On the Blessed Blood

While researching materials for my presentation on the new Roman Missal, I found this quote from St Julian of Norwich which seems appropriate in the context of the Hermeneutic of Subtraction:

God has created bountiful waters on the earth for our use and our bodily comfort, out of the tender love he has for us. But it is more pleasing to him that we accept freely his blessed blood to wash us of our sins, for these is no drink that is made which it pleases him so well to give us; for it is so plentiful, and it is of our own nature.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to On the Blessed Blood

  1. Katherine says:

    I’m not a specialist on liturgy and sacraments. Would communion under both species have been the norm in Julian’s day (ca. 1400)?

  2. Todd says:

    No way. They even had to legislate an annual reception under the form of bread.

  3. Liam says:

    IIRC, reception under both forms died out in the West by about the end of the first millennium. Reception generally became so rare that, by the time of Lateran IV in 1215, Rome felt it needed to impose a requirement of annual reception at Easter (originally, this was a requirement to receive on Easter Sunday, then during the Easter Octave, then indults gradually expanded it to Eastertide, and in the USA the current indult (I believe it is still an indult, over 100 years old) runs from the First Sunday of Lent through Trinity Sunday (the latter being an interestingly rare survival from preconciliar practice). Before Pius X revolutionized sacramental practice a century ago, priests at many Masses would often not even need to descend to the altar rail to administer Communion because reception was so uncommon.

    • Liam says:

      PS: Canon 21 of the Fourth Lateran Council: “Text. All the faithful of both sexes shall after they have reached the age of discretion faithfully confess all their sins at least once a year to their own [i.e., parish] priest and perform to the best of their ability the penance imposed, receiving reverently at least at Easter the sacrament of the Eucharist, unless perchance at the advice of their own priest they may for a good reason abstain for a time from its reception; otherwise they shall be cut off from the Church during life and deprived of Christian burial in death. Wherefore, let this salutary decree be published frequently in the churches, that no one may find in the plea of ignorance a shadow of excuse. But if anyone for a good reason should wish to confess his sins to another priest, let him first seek and obtain permission from his own [i.e., parish] priest, since otherwise he [i.e., the other priest] cannot loose or bind him. Let the priest be discreet and cautious that he may pour wine and oil into the wounds of the one injured after the manner of a skillful physician, carefully inquiring into the circumstances of the sinner and the sin, from the nature of which he may understand what kind of advice to give and what remedy to apply, making use of different experiments to heal the sick one. But let him exercise the greatest precaution that he does not in any degree by word, sign, or any other manner make known the sinner, but should he need more prudent counsel, let him seek it cautiously without any mention of the person. He who dares to reveal a sin confided to him in the tribunal of penance, we decree that he be not only deposed from the sacerdotal office but also relegated to a monastery of strict observance to do penance for the remainder of his life.”

      The Dominicans and Franciscans were later given general faculties to hear confessions. But the norm was ideally confession to one’s pastor (originally, this would have occurred just before Lent (the origin of Shrovetide), with Lent being the time one did one’s penance) and then received communion from the pastor on Easter Sunday. In smaller villages, pastors might make rounds to ensure the flock complied…. When pastors denied communion to people without warrant at Easter, in late medieval England it was taken as a violation of their “rights”.

      I know this is a tangent, but it illustrates a context that still has residual influence even in our own day.

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