What do You do with Your Hands at Mass, especially when you receive the Body of Christ? Does Body Language Tell it Like it is?

When I made my First Holy Communion, we were taught to fold our hands like a church steeple with hands together and fingers pointing upward to heaven. This, we were told, was the proper way to approach the altar when we were preparing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

Look around today as you walk up to receive Holy Communion. What are the others doing with their hands as they prepare to receive Jesus? Better yet, look down at your own hands. I have to admit that I no longer walk up to the altar with my fingers pointed up and hands together, but I do walk forward with my fingers knitted together in a prayerful position.

I have seen older children, who should know better, walking down the aisle swinging their arms. I wonder if they really know what is happening when they receive this sacrament. Do they just want to go there and drink a sip of wine? Do they understand that what they receive is truly the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus? From their body language, and it’s not just the little ones or the tweens or the teens, but many adults who show little reverence for this sacrament.
Children tend to model their behavior of their parents. They reflect the values with which they were raised.

Prayer is also the language of the body. Our body language at church reflects who we view the Eucharist. Think for a moment. Reflect on what we know about this sacrament.

Jesus, His entire Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is contained in the small host that the priest has consecrated in the Mass. This is our God in this piece of bread and in this cup of wine. Our God who created the universe! Our God who created us! This is why, at the consecration we say, “My Lord and My God!”

Begin with you. What do you do when you receive the Body and Blood of Christ? Look at your hands. They tell the story.