Thursday, June 15, 2017

No More a Meal

By the end of the first millenium ordinary Christians no longer understood the Eucharist as a meal.  Mass had become for them an opportunity to gaze on the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated host.  The Mass had become the special preserve of the priest, something he did for the people while they looked on.  It was in Latin and the priest prayed it with his back to the people. 
In the 13th century the elevation of the consecrated host was introduced into the Mass and a separate ceremony which came to be called benediction developed.  Christians had come so far from thinking of the Eucharist as a meal that the Fourth Lateran Council in that century made it a law that people had to receive Communion at least once a year.  That was also the century in which the Feast of Corpus Christi was established.
Change was a long time in coming.

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