A 1977 article urging communion in the hand on the basis (inter alia) that it is “dignified” made me think about the dignity of the Eucharist.
I thought about how very dignified Peter must have felt as Jesus washed his feet, and how dignified Jesus must have felt as he washed Judas’ feet.
I thought about how very dignified Jesus must have felt as he was scourged within an inch of his life, and how dignified He must have felt as he was nailed to a cross for my sins and yours.
I thought about how dignified it is to have go back to God, time and again, and knock on the door of His forgiveness, sheepishly saying “… Lord … Yeah… It’s me again.”
I thought about how dignified it is to stand before a priest to whom we have confessed our sins and receive from him the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord.
And then I thought about how sad it is that people could be so wrapped up in their pride as to believe that we have an ounce of dignity to bring to the Eucharist, or that they should even aspire to having it in a sacrament that is quintessentially about humility. We should receive Him in humility, in awe at the incomprehensible mystery that God not only became man, not only allowed himself to be killed for our sake, but that He now offers us his body and blood under the species of lowly bread and wine. Before a God who knows us through and through, whither dignity?
Tell me any reason for receiving communion in the hand that you like, but please don’t tell yourself that it’s about dignity.