A Liturgical Know-Nothing That's how


A Liturgical Know-Nothing

That's how I think of myself. So long as Jesus is treated in a manner appropriate to Lord and King, I don't get too upset with the doodads and hangers on. Yes, I know there are arguments against holding hands during the "Our Father," against female altar servers, against kneeling or not kneeling, receiving on the tongue or not doing so--but most of that stuff is simply incidental to my participation in the Divine Presence. However, some things simply cross the line and today I saw one such.

After distributing communion the Priest and an extraordinary minister stood in the middle of the aisle and unceremoniously dumped Jesus from one serving vessel into a ciborium. I was shocked and aghast. What if they had spilled Him to the floor, if they had dropped the sacred vessels? What sense of the sacred does this convey to the congregation? Is this allowed? Is this appropriate?

I recalled my daily Masses in Northern Virginia, where the Stigmatine Priest had all sorts of special cloths and packages for the sacred vessels and the normal cloths that went with them. They took the cloth that commonly lays on the altar under the vessels that contain the Matter, and folded it carefully and placed it in a gold-embossed kind of cloth folder. Then they took a magnificent cloth-of-gold veil that the placed over the chalice--the folder was placed on the chalice and the two carried away with all due ceremony. In addition the priests spent a goodly amount of time cleaning the vessels. I had a distinct sense of the understanding of the sacred under these conditions. But what I witnessed this afternoon suggested the attitude of stock-brokers in Scrooge--a middle-of-the-street haggle.

Now, to be fair, this doesn't happen often--this is the first time I've seen it in two years. But it should not happen EVER. It seems to me that all due consideration and caution should be observed when handling the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of the Lord. I know that Jesus forgives this little slip-up, but I sometimes wonder if perhaps stricter observance to things that are not so critical might not make people more aware of the meaning of their actions. I'm sure I'm overreacting, but I was horrified, and I guess scandalized--particularly if I see fit now to comment upon it.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 8, 2003 4:58 PM.

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