I have always found a lot of food for thought in contemplating hands: specifically, the hands of Christ. There are entire devotions devoted to the wounds of Christ, but for some reason, the hands of Christ have always fascinated me.
The hands that gave blessings, that washed feet, that healed the sick, and were willingly laid out on wood and pierced all because Jesus desired to obey His Father and, simply put, loved me – and you – so much.
They remind me much of the hands of an older woman; A grandmother that has given her life to serve her family. They are old and wrinkled. You will find evidence of scars, burns, bruises, and they aren’t really pretty anymore, but they also speak of a life of service.
Christ’s hands weren’t worn out over 80 years of being on this earth. The 33 years were enough, and the passion itself was the final evidence of his supreme love and life of service for poor sinners. If we lift our eyes off of this world and behold the pierced hands, the hands that are full of life, of healing, and see them dripping with blood, blood that has purchased our salvation – we begin to glimpse just how precious the hands of Jesus are.
In this same vein, the hands of those that are ordained are precious as well. In yesteryear, the faithful would kiss the hands of their Priest when they met. It wasn’t just the padre pio’s that have born the wounds of Christ visible, Catholics everywhere recognized just how special the gift of ordination was and what it truly meant. This sacrament was something that truly set these men apart spiritually and physically, and it had very real ramifications on how they were to be treated and reverenced.
I was reminded of all of this yesterday. We invited our Priest over for an afternoon of southern food (it is our duty to fatten them up you know…), but prior to our feasting, we were privileged to have Mass celebrated at our home. This wasn’t the first time. In fact, it has occurred several times, and we are always excited and honored that we are able to do this.
When you stop and consider what is going on – it is just such a special treat. Our Lord, Jesus, is shortly going to be in my home in a very real and visible way. My home is going to be a special place set apart for the Lord. The King is coming for a visit.
It is a grand and humbling thought. It is also such an exciting thought. While many people would think of this as the King is coming – rolling out the red carpet – extra cleaning – making sure everything is in perfect order – and this is a good thought and thing to do, my mind wasn’t really going in that direction.
I likened it to when Jesus went to visit His friends, Sts. Mary Magdalen, Martha and Lazurus. We honor our King, but we relish that this King is also our Particular Friend. Our Friend, our Saviour, our Favorite, our delight was soon to be amongst us and who brings Him: our Priest.
What a special privilege priest have; They bring Jesus with them. What great company priest have and what a joy it is that they can bring our beloved to us.
So what has all of this to do with hands?
Ever since the time I started attending a Latin Mass, I always have had younger kids. Most of my time at Mass has been spent making sure the kids are behaving. If you have younger ones, you know how difficult it is. “Don’t touch your sibling.” “Sit up straight.” “No, you can’t go to the bathroom.” “Stop squirming.” You get the idea…
Thankfully, I now have many older kids (who can also help with the younger ones), so I was almost left alone during Mass. I was able to observe the hands of our Priest during Mass – the very same hands that were bringing our best Friend to us to both see Him and to receive Him.
I have never served at Mass before – so this was the first time I was able to observe all of the rubrics up close. As I watched him go through the actions to confect the sacrament, I couldn’t help but envy him (in the best way). He holds power to bring Christ our Savior down – to hold Him physically in his hands and to give life to those that will receive Him.
What struck me the most was the particular care in which Christ is reverenced on the Altar by the Priest. I never knew just how much time and care was taken to make sure not one piece; not one small particle was left. The linen is scraped as if someone was looking for the only thing that would save his life. I have never seen such care in my life. Excessive? No, not in the least.
This speaks to what our Holy Mother the Church has decreed about Christ being truly present on the Altar. Our Church has commanded her sons to not just be careful, but to treat it as if a life is at stake. The holy hands of our Priest are making sure that the King will not be left to be mistreated, to be abused, to be ignored and that a sacrilege can not occur.
Throughout the Mass, the highest respect, reverence, and care is called for by the rubrics to be sure that Christ is honored, and that those that aren’t Priest – the laity – know by the rubrics that we, as Catholics, believe in transubstantiation. This didn’t happen by accident. Our Holy Mother the Church has faithfully passed down the Mass since the beginning. Our Church has faithfully guarded the Mass so that the average person in the pew will always know that Christ is with us.
You see, only the Priest has this special gift. Only he can bring Christ to us. Through the gift of ordination, these hands are now different. They are set apart. They and they alone are fit and worthy to handle the most precious body and blood of Our Lord.
I recall a story that encouraged Archbishop Sheen to spend 1 hour each day before our Lord In Adoration, and I will include it below then draw this post to a close.
The narrative that follows is an adaptation of the English translation of an unnamed priest’s first-hand account of the events that happened during the Communist takeover in China (presumably around 1949.
When the Communists first came into town, the parish priest started to feel uneasy about his fate not knowing how the intruders would act. During each day that passed, he paid keen attention to every din or commotion that transpired outside the Church as he knelt in prayer inside. He was on edge expecting to be executed at any moment.
Just a day after the unwelcome band of soldiers arrived, someone paid him a visit. Thinking it was the police, he was struck with terror. Could this be his end? But contrary to his worst fears, the man at the door turned out to be cordial. As they conversed in Chinese, he was told to proceed with his daily routine. As they parted, his guest accepted a cigar, bowed and eventually left seemingly contented.
Days, weeks and months passed without any untoward incident. He would run into soldiers in the streets but they would only look at him with a straight, cold face but not without a dose of curiosity. Once, he felt perturbed when a certain inspector dropped by to see him.
Turning the tables
One beautiful summer’s day, just when things seemed to be settling down, the dreadful gang of communists finally descended on the town to turn things upside-down. Four soldiers and the inspector unceremoniously barged into the Priest’s school house.
The inspector announced to the shocked schoolchildren that sweeping and drastic changes would be implemented from then on. In one fell swoop, the fearsome commander and his cohorts began tearing down the crucifix, holy pictures, blackboards and statues from the walls and laid them on the desks.
In a stentorian voice, he barked orders at the terrified children to put the articles in a box and to take them to the toilet while he threatened them with his handgun. In spite of the harsh treatment, the children resisted but eventually complied reluctantly.
An icon of resistance
But deep back in the room, sat a little girl in her desk; unmoving, with hands folded, and lips tightly shut. As the inspector caught sight of her, he immediately rushed in her direction and shouted curses at her. Mad as hell, he threatened her, “Take this!” But the girl only looked down and hardly flinched thus sending the rest of the terrorized children to gawk with bated breath.
Amidst the ghastly silence, a shot rang out shattering glass and driving the children into tears and screams. The violent disturbance attracted curious townsfolk to gather in front of the school.
The inspector kept on shouting furiously. And yet the little girl remained silent, still frozen like a statue, a big tear rolling off her cheek. At the point of losing composure at the girl’s staunch yet quiet defiance, he turned his ire at the crowd and snapped, “Go find this girl’s father and bring the townspeople here in the church!”
Desecration of the Hosts
As the Church filled with people, the little girl’s father was ushered in with hands bound behind his back and placed to the right of the communion rail. Immediately, the girl was forcefully shoved into the communion rail.
The inspector spoke to the crowd and mocked the people’s belief in the Real Presence. And in a malicious and sarcastic tone, he announced that they were tricked into believing that God is present in the tabernacle. In fact, he told them he and his gang of soldiers would stamp on the Hosts with their boots to show nothing would happen.
Then the soldiers rushed on to the tabernacle and forced it opened with their revolvers. The tense crowd watched in silent disbelief. The inspector seized the ciborium, took the lid off and scattered the Hosts on the sanctuary floor.
Egging on his soldiers, he ordered them to go and step on the Hosts. And without hesitation they carried out the dastardly act. Not content with that, he taunted the crowd, “Do you still believe in those fairytales your priest told you?”
Turning to the child’s father he asked him if he still believed. No sooner did the father say yes did the inspector order him to be hauled away.
A non-commissioned officer then entered the scene who spoke with the inspector. They reached an agreement and the inspector submitted to higher authority. The crowd was told to disperse leaving the little girl alone in the communion rail.
The soldiers incarcerated the Priest in the Church’s coal bin where a small opening allowed him to see the area of the sanctuary where the Hosts lay strewn on the floor as well as the little girl who was leaning on the wall.
A beautiful lady
While peering through the opening, the Priest saw a lovely young woman clad in beautiful garments enter and smile. As she hugged her, she said, “Poor child!
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Poor little one, what have these men done to you? Come with me. Will you?” The child broke into sobs and sought comfort in the woman’s arm and they left.
Witnessing a marvel from his cell
As time went by, the Priest lost track of hours and days while imprisoned in the coal bin. He endured the stillness of the surroundings and at times he heard sounds he wasn’t used to. One morning, he heard the door open quietly. Through the little opening, the Priest saw the little Chinese girl sneaking ever so carefully into the sanctuary, kneeling and bowing in homage. As she lowered her head, she took a desecrated Host with her tongue. She raised her head, folded her hands, closed her eyes and prayed in silence. Several moments later, she arose and departed.
Every morning the Priest witnessed the uplifting scene that became a source of comfort inside the dark and somber environs of his makeshift prison cell. There he eagerly waited the break of dawn expecting to see the sweet, enchanting, little girl receive and adore the Host. Though it occurred many times, he couldn’t recall how often times she came to practice the soul-stirring daily ritual.
A Heroic Death
But alas, the day of final reckoning arrived. As the little heroine went through her daily pious exercise one morning; knees bent, hands folded and absorbed in deep prayer, the church door behind her burst open. Tumultuous screams stirred the air and a shot rang out.
As the Priest hurriedly looked through his peephole, he saw the pallid little girl crawl agonizingly along the floor as she reached a Host to receive Holy Communion. When the soldier drew near to check on her, she tried in vain to pull herself up and to fold her hands. Instead she fell on her back and hit her head on the floor with a thud. The little Chinese girl-martyr lay dead motionless on the floor. For a moment, the soldier stood hesitant not knowing what to make of his deed and its fatal outcome. Finally, he turned around and stormed out of the Church.
The moving yet harrowing scene left the Priest in a state of shock. While he pondered on that painful experience, his prison door opened and the same soldier went in to announce that he was free to go.
Without any hesitation, he scampered towards the sanctuary to see the lifeless little girl. As he knelt besides her, the soldier approached him and uttered, “Sir, if in every town there was such a little girl, no soldier would ever fight for the Communists!”
Fortunately, the Priest still had time to give the little martyr a decent burial. As he left the cemetery and walked along the road, a man approached and invited him into his car. He dropped him off at the border.
- HARRER, Karl Maria, Die schönsten Eucharistischen Wunder, Heft 1-5 (je 48 Seiten) Miriam Verlag, The Little Chinese Girl-Martyr of the Holy Eucharist
What a story – a true story of belief in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. What a story of love for Jesus, and I hope you noticed something. Even in that horrible environment, she refused to touch Our Lord with her hands. Such was the reverence, love, and devotion she had for our Lord she would only get on her knees and bow herself down to receive the Body of Our Lord with her tongue
Why did she do this? She believed, and she wanted to protect our Lord from abuse. Our Holy Mother The Church has shown her the way, and even in those dire circumstances, she didn’t dare to pretend she had right to touch the Lord with her hands.
This is the faith that was handed to us.
So why bring all of this up?
It is yet one more evidence that the novus order religion is not the Catholic Church. The Church can only bring us that which is Good. The Church can never – ever – approve of a rite that can lead us away from that which is Holy and God.
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The Church would never approve of a rite that devalues the sacrifice of the Mass. She would never approve of a rite that says the “priest is just a presider” and not make the central focus of the Mass the Emulation of Christ.
Our Faith, Our religion, Our Church has spent 2,000 years living and dying to protect the Mass, protecting Christ in the sacrament so that no matter what, no sacrilege could ever occur.
The novus ordo religion says I can receive Jesus in my hands. That is a lie from the pits of hell meant to send us to hell. If I can touch Jesus in the sacrament, if Priest aren’t special, then pretty soon no one believes in the real presence of Christ and that was the entire purpose of communion in the hands.
Look around at those in the Novus Ordo – as a whole – they don’t believe anymore.
The hands that bring us Jesus are special. They are ordained for that purpose. If I only had one reason for choosing the path that I have traveled and have accepted as true, namely, the sedevacantist position, this would have been enough right here.
Any person that claims to be a pope, bishop, or a priest that tells us that we can do this – you can know for certain it didn’t come from God, and they are heretics that are wolves in sheep’s clothing.