Monday, April 14, 2008

Caring for the Fragments

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From the Curt Jester (Jeff Miller, FL):

When I read the late Fr. Richard W. Gilsdorf's Sign of the Times there was one thing mentioned in the book that really stood out for me and something that he repeated. While in seminary he learned the phrase "You can tell a good priest by how he cares for the fragments." While this is of course a generality in my own limited experience it is something I found to be true.

One of my favorite parts of the Mass is the purification of the sacred vessels. There is just so much to love in the Mass, but there is a special joy for me to watch a priest take the time and care when purifying the sacred vessels. When I watch a couple of priests that I know it seems to me that when they are doing this that it reminds me so much of Michelangelo's Pieta with Mary holding Jesus. There is such evident love and care in performing this seeming mundane action that it all the more brings to me the reality of Jesus being sacramentally present in the Holy Eucharist. The attention to detail to ensure that even the smallest fragment of Our Lord is treated with the reverence and worship our Lord deserves can say more than a dozen homilies on the Eucharist.

As I was heading into the direction of the Church one of the first doctrines that I believed in was the Eucharist. While I came to intellectually accept the reality of the Eucharist it was how the Eucharist was handled in what became my parish Church when I started attending Mass that I came to more fully believe. The use of Patens reinforced this reality to me that care must be taken to ensure that the fragments must not fall to the floor and way the priest would look at the host and into the chalice after the consecration in an obvious act of adoration also helped me to adore Jesus with them. . . .

"Lord, I am not worthy that thou should come under my roof but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed." Read it all here.

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