Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Miss the Altar Rail
This is not the raving of some little old lady reminiscing about the good ol’ pre-Vatican II days.  I miss the altar rail from my youth: my not-that-many decades ago Lutheran youth.  It was something of a shock to come to the Church twenty some years ago prepared to receive the Body of the Lord, trans- rather than con- substantiated, and to find that it would be received with less, rather than more, reverence than the Lutherans show in their communion rite.  Reading yesterday’s piece on Deacon Greg Kandra’s The Deacon's Bench blog, reminded me of why. He speaks of our need for the external reminders of the transcendent experience of receiving Holy Communion and the need for the “act of utter and unabashed humility” that kneeling to receive Communion constitutes.  Not only has the Blessed Sacrament come to resemble a commodity that is doled out to a meandering crowd, but Kandra spells out in specific terms drawn from his experience as an EMHC and deacon why the current Communion practices are lacking in respect for the sacrament and doing little to bring a sense of the sacred to those who are in the presence of the angels around the altar of the Lord.  He articulates many of my same thoughts - only more beautifully and with more authority.

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