Weekend 491.0

“You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

(1) Beautiful prose from Eamon Duffy in The Stripping of the Altars:

“In this prayer the communicant greets Christ in the Sacrament as the ‘saving victim’ offered for them and for all humanity on the altar of the cross, and prays that the blood flowing from the side of the Crucified may wash away all their sins, so that they may be worthy to consume His body and blood. Pleading that Christ’s sufferings for humanity may be to them the means of mercy and protection and not of condemnation, the communicant asks for a renewal in heart and mind, so that the old Adam may die and the new life begin. And at a climax of the prayer this new life is seen as essentially communal, not individualistic.”

“That story was recorded to refute the impieties of the Lollards, and there is an evident preoccupation with the refutation of attacks on the sacramental teaching of the Church in much fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century writing about the power and pre-eminent sanctity of the Eucharist. In part this sprang from the audacity and strangeness of the Church’s Eucharistic faith, and the discrepancy it seemed to posit between perception and reality. Grace came by gazing on the Host: to see it was to be blessed. But what one saw was misleading, and Lollardy was only possible because the appearance of bread in the Host cloaked the divine reality which was the true source of blessing. The Host did not look like the thing it was.”

“Lollards frequently seem to have set out to shock and antagonize their neighbors by ridiculing not merely their beliefs, but the forms in which these beliefs found expression.”

“The veil was there precisely to function as a temporary ritual deprivation of the sight of the sacring. Its symbolic effectiveness derived from the fact that it obscured for a time something which was normally accessible; in the process it heightened the value of the spectacle it temporarily concealed.”

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