Why I no longer take communion and maybe you should not either

I have taken communion for years. I recall taking communion when I was a child. I recall how I took the bread and took the cup. As I matured in my faith practices I continued to take communion and it was one of the things that drew me to God and my neighbor. 

Then I attended St. Mary's University and was hired as an Ministerial Assistant. Some of my responsibilities included being a Eucharistic minister - that is one who assists in the distribution of communion. I often held the cup while the priest distributed the bread (hosts). While most people came forward for the bread, not as many took the cup. This gave me an opportunity to learn something that changed my world - my peers were trained to receive communion while I was trained to take communion. 

I saw how they came forward with their hands together, palms up and slightly elevated to their chest. It was amazing to see how as the bread (host) was placed in their hands there was an obvious sense of gratitude that came over many of them. With the bread in their hand and their eyes on the cross behind the priest, they would receive communion with eyes closed. 

Since those days in the early 2000's I no longer take communion, I receive it. I no longer reach out and take what is clearly a gift and something that I did not earn. I no longer grab for the bread with an underlying sense that if I don't take it then someone else will. 

This simple change in my posture toward communion has brought with it a deeper understanding and appreciation for the sacrament. While I have not arrived at the level of depth of my college peers those many years ago, I continue to dive deep into this sacred mystery, this holy gift, that we all are invited to receive.