From the Rector: O Sacrament Most Holy

I have recently been asked a few times about the practice we have undertaken in the past year of repeating the devotional prayer to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament after the recessional hymn at Mass.

If you will recall, during the Jubilee year of Mercy, Bishop Wall asked us to begin on the Feast of Corpus Christi to recite 3 times the prayer:

O Sacrament Most Holy,
O Sacrament Divine,
all praise and all thanksgiving
be every moment Thine.

The Bishop’s reason for this was drawn from the Eucharistic instructions of the Church in fostering a healthy respect and reverence toward Our Lord truly present, Body and Blood Soul and Divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist reserved in our Cathedral in the Tabernacle.

I thought it would be a good idea to share with you the text of one of these Documents, EUCHARISTIAE SACRAMENTUM from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship.

Relationship Between Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass And The Eucharistic Celebration

The celebration of the eucharist is the center of the entire Christian life, both for the universal Church and for the local congregations of the Church. “The other sacraments, like every other ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the holy eucharist and have it as their end. For the eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth, that is, Christ himself. He is our Passover and living bread; through his flesh, made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he is bringing life to people and in this way inviting and leading them to offer themselves together with him, as well as their labors and all created things.”

“The celebration of the eucharist in the sacrifice of the Mass,” moreover, “is truly the origin and the purpose of the worship that is shown to the eucharist outside Mass.”Christ the Lord “is offered in the sacrifice of the Mass when he begins to be sacramentally present as the spiritual food of the faithful under the appearance of bread and wine”; “after the sacrifice has been offered . . . as long as the eucharist is reserved in churches and oratories, Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us.’ Day and night he is in our midst; full of grace and truth. he dwells among Us.” No one therefore may doubt “that all the faithful show this holy sacrament the veneration and adoration that is due to God himself, as has always been the practice recognized in the Catholic Church. Nor is the sacrament to be less the object of adoration on the grounds that it was instituted by Christ the Lord to be received as food.”

In order to give right direction and encouragement to devotion to the sacrament of the eucharist, the eucharistic mystery must be considered in all its fullness, both in the celebration of Mass and in the worship of the sacrament reserved after Mass in order to extend the grace of the sacrifice.

The holy eucharist is to be reserved in a solid tabernacle. It must be opaque and unbreakable. Ordinarily there should be only one tabernacle in a church; this may be placed on an altar or if not on an altar, at the discretion of the local Ordinary, in some other noble and properly ornamented part of the church. The key to the tabernacle where the eucharist is reserved must be kept most carefully by the priest in charge of the church or oratory or by a special minister who has received the faculty to give communion. The presence of the eucharist in the tabernacle is to be shown by a veil or in another suitable way determined by the competent authority. According to traditional usage, an oil lamp or lamp with a wax candle is to burn constantly near the tabernacle as a sign of the honor shown to the Lord.

Forms Of Worship Of The Eucharist

The eucharistic sacrifice is the source and culmination of the whole Christian life. Therefore devotion, both private and public, toward the eucharist even outside Mass that conforms to the norms laid down by lawful authority is strongly advocated. In structuring these devotional exercises account should be taken of the liturgical seasons so that they accord with the liturgy, are in some way derived from it, and lead the people back to it. When the faithful adore Christ present in the sacrament, they should remember that this presence derives from the sacrifice and has as its purpose both sacramental and spiritual communion.

Therefore, the devotion prompting the faithful to visit the blessed sacrament draws them into an ever deeper share in the paschal mystery and leads them to respond gratefully to the gift of him who through his humanity constantly pours divine life into the members of his Body. Abiding with Christ the Lord, they enjoy his intimate friendship and pour out their hearts before him for themselves and for those dear to them and they pray for the peace and salvation of the world. Offering their entire lives with Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit, they derive from this sublime colloquy an increase of faith, hope, and charity. Thus they foster those right dispositions that enable them with due devotion to celebrate the memorial of the Lord and receive frequently the bread given us by the Father.

Therefore, the faithful should strive to worship Christ the Lord in the blessed sacrament in a manner fitting in with their own way of life. Pastors should show the way by example and by word encourage their people. Prayer before Christ the Lord sacramentally present extends the union with Christ that the faithful have reached in communion. It renews the covenant that in turn moves them to maintain by the way they live what they have received through faith and the sacrament. They should strive to lead their whole lives in the strength of this heavenly food, as sharers in the death and resurrection of the Lord. All should be eager to do good works and to please God, so that they may seek to imbue the world with the Christian spirit and, in all things, even in the midst of human affairs, to become witnesses of Christ.

 

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