Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Blessed Sacrament and the Relic of the True Cross
When kept in the church or sacristy, if it is not locked away, it should be veiled with red cloth, if it is not veiled those passing before it are supposed to genuflect to it. Interesting that the Vatican Treasury Museum which now exhibits the ancient newly restored relic pictured in the illustration does so in a room that is arranged for veneration, with kneelers and prayer cards are now given to visitors.
When exposed for public veneration the priest brings it to the altar with a humeral veil and uses a humeral veil when blesses the people with it as he would if it were the Blessed Sacrament.
The rite of Benediction with the Relic is more or less the same as with the Blessed Sacrament, admittedly we are supposed to genuflect to the Cross after its exposition on Good Friday but then the Rite goes back Jerusalem and the original Cross would have been the Relic of the True Cross.
The parallel between the Blessed Sacrament and the True Cross makes me wonder whether we actually are venerating is blood spattered wood of the Cross rather than the Cross itself. Is the assumption that every splinter of the Cross was covered with Christ's saving blood, the ancient hymns would suggest this, thus what in reality is being venerated is none other than the Blood of Christ. Thus there is a direct parallel in venerating the Blood of Christ with the Body of Christ, the Blessed Sacrament.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake