Take and eat, take and drink

The reception of communion is a bit of a hot topic at the moment. There are commentators who see Pope Benedict’s use of a kneeler at papal masses as a significant sign. The clock is about to be turned back and abuses- in their eyes- like communion in the hand and communion under both kinds for the whole people of God are to be done away with. Even the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has joined in, commenting that recieving communion in the hand inevitably reduces reverence.
As someone who was born into the church of communion under one kind and who, as a server, held a plate under people’s chins, I see this very differently. I see no good reason to believe that Jesus’ words ‘take and eat, take and drink’ were ever intended only for clergy. Such an interpretation is the worst kind of eisegesis (reading into the text) not good exegesis. The catecheses of St Cyril of Jerusalem clearly demonstrate the understanding of the early church:

Let us, then, with full confidence, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. For in the figure of bread His Body is given to you, and in the figure of wine His Blood is given to you, so that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you might become united in body and blood with Him. For thus do we become Christ-bearers. His Body and Blood being distributed through our members. And thus it is that we become, according to the blessed Peter, sharers of the divine nature .It was also Cyril who described ‘making our hands a throne for Christ’ as we recieve communion. Far from fostering irreverence this promotes a great sense of reverence. The restoration of communion under both kinds is one of the great blessings of the reform. We need to cherish and promote it, with reverence and love

 

 

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~ by countyfan on August 7, 2008.

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