Due to many discussions on the subject recently I could not keep silent while many attack Church discipline.
To begin the discussion about communion of the hand I would like to find a point of common agreement. First, I think that if you are reading this then we both probably agree that we both want Jesus to be best served in all things. Secondly, I am not claiming to be an expert in theology or any topic and for the majority of our readers neither are you. Third, there is a lot of other articles out there on the same topic so a rational mind would read those too to see what other have to say.
A novel approach, or at least one less taken, will be to read (or summarize) a passage from St. Faustina’s Diary. In paragraph 160, we can see that St. Faustina is sacrificing for sins and hoping that no sacrileges are committed that day. During Mass when receiving communion on the tongue (as was the only way to receive when she was alive) another Host falls into her hands from the priest by accident. She felt a great love and Jesus said that he not only desires to rest in her heart but also in her hands.
Of course the primary purpose of this episode was not to promote communion on the hand, but it does not mean that we cannot learn something on the subject from it. Clearly, St. Faustina nor Jesus were tremendously frightened about her touching the Host. The lesson is that Jesus truly wants us to be with him especially in the Eucharist. Also, I think that we can agree, it is not about how we want to receive but about how Jesus wants to be received.
In discussing this topic, I am aware that I am dealing with the desire of Jesus to be with us and also the summit and source of our faith. So not to overstep my reaches, I will not be commenting on if communion on the hand is better or worse than communion on the tongue. I will leave that to those to whom authority has been given to discuss that. What I do want to defend is the conscious of my brethren when attacked by others who say that communion on the hand is a sin or sacrilege.
St. Thomas is his Summa Theologica has several articles devoted to the topic of the Eucharist. (Not a surprise). He clearly teaches that quantity is part of the substance of what makes Jesus truly present. ST III:77:4 Thus, if you lose sufficient quantity Jesus is not present. So receiving communion on the hand does not mean we need a microscope to ensure that no particles are lost. Check out Jimmy Akin http://jimmyakin.com/2005/10/when_the_real_p.html.
So the question is brought up, is communion on the hand sinful because particles of Jesus are lost when you receive on the hand? My answer is no. Careful reception does not cause particles to be lost so it is not a sin.
I have read many arguments against receiving on the hand due to negative aspects of historical circumstance. These arguments if held would also have to be applied to other church historical acts surrounded by negative circumstances which unfortunately would call into question a lot of things not just communion on the hand. I have also read the various liturgical and faith based arguments. Yet, I cannot accept these as holding much weight if they proceed to claim that the church has promoted grave error, sin and lead many to lose faith in the sacred species.
Again, I make no comment about which is better (hand or tongue- I leave that to Pope). I simply state that my family and myself will not allow the mind of others to be swayed away from receiving Jesus simply because they receive on the hand. Take my opinion for what it is – that of a layman. On the day of judgment, I want to be known as one who holds to what I have written.
Side note – Vatican II said nothing about communion on the hand. That was a latter development.
I pray for all even those who disagree with me. Regards.