The Blessed Sacrament, also Most Blessed Sacrament, is a devotional name to refer to the body and blood of Christ in the form of consecrated sacramental bread and wine at a celebration of the Eucharist. The term is used in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, as well as in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism,and the Old Catholic Church, as well as in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches. In the Byzantine Rite, the terms Holy Gifts and Divine Mysteries are used to refer to the consecrated elements. Christians in these traditions believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic elements of the bread and wine and some of them, therefore, practice Eucharistic reservation and adoration. This belief is based on interpretations of both scripture and sacred tradition. The Catholic belief has been defined by numerous ecumenical councils, including the Fourth Lateran Council and the Council of Trent, which is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which explains the meaning of transubstantiation ).
The largest Portuguese feast in the world is held in New Bedford, Massachusetts in honor of the Blessed Sacrament attracting over 100,000 visitors each year.
The Blessed Sacrament may be received by Catholics who have undergone First Holy Communion as part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during Mass. Catholics believe that the soul of the person receiving the Eucharist must be in a "state of grace" (i.e., not be in a state of mortal sin) at the time of reception;to receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is to commit sacrilege.
The Blessed Sacrament can also be exposed (displayed) on an altar in a monstrance. Rites involving the exposure of the Blessed Sacrament include Benediction and eucharistic adoration. According to Catholic theology, the host, after the Rite of Consecration, is no longer bread, but Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, who is transubstantiated in it. Catholics believe that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God prefigured in the Old Testament Passover. Unless the flesh of that Passover sacrificial lamb was consumed, the members of the household would not be saved from death. As the Passover was the Old Covenant, so the Eucharist became the New Covenant. (Matt 26:26-28), (Mark 14:22-24), (Luke 22: 19-20), and (John 6:48-58)
Reception of the Blessed Sacrament in the Anglican Communion and other Anglican jurisdictions varies by province. Formerly, Confirmation was generally required as a precondition to reception, but many provinces now allow all the baptised to partake as long as they are in good standing with the Church and have previously received First Communion.
Devotions to the Blessed Sacrament vary. Individuals will genuflect or bow in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which may be reserved in a tabernacle or aumbry on, behind, or near the altar. Its presence is usually indicated by a lamp suspended over or placed near the tabernacle or aumbry. Except among Anglo-Catholics, the use of a monstrance is rare. This is in keeping with the Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles that "the Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use Them." Nonetheless, many parishes do have services of devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, in which a ciborium is removed from the tabernacle or aumbry and hymns, prayers, psalms, and sentences of devotion are sung or read. In some parishes, when the Blessed Sacrament is moved from the tabernacle (from a high altar to a chapel altar, for instance), sanctus bells are rung and all who are present kneel.
In most Lutheran churches, a person must have had catechetical training prior to a First Communion (or have received Confirmation in the Lutheran Church) to receive the Eucharist. Recently, more liberal churches allow all who are baptized to receive it. Similar to the Anglican teaching, [ citation needed ]
The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church specifies, on days during which Holy Communion is celebrated, that "Upon entering the church let the communicants bow in prayer and in the spirit of prayer and meditation approach the Blessed Sacrament."
With respect to Methodist Eucharistic theology, the Catechism for the use of the people called Methodists states that, "[in the Eucharist] Jesus Christ is present with his worshipping people and gives himself to them as their Lord and Saviour".Methodist theology of this sacrament is reflected in a Eucharistic hymn written by one of the fathers of the movement, Charles Wesley:
Methodists practice an Open Table, in which all baptised Christians are invited to receive Holy Communion.
The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during a Passover meal, he commanded them to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the eucharistic celebration Christians remember Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross.
Mass is the main Eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church, and in the Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches. The term is used in some Lutheran churches, as well as in some Anglican churches. The term is also used, on rare occasion, by other Protestant churches, such as in Methodism.
The epiclesis refers to the invocation of one or several gods. In ancient Greek religion, the epiclesis was the epithet used as the surname given to a deity in religious contexts. The term was borrowed into the Christian tradition, where it designates the part of the Anaphora by which the priest invokes the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic bread and wine in some Christian churches. In most Eastern Christian traditions, the Epiclesis comes after the Anamnesis ; in the Western Rite it usually precedes.
A benediction is a short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of worship service. It can also refer to a specific Christian religious service including the exposition of the eucharistic host in the monstrance and the blessing of the people with it.
The Feast of Corpus Christi, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is a Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Western Orthodox liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. Two months earlier, the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is observed on Maundy Thursday in a sombre atmosphere leading to Good Friday. The liturgy on that day also commemorates Christ's washing of the disciples' feet, the institution of the priesthood, and the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
A monstrance, also known as an ostensorium, is a vessel used in Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, High Church Lutheran and Anglican churches for the more convenient exhibition of some object of piety, such as the consecrated Eucharistic host during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is also used as reliquary for the public display of relics of some saints. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, while the word ostensorium came from the Latin word ostendere. Both terms, meaning "to show", are used for vessels intended for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, but ostensorium has only this meaning.
Eucharistic adoration is a Eucharistic practice in the Roman Catholic, Catholic and some Lutheran traditions, in which the Blessed Sacrament is adored by the faithful. This practice may occur either when the Eucharist is exposed, or when it is not publicly viewable because it is reserved in a place such as a church tabernacle.
For those Christian traditions which practice the rite known as Communion or Holy Communion, a tabernacle is a fixed, locked box in which the Eucharist is "reserved" (stored). A container for the same purpose, which is set directly into a wall, is called an aumbry.
A paten, or diskos, is a small plate, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharistic bread which is to be consecrated during the Mass. It is generally used during the liturgy itself, while the reserved sacrament are stored in the tabernacle in a ciborium.
Eucharistic discipline is the term applied to the regulations and practices associated with an individual preparing for the reception of the Eucharist. Different Christian traditions require varying degrees of preparation, which may include a period of fasting, prayer, repentance, and confession.
In Christianity, a Eucharistic miracle is any miracle involving the Eucharist. In the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Methodist, Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the fact that Christ is really made manifest in the Eucharist is deemed a Eucharistic miracle; however, this is to be distinguished from other manifestations of God. The Catholic Church distinguishes between divine revelation, such as the Eucharist, and private revelation, such as Eucharistic miracles. In general, reported Eucharistic miracles usually consist of unexplainable phenomena such as consecrated Hosts visibly transforming into myocardium tissue, being preserved for extremely long stretches of time, surviving being thrown into fire, bleeding, or even sustaining people for decades.
Eucharistic theology is a branch of Christian theology which treats doctrines concerning the Holy Eucharist, also commonly known as the Lord's Supper. It exists exclusively in Christianity and related religions, as others generally do not contain a Eucharistic ceremony.
In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism, Methodism and Anglicanism, an altar bell is typically a small hand-held bell or set of bells. The primary reason for the use of such bells is to create a joyful noise to the Lord as a way to give thanks for the miracle taking place atop the altar. An ancillary function of the bells is to focus the attention of those attending the Mass that a supernatural event is taking place on the altar. Such bells are also commonly referred to as the Mass bell, sacring bell, Sacryn bell, saints' bell, sance-bell, or sanctus bell. and are kept on the credence table or some other convenient location within the chancel.
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, also called Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament or the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, is a devotional ceremony, celebrated especially in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in some other Christian traditions such as Anglo-Catholicism, whereby a bishop, priest, or a deacon blesses the congregation with the Eucharist at the end of a period of adoration.
During the Mass of the Faithful, the second part of the Mass, the elements of bread and wine are considered to have been changed into the veritable Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner in which this occurs is referred to by the term transubstantiation, a theory of St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran communions also believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the bread and wine, but they believe that the way in which this occurs must forever remain a sacred mystery. In many Christian churches some portion of the consecrated elements is set aside and reserved after the reception of Communion and referred to as the reserved sacrament. The reserved sacrament is usually stored in a tabernacle, a locked cabinet made of precious materials and usually located on, above, or near the high altar. In Western Christianity usually only the Host, from Latin: hostia, meaning "victim", is reserved, except where wine might be kept for the sick who cannot consume a host.
Anglican eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Its sources include prayer book rubrics, writings on sacramental theology by Anglican divines, and the regulations and orientations of ecclesiastical provinces. The principal source material is the Book of Common Prayer, specifically its eucharistic prayers and Article XXVIII of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article XXVIII comprises the foundational Anglican doctrinal statement about the Eucharist, although its interpretation varies among churches of the Anglican Communion and in different traditions of churchmanship such as Anglo-Catholicism and Evangelical Anglicanism.
Eucharist here refers to Holy Communion or the Body and Blood of Christ, which is consumed during the Catholic Mass or Eucharistic Celebration. "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood, ... a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'" As such, Eucharist is "an action of thanksgiving to God" derived from "the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God's works: creation, redemption, and sanctification."
In Eastern and Western Christian liturgical practice, the elevation is a ritual raising of the consecrated elements of bread and wine during the celebration of the Eucharist. The term is applied especially to that by which, in the Roman Rite of Mass, the Host and the Chalice are each shown to the people immediately after each is consecrated. The term may also refer to a piece of music played on the organ or sung at that point in the liturgy.
The Eucharist in the Lutheran Church refers to the liturgical commemoration of the Last Supper. Lutherans believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, affirming the doctrine of sacramental union, "in which the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, offered, and received with the bread and wine."
Spiritual communion is a Christian practice of desiring union with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. It is used as a preparation for Mass and by individuals who cannot receive Holy Communion.
Upon entering the church let the communicants bow in prayer and in the spirit of prayer and meditation approach the Blessed Sacrament.
Charles Wesley wrote a marvelous collection of hymns that offer an amazing vision of Christ's mysterious, yet real, presence in the bread and the wine. Here is a stanza from one of them: We need not now go up to Heaven, To bring the long sought Saviour down; Thou art to all already given, Thou dost e’en now Thy banquet crown: To every faithful soul appear, And show Thy real presence here!