Thursday, May 22, 2008

Feast of Corpus Christi

I invite all the visitors to this blog, to read this beautiful devotional meditation written by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, which may help us to understand better Our Lord's love and compassion for us, poor sinners that prompted Him to remain with us for ever in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

PRESENCE OF GOD: "The eternal tide flows hid in living bread. That with its heavenly life to be fed" (St John of the Cross 'Poems').

1. We have gone, step by step, in the course of the liturgical year, from the consideration of the mysteries of the life of Jesus to the contemplation of the Blessed Trinity, whose feast we celebrated last Sunday. Jesus, our Mediator, our Way, has taken us by the hand and led us to the Trinity; and today it seems as though the three Persons Themselves wish to take us back to Jesus, considered in His Eucharist. "No man cometh to the Father but by Me" (Jn 14:6), Jesus said, and He added, "No man can come to Me except the Father...draw him" (Jn 6:44). This is the journey of the Christian soul: from Jesus to the Father, to the Trinity; from the Trinity, from the Father, to Jesus. Jesus brings us to the Father, the Father draws us to Jesus A Christian cannot do without Christ; He is, in the strictest sense of the word, our Pontiff, the great Bridge-builder who has spanned the abyss between God and us. At the end of the liturgical cycle in which we commemorate the mysteries of the Savior, the Church, who like a good Mother knows that our spiritual life cannot subsist without Jesus, leads us to Him, really and truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. The solemnity of the Corpus Christ is not just the simple memorial of an historical event which took place almost two thousand years ago at the Last Supper; rather, it recalls us to the ever-present reality of Jesus always living in our midst. We can say, in truth, that He has not "left us orphans", but has willed to remain permanently with us, in the integrity of His Person in the fullness of His humanity and His divinity. "There is no other nation so great," the Divine Office enthusiastically sings, "as to have its gods so near as our God is present to us" (Roman Breviary). In the Eucharist, Jesus is really Emmanuel, God with us.

2. The Eucharist is not only Jesus actually living among us, but it is jesus become our Food. This is the chief aspect under which today's liturgy present the mystery to us; there is no part of the Mass which does not treat of it directly, or which does not, at least, make some allusion to it. The Introit refers to it when it mentions the wheat and honey with which God once fed the Hebrews in the desert, a miraculous food, and yet a very poor representation of the living, life-giving bread of the Eucharist. The Epistle (1 Cor 11: 23-39) speaks of it, recalling the institution of this Sacrament, when Jesus "took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said, 'Take ye, and eat; this is My Body'"; the Gradual chants, "The eyes of all hope in You, O Lord, and You give them meat in due season". The very beautiful Sequence, Lauda Sion, celebrates it at length, and the Gospel (Jn 6: 56-59), echoing the Alleluia, cites the most significant passage in the discourse when Jesus Himself announced the Eucharist, "My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed":

Listen to Benedictine Monks of Clervaux singing the Lauda Sion hymn in the fifties HERE More info and text of Lauda Sion in English and Latin HERE

The Communion Hymn repeats a sentence of the Epistle, and reminds us that we receive the Body of the Lord worthily. Finally, the Postcommunion tells us that Eucharistic Communion is the pledge of eternal communion, in heaven. But in order to have a better understanding of the immense value of the Eucharist, we must go back to the very words of Jesus, most opportunely recalled in the Gospel of the day, "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me and I in Him." Jesus made Himself our food in order to assimilate us to Himself, to make us live His life, to make us live in Him, as He Himself lives in His Father. The Eucharist is truly the Sacrament of the union and at the same time it is the clearest and most convincing proof that God calls us and pleads with us tp come to intimate union with Himself.


"O God, O Creator, O Spirit of life overwhelming Your creatures with ever new graces! You grant to Your chosen ones the gift which is ever renewed: the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!...O my soul, how can you refrain yourself from plunging deeper and deeper into the love of Christ, who did not forget you in life or in death, but who willed to give Himself wholly to you, and to unite to Himself forever "(St Angela of Foligno).

To learn more of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi Prayers & Devotions CLICK HERE