I have a great concern, that fragments of the Host are trampled underfoot, as the reception of Holy Communion in the hand is really a terrible way in which to protect Christ. Fragments must remain in the palm of the hand, on the floor. Ask any priest, and he will tell you that after the distribution of Holy Communion, there are always lots of small fragments on the paten.
If an infinitesimal fragment of the Host flies off during distribution of Holy Communion, am I right in thinking that, Christ is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity even in the tiniest fragment?
Actually, you are incorrect. An infinitesimal particle cannot be the Body of Christ because it no longer has the appearance of bread. When the host breaks up in the stomach, it ceases to have the appearance of bread and is no longer the Body of Christ. I can’t tell you how many people with obsessive compulsive disorder (ocd), agonize over minute fragments of the host; worrying about possible airborne particles, etc.
Certainly, we don’t deliberately discard fragments that we can see. The priest is supposed to save them and consume them when he purifies the chalice. But he doesn’t worry about the ones he can’t see for the above reason.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.