Feast of Corpus Christi

imagesThis Sunday, June 2nd, we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.   All of the mass readings point to this awesome mystery we called the Eucharist.  It is such an extreme grace and privilege to be able to receive Jesus’ body into our own when we attend mass.  It has been a huge blessing for me to work at a place where there is an adoration chapel on campus.  Just to be able to sit in the presence of Jesus gives me an indescribable peace that I can find nowhere else – a little foretaste of heaven!

There were times in history when the Eucharist was not readily available.  People really treasured it (Him) then and were even willing to risk their lives to give/receive the Blessed Sacrament.  I think of young Tarcisius (patron saint of first communicants) who volunteered to risk his life to bring Jesus to Christians held in prison.  If the priests or bishops were to openly bring the Eucharist to the prisoners, they surely would have been killed.  Ultimately, Tarcisius was martyred holding the Eucharist (in a cloth beneath his shirt) tightly to his chest.

I also think of Oscar Romero who served as Archbishop in El Salvador in the late 1970’s.  He spoke out on behalf of the poor and against human rights violations. Doing so made many enemies for him in the government.  The movie clip that I linked to his name above shows him beautifully defending and caring for Jesus in the Eucharist when militants came in and shot up the tabernacle.  Romero was killed in 1980 during the celebration of the mass.  He had such courage and love for the Lord.  I pray that I would have that kind of bravery to defend the Lord in a similar situation.

Some people, even those within our own church, do not believe that the Eucharist is really Jesus’ body.  This saddens me.  I’ve read about a few saints who have lived for long periods of time on the Eucharist alone.  St. Catherine of Sienna and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich were two of them.  Of course, there are several Eucharistic miracles of note.  For me though, all of this powerful evidence is unnecessary.

Jesus tells us Himself, “This is my body…If you do not eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, you do not have life within you.”  He is not speaking figuratively here, as in a parable.  He couldn’t be clearer.  All I know is that the Blessed Sacrament means so much to me in my life.  In this mysterious way, it (He) transforms the recipient.  I am so thankful that Jesus created this very special way to remain with us throughout the centuries since his Ascension into heaven.  (This and the gift of the Holy Spirit!)

Tomorrow, my family is celebrating this incredible gift by going to our favorite church, St. Patrick’s on Camp Street in New Orleans.  St. Patrick’s is a beautiful, historic church that still has the altar rail and kneelers in place.  It feels so right and so appropriate to receive one’s King while kneeling.  We will attend the Latin Mass at 9:15.  It will be followed by a Corpus Christi procession.  We have never taken part in this type of procession and hope to participate for the first time.

May the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

About danardoyle

I am a Catholic, working wife and mother. I have three children ages 14, 20 and 27. I am extremely busy, as you can imagine. I aim each and every day to put God first in my life, to teach my children the Faith, to be a supportive spouse, keep the house in order, and do my job outside of the home well, too. That's an impossible task - without Divine intervention! Here, I hope to share my triumphs and struggles with other working moms in the same boat. I will share the tools I have discovered to making it all work - most days!
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4 Responses to Feast of Corpus Christi

  1. Raoul says:

    Dear Dana,

    My comment on your Corpus Christi article is the essay below, which I wrote last year. This is the first time it is published. I hope I got my citations right. God Bless You and all your readers.

    (The practice of Catholics in partaking of bread & wine in the Mass)
    By Jose Raoul C Dizon, 11 Aug 12

    Catholics hold Communion during Mass; and they have been much-criticized for it.

    The criticisms are basically two: (a) Catholics practice barbarism since they consider the host as the actual body of Jesus and the wine his actual blood, and (b) Catholics crucify Jesus once again, when the bible is clear in saying he had died only once like all men do.

    But the criticisms are totally the result of misunderstanding. Since Jesus himself said, “eat this bread for it is my flesh, and take this wine for it is my blood,” we should believe him because we follow him. And by saying all that he could not have meant that when we celebrate Mass and hold Holy Communion, we are practicing barbaric acts or crucifying him again.

    For Jesus only meant to be obeyed. And he used physical bread and wine for their actual significance as food for bodily strength, since what Jesus was conveying at this time (the last supper, when He instituted the Eucharist) had to do with receiving his flesh and blood as sources of spiritual strength and of life itself.

    Earlier (after the multiplication of the loaves), Jesus had had occasion to refer to this when he told the crowd, “I am the living bread … Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” Jn 6:51

    And his intention to be obeyed becomes all the more pressing, since, although Jesus had done many great and miraculous things during his earthly life, the holding of the communion is the only act he had specifically asked to be remembered by. “Do this in remembrance of me.” This is because his torture, shedding of blood and eventually his dying on the cross are central to the belief in him as the Savior who died in our stead.

    And the words Jesus had used are enlightening. By the communion during Mass he specifically wanted to be remembered as the one who was physically tortured, who shed blood and eventually died for us. He also described his shedding of blood and dying as “his covenant” with us (Luke 22:20), whom he considered friends.

    Hence criticisms against Catholics, and against some Christian brethren who engage in the same practice, that in the Mass they are doing barbaric acts and are crucifying Jesus again, have no basis. For the truth is that Jesus himself specifically wanted this practice to be done and repeated again and again, because although he suffered and died only once, the wonderful effect of his death lingers.

    And it is this lingering effect – salvation, no less – that provides the reason why Jesus might have specifically asked to be remembered. It is a permanent effect, and this effect is essentially what God’s covenant with us is all about. I can almost hear Christ saying, “I died for you, that you may all be restored to your former status as God’s children. You must always remember this.”

    At that time, Jesus was speaking to his disciples and followers as a community. Hence the partaking of bread and wine during the Mass is also a celebration of community. And indeed we are a community of believers and followers. United with one another, we are the Body of Christ. This may be the reason why the partaking is also called “communion.”

    To allay our doubts about what Communion during Holy Mass really means – specifically whether what we are actually receiving are in a mysterious way Christ’s body and blood – we must hold on to the very words Christ himself had used. “This (bread) is my body” and “this (wine) is my blood to be poured out for you.”

    “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.” Jn 6:55-56.

    Surely Christ was not lying when he said all that, otherwise he would have left us with a monumental deception! ■


    POSTSCRIPT. I would also like to believe Jesus, in asking us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, intends to build up the aspect of divinity in us. The more we do this, that is, the more we receive Holy Communion during Mass, the more we become like him in nature. Of course by doing acts of love during the entire course of one’s life, we copy the love that Jesus had for us, and in that way we already reflect God’s love (in whose image we were made anyway). But we will never be like the divine person that Jesus was, until we become divine ourselves by putting the flesh and blood of Jesus into our being and having more of them (Jesus’ body and blood) as we live out the course of our lives. If we are truly children of the Divine God, we must be divine ourselves and not just “individual lovers” like many humanists are (who do not necessarily believe in Jesus or the Mass.) To restate, my belief is that as we repeatedly partake of the Holy Communion, we become more and more divine. When death comes, in the sight of God we might have been so transformed from being mere mortals to being divine, that God would not have difficulty embracing us as His REAL Children.” You can see that in this belief, if it is correct, we slowly become divine during earthly life, not just when we go to Heaven. We go to Heaven precisely and partly because we have already become divine while still on earth. – Raoul

    • danardoyle says:

      Wow! This is quite an article! Congratulations on having it published. I think that people criticize what they don’t understand. You made some very good points here!

  2. Pingback: The Heart of Christ: A Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano | The Ginger Jar

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