Receiving the blood of Christ

I have a rather curious question, concerning the receiving the blood of Christ. I am from the old school, raised in catholic schools in Beirut, Lebanon. For a long period of time I was not involved much in the church until the last couple of years. I am proud to say that I brought Jesus Christ back into my heart and soul.

I seem to have trouble drinking the wine after receiving the Holy Eucharist. Even though the Eucharistic Ministers wipe the cup after someone had drunk from it, should that person have some kind of illness, the germs still exists and basically is passed on from one person to another. Why can't we just dip the Holy bread instead of drinking from the cup?

Personally, I simply don't receive it and for some reason, I don't feel fulfilled. Back in the old days, 35 years ago or so, the priest would dip the wafer and give it to the communicants. Please advise me. Thank you.
-- Theresa

Theresa, we asked ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion, STL to answer your question since he is more educated about the subject matter than we are and the following is what he said. -- Editor

"You bring up some very good points about receiving the Sacred Blood from the same cup. I too have some reservations about the practice and in many cases I too just pass.
Sometimes though, when the Sacred Host and the Sacred Blood distribution centers are not very far apart, I take the Host in my hand and slide over to the Cup and dip the Host and therefore have satisfied myself. I have been to some Eastern Churches and have seen that they distribute Communion with unleavened bread and use a small golden spoon for the purpose. That leaves me with the same reservations as I have for sipping from the same cup.

When the liturigical regulations first came out regarding the reception of Communion under both species, it was permitted to dip the host. After about a year or two, the regulations were changed and the dipping of the host was forbidden as a regular practice. That is why we now have what we have.

I frankly do not think that there is a satisfactory answer to this process. I have heard some rather challenging opinions about the situation. The strangest one being that "This is the Blood of Christ. You can't get sick from it." This is not a good reason to rely on. It is the Blood of Christ under the species of wine. The wine retains all its ingredients and all its material characteristics, so germs introduced into it by a common sipping would be just as dangerous to humans as if they had been ingested somewhere else. Notice that I haven't addressed the problem that I feel about the rim of the container being contaminated.

My greatest comfort comes from the knowledge that most people drink from common containers in their domestic lives and seem to be doing OK. That is what makes me approach the cup of the Sacred Blood if I am not too far down the line.

Finally, it is important to note that Holy Communion is whole and entire no matter how much of the consecrated species you ingest. Receiving under both species will always carry some negative aspects with it. Please do not feel left out or negative about your feelings concerning this part of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The real presence of Jesus is a powerful grace within us. Enjoy it and thank Him every day for the heavenly relationship that you maintain with Him.

You may receive further comments about this question and they may help you more than this one. "

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