Monday, November 26, 2012

A Gift Fit for a King

There are several ways to get people to pray for you after you’ve died, and even to get priests to pray for you at Mass.  One of the best, I learned back in the day when I was serving as secretary to Cardinal McCarrick.  In the Cardinal’s chapel, where I would frequently offer a private Mass, was a chalice with an inscription around the base, asking prayers for a man who had been killed in the battle of Jutland in World War I.  His name was therefore directly before my eyes when I would elevate the chalice for the consecration.  The other priest secretaries agreed with me that it was a most effective way to get prayers for him, since we all complied with the request at our Masses – we almost couldn’t help doing so!
I had this in mind when Margie Perez contacted me about making a memorial donation to the parish in memory of her mother, a longtime parishioner here.  She wanted to give something lasting and beautiful to the church her mom loved that would enhance it, and our worship here.  I was delighted to have the chance to let her know some things that we needed or could use, and what was available that would be suitable.  The gift she chose recently arrived.
Margie donated a new monstrance for our use in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  It is crafted in France in the 1950’s, so the style fits our church.  Made of sterling silver, gilt, it has hand-crafted enamels of the four evangelists surrounding the lunette that holds the consecrated host.  This fine antique sacred vessel needed some restoration and repair, and was re-gilded.  An inscription was places around five sides of the octagonal base, that reads: In loving memory-Please pray for-Evelyn E. Routt-Given by her daughter-Margie Routt Perez.  “Evelyn E. Routt” is centered where the priest will see it as he approaches the monstrance to raise it in benediction.
You will see the monstrance doing its work at Adoration, which because of the holiday this weekend, we moved to next Sunday evening, December 2 – as always, from six to ten.  This monstrance is a beautiful example of the device specifically designed to hold up the host, which is the body of Christ, and show Him to the worshipping faithful.  It is as if to prolong that moment in the Mass when, just after consecrating what had been bread, the priest raises aloft the incarnate Son of God for all to see.  No priest’s arms are strong enough to hold that posture for long enough, so beautiful vessels are made to give us the opportunity to behold and adore.
When the monstrance is on the altar, it will rest on a pedestal specifically made for the purpose, that has an appropriate name: a throne.  What better to accommodate Christ the King?
So when you kneel before the Lord revealed on our altar, offer a prayer for Evelyn Routt, and her family.  Please, in your charity, keep in your prayers all who have made votive offerings to make our church a suitable place for prayer and worship of the King who reigns from the Cross.  our church has many beautiful elements for which to thank them, and we should do so by praying for them.  It is the least we can do, if we hope for someone, someday, to pray for us.
Monsignor Smith

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