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Thursday, September 11, 2008

First Responsibilities and Blessings

This coming Sunday Fr. Steve won't be able to serve our parish as he has to be somewhere else as a chaplain. So, Rich has been called into service earlier than we expected.

Fr. Steve consecrated extra wine and bread for our host this coming Sunday, and sent home the vessels and elements with us after church, with instructions on how to take care of them in our home. We've set up a spot with the vessels and elements that has a lit candle by it nearly 24 hours a day. It is supposed to be 24 hours a day, but we sometimes miss it at night, and relight the candle in the morning. Fr. Steve said that in our circumstances, it wouldn't be a problem if we didn't have the candle going all the time, but the reason it is supposed to be lit at all times is to indicate the presence of the living Lord.

Rich won't be delivering a sermon or saying a mass this Sunday, but he will be leading morning prayer for the congregation, and distributing the reserved sacrament. We are feeling the responsibility of this. Usually we have a hard time remembering to bring the half and half. Now, we are keeping track of the Body and Blood of our Lord. What if we break the holy vessels? Or forget to bring the elements to church?

I understand a little bit more about holy fear now. The readings in the Old Testament about people's reaction to being in the presence of the Lord make much more sense to me.

Our children have been so reverent about it. I have been touched and blessed to see it. They understand what the wine and the bread are, and have been taught to be reverent about holy things, so I'm not sure that I'm surprised, but it was so good to observe anyway. When we do our prayers I find them praying with their eyes on the host. They focus their attention to the blessed sacrament and have discussed the significance of praying before the Lord in the Eucharist. We have adoration in our home at all times now.

Having the sacrament and that lit candle in the house has been a huge reminder to act and speak in a way that we would if we were face to face with our God. We have talked before about what our thoughts, words and deeds would be like if we were looking Jesus in the face, and how that should be what shapes them at all times, since God is omnipresent and omniscient. This is a material reminder of that. Here we have God using the physical and natural to present a spiritual and supernatural reality to us.

Even lighting the candle when it goes out has been sanctifying. I go to light it and say a prayer before the Lord, thanking Him for His presence, for His offering, for His sacrifice. I ask for strength to go about my work, for God's blessing on our home, family and church. I ask the God who brought forth light into the universe to bring light into our life as well.

The eucharist has been described by the Fathers as medicine for the soul and the antidote to sin. We are being blessed to experience that just in His presence in our home in such a tangible way this week.

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Speaking of half-n-half, we aren't going to be there to bring it....
As usual, your post has brought out the realistic side to human nature along with the awe of the responsibility. You will do fine. And all of us as people regardless of religion would do well to remember that we should always conduct ourselves in such a reverent manner. Unfortunately, G-d gave us free will and with it came the evil inclination. Lets just say I am having a hard time with that one. Perhaps I would do well to take lessons from your children.........

Thanks for an inspiring, but humorous blog!
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