Sunday, December 03, 2006

Didya know?

Did you know that at the elevation in pre-Reformation England, some of the faithful were known to call out, "'eave 'im 'igher!"
That would be, "Heave Him higher" so they could see the Sacred Host - and the priest better have held Him there a good while so they could adore.
That may explain why altar boys had to hold the chasuble, so the priest wouldn't tire under the weight of its embroiderie. Don'tchya know?
I like that.


  1. Having a deacon or server hold back the chasuble or cope so that the celebrant has more freedom of movement for his arm does seem to be one of the more useless small-t traditions in the Church.

    Maybe there were a lot of puny priests in olden days?

    I make a motion that we get rid of that one.

  2. It's not about being practical . . . it is a homely and lovely expression of engagement in the Mystery. The liturgy is all about the gloriously useless! The Bride of Christ cherishes those endearing "useless" actions by which even her smallest members can enter into the mystery of the covenant.

  3. Terry, you would think of that. It's an old expression that I also love! See, we are brothers.

  4. I never understood why they did that, I always stifle a giggle thinking that it looks as though they are "airing" the priest out or something. I know, I know, I should be more reverent and reflective. It's my horribly fallen nature that makes me think of those sinful things during Mass. Speaking of distractions during Mass...we have a lovely painting on our dome in our church and the filigree and decoration at the base of it reminds me of ovaries and fallopian tubes. Nobody likes it when I tell them that but I think it was an intentional thing the artists did (they were Ukranian icon painters) and I must be pretty tricky to have figured it out. Either that, or I'm just easily distracted.

  5. Laura - I wrote about imbedded images in religious art a week or so ago - so your dome may be painted that way - but probably not.
    I'm distracted when I'm at a so-called high mass and there is a horde of altar boys, deacons and priests with a very nervous MC directing everyone. Sometimes it's very funny. Try closing your eyes or keeping them downcast like Francis deSales would do. Of course, if you have kids you may open them to a surprise of your own - maybe keep them open. :)


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