Monday, 26 October 2009

Quarant' Ore and longing for heaven

I have had a lot of very positive feedback from people who came to the 40 Hours devotion in the parish. This has all confirmed my own enthusiasm for it and I am sure we will be able to do even better next year. The Mulier Fortis has posted more photos, some of which I have pasted in below.

The young people who stayed all through the second night had breakfast together in the Hall in the morning. The adult helpers deserve a pat on the back for their generosity too, in supervising and making sure that everyone was safe.

The next photo of the consecration at the Mass of Reposition is unusual in that Mass is celebrated coram sanctissimo. During this form of Mass, the priest does quite a bit more genuflecting than usual and does not at any time turn his back on the Blessed Sacrament. After Mass, I had the incongruous thought of the scene in "Gladiator" where the gladiators are told to face the emperor "AND DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON HIM". At the incensations, the priest goes to the bottom step and incenses the Blessed Sacrament while kneeling, at the time when he would normally incense the crucifix.

After Mass, the Litany of the Saints is sung, followed by a procession round the Church.

Finally, there is solemn Benediction and the Blessed Sacrament is reposed.

Several people said to me that they felt a tinge of sadness at the reposition after a long period of devotion and prayer. This is a very worthy sentiment and shows that the devotion had a good effect. Such occasions as these can create in us a longing for the eternal - the kind of desire that C.S. Lewis speaks of in Mere Christianity:
"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
To desire to remain in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is to desire heaven where we hope to be in the presence of God for all eternity, no longer seeing Him under the veil of signs and symbols in the earthly Liturgy, but with an immediate intuitive vision in the heavenly Liturgy. To long for heaven can help us to fear losing it by sin, and to pray more earnestly for the grace to persevere in the love of God.
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