Ecclesiasticus 4:28

"Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will war on your side."

Ora pro nobis,

Most Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Dominic. Amen.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Corpus Christi

Today is the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord, or, as it's traditionally known, the Feast of Corpus Christi. Today we celebrate the most precious gift of Jesus Himself, truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, within the Eucharistic elements. This mysterious truth requires a great deal of faith to believe, but God does not leave us without help to believe it--He has confirmed it through other miracles throughout history that help bolster our faith in the Eucharist.

This video from Youtube documents one such miracle--a very recent one, in fact--and gives scientific evidence for what has taken place. Please watch it--you'll be glad you did!



For the next however long (until I'm done, really), I'm going to be writing about the Eucharist, which the Church calls the Source and Summit of our Faith. I can attest to this being the case in my own faith life--Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist is the reason I became a Catholic. I will write about that aspect of my journey in my next post. As soon as I can, I'll also post pictures from this years annual Corpus Christi Procession at my parish of St. Margaret Mary, Hamilton, ON.

After that, I will expound on the various dimensions of theological teachings about the Eucharist--the Real Presence and Transubstantiation, Communion with Christ, the Sacrifice of the Mass, etc.

Then I will recount other instances of Eucharistic Miracles throughout history, in order to inspire our faith further.

And I will conclude our series by advocating greater devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist through not only frequent participation in the Mass, but also through the custom of Eucharistic Adoration.

I leave you now with the words to that great Eucharistic Hymn, written by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi--The Pange Lingua Gloriosi:

Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
ex intacta Virgine,
et in mundo conversatus,
sparso verbi semine,
sui moras incolatus
miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte coenae
recumbens cum fratribus
observata lege plene
cibis in legalibus,
cibum turbae duodenae
se dat suis manibus.

Verbum caro, panem verum
verbo carnem efficit:
fitque sanguis Christi merum,
et si sensus deficit,
ad firmandum cor sincerum
sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
veneremur cernui:
et antiquum documentum
novo cedat ritui:
praestet fides supplementum
sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
laus et jubilatio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
compar sit laudatio.

Amen. Alleluia.
God bless,
Gregory
On the Feast of Corpus Christi


(Category: Catholic Distinctives: Sacraments--The Eucharist)

4 comments:

Gregory said...

For those who aren't up on their Latin, here's an English rendition of the Pange Lingua, by Fr. Edward Caswall:

Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world's redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
This great Sacrament we hail,
Over ancient forms of worship
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present,
When our human senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who made us free
And the Spirit, God proceeding
From them Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

Amen. Alleluia.

Loukas said...

Here is an interesting entry on Corpus Christi, its history and spiritual meaning offering a broad perspective on various traditions and forms of piety. Certainly worth checking out: http://dstp.cba.pl/?p=1939

Gregory said...

Loukas, thanks for your comment, and the, I suppose, alternative look at Corpus Christi presented by that article. It doesn't seem too favourable of the feast. I must say, I disagree with many of its conclusions, and will probably, as I have time, address the article in these comments.
God bless,
Gregory

Gregory said...

Loukas,

I wanted to address a few points in your article, as I mentioned above. First, you criticise the feast of Corpus Christi by saying that its celebration is more about celebrating Eucharistic piety than about celebrating the Eucharist itself, which is properly celebrated on Holy Thursday.

The problems with this claim are several, of which I will highlight just two:

First, it seems to me that you're drawing a false dichotomy between celebrating the Eucharist, and celebrating devotion to the Eucharist. In fact, I would contend that the feast of Corpus Christi does in fact focus on the Eucharist itself over and above piety towards it--but that the Feast is a means of encouraging such devotion and renewing that devotion.

To criticise the feast for encouraging devotion is to criticise the feast for being a feast--for all feasts in the Church are precisely for the purpose of encouraging devotion to the person or event being celebrated.

Since the Eucharist, in Catholic teaching, is rightly considered "the Source and Summit of the Faith", such a feast is certainly not out of place in Catholicism, even if it is not in any place outside of Catholicism. That there would be only one feast dedicated to the Eucharist seems almost too little--but for the fact, as my friend recently reminded me, that every Mass is a mini feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus.

The second problem with attacking Corpus Christi by saying that the proper liturgical feast celebrating the Eucharist is Holy Thursday goes right to the point of why there is a second feast. The BBC, whom you quote as saying that Corpus Christi was instituted because the celebration of the Eucharist seemed inappropriate during a time of mourning, is only half-right.

Indeed, Lent, and Holy Week in particular, are a time of mourning, and a true celebration of what Christ gives to us in this Sacrament must always therefore be subdued by the season; however, the fact is that Holy Thursday is also a day not exclusively devoted to the Eucharist, but equally to the priesthood instituted by Jesus on that same night--and at the same time. Hence, even if Holy Thursday is a celebration of the gift of the Eucharist, it is not exclusively so. As such, for this reason as well as that given by the BBC, the Feast of Corpus Christi takes its rightful place in the Church calendar at a later point.

Now, your site is written from a greater ecumenical perspective, and I appreciate that. But if Catholics are correct in their belief that the Eucharist is indeed Jesus Himself, I cannot fathom how anyone could make the case that Corpus Christi entails too much devotion to Him. You refer to the disunifying aspect of this Sacrament of Unity, and call Corpus Christi "polemical" and "triumphalistic". However, it is only able to be perceived as such because groups such as the majority of Protestant traditions have rejected Jesus' clear teaching, and the ancient Church's historical belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Any celebration of a Catholic truth would then be "triumphalistic" and "polemical" in that case. Would you rather we not celebrate the source and summit of our faith, lest we offend those who disagree? Shall we simply cease to be Catholics so that we don't offend the rest of the world who aren't Catholics?

I would recommend not holding your breath on that count.