Feast of Corpus Christi

Around the world today the Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for “Body of Christ”) is being celebrated with Mass, processions, wreaths and flowers.  When I was a child growing up in our Polish Parish in Chicago, huge processions filled the streets on this day, weaving through neighborhoods, gathering people along the way and ending at our parish church for the celebration of Mass and then Adoration.  I remember the Sisters teaching us that Jesus walked with us in a special way on the streets that day and that we should remember he always walked with us.

Corpus Christi appeared as a feast  on the Roman calendar primarily due to the petitions of the thirteenth century Augustinian nun, Juliana of Liège, who from her childhood had a   veneration for the Blessed Sacrament.  She had a vision of Christ in 1208, in which He asked her to request the institution of a feast in  honor of the Eucharist.  The feast was first established locally, and  then was spread to the Church universal in 1264 by Pope Urban IV.  Today’s Gospel comes from Mark  14:12-26 where we hear: “While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Many have written reflections on the Eucharist – I’ve included a few below that spoke strongly to me in different ways:

Pope John Paul II wrote : “Lord Jesus, Who in the Eucharist make your dwelling among us and become our traveling companion, sustain our Christian communities so that they may be ever more open to listening and accepting your Word. May they draw from the Eucharist a renewed commitment to spreading in society, by the proclamation of your Gospel, the signs and deeds of an attentive and active charity. ”  What an image – God dwelling among us and becoming our travelings companion in life!

Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s has a Benedictine spirit for me of hospitality – one of nourishment: “In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life – to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us. Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving, and our hands by serving. In loving and serving, we prove that we have been created in the likeness of God, for God is Love and when we love we are like God. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” 

Father Damien, the Leper who wrote: “The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout the body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me.”  – which speaks to me of God’s constancy in times of difficulty, and who’s presence allows us to persevere in our calling.  For more on Father Damien click on this link: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Father_Damien.aspx

For a variety of perspectives on this Feast click on the links below:

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/corpus-christi

http://annhetzelgunkel.com/corpuschristi/index.htm

http://cnsblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/video-why-corpus-christi-processions/

Do you have a favorite experience, picture or quote about Eucharist or the Feast of Corpus Christi to hare with our community?

 

 

 

About WalkingwithBenedict

I love how scripture comes alive with messages for our lives today. In praying with scripture, we are called into deeper relationship with God and others. We are called to the growth in love, hospitality, peace, humility, stewardship and hope. St Benedict's Rule provides a lens for how scripture can be lived in our lives today whether we live inside or outside a monastery.
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2 Responses to Feast of Corpus Christi

  1. Sioux says:

    Thanks for the reflection on the way the body of Christ was taken out into the neighborhoods in a unique and powerful presence “in the streets” My favorite celebration of this feast was when I was at the Pecos,NM benedictine retreat house and the local town people came to the monastery to celebrate and we celebrated mass outside in creation. Then after mass the procession went out from the monastery fown into the village. My favorite quote is “we become what we eat” truly our divine fire inside of us is fed by the body of Christ as we take the Christ w/in us into the world. What an awesome reminder we have of what Christ’s presence in us can be as we celebrate Corpus Christi everyday by bringing his light in us out parading/processing on our daily walks.

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    • Thanks for sharing this memory! When I read your favorite quote “we become what we eat”, I thought about the tremendous potential we carry within us to transform the world through our common call to live in the Spirit. It is also a reminder for me to be aware of this light within others when our paths cross. This feast points spectacularly to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as well as are call to become Eucharist for one another.

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