When on the one hand, the Church is gearing up to beatify Carlo Acutis, who held the Holy Eucharist in great honour, on the other hand, we are disturbed by great confusion of whether we must receive the Holy Eucharist on hand or tongue. The Holy Eucharist Roman Catholics believe, is a sacrament that reminds us of the presence of the Lord. The sacred species must, therefore, be revered. At the Eucharistic celebration, during the consecration, with those divine words, the transubstantiation takes place and although one sees the bread and the wine, they transubstantiate into the precious body and blood of Christ. Most of the lay faithful experience a void as there is no provision to receive the Holy Communion during the coronavirus pandemic. Even if one attends the Holy Eucharistic celebration, one has to receive the sacred species on the hand. For some, it is easy to accept, but for others, it is not.
His Excellency Archbishop Athanasius Schneider in his interview on July 26, 2020, said that in the process of receiving the Holy Eucharist on hand many particles are lost. He was of the opinion that the Eucharist must be received on the tongue, this would save the particles being lost, and the faithful along with the priests and consecrated religious will revere the Eucharistic Lord. He agreed that even during the consecration and distribution a few particles are lost but we must take utmost care to save what we can.
In either of the cases, the particles are lost, whether one receives the sacred species on the tongue or the hand. But the decision to receive the Holy Eucharist in either which way must be left to the faithful according to Pope Paul VI. What matters while receiving the Communion is that one prepares oneself and one is ready to receive the Lord. The Lord that comes to make a dwelling in our hearts must be received with total love, reverence, devotion, and with the best of intention. In a country like India, in a warm climate, the fans run wild at the sanctuary, there is going to be a definite loss of particles. But we try our best to save them. We give a hundred percent to protect every particle of Christ because in each particle we believe that it is the entire Christ.
In the technologically booming age, we trust other gods like mobiles, smart phones, tablets, Ipads, and so on. But Carlo Acutis and his dedication to the Eucharistic Lord inspire us to trust and give the utmost veneration to the Lord present in the Communion. Carlo Acutis was born on May 3, 1991, in London to a devout family. His parents, friends, and relatives describe him to be a simple and loving human. Carlo Acutis loved the Lord that he employed his energies to proclaim Christ to the world. Carlo Acutis was a computer geek and therefore he started to prepare a database of the Eucharistic Miracles when he was just 11years old and tried to promote them on social media. He said, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of Heaven.” One can notice the innocence and care he had for Christ in his words.
He was declared Servant of God on October 14, 2014, by Pope Francis who considers him to be a real inspiration for the teens of the time. And on July 5, 2018, he was declared venerable. Despite one being an internet freak, one can still walk in the path that Jesus leads him or her. Carlo Acutis followed in the footsteps of Christ and therefore he is soon to be beatified on October 10, 2020. Carlo Acutis deep down within his heart said that he wants to be closer to Jesus. His plan has always been that, and therefore he researched and collected information of more than 136 Eucharistic miracles all over the world which are now contained in his website under the title, ‘Miracles List.’
Carlo Acutis felt that every human being comes into the world with a purpose and that is to become another Christ. He narrated that it is important to sit before the Lord and look at Him. To be guided and be surrounded by His presence all through. And that can be best known and felt in the Eucharistic Lord. Carlo Acutis sat infront of the tabernacle before and after the Eucharistic celebration. And we can agree for sure that he derived strength to bear all that came his way, as he suffered from M3 fulminant leukemia and rested eternally on October 12, 2006.
In a short life span, Carlo Acutis gave us a message that Jesus truly resides in the Eucharist. His presence is divine and that it must be honoured. We shouldn’t take it for granted. We must make ourselves worthy everyday. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). We have desecrated our bodies the temple of the Lord in varied ways. Let us try to rectify that and make ourselves authentic receptors of the Lord. And the Lord will bless us a He does always. May Carlo Acutis be our inspiration never to shy away from becoming holy everyday. Holy, more so, when we are all virtually active 24*7. May we continue to seek the Lord and understand His will for us in these testing times. Let us make ourselves worthy to receive the Lord post-pandemic.