Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Why Reserve the Reliquae?
The discussion continues unabated, and I am pleased to find that some even find it edifying. It started, I think, over a post I rather offhandedly made in late January, at Gottesdienst Online about my desire to return to the historic historic readings. This was quickly picked up at HistoricLectionary.com, and some folks offhandedly remarked that I was all about innovation. I replied, huh? It turned out that some were a bit uncomfortable about my use of the tabernacle, and so I pulled the discussion in here, at my own blog, first with this post, and then with this one. In all, I count 144 comments made on this matter, in the space of about half a month. As Venkman has noted, it's about as much writing as some M.Div. theses.
Fr. Skillman has recently provided a nice summary on the nature of the entire discussion:
"This and the last major post have constituted a great discussion. Would you agree?
"The questioners are usually thoughtful, kind, and direct. The answerers (yourself included, of course) are thought provoking. I still have some confusion on this subject, but I have been edified by the discussion.
"I trust no one here thinks that this is keeping them from their 'real ministry'. I believe that discussions such as these are part of the 'real ministry'.
"Anyway, what a wonderful discussion. Thanks to you, our host, and the other participants."
I agree, Fr. Skillman, and thank you, too.
Fr. Messer, I alao appreciate your fine impersonation of me in my brief absence yesterday; I am truly flattered. Thank you. And you are right, of course; I couldn't have said better myself what you said:
"Thanks much [to interlocutor Michael Francis] for clarifying your logic. I now understand where you are having trouble with Fr. Eckardt's practice, although I'm confused about your assertion that the only inference you can make regarding Fr. Eckardt's desire to always keep something in reserve is that he does so for the sake of adoration (so that he might always have something to which he might genuflect).
"The reason for my confusion here is because I thought he already gave answer to this above when he stated that he always keeps something in reserve in case an emergency arises and he needs to distribute the Sacrament. His answer was not, 'I always keep something in reserve so that I might have something to adore and something to which I might offer my genuflection'. Why, then, must the only inference at which you can arrive be that he always keeps something in reserve for adoration? It seems to me that another possible inference (indeed, even a solid conclusion) is that he always keeps something in reserve so that he might have the Body and Blood of Christ available for distribution. Thus, where you see a 'glaring contradiction', I see a faithful consistency in his practice.
"Nevertheless, I should probably bow out and allow Fr. Eckardt to speak for himself."
Fr. Messer, you saved me the trouble and time of figuring out how to say the same thing. Again, thanks.
Honestly I have been a bit mystified by Michael Francis' continual allegations that I am being evasive. Rev. McCain makes the same claim, of course. It's a clever ploy to say someone's being evasive rather than to say either that you don't understand what he's saying, or that you simply don't agree with it.
What's puzzling to some is the fact that Mr. Francis is calling me inconsistent because I said that if I were called out to an emergency on a Saturday night, and only one host remained, I would still break it in half and leave half behind. Now the practical answer to that should be self-evident. What if, on returning, say, at 11 p.m. and going home, I should be called out at 2 a.m. on yet another emergency? Responsible reservation dictates perpetual reservation, for this expressed reason: the nature of an emergency is that one never knows when it will happen.
In addition, however, this practice also prevents the awkwardness of having to indicate to parishioners arriving on a Sunday morning after an emergency in which the last host was used, that there happened to be no Sacrament in reserve today, so be sure not to genuflect, for if you did so, you'd be doing so accidentally. To which most would look quizzically and say, huh? Much easier, and more effective, to teach that the elements are in reserve, the eternal light is always lit, and therefore be advised that it is appropriate to genuflect when you enter.
But actually, I'm slightly amused by the allegation that I'm being evasive. Evasiveness implies sneakiness, or having something to hide. Let's see, what could I have to hide? The fact that I desire to adore the body of Christ? But clearly I am not hiding that desire! Would that all the world knew of it!
But no, it's not really that, is it. It's the thought that I would only consecrate them to adore them, even though I made it clear that I meant to consume them (or have them consumed) at some point after adoring them. I guess that would mean it's the thought that I would mainly want to adore them, even more than wanting to consume them.
Well, let's suppose, just for the sake of argument, that that were true.
Would that constitute abuse?
I trow not. For I suggest that someone whose main desire, even during communion, is to consume, more than to adore, is the one who's really being abusive. Consider St. Paul's problem with the Corinthians: "For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not."
For if we consume without adoration--by which we must mean at least some form of acknowledgment of the Incarnate One--we have certainly become guilty of abuse of the Sacrament: "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."
Now just so nobody gets all rankled, I am not accusing anyone here of taking things that far; but I am seeking to draw out some questioning threads so that we might venture to see where they may logically lead.