Adore and then Partake
June 14, 2022
Saint Augustine (+430) says, “No one partakes of this Flesh before he or she has adored it.” This coming Sunday, Corpus Christi Sunday, before we partake, we shall adore Jesus in the Eucharist.
This feast day was established in 1264. In certain churches, so to honor Jesus in the Eucharist, following the Eucharistic celebration, there is a Eucharistic procession. In pondering this noble tradition, however, I found myself wondering about the order of service, the sequence and progression of the liturgy. And the question arose: how fitting is such a procession after the Mass, having been loved and empowered by Christ in Communion, and sent forth to carry Him into the world in the final “dismissal”? A procession of the Blessed Sacrament (which, by the way, can indeed be a compelling testimony to neighbors) is a time of honor of Christ in this gift. Does it make sense, however, to do this before or after receiving the gift?
For the second year in a row, as a prayerful “experiment”, we will have a time of honor of Christ in this gift before we partake. Instead of a procession, we will, essentially, extend the pause before receiving Communion, to enjoy the Real Presence and to ask that our hearts be readied for encounter. The consecrated host will be displayed in what we call a monstrance (from the Latin verb monstrare, “to show”). Then, we shall partake.
Yours in Christ,