Benediction and Veneration of the Holy Sacrament
The Benediction (blessing) and veneration (adoration) of the Holy Sacrament follows the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament , i.e., the placing of the consecrated Host in a monstrance set upon the altar. This is a practice of the ancient church and found to continue in the Roman, Lutheran, Eastern and Anglo-Catholic faiths and its beginnings can be traced back to 1215. In its origin, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is closely associated with the feast of Corpus Christi. But the inspiration of the devotion goes further back and antedates that festival.
In short, this service presents the Body of Christ in the real presence on the altar for a time of Holy fellowship between the creator and the created. It is Emanuel; “Christ with us”.
This is a time for deep mediation, reflection and prayer. It is a time to, “Be still and know that I am God”. It is a time to surrender our souls and bodies to the will of God in faith and love. It is a time for giving thanks for His blessings, love and mercy. It is a time to cast our burdens of fear, anxiety and hopelessness upon in Him and seek the gift of His Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and faith.
Many do not realize that the perpetual veneration of the Blessed Sacrament is in place all the time in our church. The Sacrament is retained in a ciborium in the tabernacle of the altar (hence the reason the red sanctuary lamp is always lighted). The Benediction of the Holy Sacrament is performed each time you come to the altar rail to receive the body and blood of Christ when the priest makes the sign of the cross over you with the host before giving it to you.
This office allows for a very personal time of fellowship with our Blessed Savior wherein we may pour our heart out to him in a time of need, worship or thanksgiving. “O come let us adore Him!”