Restoring the Altar Rail & the Tabernacle
UPHOLDING THE SACRED
Pope John Paul II sought to bring the Church into a deeper sense of the sacred, especially in relation to the Eucharist. And there is much evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is striving for this as well. John Paul II said that the Eucharist “is the greatest gift in the order of grace…” (Dominicae Cenae, #12).
At the October 2005 Eucharistic Synod of Bishops in Rome, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, spoke for a change in the reception of Holy Communion in order to recover a sense of the sacred. He said that “Among the liturgical innovations produced in the Western world, two in particular tend to cloud the visible aspect of the Eucharist, especially as regards its centrality and sacredness: the removal of the tabernacle from the center and the distribution of communion in the hand…. Therefore, I humbly propose the following practical propositions: that the Holy See issue a universal regulation establishing the official way of receiving communion as being in the mouth and kneeling….” Cardinal Janis Pujats of Riga, Latvia, made similar comments.
As Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…. This is the bread that came down from heaven” (Jn. 6:53-56, 58). If the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ, should we not kneel in awe and worship when we receive it into our bodies? Christ gives us “bread from heaven having all sweetness within it.” Each one of us who receives this bread from Heaven becomes a living Tabernacle.
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