Before the Most Holy (Coram Sanctissimo)
by Mary Loyola Mother Mary Loyola (9781406719611)

Before the Most Holy (Coram Sanctissimo)
Mary Loyola Mother Mary Loyola
Release Date: 01 October 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 188
Category: Church History
ISBN: 9781406719611
ISBN-10: 1406719617

PREFACE. THE custom of honouring the Eucharistic presence of Christ our Lord by paying quot quot Visits to the Blessed Sacrament may be quoted as one of the most conspicuous examples of development in the devotional practice of the Catholic Church. Down to the latter part of the Middle Ages such an usage seems to have been entirely unknown. As far as regards England, the late Father Bridgett, if I mistake not, says that in all the researches made by him while compiling his History of the Holy Eucharist in Great Britain he had not come across one clear example of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in pre-Reformation times. Even on the Continent the idea of any extra -liturgical cultus of the Blessed Eucharist seems to have grown up very tardily. There were many saints as late as the fifteenth century, say, for example, St. Frances of Rome, whose lives show no trace of such a con ception, though nothing could be more strongly emphasised than their devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Com munion. 1 It is remarkable to notice that even St. Ignatius Loyola, in the book of the Spiritual Exerci ses, when directing attention to the abiding presence of God with His creatures as a motive for awakening love, says not a word of the Blessed Sacrament. One must not, of course, press the negative 1 The earliest satisfactory example of visits to the Blessed Sacrament which I have so far come across occurs in the life of Blessed Maria de Malliaco A.D. 1331-1414, who, it is stated, bat in ecclesia coram corpore Christi quot. quot in festis solemnibus vigila- The story of St. Louis of France, who in a grievous storm placed himself on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament on ship-board, does not appearto me to belong to quite the same category, I should be grateful to any readers of this note who may be able to supply me with earlier instances. . Ix argument too far. No prudent man would infer in this latter case that the practice of visiting churches to commune with our Lord in the Tabernacle was unknown in the six but it is reasonable to teenth century, conclude that the uninterrupted Eucharistic presence of God with His people did not then play the same conspicuous part in the devotional life of the faithful that it does in our day. This late and gradual development of a devotion, which seems to us now so natural and so unmistakably involved in premises tha-t all men accepted, is certainly a remark able fact. Even to the present day the Greek Church, though its belief in transub- stantiation is no less explicit than our own, has never drawn the inference that our Lord has come in the Blessed Sacrament to be our companion and refuge as well as our food. It seems to have been part of the Divine dispensation, in this as in some other matters, to hold men s eyes that they should not know Him. Throughout the long centuries our forefathers seem to have regarded the Eucharistic presence as if Christ had wished to preserve His incognito while He dwelt amongst them, or as if He were sleeping as of old in the bark of Peter and would rebuke the want of faith of those who too importunately disturbed His repose. But surely we are right in thinking that if they so apprehended God s purpose in re maining on our altars, their appreciation of His boon was but inchoative and imperfect...

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