Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is the service in which Jesus Christ is adored in the consecrated Host exposed on the altar, and in which the priest blesses the faithful with the Sacred Host.
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament begins with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (i.e., consecrated Host) in a monstrance set upon the altar. The liturgy includes singing the ancient Latin hymns written by St Thomas Aquinas, O Salutaris Hostia and Tantum Ergo, followed by the benediction proper. The celebrant holds the monstrance wearing a humeral veil covering his shoulders, arms and hands, and then blesses the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament by tracing the sign of the cross with the monstrance held steadily upright before him. The liturgy concludes with the Divine Praises and Psalm 117 (LXX 116) "Laudate Dominum" with the antiphon, "Let us forever adore the Most Holy Sacrament."
A monstrance is a vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The monstrance is usually gold or silver and has an opening through which the Consecrated Host can be viewed. Benediction is often employed as a conclusion to other services, e.g. Vespers, Compline, the Stations of the Cross, etc., but it is also still more generally treated as a rite complete in itself. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is usually restricted for vessels used for hosts. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning "to show", and is cognate with the English word demonstrate, meaning "to show clearly". In Latin, the monstrance is known as an ostensorium (from ostendere, "to show").
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