“… perfecisti laudem…”

After I posted my request for good news, a reader sent this e-mail:

Reverend Father,

As regards both your request for good news and the recent discussion about ways of receiving Communion:

I teach Confirmation class at my parish, mostly using the Baltimore Catechism.

Today one of my best students, a terribly sweet 14-year-old girl, engaged me with 20 minutes of questions about the best way to receive Communion.  She asked about kneeling to receive and told me all about her distaste for unnecessary EMHCs, intinction by the laity, and the laxity of many children about their religion after they receive First Communion.  Perhaps her best quote: "I watch all those people receiving in their hands… I just think, what ARE you doing?

It struck me again how beautifully the Church’s traditional practices correspond to the universal, innate needs of our human nature.  She didn’t need any instruction from me to realize that these were the right things to do; in holy simplicity, she just got it.  Ex ore infantium perfecisti laudem.

Kid by kid, folks.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rob says:

    Funny how so many kids get it, while so many nuns of the 60s era do not.

  2. Al says:

    I think that you have to give a fair amount of credit to the parents. I certainly wouldn’t have been thinking about those kinds of things at 14, and didn’t really until I became involved in a good orthodox campus ministry at the University of Wisconsin.

  3. Dino says:

    Has she been reading Fr. Z?

  4. Kid by kid is a great motto!!

  5. Kevin says:

    “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4

  6. Sean Cleary says:

    Reading this gives me a lot of encouragement. I have a nine year old son (I’m 29) and he made his first communion last year. He, from the beginning, instinctively received on his tongue. He may have seen my wife receive on the tongue, as she always carried our brain injured child in her arms up with her. But i asked him about it, and he said it just feels right.

    I suppose we stand out a little in our Church — we go to a small town Church in Taiwan, where we live and work. In some ways, I feel that living outside the mainstream allows us to be more traditional.

    I was a little nervous that I was allowing my son to be rebellious by letting him to receiving on the tongue, but after the Motu, I see it in a different way.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. Thanks for the wonderful post.


  7. LCB says:

    Somebody get this kid a blog!

  8. raymond says:

    This is beautiful. Children ‘get it’ until they have it pounded out of them by DRE’s and liturgical experts and Catholic schools. I don’t want to bear bad news but did anyone see this? apparently the Holy Father’s string of 10 month, x thousands of kneeling communicants has been broken. Is this significant or just someone being sneaky?


  9. Marq says:

    That reminds me of a visit I made to a seminary a few weeks ago. A group of children had been spending the weekend at a nearby convent and they and some of the sisters came to the seminary for Mass. It is so hearthening to see more than one 10-year-old receive Communion on the tongue. It surprised me too: these were Dutch children at a Dutch Mass, and although Communion on the tongue is on the rise in my parish, it’s usually adults doing it.

  10. a catechist says:

    God bless her parents! And God bless the catechist who teaches her!

  11. irishgirl says:

    Yes, Father Z-‘out of the mouths of babes’ !

    Good for her!

  12. Schultz121 says:

    While I can only applaud this girl’s decision to receive by mouth, I have to also pray that she does not turn her good decision into an occasion to judge others. One thing we in the Christian East are taught regarding fasting is to keep our eyes on our own plates and not worry about what others are eating or not eating. I think that discipline works in this situation, as well. People who receive in the hand are not doing anything illicit.

    Note, I am NOT saying that this girl is judgmental, but that the danger is there. I know because I caught myself crossing the line in my youth.

  13. “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father Who is in secret: and thy Father Who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

  14. Danby says:

    Perhaps the proudest moment of my life came during a post-Mass all-parish “meeting” at which Father announced that we would henceforth be standing at the consecration. He asked for questions and my then 15-year-old daughter stood up and said “But Father, that’s when we are present at the Cross! Why would you stand in the presence the death of Our Lord, when you could kneel?” Father mocked her for being young and naive, made some noises about the importance and dignity of the congregation, and made a couple of meaningless non-sequiturs about Roman jurisprudence. My daughter said “But the Eucharist is the Crucified body of Our Lord.” Father again tried to change the subject to her youth and demanded to know who had put her up to attacking the priest (which I hadn’t and no-one had). Suddenly realization came into her eyes, and she asked in an astonished voice “You do believe in the Real Presence, don’t you Father? Don’t you?”

    The priest turned around and walked away. He refused then or ever to respond to that question.

    I never put it in her head to question the faith or orthodoxy of a priest, but she could see on her own that lack of reverence for the Sacrament was in this case a cover for lack of faith.

    She is now mother of three beautiful kids and still a Catholic. The priest involved had his faculties revoked, until he should renounce his (from the pulpit) endorsement of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail (the source of the DaVinci Code). He works as a Rent-A-Priest in New Mexico

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