Blessed Sacrament

Blessed Sacrament

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The Blessed Sacrament, or the Body and Blood of Christ, is a devotion
Catholic devotions
A Roman Catholic devotion is a gift of oneself, or one's activities to God. It is a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to serve God; either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts such as the adoration of God or the veneration of the saints or the Virgin Mary.Roman Catholic...

al name used in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Eastern Catholic Churches, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 churches, to refer to the Host after it has been consecrated in the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

 of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

. Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s in these traditions believe in the Real Presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic elements of the bread and wine and some of them, therefore, practice Eucharistic reservation and Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic Church, and in a few Anglican and Lutheran churches, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to and adored by the faithful....

. This belief is based on interpretations of biblical scripture and tradition. The Roman Catholic understanding is defined by numerous church councils including the Fourth Lateran Council
Fourth Council of the Lateran
The Fourth Council of the Lateran was convoked by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull of April 19, 1213, and the Council gathered at Rome's Lateran Palace beginning November 11, 1215. Due to the great length of time between the Council's convocation and meeting, many bishops had the opportunity...

 and the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 and is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 (which explains the meaning of Transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

).

Roman Catholicism


The Blessed Sacrament may be received by Catholics who have undergone the First Holy Communion (ie., given by a priest or other Minister of the Eucharist
Minister (Catholic Church)
In the Catholic Church the term minister enjoys a variety of usages. It most commonly refers to the person, whether lay or ordained, who is commissioned to perform some act on behalf of the Church...

 to a Catholic and consumed by the communicant) as part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during Mass. The soul of the person receiving the Eucharist should be in a "state of grace," i.e., have no mortal sin
Mortal sin
Mortal sins are in the theology of some, but not all Christian denominations wrongful acts that condemn a person to Hell after death. These sins are considered "mortal" because they constitute a rupture in a person's link to God's saving grace: the person's soul becomes "dead", not merely weakened...

 on their soul at the time of communion (Matt 5:23-24).

The Blessed Sacrament can also be exposed (displayed) on an altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 in a Monstrance
Monstrance
A monstrance is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is...

. Rites involving the exposure of the Blessed Sacrament include Benediction
Benediction
A benediction is a short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of worship service.-Judaism:...

 and Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic Church, and in a few Anglican and Lutheran churches, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to and adored by the faithful....

. According to Catholic theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, the host, after the Rite of Consecration, is no longer bread, but the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, who is transubstantiated
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

 in it. Catholics know that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

 prefigured in the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

. 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
Old Covenant
The Old Covenant was the name of the agreement which effected the union of Iceland and Norway. It is also known as Gissurarsáttmáli, named after Gissur Þorvaldsson, the Icelandic chieftain who worked to promote it. The name "Old Covenant", however, is probably due to historical confusion...

, so the Eucharist became the New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

. (Matt 26:26-28), (Mark 14:22-24), (Luke 22: 19-20), and (John 6:48-58)

Anglicanism



Reception of the Blessed Sacrament in the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 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
Genuflection
Genuflection , bending at least one knee to the ground, was from early times a gesture of deep respect for a superior. In 328 BC, Alexander the Great introduced into his court etiquette some form of genuflection already in use in Persia. In the Byzantine Empire even senators were required to...

 or bow in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which may be reserved in a tabernacle
Church tabernacle
A tabernacle is the fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is "reserved" . A less obvious container, set into the wall, is called an aumbry....

 or aumbry
Aumbry
In the Middle Ages an aumbry was a cabinet in the wall of a Christian church or in the sacristy which was used to store chalices and other vessels, as well as for the reserved sacrament, the consecrated elements from the Eucharist. This latter use was infrequent in pre-Reformation churches,...

 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
Monstrance
A monstrance is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is...

 is rare. This is in keeping with the Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 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
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a devotional ceremony celebrated within the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in some Anglican and Lutheran Churches, Liberal Catholic churches, Western Rite Orthodox churches, and Latinised Eastern Catholic Churches.Benediction of the...

, in which the 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 between tabernacles (say, from the High Altar to a chapel altar), sanctus bells are rung and all who are present kneel.

Lutheranism



In most Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 churches, a person must have had catechetical
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

 training prior to a First Communion
First Communion
The First Communion, or First Holy Communion, is a Catholic Church ceremony. It is the colloquial name for a person's first reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Catholics believe this event to be very important, as the Eucharist is one of the central focuses of the Catholic Church...

 (or have received Confirmation
Confirmation (Lutheran Church)
Confirmation in the Lutheran Church is a public profession of faith prepared for by long and careful instruction. In English, it is called "affirmation of baptism", and is a mature and public profession of the faith which "marks the completion of the congregation's program of confirmation...

 in the Lutheran Church) to receive the Eucharist. Recently, more liberal churches allow all who are baptized to received it. Similar to the Anglican teaching, Lutherans are also taught to genuflect
Genuflection
Genuflection , bending at least one knee to the ground, was from early times a gesture of deep respect for a superior. In 328 BC, Alexander the Great introduced into his court etiquette some form of genuflection already in use in Persia. In the Byzantine Empire even senators were required to...

 or bow in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which is normally located on an altar. In the Lutheran churches that still celebrate the Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi (feast)
Corpus Christi is a Latin Rite solemnity, now designated the solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ . It is also celebrated in some Anglican, Lutheran and Old Catholic Churches. Like Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of Christ the King, it does not commemorate a particular event in...

, like the Roman Catholic Church, a Monstrance
Monstrance
A monstrance is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is...

 is used to display the Blessed Sacrament during the Benediction
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a devotional ceremony celebrated within the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in some Anglican and Lutheran Churches, Liberal Catholic churches, Western Rite Orthodox churches, and Latinised Eastern Catholic Churches.Benediction of the...

.

Lutheranism has its roots mostly in German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 cultural area and therefore the terminology may often historically differ slightly from general English use. Therefore traditionally the English term "Blessed Sacrament" has been substituted by "Sacrament of the Altar", (lat. Sanctissimum Sacramentum Altaris) which is used in the same meaning in Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

. Later due to Reformed influence "The Sacrament of the Altar" has often been wrongly and misguidedly used as the term of the Eucharistic liturgy.

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