Reserved Sacrament

Liturgy We Live
By Dr. Gil Haas

Early Christians brought bread and wine to Eucharists in homes. Bishops chose portions to consecrate, and the poor received the remainder. This is recapitulated by our layperson’s oblations of bread and wine during the offertory. Until the Fourteenth century, the faithful stored the blessed sacrament in homes or on themselves to commune between masses. Hermits frequently did this since they often lived a great distance from the Christian community yet they desired daily Eucharist. Today, residual host can be consumed by the priest (ablutions), disposed on the ground, or reserved. Reserved sacrament is stored in a tabernacle (if part of the altar as at St. Paul’s), an aumbry (if built into a wall), or a pyx (if hung over an altar). An honorific sanctuary candle is lit nearby. Reserved sacrament can also be taken to the sick for Eucharist, used in a deacon’s Eucharist (if a priest is unavailable), reserved for Good Friday’s Mass of the Pre-sanctified, placed in a monstrance for the service of Benediction, or revered in private devotions. Curiously, the Anglican Articles of Religion (p 873, BCP) state, “...the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.”
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