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Acts of Reverence for the Eucharist in the Liturgy

Fr. Poggemeyer notes in his bulletin letter that we treat holy things in a certain way, and the Eucharist is the holiest of all “things” because it is Christ himself. For cradle Catholics (myself included), we likely were taught at a young age acts of reverence to the Eucharist; and, after years of habit, we probably now do them on autopilot forgetting why we do them. Here are just a few of the acts we perform during the liturgy to show reverence and adoration for the Eucharist.

—When we enter a Church, if the tabernacle is in the sanctuary, we genuflect to our Lord present in the tabernacle. This is a personal practice: when I genuflect, I try to remember to say, “I love you, Lord,” or “My Lord and my God!” Any short acclamation of praise or adoration would be appropriate, if you feel called to make one. (If the tabernacle is not in the sanctuary, we bow to the altar.)

—In the Mass, we acknowledge multiple times that we are sinners. Before receiving the Eucharist, we need to recall our sins. If we have committed any mortal sins, we must confess them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist otherwise we commit a sin of desecration (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-29).

—As we come forward in the communion procession (whether we will receive or not), we bow to Christ present in the ciborium which the minister is holding. Whenever in the presence of royalty, a bow prior to approaching the royal is customary—this Royal is the King of Kings! Then, after the minister says the formula of “The Body/Blood of Christ,” we respond with a resolute “Amen” to show that we truly believe that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Host and the Precious Blood. We then receive the Lord on the tongue or in our hands formed as “into a throne which will receive the King” (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem). Some act of thanksgiving after returning to the pew is a wonderful practice. I personally love the Anima Christi prayer found at #1049 in the hymnal. May we always “taste and see [and worship] the goodness of the Lord!



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