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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

Nothing can exceed the singular care that the Church always manifests in everything that concerns the Blessed Eucharist. We have spoken already of the minute directions she has given about the vessels in which it is kept—the chalice, the ciborium, the pyx, and the tabernacle; how clean and precious they must be, how they are to be touched, and who has the right to touch them; and then, again, the sacred linens, and the extraordinary care that must be taken of them in Mass and out of it. Every imaginable accident, too, that could happen to the Blessed Sacrament is provided for; and directions on this head of the most minute kind are printed in all the missals, in order that every priest may know what to do in each case. Should a Particle fall to the ground, for instance, it is ordered that the spot where it fell should be carefully marked by a strip of linen, and afterwards scraped and washed and the ablution thrown into the sacrarium. It was the consideration of all this care bestowed on the Blessed Sacrament by the Church, coupled with the magnificent and solemn grandeur of the ceremonies of Holy Mass, that drew from Frederick the Great that noble and magnanimous saying: “The Calvinists treat Almighty God as a servant; the Lutherans as an equal; the Catholics as a God” (Kozma, Liturg. Sacr. Cathol., Præfatio).

In Spain, whenever the Blessed Sacrament is borne through the streets on a sick-call, red curtains hang in all the principal windows, and the people fall on their knees at their doors until “His Majesty” (the common appellation in that country of the Blessed Sacrament) has passed by (Impressions of Spain, by Lady Herbert). At Seville the choir dance before the Host on the Feast of Corpus Christi, in imitation of David’s dancing before the Ark of the Covenant; and so exceedingly devout is this dance in all respects that persons who have witnessed it describe it as singularly touching. Lady Herbert tells us, on page 137, that no one could speak of the holy dance of Corpus Christi at Seville without emotion. Spain is pre-eminently the land of the Blessed Sacrament. It is by no means unusual to see in the streets of some of its principal cities little children cluster together in groups, and cry out one to another, as the Most Holy is borne to the sick, “Sale su Magestad”—“His Majesty is going out!”








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