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Benediction

2014 March 6
by Gordon Reid
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Having said I would blog every day of Lent, I had better try to do it! But I hope I don’t bore my readers. Feel free to skip entries. To make it easier, I think I’ll just put a picture up and  a few comments on it. Then the picture can speak for itself.

Today’s picture shows how simply the service of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament can be conducted. Of course, it can also be done with full choir, lots of servers, towering thrones for the monstrance, clouds of incense. And that is a beautiful service. But when this picture was taken, it was just one server and I in our St John’s chapel at the back of St Clement’s, with a tiny congregation. I used a very small monstrance, and the server hung the thurible on a stand to his right, for when he needed the incense. We sang the two Benediction hymns unaccompanied and had a short meditation in between them.

When I made the sign of the Cross with the monstrance, I was blessing not just the little group of parishioners present that evening, but also the whole parish spread around us. A church family must know that its priest is praying for them when they cannot pray themselves: I say Compline most evenings, and never say the last prayer in the singular, but say on behalf of all my flock “Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord our homes”.

No one loves grand, triumphalist services more than I, but there is a beauty in a quiet, hidden Benediction, Evensong or Mass that is  very special.

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