Bishop Athanasius Schneider has recently published his second book on Eucharistic devotion in the hopes that it will foster greater reverence for the sacrament amongst the faithful of his diocese.
“It is necessary to give a good catechism on what the Eucharist is because we have to be aware of it. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman 'if you knew the gift of God,'” the bishop said in a Sept. 27 interview with CNA.
Bishop Schneider, whose most recent book “Corpus Christi - Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church” was published earlier this year, is the auxiliary bishop of Kazakhstan in Central Asia – a country whose religious population is roughly seventy percent Muslim, and thirty percent Christian.
During the interview, the bishop expressed the great need to be more reverent in the way that the Eucharist is treated, explaining that the aim of both of his books is to increase respect of the Sacrament, especially amongst the faithful in his diocese.
“If people only knew the greatness of the Eucharist. We have to stress its greatness in homilies and in catechism,” he said.
“When I recognize all the richness and deepness and divinity of the Eucharist of the Lamb of God, before whom the angels prostrate themselves in heaven – as we read in the Apocalypse – then I also have this spontaneous, natural desire to prostrate myself when I receive Him.”
The bishop voiced his perspective that the Eucharist ought to be received in the mouth only, explaining that the tradition of receiving the Host in one’s hand “never existed in the Church,” and was “was invented by Calvinists in the seventeenth century,” but was not present in the first centuries.
“There was communion received in the hand but in a totally different manner and I explain this in my second book (Corpus Christi).”
Referencing the lack of true devotion present in the attitudes of many in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop Schneider urged that “only when we try to cure this wound of the Eucharist, only then we will have a real and stable renewal of the Church. A springtime.”