Benediction is an amazingly simple and beautifully
proportioned act of worship. We begin by contemplating God's presence
in our midst. Then follows the actual sacramental blessing: the
priest makes the Sign of the Cross over us with the host enshrined
in the monstrance. Finally, we make our response in words of praise
The practice of reservation of the Blessed Sacrament
arose early in the history of the Church. People then began to gather
spontaneously to pray and worship in the very presence of Christ.
Later, because Christ's presence meant so much to them, they asked
that the host be exhibited in a monstrance (ornamental receptacle).
Still, later, prayers and songs were added, and the priest would
bless the people with the host enthroned in the monstrance.
The rite of Benediction is as follows: After an
opening Eucharistic hymn the celebrant removes the host from the
tabernacle, places in it the monstrance, and enthrones it on the
altar. After he incenses the host (an act of prayerful worship),
a period of silent contemplation or public prayer ensues. Following
the homily, a hymn such as "Down in Adoration Falling"
is sung. The celebrant then says or sings a prayer, blesses the
people with the host and then returns the Eucharist to the tabernacle.
Afterward the people say or sing an acclamation such as the Divine
Eucharistic Adoration Prayers
and Hymns (Polish/English/Latin)
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