Sunday, June 17, 2012
I am not in favour of frequent Exposition
Sitting on our benches, or kneeling on our kneelers is a truly purgatorial experience, they really are uncomfortable even so many of our parishioners spent not only the night but many hours during the day in the Lord's presence. The faith of my people builds up and sharpens my own faith, in the same way as sometimes their faithlessness dulls or blunts my own. We need the example of one another, it builds us up and gives us courage.
Normally we can't afford flowers but a disabled lady living on a state pension and nothing else gave a hundred pounds for them and another hundred towards candles. We also sold candles at £2 apiece for the last month and encouraged people to put small labels on them for people's intentions, it helped to build up a sense that something was happening, they formed a wall of light raked on the gradine and the of profit on them paid in large part for the candles, on the altar.
I was I am truly edified by the faith and beauty of what we did, for the most part we allowed God to speak in silence.
That being said I am not in favour of the current trend for frequent Exposition, it seems to encourage a type of receptionism and undermine the fact that Lord is truly present and able to be adored when reserved in the tabernacle. I think there is a real danger in promoting a piety that says that he can only be adored or treated with reverence when he is exposed in the monstrance. In part I suspect this is result of the confusion after the Council about reservation in a side chapel. In many places diocesan bishops demanded the removal of the Blessed Sacrament to a side chapel, with the consequence that many even the basics of Eucharistic piety were not only lost but undermined.
Exposition and Benediction were traditionally high points, always involving putting out more candles, having servers, using incense, a priest wearing cope and for Benediction a humeral veil. The modern directory on Eucharistic Devotion seems to down play all these, having no more candles than at Mass, for example, and often the exposing and reposing is done by an extra-ordinary minister of Holy Communion, with no priest present, and even if one is present it is often done without Benediction. The problem is making something which should be done with as much solemnity as possible worker-day and prosaic.
I do appreciate the intentions of those who try to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament but starting with Exposition rather than the reception of Holy Communion and reverence to the reserved Blessed Sacrament seems to me a dangerous mistake.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake