Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

5/23/2013 (10 months 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.

Article Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/23/2013 (10 months 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 calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Living Faith

BREAKING THE RULES or IS HE? Pope Francis washes women's feet and those of undetermined religion Watch

Image of This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show ... continue reading


'Priestly joy is a priceless treasure,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pope, presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a priest wants to overcome moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom, in addition to discovering his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, Pope Francis said during the Chrism Mass at St. Peter's ... continue reading


Who's ready for the most historic canonization in modern history?

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Are you ready for the canonization of Pope John Paul II? Vatican officials are busy preparing for the historic canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. As they prepare, it's time for use to get ready as well. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - on April 27, a ... continue reading


Pope Francis encourages people to kiss crucifix and recite simple prayer Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is encouraging people this holy week to pick up a crucifix, kiss it and recite the simple prayer: "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord." He wishes to remind others that Christ's passion "isn't the happy ending of a beautiful fairytale, it isn't the ... continue reading


Pope Francis distributes Bibles, asks Catholics to perform acts of charity

Image of Bibles were handed out to all visitors regardless of their religious affiliation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has given out tens of thousands of Bibles to people that he hopes they will keep and use daily. The gifts were distributed in St. Peter's Square following Mass. The gifts came with one string attached however, Pope Francis asked all people to perform an ... continue reading


Pope Francis' Wild Ride - Pope takes happy kids for a spin through St. Peter's Square Watch

Image of Pope Francis kisses Livio Bastianelli and Davide Maria goodbye after their lucky ride.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis gave to kids the ride of a lifetime by inviting them for a spin in the Popemobile around St. Peter's Square. The gesture continues to cement Pope Francis as a man of the people who is most comfortable with the throngs of faithful who seek his wisdom and ... continue reading


Seminary is not for those who do not wish to 'get on with life,' Pope admonishes Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In addressing the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, the Pope did not mince words. Pope Francis was forthright in saying that the seminary is not a refuge for those who have "psychological problems" or lack the courage "to get on in life." LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Pope Francis apologizes for abuse scandal, says Church deserves to pay Watch

Image of Pope Francis embraces a child in St. Peter's Square.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made his strongest statement yet about the scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis made clear that victims of abuse deserved an apology as well as compensation for what they have suffered.  He reaffirmed that the Church will be ... continue reading


Pope Francis makes special plea, but is asking us - Are you listening? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis continues to call for aid to the poor as the holiday season ends. The Holy Father has set a goal to eradicate global hunger by distributing food more equitably around the world and he has called on all faithful Catholics to help. It's a call that can't be ... continue reading


'The Devil is here, even in the 21st century,' Pope Francis warns Watch

Image of Life is a constant battle against evil due to the presence of the devil, Pope Francis said, admitting that even he

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The devil is very much alive in the 21st Century, Pope Francis warns, and he often takes the form of gossip. The pope confessed that he himself was tempted to gossip, and the faithful need to stay on their toes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Speaking in the ... 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, Genesis 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... 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