Part of the devotional ''development'' outside the Orthodox tradition in the West was the development of a cult of the reserved Sacrament. Anciently in the West the Blessed Sacrament was only reserved (usually kept in private houses, as can be gleaned from St Bede's account of the man Caedmon, who on his deathbed, asked the pious family if they had the Eucharist in the house) for Viaticum and the Communion of the Sick. This ancient praxis seems more apposite to the very nature of the Blessed Sacrament to me than the modern, untraditional, devotional development. From this development we got ''Benediction'', the Feast of Corpus Christi and many other things alien to the Early Church (and to the more traditional Orthodox Church). I wonder: are such developments a good thing? We must remember that while the Blessed Sacrament is truly and objectively the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord under the appearance of Bread and Wine - Our Lord instituted the Blessed Sacrament fundamentally as a food for the life of Men, the very Bread of Life (Cormas, or ''life-bread'', as Tolkien dubbed the Waybread of the Elves in Quenya). Therefore, it seems rather strange to me that such practices as ''Benediction'' of the Blessed Sacrament, people going into church to pray before the Tabernacle (whereas anciently they prayed before the Altar, where Heaven and Earth come together in the Eucharistic Liturgy), or even the Blessed Sacrament ''exposed'', and Corpus Christi processions. Like Medieval men gazing for minutes on end at the upheld Sacrament, going from side-Altar to side-Altar in the parish church (I actually felt rather irritated on behalf of that Lollard cleric who, in the middle of his preaching, was interrupted by the warning bell for an Elevation at another side Altar and his audience disappeared and go and see another Elevation!), it just seems ''superstitious'' to me, and a tad anti-liturgical. But this may be an extreme way of looking at it. Since we're more or less stuck with Benediction and the cult of the reserved Sacrament in the West, I would just try to curtail it as much as possible, rather than abolish it completely (although I would abolish the Sacred Heart without any qualms at all) - restrict Benediction to the Feast and Octave of Corpus Christi or something. What do my readers think? The Church building is not holy because of the reserved Sacrament - and banal, modernist ''churches'' (hideous sermon halls) cannot be made to feel holy, or even wholesome, because of the reserved Sacrament - but rather because it is a liturgical space where the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy occurs. At least this is the theory.
A friend of mine and I were discussing this recently, and she said to me: ''What was it the 39 Articles say? The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them...''
Quite. All this said, I am rather fond of Aquinas' Eucharistic hymns. My Latin teacher and I, whom I miss sorely, used to sing them.