The Mass and the reception of the Eucharist is the centrepiece of the Christian life. So we better take it seriously!
Unfortunately, whether it’s out of ignorance or laziness, it seems most Catholics aren’t receiving the Eucharist correctly.
Here are 3 things it seems many Catholics get wrong:
1) Not bowing before receiving
Many Catholics go through the communion line and receive the Eucharist without any act of reverence at all. But we’re talking about receiving Jesus here, so maybe some reverence is in order!
Most people might not even know that they are supposed to do something, but it’s right there in the USCCB’s General Instruction of the Roman Missal: “When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence… [T]he sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.” (GIRM 160)
Though the norm in the United States is to receive while standing (after bowing your head), individuals are also allowed to receive while kneeling if they so choose. (GIRM 160)
But don’t do nothing!
2) Not saying “Amen”
This might get dropped as people feel pressure to receive quickly due to long lines, but it’s right there in the Order of Mass: after the priest presents the Eucharist saying “The Body of Christ,” the person receiving is supposed to say “Amen.”
This is important because it confirms that you really do believe that you are receiving Christ himself (it might even serve as a good reminder to yourself).
This is only one word, so slow down and say “Amen.”
3) Are you in a state of grace?
Of course, it’s impossible to know the state of people’s souls. But it’s not clear most Catholics really understand this: you are only supposed to receive the Eucharist if you are a practising Catholic in a state of grace.
Have you committed any mortal sins since you last went to confession? If the answer is yes, then you need to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist. You should still attend Mass, but if you aren’t in a state of grace, you shouldn’t receive.
This is important for at least two reasons: (1) Receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is a sacrilege. So don’t do it! (2) Not receiving when you are not in the proper state shows your love and respect for Jesus. If you’re in a state of mortal sin, going to Mass but not receiving actually shows you’re heading back on the right track.
I am a new Catholic. I just joined early November 2018. Most important to me is pleasing the Lord.
Even going through the RICA Classes nobody ever said to make the Sign of the Cross or say Amen after The Body Of Christ. Don’t think I have ever heard it.
Yes, I have seen The Sign of The Cross AFTER receiving the Eucharist and have done it myself, when I can remember.
I do NOT want to be upsetting My Lord in any kind of way.
Well I’m 50, I’m a “Cradle Catholic” and I love Catholicism. I believe because if your innocense to these rules and that you truly don’t want to upset Jesus by doing the wrong thing, I believe you have done the opposite. You’ve made him smile and so happy that you have become a Catholic. However, moving forward since you know more now, and believe me you could learn something new every single day but now since you do know more of the rules regarding the Eucharist just make sure that you do them each time now. This is extremely important as the Eucharist is sacred. I have always said, “amen” after recieving the communion and have always bowed my head before. Going to confession is crucial also. These very important things are what we were taught in the 2nd grade as we learned about this sacrament. Just feel the warmth of how amazing this religion is. It really is cool. So many things can and will be revealed to you daily about God, Jesus Christ, Mary, The Saints, the teachings, etc. and what it all really means. Its a beautiful religion with so many things to learn that it’s impossible to learn everything in a lifetime. Congratulations and God Bless you!
PS… one other thing I’m not sure if anyone ever told you but I’m sure becoming a Catholic they did go over this but in case you didn’t hear it or they didn’t teach it for some reason if the Eucharist ever drops on the ground at Communion, do not ….. do not .. .. pick it up. You move to the side and let the priest deal with it. Nobody is supposed to be picking it up. There’s a certain way to do it and I’m not even sure but the priests know what to do….. just so you know. =)