Skip to comments.Eucharistic Adoration: The Early Years
Posted on 08/19/2006 5:34:16 AM PDT by NYer
Our belief in the real true presence in the Eucharist has a long history of dramatic events. The first apostles were shocked when Jesus gave them His Body and Blood at the Last Supper; many of His followers left Him because He preached the "reality of His Body and Blood as food and drink." (Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. The History of the Eucharist, Illinois: CMJ Associsates, Inc. 1997, p. 1). St. Paul reminded the Corinthians that the "tradition which I handed on to you came from the Lord Himself" (1 Cor 11:23-26). St. Ignatius of Antioch, before he was martyred, warned the Christians not to be taken in by the "Gnostics", who denied the Real Presence (Hardon, p.1). The impact of early heresies led to Eastern hermits reserving the Eucharist in their cells during the third century and even carrying It on their person over their hearts. A great diligence and reverence motivated them to protect and adore the Real Presence of Jesus at all costs. Bishops were known to send the Eucharist, in the second century, to other bishops as a pledge of unity of faith (Hardon, pp.1-2).
As monasteries changed from solitary to community life, the monks would carry the Eucharist with them, usually reserved in a small receptacle called a "chrismal" or worn around the neck in a little bag called "perula", a forerunner of our present day "pyx". This ensured that the hosts were ready for Communion and ensured its safety against robbers and desecration. By 325 A.D., the Eucharist began to be reserved in the churches of monasteries and convents. This made it available for the sick and dying. It was usually kept in a room off the sanctuary. By the 800's, the Blessed Sacrament was kept within the church itself, close to the altar. St Basil, who died in 379, is said to have divided the Eucharistic Bread into three parts when he celebrated Mass. One part he consumed, the second he gave to the monks, and the third he reserved in a golden dove above the altar.The Eastern monasteries led the West in reserving the Sacred Species in the tabernacle (Hardon, p.3).
Pope Gregory VII defended the doctrine of The Real True Presence in Europe around the year 1000. From the eleventh century on, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle became more prevalent in the Catholic Church. Archbishop LaFranc and St. Francis of Assisi championed devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. In the thirteenth century, the feast of Corpus Christi was instituted by Pope Urban IV who said: "Christ is with us in His own substance." (Hardon, p.6). He reminded the faithful of Christ's departing words: "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." (Matt 28:20).
We hope this sharing of the rich history of the Eucharist of the early Church will stir your heart, mind, and soul to be ever fervent and reverent of this sacred gift: Our Lord's True Body and Blood.
Maybe it is just me, however this image is not showing up.
If we REALLY, really believed it, (I think I do.) NO ONE would miss a single day of being able to see and actually consume his God, the God of all creation, our Maker. (I don't go to communion every day.)
If we REALLY, really believed it, how could we NOT go to communion every day? How can we SIN after doing so? (Ahem, I do so.)
Those are mysteries to me as well.
No, it's probably me. I have several stored image that I can see but are probably expired. Sorry about that.
There is so much we take for granted in life, especially the notion that I can put off until tomorrow what I should be doing today. Rather, our first thought on waking should be to thank God for this day and the fresh opportunity to do His work. Our last thoughts should be prayers of thankgiving and praise. There are no assurances that we will see tomorrow.
"Why do we live anxious, frustrated lives when the Source of Serenity waits to pour His peace into our hearts?
"Is our fiath in His Presence as real as His Presence is Real or is our faith a mere intellectual acceptance of a revelation someone told us was true? Is our Faith limited to knowledge or is it an experience that is a Faith vision?
"Do we really believe He is in the Eucharist or do we only hope it is true? And if we do believe, why are our Churches not full, our people on fire, our spirits more zealous and our love like God's love?"
Mother Angelica, from her booklet "To Leave and Yet - To Stay," 1977, p.4.
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at Thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth Himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.
On the cross Thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here Thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what Thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with Thy glory's sight. Amen.
Thank you for that post! His Catholic upbringing is so evident in the words of this prayer.