Sunday, June 26, 2011

Christ's Unfathomable Love


I wrote this post last year for the feast of Corpus Christi and thought I would share it here this year. Christ gives us His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. This is a love our human minds can not fathom, but our hearts of faith can.

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 23). 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 Keith Fournier's reflection is titled: Corpus Christi: Body and Blood of Christ. We Are Living Monstrances.

6 comments:

  1. Jesus said to the crowd “I am the Bread of Life. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood … you will not have eternal Life”. John 6:25-59.

    Many of the followers of Jesus did not understand what He said and grumbled amongst themselves and decided to leave Him and follow Him no more. John 6:60-70.

    Jesus did not try to stop them. He did not follow them or begged them to stay. He did not try to explain what He said, or meant to say, in order to make them change their minds. He just allowed them to go.

    He gave them a choice. A get out clause in the understood un-written contract they had with each other. They either had to believe Him or they can leave.

    Then He turned to His twelve disciples and asked: “And you – would you also like to leave?”

    The disciples stayed with Him.

    This passage in the Gospels is the most unequivocal message we have from Christ about His body and blood.

    Many have argued and debated over the years what Jesus meant in what He said at the last supper. Was it something we should do “in His memory” or was it for real?

    Here, we have a clear message. Jesus says it clearly that unless we eat His body and drink His blood we will not have eternal Life.

    Many then did not understand. Many now still don’t.

    God bless.

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  2. We are "living Monstrances ". Beautiful! The gift of the Eucharist is the number one reason why I am Catholic. Sure, there are other reasons also, but this is the main one. We become more like the One we consume. I have noticed that there is a direct correlation between how often I receive the Eucharist and my spiritual state. If I don't go to Mass during the week I start noticing that I backslide a bit - it's subtle but I can see it and feel it. When I receive Communion often the graces that come through this great Sacrament are palpable - prayer comes more easily, I am more charitable, my mind stays on God, etc...
    Great post, Karin!

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  3. I agree with Mary! This number one reason I am Catholic is because of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
    I love these words from St. Thomas, "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."

    Wonderful post Karinann, thank you

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  4. Agree this was wonderful post to celebrate today's great feast. Living monstrances and being transformed into Christ - these thoughts I will remember for a long time. The homily at our church had the second as a theme so I'll take this post as confirmation to meditate more on this. Thanks, Karinann.

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  5. Thanks all for your thoughts and comments on this one. Corpus Christi is one of my favorite feast days. I agree with Mary & Daily Grace~it is why I am Catholic and also what makes me Catholic. If those who don't believe only knew what they were missing!
    Blessings to all.

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  6. Beautiful post, Karinann. Thanks.

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