The Watch

Maundy 2015The first appearance of our new monstrance, for the Sacrament on the Altar of Repose, on Maundy Thursday evening, 2nd April 2015. I am told there is a tradition in some towns of the faithful going from one darkened church to another between 9.00 p.m. and Midnight, after the Mass of the Last Supper, to pray for a while at the different decorated altars. If it does happen, it certainly does not (understandably) reach into the countryside.
This time of silent prayer, in the dark (and in our case cold as well) recalls the three ‘hours’ that Jesus spent in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, when he took three of his disciples and asked them ‘to watch and pray’. And each time they fell asleep.
Both Watch and Altar are a distinctive offering to God, but not to the modern taste. Of those who attended the Mass in the church itself, not a third even come to the Altar, let alone stay to pray. So all this work and decoration is not for those who come (flowers don’t look their best in candlelight anyway). It must, therefore, be for the Lord. An offering to Christ, as he prepares himself for the great battle with Death. A moment that seems reassuringly medieval in its elaborate simplicity. May he bless who all came and watched and prayed.
[Thanks to Paul for the photo]

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