Corpus Christi: The Feast Of Christ's Unfathomable Love
This feast which celebrates the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord present in the Eucharist is one that allows us to reflect on that holy and divine Presence within each of us. The late pastor of my parish would often say, "This side of heaven, Jesus doesn't get any closer than this."
As baptized Christians, Jesus lives within each of us, but that life needs to be nourished. Personally I have found no better way than through receiving Christ in Holy Communion and in spending time before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus loves us so much that He wished to remain with us even after His Ascension. I am sure He could have chosen any number of ways, but He chose the Eucharist in which to feed us with His own Body and Blood.
The history of the feast of Corpus Christi goes back to the year 1264 when Pope Urban IV instituted it for the entire Church. The Pope wanted the feast to be joy-filled with hymns and procession. Pope Urban asked Thomas Aquinas to write two Offices of prayer; Aquinas did this as well as write five hymns, many of which are used during Benediction to this day.
St Thomas noted that: "Material food first of all turns itself into the person who eats it, and as a consequence, restores his losses and increases his vital energies. Spiritual food, on the other hand, turns the person who eats it into Itself, and thus the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, so that he may no longer live for himself, but that Christ may live in Him. And as a consequence it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual losses caused by sins and defects and of increasing the power of the virtues".In other words, may we become what we consume.
Much of the world celebrated this feast on the traditional Thursday (June 3). In the United States it is celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.
My own parish had stopped the Eucharistic Procession for some reason about two years ago, but is resuming this beautiful ancient custom this Sunday. I am looking forward to participating and bringing Christ to the streets, not only in this procession, but also in the way He lives in me.
As Deacon Keith Fournier wrote in his reflection for this feast, "On this Feast of Corpus Christi, as we march through the Streets of the world lifting Jesus Christ enthroned, let us say"Yes" to the invitation to become "living monstrances". Let the consuming fire of God's love purify us so that we can now be used to reveal His presence to a world waiting to be born anew."God the Father loved us so much that He gave us His Son, the Son loves us so much He wants to remain with us and make us more like Him, the fire of the Holy Spirit is the expression of that love between the Father and the Son and it is enkindled in each of us if we let it.
May we continue to nourish Christ's life within ourselves and return the love He has shown us by receiving Him and visiting Him often.
Note: Deacon Fournier's reflection: Corpus Christi, Body and Blood of Christ. We Are Living Monstrances is worth reading in its entirety. I have quoted only a small bit if it in this post.