The Solemnity of The Body and Blood of Christ “Corpus Christi” – 3 June
Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God! What a Gift we celebrate today!
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the whole Christian life. The feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. It parallels the celebration on Holy Thursday in commemoration of the institution of this Aacrament. When the Eucharist is carried through the streets in solemn procession, the Christian people give public witness of their faith and devotion toward the Sacrament of the Eucharist
In 1246, Bishop Robert de Thorete of the Belgian diocese of Liège, at the suggestion of St Juliana of Mont Cornillon (also in Belgium), convened a synod and instituted the celebration of the feast.
From Liège, the celebration began to spread and, on 8 September 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the papal bull “Transiturus,” which established the Feast of Corpus Christi as a universal feast of the Church, to be celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday.
At the request of Pope Urban IV, St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church, composed the office, the official prayers of the Churc, for the feast. This office is widely considered one of the most beautiful in the traditional Roman Breviary and it is the source of the famous Eucharistic hymns Pange Lingua Gloriosi and Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.
The feast is also celebrated with a Eucharistic procession, in which the Sacred Host is carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies. There the Eucharistic Lord, held in the monstrance by the priest, is escorted by candles, canopies, incense, choirs, altar servers, and worshipers. The faithful venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by, with Benediction celebrated along the way.
The feast of Corpus Christi is one time when our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is exposed not just to faithful Catholics but to all the world. This is a time when Catholics can show their love for Christ in the Real Presence by honouring Him in a very public way. It is also a wonderful way in which we can show our love for our neighbors by bringing Our Lord and Savior closer to them. So many conversions are a result of Eucharistic Adoration experienced from inside the Church. How many more there would be if we could reach those who only drive by the church in worldly pursuits.
“Corpus Christi reminds us first of all of this:, that being Christian means coming together from all parts of the world to be in the presence of the one Lord and to become one with him and in him.
The second constitutive aspect, is walking with the Lord. ,This is the reality manifested by the procession that we shall experience together after Holy Mass, almost as if it were naturally prolonged by moving behind the One who is the Way, the Journey. With the gift of Himself in the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus sets us free from our “paralyses”, He helps us up and enables us to “proceed “, that is, He makes us take a step ahead and then another step and thus sets us going with the power of the Bread of Life.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Corpus Christ 2008
Throughout our lives, if we were raised Catholic, we were taught reverence for the Eucharist. But “reverence” is not enough. Most Catholics reverence the Eucharist, meaning, we genuflect, kneel and treat the Sacred Host with respect. But it’s important to ponder a question in your heart. Do you believe the Eucharist is God Almighty, the Saviour of the world, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity? Do you believe deeply enough to have your heart moved with love and profound devotion every time you are before our divine Lord present before us under the veil of the Eucharist? When you kneel do you fall down prostrate in your heart, loving God with your whole being?
Perhaps this sounds like it’s a bit excessive. Perhaps simple reverence and respect is enough for you. But it’s not. Since the Eucharist is God Almighty, we must see Him there with the eyes of faith in our soul. We must profoundly adore Him as the angels do in Heaven. We must cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.” We must be moved to the deepest of worship as we enter into His divine presence.
Ponder the depth of your faith in the Eucharist today and strive to renew it, worshiping God as one who believes with your whole being.
I devoutly adore You, O hidden Deity, truly hidden beneath these appearances. My whole heart submits to You and in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely. Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgement of You but hearing suffices firmly to believe. Jesus, I trust in You.