To chew or not to chew?

At the Novus Ordo parishes I attend, people chew the eucharist after they receive it. Receiving Christ’s Blood must help it dissolve.

I go to a Traditional Latin Mass parish, and no one chews the host. I can’t seem to figure out what exactly they do.

Do you chew the eucharist? Do people really let it melt on their tongue, or are they just very discreet about chewing?

I heard both are ok so do what you are comfortable with. I don’t chew since the host sticks in my teeth, I would rather let it melt.

I was told to chew as the action is keeping in line with “eat”. Hope this helps. God Bless you.

I was told in RCIA to let it dissolve but read that it was wrong to do that.
So I let the host rest in my mouth until it’s soft enough to swallow whole, unless it gets stuck to the roof of my mouth which I don’t like :rolleyes:

Pardon me, but it is silly to think we should not “chew” the Eucharist.

First, the early Christians (and, today, the Eastern Catholic rites) used actual bread rather than the round wafers, and that one doesn’t dissolve on your tongue unless you chew it. Once you attended an Eastern Rite liturgy that gives Holy Communion under the species of an actual chunk of bread, you give up on the idea that it is somehow better to let the host dissolve on the tongue.

Second, the words that Christ used were very clear. The words of consecration are “Accipite et manducate”. The Latin “manducare” means eat, but also chew.

If this was dubious, consider the words that the Lord used in John 6:54,56-58: phago and trogo. The former means to consume. The latter to chew, which underscores the slow process of consuming a food.

Your ancestors ate (phago) manna and died, but whoever eats (trogo) this bread will live forever.

Christ intended to remark a difference between consuming the Manna and eating the Living Bread. To do so, he used the verb referring to chewing, because we chew that which is truly good to eat, and we take our time to savor it, and in fact we know today that chewing is the first step to digesting a food.

He never intended men to keep the host on their tongue until it dissolved, or to swallow it like a pill.

He has given us bread from heaven, having all sweetness within it. He wants us to consume it at ease, with appreciation, and to chew it with familiarity and tranquillity, slowly and peacefully, savoring it - o taste and see that the Lord is sweet!

Do whatever gives you peace, though. Either way it is fine. But chewing is ordinary.

It’s not so much letting it melt but rather just letting it soften as it soaks up saliva. Once it’s soft enough you can swallow it whole.

I typically go that route, although I will move it around my mouth to hasten the process some. It just feels wrong to chew it, and I don’t know why, no one ever told me as much and I know I would only be chewing the accidents. I suppose it is a general aversion to treating it the same way I would treat any other little wafer or cracker.

Same here. I let it go very soft and swallow. Sometime, if giving out the Blood of Christ, i chew a little as i need to be ready to say ‘Blood of Christ’.

I was told in RCIA to chew.

I was never told anything about it in RCIA, or by anyone else. I was just told to receive on the hand, because it’s the norm.

Personally, the idea of chewing the Eucharist reminds me too much of my beloved potato chips (among other things). The same goes for picking the Host up from my right hand using my left hand, to deliver it into my mouth. Anything that reminds me of secular activities - of which I’m not particularly proud - is a hindrance to me at Mass. Perhaps I need to have a holier view of life: that all things can be and are sanctified in Christ. There is no secular vs. sacred, for all may become sacred if we treat it as a creature of God.

I’ve generally taken to allowing the Host dissolve in my mouth. It’s dreadfully awkward to say “Amen” to “The Blood of Christ”, however, when the Body is still on your tongue. Equally so, it’s very awkward to have to chew the Host really fast before you get to the precious Blood! There are pros and cons. :wink:

I kind of fold it with my tongue because I canter and I have to sing with good annunciation immediately after recieving, and I find that if I chew, bits get stuck in my teeth and I’m afraid they’ll go flying into the hymnal.

Over here, people usualy don’t receve the Host in hand, and certanly not receve the Blood of Christ, but I always fealt that chewing the Eucharist was a lack of respect to Our Lord, specialy when you see people chewing hard and making a lot of noise! That’s why I normaly let it dissolve in my mouth and think of the sweetness of the Lord. And I agree with you: All things are holy when are sanctified in Christ, who lived as a man, and though that way, sanctified human life though His life and example, hense the “Imitation of Christ” being such a desirable way to live one’s life.

This is the sort of thing that I think that everyone should be taught over at Sunday School, specialy when custom and “norm” varies so much from place to place.

I chew. I was taught as a child by the good sisters not to chew. And forever had my Lord stuck to the roof of my mouth. (No precious blood given back then).
Now, after studying Koine Greek and having a more adult understanding, I chew.
Also, I find it helpful to remember what my professor/Spiritual Director said: “Christ is gloriously Risen from the dead AND fully present, but not in the least affected by our chewing”.

The Eucharist is the ordinary food for the soul of the Christian. It is the Bread of Life. We have no life in us without it. Just like our physical food is chewed and swallowed for the nourishment of our bodies, the Bread of Life is chewed and swallowed for the nourishment of our souls. There is nothing in the natural and God-given act of chewing our food that is unholy or disrespectful, unless we intend to make it so.

The Eucharist is not symbolic–it is real food and real drink, and it is what Christians are supposed to eat to have life in them. Jesus did not hold Himself back from us. He allowed Himself to be touched and loved by His unworthy creatures. He wants to be intimate and live in us. He shed His precious blood for us and suffered bodily harm and death for us. So why do we think chewing the Bread of Life is irreverent? Jesus intended us to feed on him as we feed on our bodily food.

That is how I see it. It is what Jesus wanted. It is in the Scriptures.

This topic comes up every so often.

In the Latin Church where unleavened hosts are the norm, prior to the 1970s or so, hosts tended to be made from very finely ground flour. Such hosts typically would “melt” in your mouth. In many places there was a pious tradition that people should not chew the host and many children were taught this when they were preparing for First Communion.

In fact this was never an actual teaching of the Church. Pious traditions taught to children and passed on to future generations have a way of becoming more ingrained than some of the actual rules of the Church.

In the 1970s and 1980s it became common for Churches to begin to use flour that milled from the entire kernel of the wheat. These hosts are often slightly larger and thicker too. These hosts do not melt in your mouth, (at least not quickly.) The reasons for these newer hosts are many. People were looking to use wheat that might be similar to what was commonly used for matzoh at the time of Jesus. The Church was often looking to Eastern Christian traditions to see if they could be adapted into the West. In common everyday life people were starting to view white bread as “bad”.

The introduction of these “chewier” hosts has pretty much resulted in a need to end the pious tradition of swallowing the host without chewing. (At least this is true for parishes that use the “chewy” hosts; some parishes still use the fine, all white flour hosts.) I don’t know this for a fact but I suspect the tradition of swallowing the host is stronger amongst those who traditionally attend the extraordinary form of the Mass.

As to why parishes tend to use the newer hosts and might actually teach the people to chew the host…

I think there is another other main reason: the emphasis on scripture that came about during the 1960s and 1970s.

Many priests, bishops, and teachers took Christ’s words to “take and eat” to heart. I remember hearing all kinds of sermons and bible study talks about how Christ used words that suggested actual mastication. In order to emphasize Christ’s words, I believe many parishes began using hosts that would pretty much force people to chew.

To me, as long as you at least receive the host i am sure it doesnt matter if it is chewed or not.

I learned how to accept communion during the Polish oplatek exchanges prior to First Communion. Though it should be the last thing on one’s mind, it seemed rude to chew it at the time in front of someone else so I guess such habits are formed early. But aside from mundacare, Greek, and that eerie feel of biting into a thin dry wafer, the main thing is why hurry the process when you can reflect upon what you have inside your mouth? Lots of people eat slowly, even if that means letting it rest on your tongue for as long as possible. That’s why I love hard bread. :slight_smile:

I don’t chew. The Host seems to dissolve (even without the Blood) well enough that there’s soon nothing left in my mouth.


I feel it’s abhorrent to chew but I only wanted to let people know lick the roof of your mouth and Christ’s Body won’t stick there after receiving

53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54 Whoever eatsa] my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

NABRE Footnotes:

*]6:54–58 Eats: the verb used in these verses is not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: “munch,” “gnaw.” This may be part of John’s emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus (cf. Jn 6:55), but the same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning “eat.”

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