer.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

John the Baptizer was a man of Joy because he was a man of true humility! Humility is a powerful weapon when wielded by a soldier of love like John. He was a man who understood that life wasn't all about him. He emptied himself willingly and was thus able to ... continue reading


Faith restored in humanity! A random act of kindness changes a woman's life forever during the Christmas season Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While protests are wreaking havoc all around the world, wars are being fought, and people are being brutally killed, the warm sensation and fuzzy feeling of Christmas gets overshadowed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although good deeds and random acts of kindness ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter