Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Some Thoughts on Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

A friend of mine, who prefers to remain anonymous, shared some thoughts with me on Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

What a glorious, hope filled, and reassuring work this liturgy is. I have come to the opinion that benediction manifests most clearly the Catholic response to the solipsism of modernity.

What strikes me about Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament is that nobody has a right to it. The priest approaches with great care and preparation, and his contact with the host is limited through the use of the monstrance, his cope, and humeral veil. The congregation too receives Christ's blessing indiscriminately without the mediation of the priest, even though the priest is admittedly a crucial participant in the Benediction. These, I think, are uncommon attitudes in a Church which is too often carried away by priest-on-display clericalism and, conversely, an aggressive assumption of the privileges of the laity. At Benediction no one is privileged, save Christ Himself, the uncontested focal point of the rite.

Most of all, Benediction invites the faithful into a fuller understanding of faith. In an age that all too often substitutes 'assent' for 'faith', the rite of Benediction provides a severe rebuff.

For some discussion of an Anglican approach to this rite, please see Results of the Doctrine of the Real Presence

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