- Sunday, 10 June 2012 08:29
The feast of Corpus Christi has a rich fare to savor: prayers, Bible readings, music, and poetic texts. The point of the Church offering us this opportunity to honor the Eucharistic Presence is to extend in our lives a deeper grace given in Communion theology, to have a closer with the Lord in His promised hundredfold. It is, of course, a deepening in our lives what the Lord Himself did and gave to us on Holy Thursday with Eucharist and the priesthood.
The Sequence (the poetry which follows the second lesson at Mass and directly precedes the Alleluia verse), Lauda Sion Salvatorem, is ideally fitting for the sacred Liturgy. Google this masterpiece of poetry expressing theology in a way that stimulates prayer and deepens one’s faith.
The English priest Father Ronald Knox offers a perspective on what we’re doing in observing the great feast of the Lord’s Body and Blood. The following is taken from his meditation on Corpus Christi:
Like the Jewish Temple, the Christian altar is the rallying point of God’s people. The whole notion of Christian solidarity grows out of, and is centered in, the common participation of a common Table. The primitive Church in Jerusalem broke bread day be day from house to house; its stronghold of peace was not any local centre, but a common meal. Christian people, however separated by long distances of land or sea, still meet together in full force, by a mystical reunion, whenever and wherever the Bread is broken and the Cup blessed.
- Sunday, 10 June 2012 08:22
The observance of Corpus Christi, sometimes called Corpus Domini (The Body of the Lord). In places like Rome, the traditional day to observe this feast is Thursday, connecting with Holy Thursday. A portion of the Pope’s homily is noted below (the full text is here).
… the sacredness of the Eucharist. Also here we heard in the recent past of a certain misunderstanding of the authentic message of Sacred Scripture. The Christian novelty in regard to worship was influenced by a certain secularist mentality of the 60s and 70s of the past century. It is true, and it remains always valid, that the center of worship is now no longer in the rites and ancient sacrifices, but in Christ himself, in his person, in his life, in his paschal mystery. And yet, from this fundamental novelty it must not be concluded that the sacred no longer exists, but that it has found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, incarnate divine Love. The Letter to the Hebrews, which we heard this evening in the Second Reading, speaks to us precisely of the novelty of the priesthood of Christ, “high priest of the good things that have come” (Hebrews 9:11), but it does not say that the priesthood is finished. Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15), established in his blood, which purifies our “conscience from dead works” (Hebrews 9:14). He did not abolish the sacred, but brought it to fulfillment, inaugurating a new worship, which is, yes, fully spiritual but which however, so long as we are journeying in time, makes use again of signs and rites, of which there will be no need only at the end, in the heavenly Jerusalem, where there will no longer be a temple (cf. Revelation 21:22). Thanks to Christ, the sacred is more true, more intense and, as happens with the Commandments, also more exacting! Ritual observance is not enough, but what is required is the purification of the heart and the involvement of life.
Pope Benedict XVI
Corpus Christi at the Basilica of St. John Lateran
7 June 2012
- Tuesday, 02 August 2011 17:44
Gracious God of our ancestors, You led Peter Julian Eymard, like Jacob in times past, on a journey of faith. Under the guidance of Your gentle Spirit, Peter Julian discovered the gift of love in the Eucharist which Your Son Jesus offered for the hungers of humanity. Grant that we may celebrate this mystery worthily, adore it profoundly, and proclaim it prophetically for Your greater glory. Amen.
Saint Peter Julian’s importance to us is identified when he was placed on the Roman liturgical calendar:
Font and fullness of all evangelization and striking expression of the infinite love of our divine Redeemer for mankind, the Holy Eucharist clearly marked the life and pastoral activity of Peter Julian Eymard. He truly deserves to be called an outstanding apostle of the Eucharist. In fact, his mission in the Church consisted in promoting the centrality of the Eucharistic Mystery in the whole life of the Christian community.
Decree of the Insertion of the Celebration of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest, in the General Roman Calendar, 1995.
- Monday, 27 June 2011 14:07
It is only
because God himself is the eternal dialogue of love that he can speak and be
spoken to. Only because he himself is relationship can we relate to him; only
because he is love can he love and be loved in return. Only because he is
threefold can he be the grain of wheat which dies and the bread of eternal
Ultimately, then, Corpus Christi is an expression of faith in God, in
love, in the fact that God is love. All that is said and done on Corpus Christi
is in fact a single variation on the theme of love, what it is and what it
does. In one of his Corpus Christi hymns Thomas Aquinas puts it beautifully:
love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives. And in giving it is
not used up but renews itself.
Since Corpus Christi is a confession of faith in
love, it is totally appropriate that the day should focus on the mystery of
transubstantiation. Love is transubstantiation, transformation. Corpus Christi
tells us: Yes, there is such a thing as love, and therefore there is
transformation, therefore there is hope. And hope gives us the strength to love
and face the world.
Perhaps it was good to have experienced doubts about the
meaning of celebrating Corpus Christi, for it has led us to the rediscovery of
a feast which, today, we need more than ever.
Pope Benedict XVI Benedictus
- Sunday, 26 June 2011 21:53
Here’s the Pope’s Angelus address from earlier today. Notice the key points.
Today in Italy and other countries Corpus Domini is
celebrated, the feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of
the Lord, which he instituted with the Last Supper and which is the Church’s
most precious treasure. The Eucharist is like the beating heart that gives life
to the whole mystical body of the Church: a social organism entirely founded on
the spiritual but concrete link with Christ. As the Apostle Paul states: “Because
there is one bread, we, although many, are one body: all of us in fact
participate in the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
Without the Eucharist the
Church simply would not exist. It is the Eucharist in fact that makes a human
community a mystery of communion, able to bring God to the world and the world
to God. The Holy Spirit, which transforms the bread and wine into the Body and
Blood of Christ, also transforms into members of the Body of Christ those who
receive it with faith, so that the Church is truly the sacrament of the unity
of men with God and of men with each other.
In a culture that is ever more
individualistic — like that in which Western societies are immersed and which
is spreading throughout the world — the Eucharist constitutes a kind of “antidote,”
which operates in the minds and hearts of believers and continually sows in them
the logic of communion, of service, of sharing, in a word, the logic of the
Gospel. The first Christians, in Jerusalem, were an evident sign of this new
way of life because they lived in fraternity and held all of their goods in
common so that no one should be indigent (cf. Acts 2:42-47). Where did all of
this come from? From the Eucharist, that is, the risen Christ, really present
with his disciples and working with the power of the Holy Spirit. And in the
succeeding generations, through the centuries, the Church, despite human limits
and errors, continued to be a force for communion in the world. We think
especially of the most difficult periods, the periods of trial: What did it
mean, for example, for countries that were under the heal of totalitarian regimes
to have the possibility to gather for Sunday Mass! As the ancient martyrs of
Abitene proclaimed: “Sine Dominico non possumus” – without the “Dominicum,” that is, the Sunday Eucharist, we cannot live. But the
void produced by false freedom can be dangerous, and so communion with the Body
of Christ is a medicine of the intellect and will to rediscover taste for the
truth and the common good.
Dear friends, let us call upon the Virgin Mary, whom
my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II defined as a “Eucharistic woman”
(Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 53-58). In her school our life too becomes fully “Eucharistic,”
open to God and to others, able to transform evil into good by the power of
love, which fosters unity, communion, fraternity.