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29 May 2016
posted by Canon Dakin on 06-06-2016

If I were to ask you ‘What is the climax of the Mass?” what would you say?      I think you might choose the elevation of the sacred host and the chalice after the words of consecration, when there is a moment of silent adoration, broken only by the tinkling of the bell. I suppose, from the point of view of drama, that moment would be a natural choice. You might be surprised to know that for a thousand years there was no elevation in the Mass. The priest made no gesture whatever as he pronounced the words of consecration as just a paragraph like any other within the Eucharistic Prayer.  It was only after a character called Berengar in the 10th cent. was said to have queried the Real Presence, that the elevation was introduced upsetting the traditional balance in which the action of the Mass came to its climax in Communion when what had been brought to God at the offertory was received back transformed.        A complication was that by this time, for some mysterious reason, people by and large, had stopped coming to Holy Communion, so for them the moment of adoration at the elevation became the climax of the Mass. ‘Lift it higher, Sir Priest’, they would sometimes shout. Or they would try to bribe the priest to prolong the elevation.  This feast of Corpus Christi reflects the atmosphere of the time, the thirteenth cent., when adoration took the place of participation. Nowadays we have the best of both worlds. It seems so natural to us that Communion is our great moment of participation in the mystery of the Mass - our opening our hearts to greater intimacy with Our Lord in proportion to our readiness to share his love with others. We have to guard against being scatter-brained - always to be deepening our appreciation of the immense love that causes Him, our God, to share with us the reality of his personal presence. And that can be the fruit of our contemplation during a time of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.


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