Tag Archives: Eucharist

When Precious Blood is Spilled

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This past Sunday, I attended Mass with my husband and 3-month old daughter as usual. And as usual, there were the reverent and irreverent parishioners, there were readings, there were songs, there was a homily, and there was a Consecration.

But unlike the usual Communion time, there was a commotion near the altar steps. At first I wondered if some poor elderly parishioner had fainted or if someone tripped down the steps. Indeed the latter might have happened, but it wasn’t the cause of the commotion:

An Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist had spilled Precious Blood. They quickly addressed the issue and moved on to completing the distribution of the Eucharist, but it certainly caused quite a stir.

So what do you do if you spill Precious Blood either on your clothing or on the floor?

I was curious as to the answer to this, so I Googled. Though I couldn’t find the physical Canon Law on the matter in my admittedly brief search, I did find this, this, and this. I thought I would share, though I urge you to talk to your priest should you encounter these situations before acting on it to prevent improper handling.

Normally, when disposing of Precious Blood after Mass, the Precious Blood must be consumed (this happens at the altar by the priest after the distribution of the Eucharist is complete), and the chalice may be rinsed with clean water. This water may be poured directly onto the ground (some parishes have a special drain that specifically drains into the ground called a Sacrarium) but should never be poured down a normal drain (no element of Christ, or something who touched him, should ever reach a sewer). Under no circumstance is the Precious Blood to be poured down the Sacrarium, but the water that rinses the chalice after consumption can be, though, again by no means down a normal drain. The idea is that, though the water has touched residual Precious Blood, the amount of Blood left is so tiny that Christ is no longer truly present in it and is the reason why it can be discarded, with reverence, on the ground. The purificators are soaked in water, with the water discarded in the Sacrarium as well.

Should Precious Blood be spilled on the ground, purificators should be used to soak it up, and soaked as normal with the water discarded in the Sacrarium.

Most of us will never deal with this on our own if we are never Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist, and if you become an EM, you’ll almost assuredly be trained in how to handle such issues.

If Precious Blood spills on your clothing as a parishioner, one article I found has a priest who advised that soaking the article of clothing at your earliest convenience in a bowl of clean water to get as much of the Precious Blood out as possible and then taking that water and discarding it on the ground (again, not down a drain) before washing the clothing in a washing machine is sufficient.

I pray that no one reading this ever faces needing to handle spilled Precious Blood. Ideally we would have perfectly nimble hands and feet where there would be zero risk of this most grave issue, but obviously our fallen state includes unintended clumsiness, and it’s useful to know how you might proceed.

***As always, you should ask your priest before taking the advice from a blog should you encounter these issues, and it’s always a good idea to take the most conservative and reverential approach you can.***

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Commanded to Love Mary

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As Catholics, we wholly love our triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Every day  we attend mass we literally sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus, mystically united in time to the moment He gave His life for us on the cross.  Before the altar of the most Blessed Sacrament we are privileged to worship Him, thank Him, love Him, and depend on Him.  We are beside everyone that has ever attended the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, beside all of the angels, beside all of the saints, and beside everyone who was at the foot of His cross at Golgotha…  we are beside His Mother, Mary.

Jesus’s life was bookended with Mother Mary, she was present at His birth, and at His death.  Before God sent us our Savior, He first created the vessel by which that Savior would come.  Instead of celebrating Christmas each year, we could be celebrating the Descension of Jesus, or some other event by which God sent our Savior.  God’s plans are always perfect and always have more meaning than we can ever humanly fathom.  In all of His infinite wisdom and in His love for us, God included a mere human in His plan for our salvation.  Our Father gave Himself a human mother.

In the book of John it is recorded that during the Last Supper Jesus reminded his disciples, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” In fact, He mentioned keeping the commandments many times.  The first three commandments all deal with how we are to have a relationship with our Lord.  Then, surprisingly, the fourth commandment, listed before don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness… is to honor your father and mother.  This particular commandment is oddly out of place between the first three dictating proper worship of our Lord God and the latter six thou shall nots.  It must be important.

Jesus entrusts his mother to his disciple John.

We are commanded to honor our father and mother.  We are also called to follow Jesus as our example of Christian living.  Jesus lived a life perfectly without sin, He upheld every one of the ten commandments, daily.  He perfectly honored both His Father, our Lord God, and His Mother, Mary.  Isn’t it interesting that God created a commandment to honor our father and mother, then when He came down to Earth He provided Himself a mother which allowed Him to perfectly fulfill the fourth commandment?  In His plan for our salvation, God submitted Himself to honoring a human.  Jesus showed us how to perfectly follow the first commandment and all the while have the most perfect honor for His mother with the fourth commandment. At the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus performed His first miracle at the behest of Mother Mary (John 2), and while hanging on the cross He made sure not to expire before arranging proper care for her (John 19).  He did not shy away from loving His mother out of fear of offending His Father.  He did not ignore His mother or feel indifferent toward her.  Jesus was still submitting Himself to honoring His mother while dying to provide us eternal life, that is how important she is to Him.  He wholly and perfectly loves His mother out of His love for His Father.

So, how is your relationship with Mary?  Do you forget she’s even there?  Imagine a family in which, day after day, the children lovingly flock to the father while it is as if their adoring mother is not even in the room.  Imagine the pain God must feel when day after day we ignore or even actively reject the Mother He gave Himself, the Mother that He loves with a child-like love, the Mother that He commands us to love.  Your relationship with Mother Mary should be a proportionate indicator of your love for Our Father.

Don’t know how to begin a relationship with Our Lady?  Pray for God to assist you in beginning a relationship with His Mother.  Remember to talk with Mary at mass, as she is there beside you, at the foot of Her Son’s holy cross.  Ask for her prayers.  Ask her to pray for you to have a devotion to the Father like the devotion she is privileged to have.  Ask both Our Lady and Our Father for forgiveness for not including her in your life the way we are commanded to.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Please share about your relationship with Our Lord’s most blessed Mother!