Some people are confused about whether to genuflect after receiving Holy Communion.
When you enter or leave your pew, you genuflect (bend the right knee all the way to touching the ground) to show your adoration for the Son of God who is present in the tabernacle.
Even if the tabernacle is in another place or room, I genuflect toward the crucifix at or on the altar since the Second Council of Nicea II of AD 787 (7th Ecumenical Council) teaches that the devotion we show to sacred images passes beyond the images to their prototypes (in this case from the crucifix to Christ Himself). It is perfectly orthodox to genuflect before a cross, crucifix, or image of Christ.
There is some confusion about whether to genuflect upon returning to your pew. The general custom is not to genuflect after receiving Holy Communion for devotional purposes. By not genuflecting you are confessing that you have become a filled tabernacle. The Holy Eucharist is in you. It’s not appropriate to genuflect in any direction because the Holy Eucharist is literally in your core. The orientation of worship is now interior.
There are stories of children genuflecting before their mothers coming back from the altar after just having received Holy Communion – which is beautiful and orthodox.
There is no official teaching, rule, or law (that I know of) about not genuflecting in the aisle after receiving Holy Communion, but the custom is not to genuflect – because Jesus the Lord is now inside you. You are a walking tabernacle.
Question: What do you do after Communion? Do you genuflect. Please share your thoughts or customs after Holy Communion. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
PS: A double genuflection (both knees) is called for when the Holy Eucharist is exposed for adoration.
PPS: It’s traditional custom to genuflect on the left knee for a bishop or dignitary.
PPPS: If you have a bad knee, do whatever you can. It’s the heart that matters.