30 November 2007

A beautiful end to the week...

We celebrated a Latin Mass in honor of St. Andrew this morning, and the students gathered again this afternoon for Solemn Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. We have various teams of older boys to serve at these additional services, but even so, there’s a constant stream of boys popping into the sacristy beforehand asking, “Do you have enough servers?” It’s wonderful to see how eager they are to serve at the altar.

The whole school – faculty and students – all seem to love the Service of Evensong and Benediction. It makes a great “end of the day” on Feast Days, and the sound of young voices rising up before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a profoundly beautiful thing. After the Sacred Host has been placed in the monstrance and we’ve sung O Salutaris Hostia, everyone joins together with this devotion:

Jesus, my Lord and my God, Son of the living God and Son of the Virgin Mary, I believe that thou art here, and I adore thee. Behind the form of the Sacred Host I believe that thou art present, in all the perfection of thy Manhood and Divinity, and I adore thee. With the Angels of thy court, with thy holy Mother Mary, and with all thy Saints, I kneel in humble adoration. Jesus, my Lord, I thee adore. O make me love thee more and more. Amen.

At the Benediction itself the organ starts with its gentlest sounds, and the crescendo builds and builds, until the full organ is belting it out at the zenith of it all. Absolutely spine-tingling!

Then the voices join together in the sacred rhythm of the Divine Praises:

Blessed be God. Blessed be His holy Name. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. Blessed be the Name of Jesus. Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart. Blessed be His Most Precious Blood. Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Blessed be the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy. Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception. Blessed be her glorious Assumption. Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother. Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste Spouse. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.

On their way out, inevitably some of the little ones ask me, “Can we do that again?”