instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, June 21, 2004

Sacred housekeeping

If I'm thinking at all about the purification of the sacred vessels during Mass, odds are I'm thinking about ways it could be done a little faster. With due reverence, of course, but faster.

Yesterday, though, it occurred to me that the act of purifying the vessels -- of cleaning with water and a cloth the vessels that held the Body and Blood of Christ -- effects a tremendously important change in the vessels. Before they are washed, they are in contact with God Himself in a very particular way. Afterward, though, they are just objects; still sacred, still reserved for holy use, but no longer do they contain Christ's Real Presence. They go back into the sacristy until the next Mass.

The Real Presence has been transferred from these sacred vessels to the congregation, which a few minutes later is sent out into the world.