After several heavy posts lately, I thought it might be time for a lighter and amusing one. This one I've been incubating for some time.
Of course I very much enjoy and appreciate being a minister of Holy Communion. I usually concentrate on the eyes and hands of the people, in which one can see the joys and griefs that make up the blessedness and the woundedness of the Body of Christ in the world. See more on that sort of thing in this old post.
Nevertheless, the communion procession is also a time when one observes the various little idiosyncrasies and funny habits that people have developed around receiving. In that bemused spirit--though not without a touch of horror--I present my top ten least favorite communicants:
The low-five. The hands are held low, even below the navel. Since I probably don't even see the hands in this position, I often get confused about how the communicant wants to receive. If I think I can get away with it, I sometimes 'go for the tongue' in a spirit of friendly correction. This one seems much more common among the young. Could it be shyness or self-consciousness?
The delayed reaction. This communicant wishes to receive in the hand, but only raises the hands to do so at the last second. Once you know who they are, it's fine, but if not it can produce collisions as hands are raised while I presume the intention to receive on the tongue. I don't know where this one comes from; artificial drama, perhaps?
The pincers. Thumb and forefinger are presented, ready to grab the Host when it is presented. Disrespectful and annoying!
The lips. Rather than receive on the tongue, this communicant wants to grab the host with their lips. Weird.
The teeth and tongue. Much like "The lips," but instead this communicant wants to grab the host between tongue and upper teeth. Not only weird but a little disconcerting. Don't bite me, Ma'am!
The re-fractioner. For some reason this person has to break the host in half before consuming it. I don't get it.
The overly polite. Either in place of or in addition to the standard "Amen," this communicant also has to say 'Thank you' or 'Thank you, Father," etc. Odd.
The sucker. After receiving in the hand, this communicant raises the hand and sucks the Host into the mouth. If you're going to do all that, why not just receive on the tongue already?
The hand licker. Same advice as above.
The kidnapper. This communicant, desiring to bring Holy Communion to someone who is sick or homebound, but also being shy or unwilling to ask a priest to do it or accept the public role of an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, tries to consume only some of the Host and then take the rest away. Usually highly indignant when caught, because of the basically good intention.