escape is on: "Marge, get the kids and let's
slip away swiftly from the crowd and journey
home. Elsewhere, in the same locale, flocks of seeming
captives flee the scene making a run at the great escape.
Amongst this activity thunderous noise
erupts from differing directions, drowning out the footsteps of the
escapees. Only one Prisoner, one Hostage
remains, all alone, the One who
cannot escape. Who is this solitary figure Who remains among the fleeing
masses? Once again this Wounded and Crucified
of the Father is betrayed and by those who
were thought to be His companions.
On any given Sunday or weekday Mass, for that matter, one can witness the great escape, the mad dash for the doors right after Holy Communion and immediately after Mass. Many of those who remain fill the church with the sound of chitter and chatter, with topics ranging from ball games, to beauty parlors, to bacon and eggs. Only a few, a handful, remain lovingly focused on the presence of the hidden Jesus in the tabernacle and in their souls.
One can only ponder and wonder: Is this not God, Jesus, who really physically dwells, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist and now in the souls of the recipients? Do we really believe this? Did Judas believe this? Do we betray Our Lord when we make the great escape or is it just a case of bad manners, leaving our divine Guest abandoned, forgotten, after such a long trip from heaven? Or is it a bit of both?
of direction about proper Eucharistic thanksgiving
comes from the
"When the Mass, which is subject to special rules of the Liturgy, is over, the person who has received Holy Communion is not thereby freed from his duty of thanksgiving; rather, it is most becoming that, when the Mass is finished, the person who has received the Eucharist should recollect himself, and in intimate union with the Divine Master hold loving and fruitful converse with Him. Hence they have departed from the straight way of truth, who adhering to the letter, rather than the sense, assert and teach that when Mass has ended, no such thanksgiving should be added..."2
The document continues: "...the very nature of the Sacrament demands that its reception should produce rich fruits of Christian sanctity. Admittedly the congregation has been officially dismissed, but each individual, since he is united with Christ, should not interrupt the hymn of praise in his own soul "always returning thanks for all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God the Father."3 Furthermore, Pope Pius XII goes on to say, "...who would dare to reprehend or find fault with the Church, because she advises her priests and faithful to converse with the Divine Redeemer for at least a short while after Holy Communion..."4 "...The Liturgy (Mass) demands that whoever has partaken of the Sacrifice of the altar, should return fitting thanks to God."5
"Why then, Venerable Brethren, should We not approve of those who, when they receive Holy Communion, remain on in closest familiarity with their Divine Redeemer even after the congregation has been officially dismissed." He goes on to quote the Imitation of Christ, "Remain on in secret and take delight in your God; for He is yours Whom the whole world cannot take away from you."6
The dear Pope and the Catholic Church is saying most definitely that we as Catholics are bound to make a thanksgiving after Holy Communion. After all, it is estimated by some theologians that Jesus remains truly and sacramentally within us for about 15 minutes. This 15-minute mark seems to be the very minimum a soul should spend with Our Lord after Holy Communion. As holy men like St. Alphonsus de Liguori assert, "Let us then remain, at least for half an hour, with Jesus Christ after Mass; or at least for a quarter. But, O God! a quarter of an hour is too little." (Dignity and Duties of the Priest, p. 228)
The beautiful Eucharistic devotee St. Mary Magdalene di Pazzi explained this doctrine splendidly, "The minutes that follow Communion are the most precious we have in our lives. They are the minutes best suited on our part for treating with God, and on His part for communicating His love to us."7
St. Philip Neri, who put comedy into practicality, once noticed a man who always left the church immediately after receiving Holy Communion. St. Philip decided for the glory and honor of God that this man needed to be taught a lesson. He called two acolytes and asked them to take two candlesticks with lighted tapers and follow him home. The servers obeyed, and onlookers in the street stared in wonder at such a unique sight. The man, noticing the youngsters, finally asked why they were following him. They said that St. Philip told them to do so. He therefore returned to the church and asked the saint what was the meaning of this unwanted escort. St. Philip replied: "It is to pay proper respect to Our Lord, whom you are carrying away with you. Since you neglect to adore Him, I sent the servers to supply your place." The man saw that he was at fault, and kneeling before the altar, made his thanksgiving most devoutly. Needless to say, he remained in prayerful thanksgiving for a quarter of an hour.8
who left many beautiful words of wisdom
about thanksgiving after Holy Communion was St. Teresa of
Additionally, St. Teresa gives us this great promise if we thank the Lord, "I tell you, and tell you again, for I should like to repeat it often, that if you practice this habit of staying with Him, not just once or twice, but whenever you communicate, and strive to keep your conscience clear so that you can often rejoice in this your Good, He will not, as I have said, come so much disguised as to be unable to make His presence known to you in many ways, according to the desire which you have of seeing Him. So great, indeed, may be your longing for Him that He will reveal Himself to you wholly."12
Such beautiful promises and glories await those who thank the hidden Jesus in their souls. They truly are "the most precious moments in our lives." Just think, at the time of receiving Holy Communion we are "physically united to the Incarnate Word"! Also, the three divine Persons are, "through Him and by Him, united to you, and They love you now as They love the Word-Made-Flesh, whose member you are. When you carry Jesus in your heart, you also bear the Father and the Holy Spirit with Him. Thus, Holy Communion is a foretaste of heaven."13
There is much
to be gained from proper thanksgiving—heaven
itself—but, on the other side of the coin, what is the lot
of those who
make the great escape? St. Teresa gives us this
if you take your thoughts elsewhere, and pay
attention to Him than if you had not received Him,
and care nothing for His being within
you, how can He make Himself known to you?"14
Cardinal Corsi relates, "He reveals
Himself to those who believe and show their love! Getting
up after Mass just after receiving Him and talking to people
as you go down the aisle is a great
sacrilege!"15 As Catholics,
we must not fail to realize this, for it is
said, "To fail, without reasons, to
make any preparation and especially any thanksgiving,
would not be without taint of venial sin, at least in
persons who realize their obligations. And
it is the duty of the priest to instruct the people how to profit by
moments which are so precious."16
And the priest himself is under obligation
according to Canon 909 of the new Code of
Canon Law to make thanksgiving to God
upon completion of the Eucharistic
Sacrifice. To top this off, Cardinal Corsi, paraphrasing St.
Teresa, had these very direct words to say:
"Where is your faith?... How can you hear Him and what He has to say to you if you don't care to listen? How can you shut your bodily eyes and open the eyes of your soul when you are walking out of the Church talking to people as though He had gone back to heaven and were no longer there. Poor, poor Jesus!! What can He do?"17
And for those who like to consume donuts right after Communion, without a proper thanksgiving, Rev. James O'Kane in his classic book on rubrics tells us "that there is a certain irreverence in taking food while the consecrated species is still unaltered in the stomach." Most theologians have held that those eating right after Communion "cannot be excused of venial sin, unless there be some reasonable cause...."18
contrast of attitude as compared with the saints
Our Lord and received great benefits for their
Greats such as St. Francis of Assisi St. John of
the Cross, St.
Juliana Falconieri, St. Catherine,
These minutes following Holy Communion can and must be the most important in our lives, heavenly minutes, minutes in eternity. Jesus, true God and true Man, in the Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, must be welcomed as our heavenly Guest with attention, reverence and love. By remaining with Jesus, especially during these "precious minutes," in true interior spirit, we become champions of the Eucharist, true sons and daughters of the Eucharist. Then these "precious minutes" will be the happiest and most beneficial minutes of our lives. St. Teresa sums it all up: "In many places He is neglected and ill-treated, but He suffers everything, and will continue to do so, if He finds but one single soul which will receive Him and love to have Him as its Guest. Let this soul be yours..."20
"Hey Marge, get the kids, let us kneel down and give thanks to the Lord."
2 Mediator Dei, encyclical letter of Pope Pius XII, St. Paul Editions, Boston, Mass., November 20, 1947, #50.
3 ibid., #50.
4 ibid., #51.
6 ibid., #51, 52.
7 Manelli, Fr. Stefano, Jesus Our Eucharistic Love, (Constable: Servants of Jesus and Mary, 1973), p. 49.
8 Spirago, Rev. Francis, Anecdotes and Examples Illustrating the Catholic Catechism, (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1903), pp. 309, 310.
9 Chaignon, S.J., Rev. Peter, The Sacrifice of the Mass Worthily Celebrated, (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1951), p. 195.
10 Peers, E. Allison, The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus, (London: Sheed and Ward, 1978), p. 147.
11 ibid., p. 149.
12 ibid., p. 150.
13 Lovaski, S.V.D., Fr. Lawrence, The Eucharist in Catholic Life, (Faribault: The Lakeside Press, 1926), p. 148.
14 The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus, p. 149.
15 Christian Family Renewal Magazine. "Are You Reverent in Church?" by Cardinal Corsi, Summer 1994, p. 5.
16 Durieux, Canon P., The Eucharist: Law and Practice, (Faribault: The Lakeside Press, 1926), p. 178.
17 "Are You Reverent in Church?" by Cardinal Corsi, p. 5.
18 O'Kane, Rev. James, Sacrament of the Eucharist, p. 231.
19 Maery, Helen, Eucharistic Lilies, (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1912), p. 49.
20 The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus, p. 152.
"My Son is much grieved, My child, in the manner in which many come to Him in His House. They come with disrespect. They do not have love for Him in their hearts. My child, please, they lead themselves onto the road to satan. They must not accept My Son with sin in their hearts. Many do not go to Our representatives. They accept My Son with sin on their souls! Shout it, My child, from the roofs: you must honor the Eucharist!" - Our Lady, November 23, 1974
Directives from Heaven
D2 - The Holy Eucharist PDF
D3 - Communion in the Hand PDF
D146 - Honor the Eucharist, Part 1 PDF
D147 - Honor the Eucharist, Part 2 PDF
D228 - Consecrated Hands PDF
Bishop Laise speaks out against Communion in the hand
Modernist and Protestant revolutionaries were behind Communion in the hand
Fr. John Hardon speaks out against Communion in the hand
VIDEO: Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Communion in the Hand
Communion in the hand should be rejected
Re-thinking Communion in the hand
More reasons for rejecting Communion in the hand
Communion in the Hand: Documents and History (Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise)
The consecrated hands of a priest
Pope Benedict discourages Communion in the hand
Pope Benedict to Catholics: Kneel For Communion
VIDEO: Pope continues to support Kneeling to receive Holy Communion
VIDEO: New Vatican protocol for receiving Communion at Papal Masses
Vatican official: Church should reconsider Communion in the hand
Regarding Communion in the Hand, Fr. Greg Markey
Receptivity Fitting For The Lord, Fr. Roger J. Landry
of the Century
Miraculous Story of Bayside
Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Roses Shrine
Third Secret vision: She saw Pope Paul VI
Revised: August 30, 2018