July 30, 2007

Both dentists and priests see a lot of tongues.

That's what occurred to me this morning in a dentist's office.

In giving Holy Communion I see tongues in all shapes and sizes.

There's the one lady with a really narrow, pointed tongue. I'm always afraid that the host will fall off of her tongue when I give her communion.

There's a tongue I recognize, but I forget who it belongs to: very wide and blunt.

There are individuals who open their mouths to receive the Eucharist, but do not stick out their tongues. I have to stick it in between their upper and lower teeth if they don't open wide.

Some of those people who don't stick out their tongues open their mouths real wide, and tilt back, as if I'm supposed to drop Communion in. Makes me want to tell them:
Don't say, "Ahh."
Say, "Amen."
I'm not the dentist.

Then there's this one I call the "Snapper." Tongue stuck out well enough for me to place the Host without a problem. However, as soon as the Host meets her tongue, DOWN come her teeth. She hasn't bitten me yet, but I'm scared that one day she will.

One smiling matron has a tongue that is very long and curls upwards at the tip. If I'm not fast enough in withdrawing my fingers after I give her Communion, her tongue curls up and licks my fingers. On those rare occasions when I succeed in getting away without getting licked I want to say, "Yessss!"

Oh, and there's the big guy who likes to be in the front pew. He comes up, and before I can say, "The Body of Christ," he's already got his mouth open and his tongue stuck out. I place the host on his tongue, and then he says, "Awm-med," (instead of "Amen) because his mouth is full. Then I want to say, "Don't talk with your mouth full."


Blogger Esther said...

ha ha ha! Fr. S. I always wondered what priests thought about this.

1:06 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Father, this is soooo funny! I am going to e-mail it to my priest and ask him if I need to change my tongue habits? If I'm doing something wierd--it would be nice to know.

I always wondered what priests think of our tongues? Do we knock you over with our bad breath (I try to have a clean mouth for Jesus)? Would you rather we accept in our hands?

4:26 PM  
Blogger RobK said...

ROGL! A comedian! Very funny. :D

4:32 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Before I converted to Catholicism, I was Lutheran and at our confirmation - when we finally had Communion - our pastor went over the proper way to receive about three dozen times...so he wouldn't get bitten, or licked, or anything else.

As to the snapper...how many Hail Marys does one have to say if they accidentally bite a priest? I'm scared for your digits, too...she sounds downright dangerous. :-)

7:50 PM  
Blogger diana said...

I am always worried that I am not sticking my tongue out correctly at Father. And yes, I think I have accidentally licked him!!!

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Father, your post has exorcised some demons.

There are some of us who proceed towards receiving the Eucharist in severe emotional turmoil. On the tongue? In the hand? On the tongue? In the hand?

It's not just silly, but very distracting.

Now, because of your post, no such quandry for this OCD Catholic.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I find your post very funny, Father!

Being Eastern Orthodox, I can say that we get a spoon --- there's a lot of clever things that can go wrong with that, too! My priest at home yells at us (at the chalice!) if we close our mouth, so consequently I learned not to close my mouth: he does a flick thingy to get it in. Then I had a priest one time who didn't speak English and who I didn't know. He held the spoon in my mouth. I kept my mouth open. He held. I kept. Held. Kept. It took a while, but eventually he figured out I was not going to close my mouth, and he turned the spoon over...

BTW, in our community, our priest is strict about fasting: nothing in your mouth before you receive, including brushing your teeth. Do you get this in the RC tradition? Does the priest have to deal with a lot of bad breath?


9:11 PM  
Anonymous Jeron said...

99.9% of the time I receive in the hand. That 0.1% happened 2 Sundays ago when I thought I'd try receiving on the tongue for the first time since 2nd grade. It was just as I thought: the Eucharistic Minister's finger hit my tongue (or I hit his fingers with my tongue). I was so embarrassed (and not a little grossed out). If I ever receive by the tongue again, I'll make sure I go to the priest instead.

6:01 AM  
Blogger beez said...

You know, Father, you're droll sense of humor is showing, and it's rather delightful.

This is one of those concepts that most people simply don't consider, the logistics of distributing communion.

3:45 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

My husband and I are both Eucharistic Ministers in our parish. One day after mass, my husband approached our pastor with a question that none of us had thought of before - when giving communion on the tongue to a person with a pierced tongue, do you put the Body of Christ in front of or behind the piercing? While we all got a chuckle out of the question, it appears that there is no real answer to the question. But at least it gave us a light moment after mass.

11:47 AM  

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