Skip to comments.Corpus Christi (by St. Peter Julian Eymard)
Posted on 06/07/2009 7:40:16 PM PDT by Salvation
From the Real Presence of Saint Peter Julian Eymard
Haec est dies quam fecit Dominus.
This is the day which the Lord has made.
Every day comes from God. They unfailingly succeed one another through his loving kindness. God allows man six days of the week for his labor and his needs, but the seventh he reserves for himself. Sunday is therefore more particularly the day of the Lord. But of all the days there is one which is, in a more excellent manner, the day of God and is called the day of God, fête-Dieu, as the French put it, which, done literally into English, would read God's feast day. That is truly the day which the Lord has made for himself, for his own glory and for the manifestation of his love. Corpus Christi! God's feast day! What a beautiful name! God's feast day and ours also! Let us see what way.
This feast day of God, which the church calls Festum Sacratissimi Corporis Christi, "Feast of the most sacred body of Christ," is the only day dedicated exclusively to the honor of his adorable person, of his living presence in our midst. The other feasts commemorate some mystery of his past life; they are beautiful; they glorify God; and they are a rich source of graces for us. But, after all, they are only reminders, anniversaries of an already distant past which relives only in our piety and devotion. Our Savior is no longer personally present in those mysteries; he accomplished them once for all and left only his grace in them. But Corpus Christi is an actual mystery; the object of this feast is our Lord's person, living and present in our midst. That is why the celebration of it has a character all its own. No relics or symbols of the past are exposed, but the very object of the feast, which is living. In the countries where God is free, see how all the people proclaim his presence, how they prostrate themselves before him! The impious themselves tremble and bow the head; God is there! How glorious for our Lord's presence is this feast, on which all acknowledge his presence and adore him!
Corpus Christi is also the most lovable of feast days. We were not present at all the mysteries of our Savior's life and death which we celebrate in the course of the year. We find joy in them because they are sources of grace. But on the feast of Corpus Christi we participate in the mystery itself, which takes place under our eyes. This mystery is for us. There is a relation of life between Jesus living in the sacrament and ourselves living in the midst of the world: a relation of body to body. For that reason, this feast is not called simply the feast of our Lord, but the feast of the body of our Lord, Corpus Christi. Through this body, we touch him; through it, he is our food, our brother and our guest. Feast of the body of Jesus Christ: a name as full of love as it is unpretentious and well adapted to our misery! Our Lord asked for this feast so as to draw still closer to us, just as a father is desirous of being wished a happy birthday by his child in order to have a reason for giving him a more ardent proof of his paternal affection, and for granting him some special favor.
Let this feast therefore be one of joy, and let us expect from it the most abundant blessings. All the hymns and canticles of this solemnity express the thought that on this day our Lord will show himself more gracious than ever. The church, it seems, should have celebrated Corpus Christi on Holy Thursday, since the Eucharist was instituted on that day. But she could not have duly expressed her joy on that day of mourning; the passion begins on Holy Thursday, and it is impossible to rejoice at the thought of death which predominates during the solemn days of Holy Week. Corpus Christi was also postponed until after the ascension because sad farewells had still to be bidden and a painful separation effected. It was put off until after Pentecost so that, filled with the graces and joys of the Holy Spirit, we might be able to celebrate with all possible splendor the feast of the divine Bridegroom who dwells among us.
Corpus Christi is the most solemn feast of the church. The church is the bride of our Lord in all his risen glory, not of Jesus Christ at his birth or his death; when these last two mysteries took place the church was not yet in existence. Of course, it follows its divine Bridegroom to the crib and accompanies him in his sufferings, but of these mysteries it has only the remembrance and grace.
Lastly, Corpus Christi is our feast, we who are adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. The Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament together with its affiliated societies exists for the sole purpose of honoring Jesus Christ with a continual feast of Corpus Christi. To prolong this feast throughout the entire year is the object of our life and happiness. We leave to other children of the church the care of the poor, the healing of the physical and moral ills of afflicted humanity, and the administration of the sacraments. We are called only to perpetuate the feast of Corpus Christi. It is therefore the special feast of us religious. It is also your feast, my dear brothers and sisters. Have you not consecrated yourselves entirely to the service of the Blessed Sacrament? (An act of consecration is recited by persons who join the Eucharistic societies founded by Saint Peter Julian Eymard). Oh! You know the joy and happiness Jesus brings with him! I will go further and say that for souls who know how to receive Communion, there is only one feast day, that is, Communion day. They find therein the object of all the mysteries, the Being who makes these mysteries and in whose honor they are celebrated, whereas most Christians recall them only in a vague manner.
More than that! I say that if our Lord were not living in his sacrament, all our Christian feast days would be nothing but a series of funeral services. The Eucharist is the sun that gives light, life, and joy to the feasts of the church.
Someone has rightly called the soul that communicates well and often a perpetual banquet, juge convivium. To live with Jesus in us, to live of Jesus and through Jesus is to be a tabernacle and a precious ciborium. Oh! What a joy is that of these souls, a pure and unchanging joy!
Come! Learn how to single out these days from all the others. Our Lord has his royal feast days; today is one of them. A king is a bounteous giver. Pay homage to our Lord, and he, in return, will give you everything; he will give you his very self with a greater abundance of his graces. He discriminates among his friends; he knows those who are more deserving of his favors. My desires and wishes for you on this beautiful day are not that you become saints weighted down with magnificent and extraordinary virtues when would that ever be? but that you be very happy in the service of God, and also that our Lord give himself to you with more of his kindness and love. If you feel that he loves you more, you will give yourself to him more entirely; and the result of these two loves will be perfect union. Therein lie holiness and perfection. Pray with confidence to attain it. Give him your whole heart. Jesus is a tender friend; delight in his love. Oh! I fear for the salvation of the one who has never tasted the goodness of God! Penetrate into that infinite goodness! Entite de Domino in bonitate. "Think of the Lord in goodness."
On Daily Bread [OPEN]
The Meal of Melchizedek (what is meant by Christs words, "This is my body; this is my blood")
The Eucharist: The Lord's Supper
Pope Benedict--Jesus' Incarnation and Presence in the Eucharist confounds the wisdom of men
Corpus Christi Quiz
Pope leads Corpus Christi observance
This is My Body, This is My Blood
Feast of Corpus Christi - Sacrifice, Fellowship Meal or Real Presence?
The Eucharist and the Mystery of Fatherly Love
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Corpus Christi Around the World
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON CORPUS CHRISTI SUNDAY FROM 2001-2005
Back to the Future: Reviving Corpus Christi Processions
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI for the Feast of Corpus Christi
The Banquet of Corpus Christi - "Why did Jesus give us His Body and Blood?"
A Reflection on Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi celebrations in Poland (gallery)
Pope Leads Corpus Christi Procession - "We Entrust These Streets to His Goodness"
Day 37 of Pope Benedict XV's Reign - Feast of Corpus Christi
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