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Receiving Our Lord At Communion


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#1 tinytherese

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:37 PM

This was a topic we started to get into in on the last day of my faith development and formation class. I personally let the host dissolve in my mouth and then swallow. I do this because however many months ago I became nervous that when I chewed that particles from the host would get stuck to the roof of my teeth or possibly get in between my teeth. Phamily?

#2 TeresaBenedicta

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:03 PM

This was a topic we started to get into in on the last day of my faith development and formation class. I personally let the host dissolve in my mouth and then swallow. I do this because however many months ago I became nervous that when I chewed that particles from the host would get stuck to the roof of my teeth or possibly get in between my teeth. Phamily?


It depends. Hosts vary-- some are fresh, some are stale, some are softer, and some harder. I almost always break the Host in half with my tongue and then if it is fresh/soft enough, I allow it to dissolve and then swallow. But if it's not, I'll chew it.

I don't worry too much about the particles. I use my tongue to "clean up" as best as possible. But remember once the accidents are no longer recognizable as bread (or wine), then the Real Presence no longer remains.

#3 Brother Adam

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:12 PM

I am curious if the church has spoken on this at all. My understanding of John 6 calls us to gnaw/chew his flesh. If you allowed the host to dissolve in your mouth to where it is no longer the Eucharist, you would not be eating his flesh at all.

#4 CatherineM

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 07:25 PM

I'm a chewer, unless I get a stale one that sticks to the roof of my mouth, then I turn my tongue loose on it.

#5 Lilllabettt

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 07:53 PM

I think you would have to do some pretty hard core dissolving in your mouth for it not to be the Eucharist anymore. I heard a biologist give a talk where he said it can take up to 20 minutes after swallowing for the accidents of the Eucharist to be digested beyond recognition.

That gave me something to think about; made me want to stay put for a bit and make my Thanksgiving. Not real keen to go eat a cookie and yack with a friend if we both still have the Eucharist in us.

The point though is that I doubt you could do more digestion in your mouth than in your stomach ... I think "dissolvers" are safe that they are eating Jesus flesh/blood

#6 Lilllabettt

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:00 PM

Knowing Americans though, somebody has probably written to ask. I can just picture the eye-rolling that letter would get. We always want to know the rule so we can follow it. It would never occur to a European to ask if they can kneel to receive communion let alone how exactly to eat it. They just do as they please. A cultural difference I guess.

Edited by Lilllabettt, 20 December 2010 - 08:00 PM.


#7 Brother Adam

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:28 PM

I think it is more a reaction to the excess of abuse in the liturgy where people do just that - what ever they want, instead of keeping in the mind of the Church and thus Christ. It is not so much about legalism, but recognizing the theological significance and meaning of our actions. I also do not understand how chewing is irreverent or allowing the host to dissolve in your mouth is pious. If a piece of the host is stuck on the roof of your mouth or in your teeth, you are still doing as Christ asked - eating his flesh of the new covenant for the sake of salvation. I do not understand why that would be irreverent. It seems much ado about nothing.

#8 Lilllabettt

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:38 PM

I also do not understand how chewing is irreverent or allowing the host to dissolve in your mouth is pious.



Yeah. Its not like chewing the Eucharist hurts Jesus or something. He's not saying "ouch, teeth!"

The one thing is that when you think of somebody "gnawing" at something, you don't get a very pretty picture. Its not as "nice." But I haven't noticed any people chewing the Eucharist with their mouth open or anything like that.

I don't know what I do. I have no method. I just swallow somehow, thats all I know.

#9 Lilllabettt

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:44 PM

I think it is more a reaction to the excess of abuse in the liturgy where people do just that - what ever they want, instead of keeping in the mind of the Church and thus Christ. It is not so much about legalism, but recognizing the theological significance and meaning of our actions.



I get that. I think Americans have always been more interested in the rules though. Even pre Vatican II, the Americans wanted to kneel, sit stand whenever the missal said to. In other countries it wasn't like that, and it wasn't a rebellion thing. They just had a culture that wasn't interested in adhering so closely to regulation.

#10 MithLuin

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 12:30 PM

I think that sometimes first communicants have been instructed not to chew, just to emphasize how the host is really Jesus. So, if you were taught to sorta 'dissolve and swallow', there's no harm in receiving communion that way. And if you weren't taught any way in particular...well, so long as you consume the host, I don't see why it would matter precisely how....I mean, so long as one is reverent. I don't see chewing as being disrespectful, any more than eating the flesh of the Son of God is incredibly disrespectful in the first place. We wouldn't do it except that he explicitly commanded us to do so.

As for digestion....digestion begins in the mouth. An enzyme in your saliva begins breaking down starches into sugars. This is why something like a saltine cracker will just dissolve in your mouth before you swallow it, but a green bean doesn't. If you have some iodine, you can do a starch test to see the 'before' and 'after' of a cracker that is just mushed up with some water, and one that you have been chewing.

Anyway, I do not think that this level of digestion means that the host has ceased to be the host, or that by allowing saliva to contact the host you have somehow 'failed' in your attempt to consume the flesh of Jesus.

I know that I have a mind that loves to ponder minutia and details, but I have to remember the word's of my best friend's mom at times:

"On this salvation does not turn."

I don't mean the Eucharist! I mean....the nitpicky details of how one consumes it. It can be a warning against scrupulosity, or about losing sight of what is important in life. I am still working to understand 'This is Jesus' when I have the host in my mouth, even though I've been receiving communion regularly (sometimes even daily) since I was 7 years old. It's not unusual for me to plaster the host to the roof of my mouth and have to scrape it off with my tongue, but then, I can also manage to wash it down with the precious Blood sometimes. The main thing I do 'intentionally' is wait until I get back to my pew to swallow, because I feel less distracted when I am still than when I am walking.

#11 tinytherese

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 12:31 PM

Yeah. Its not like chewing the Eucharist hurts Jesus or something. He's not saying "ouch, teeth!"


One of my classmates stated that he didn't like the idea of "chewing on Jesus." I wasn't sure whether to laugh or not. This isn't cannibalism.

I was told that before Vatican II, everyone had it dissolve. my eighth grade english teacher told us that in her day, her teacher basically threatened her and the rest of her classmates if they ever dared to chew. I wonder what brought about these discipline changes.

#12 Archaeology cat

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 12:52 PM

I generally let the Host dissolve, but our pastor chews. :shrug:

#13 cmaD2006

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 04:38 PM

When I'm not playing music/singing I let the host dissolve. However since I do music at Mass I go up for communion with the eucharistic ministers, and start playing immediately afterwards. Hence, I chew and swallow quick :)

#14 fides quarens intellectum

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 04:54 PM

I am curious if the church has spoken on this at all. My understanding of John 6 calls us to gnaw/chew his flesh.


The gnawing is also how I've always seen it.

However, I know some cradle Catholics who were taught not to chew it, so for them, it can be distracting when they see a presiding priest chew the host. I've even heard one cradle Catholic say after Mass, "Hey! They're not supposed to chew the host!" Like you said, though, I wonder if Mother Church has spoken on it in the first place.

#15 Lisa

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 05:20 PM

I chew because in our church the eaucharistic minister with the Blood is only a few steps away- it doesn't dissolve in that amount of time.

#16 dominicansoul

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 06:13 PM

I don't think much about my method of eating the Eucharist... hahaha...I just keep my heart focused on Him, and He focuses on me :love:

#17 MissyP89

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 01:04 AM

If I'm playing piano, I let it dissolve because chewing would mess me up. :|
If I'm singing with music ministry, I chew and make my thanksgiving after Mass.
And if I'm at home, I wait until I get back to my seat and do some combination of both. I don't like it when I get the Eucharist stuck in my teeth.

Edited by MissyP89, 29 December 2010 - 01:04 AM.


#18 Lil Red

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 01:30 AM

i actually had to think about this, because i'm not usually conscious of what i'm doing at that moment. i usually chew right away.

#19 Cam42

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:54 AM

There is nothing prohibiting the Blessed Sacrament from being chewed. It is simply a matter of taste. How does one view himself, as one who looks as if he is chewing gum or cud or is he going to allow it to simply dissolve? The choice is up to the individual.

Personally, I never chew. I find that I meditate better on the reception of Holy Communion if I allow it to disolve. It isn't the most pleasant thing to me from a tactile point of view, but I offer it up.

However, the Church has no prohibition on this.

#20 rkwright

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 01:12 PM

There is nothing prohibiting the Blessed Sacrament from being chewed. It is simply a matter of taste. How does one view himself, as one who looks as if he is chewing gum or cud or is he going to allow it to simply dissolve? The choice is up to the individual.

Personally, I never chew. I find that I meditate better on the reception of Holy Communion if I allow it to disolve. It isn't the most pleasant thing to me from a tactile point of view, but I offer it up.

However, the Church has no prohibition on this.


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