The great Roman Fabrizio sent Fr. John Zuhlsdorf a photo of Marines on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi at Mass. His commentary follows:
It’s so harrrrd to kneel for Holy Communion, especially if the air-conditioning isn’t working at the “Eucharistic gathering” during the diocesan “event”.
My first thought looking at these brave Marines was for the Angels who saw this happening and how they must have celebrated around the Throne. Admittedly we’re just human beings and everything we do for the Lord looks pathetic if compared to His Glory. And yet, I can’t think of many other things that must appeal to the Heart of Jesus as much as a man like that, in the middle of a veritable hell, possibly a few minutes from death, kneeling on the scorched ground of Mount Suribachi because that’s how you receive your Savior! The Holy Angels must have thought “maybe that’s why He loves them so much, why he said to them:
si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum...” [Though your sins be as scarlet ...]
I would like all Catholic men to just think of this picture every time they hear arguments against traditional reverence for the Sacred Species, every time when – looking to the presbyterium from the communion line – they notice one of those gorgeous, no longer used altar rails in some of those churches left to us by our forbears, in Rome or New York, Vienna or Montreal. And every time they happen to receive in a Church that has no altar rail at all because it was never there or was irresponsibly, impiously demolished, they should think of that Marine, and how we decided that in our “adult faith”, in our “meaningfulness” we could do without those “ritualistic trappings”. Well those guys couldn’t, in February ’45, atop Mount Suribachi.