At the Final Doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Host and chalice are elevated by the priest and deacon. “Called by some historians the ‘epoch-making liturgical development,’ the elevation of the Host in its present sense is first mentioned about the year 1200- although all the ancient liturgical writings, including the Apostolic Constitutions, had an elevation of the Blessed Sacrament just before Holy Communion so that the people could see the consecrated Host. The elevation immediately following the Consecration was adopted as a defense against the erroneous teachings of Peter Comestor and Peter the Chanter, who held that the bread was not changed into the Body of Christ at its Consecration, but only after the words of Consecration had been spoken over the wine also, at which point (in their opinion) both bread and wine were changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. To show that on the contrary, the bread was changed into the Body of Christ as soon as the words, ‘This is My Body,’ were pronounced, the consecrated Host was held up for the adoration of the people without waiting for the words of consecration to be spoken over the chalice. According to Thurston, during the Middle Ages the viewing of the Host at the elevation was judged by many people to be the most vital part of attendance at Mass- so much so, in fact, that if they had not seen the Blessed Sacrament some thought they had not properly heard Mass and therefore waited for another. Later, Pope Gregory X (1271-1276) ordered the elevation of the Host to be included in the Mass throughout the West. And on May 18, 1907, Pope St. Pius X granted an indulgence to the faithful who would look upon the elevated Host with piety, faith and love while praying, ‘My Lord and my God.'” (Eucharistic Miracles, Joan Carroll Cruz, TAN Books, 1987, pp. 275-276).
Hold Him Up.
Having gazed upon Him and received His Body and Blood, we go forth to enter a world that will consume the majority of our lives. But still, I wonder. In our encounters with Jesus, have we allowed this relationship to truly transform us? If so, have we not found that in entrusting our life to Him that we are changed? Furthermore, do we not marvel at the ways in which He has opened our eyes and ears in order that we may truly see and hear? And in the instance we have not, then I say, let us begin.
Hold Him Up.
This past week, I had the opportunity to vacation with my family along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Having taken a short break from “Great Lake” watching, we found ourselves at a nearby amusement park that contained a waterpark. Now while I admit that this was my first experience at such a water-filled place, I ventured there with the idea that it would allow me quality time to spend with my four year old daughter, Therese. While splashing about in the wave pool and out of protection for her (but what became joint fun for both of us), I would reflexively lift her high at the moment an imminent wave would “crash” upon us. Over and over, as I lifted her skyward, I found myself thanking the Lord for the gift of her life, and offering me the opportunity to share in it.
And so it is with each one of us. Every moment of our lives is filled with awe and wonder, if only we might truly appreciate it. And not just births, baptisms, and weddings. For sure, those are some of the great highlights of human life; but in reality, our each and every breathe should leave us pondering the goodness of the Lord. For in each one, a new reality beckons. Having formed a deepened friendship with the Lord, we begin to look differently at situations. Using an extreme example, some years ago a friend of mine suffered a sudden heart attack that nearly took his life. However, from that moment forward, his life changed. That which he formerly took for granted was suddenly appreciated. And so it is with you and me, as Jesus takes center stage in our lives. Each day, as our journey ensues; rather than leaving Him behind, let us take Him along with us, and truly…
Hold Him Up.
Yes, on the day of our baptism, we were called to hold Him up at all times; not just at Mass and certainly, not just when we are expected to. Rather, we are given a mission to hold Him high in all places and times in order that others may also experience His love. For if we believe that we are His eyes and ears, arms, hands, and legs, then it is our responsibility to hold Him up high to a world that desperately needs His counsel, forgiveness, and mercy.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s…
Hold Him Up!