Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

This evening I attended the celebration of the Lord’s Supper in Glenstal Abbey.  One thing in particular draws me there on this particular evening — the singing of the Pange Lingua. That brings me back to my early days, and gives me a warm glow, and a sense of the endurance of the Gospel message.

Chanting the Gospel does nothing for me, I’m afraid;  I find it a distraction rather than a help, in listening to the reading. Homilies in Glenstal are usually a bit abstract for my liking, also. But the aspect of the ceremony that I did not understand was the use of Eucharistic Prayer No. ! in the new translation.  I presume they are highly intelligent men in that monastery, and surely they must know that the new translation of Eucharistic Prayer No. ! is dreadful. It does appalling violence to the English language;  not to mention what it does to theology.  So I cannot understand why they always use it on this night.

Apart from the language, the other things that irritated me about it was the idea that only some would be saved. We prayed that God would save us from eternal damnation and count us among the chosen.  I have long ago decided that I don’t want to be part of an elect, if it means that the rest of humanity is cast out. And of course we were told that His blood was only shed for many, not for everyone.

Come on, Glenstal liturgists, and give us a ceremony in a language that does not grate on us, and a theology that doesn’t sound quite so elitist. What about “the smell of the sheep” and all that!