- Posted March 1, 2014 by
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (for dummies): A look at the prayerful adoration of the Real Presence of Christ by the faithful
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is a centuries old tradition in the Catholic faith. It's a time of silent prayer in the presence of the Holy Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.
The Host, having been consecrated during Mass is kept in the tabernacle in a Lunette, a gold or silver trimmed glass receptacle. For Exposition, the Lunette is taken out of the tabernacle and placed in the Monstrance (Latin for to show or expose), a sacred vessel seemingly surrounded by rays of light. The Monstrance is located on the altar.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is held in the chapel, "a more intimate and practical" setting, says Monsignor Vincent Gartland, Pastor of the Church of Saint Ann in Lawrenceville, NJ. When asked what people have shared with him about their experience during Exposition, Gartland replied, "People have great insights, spiritual insights. It's a time when questions they have become clarified." He added it's, "an opportunity for prayer and reflection and deepen their relationship with The Lord."
Perpetual Exposition is not as common as Non-Perpetual Exposition among parishes. The former requires someone to be present with the Blessed Sacrament 24/7 and this is difficult to do on a regular basis.
Non-Perpetual Exposition began at his parish, says Gartland, "on 9/11 which was a Tuesday," the day it is currently held. "People were coming to church and so we just had Exposition and we just kept it up."
Prayer is all encompassing therefore anything can be brought before The Lord. For Gartland, Exposition is “a relaxing time. I don't try to get anything out of it. I go there to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament."
When asked what he'd like young people to know about this devotional practice, Gartland replied, "I'd like to tell them to try it. I think it would be a good thing." Having experienced this myself for the first time just a few years ago, I was moved. A feeling I never had before or since consumed my body. It was almost hard to breathe, as if the air was heavy.