Corpus Christi

Second Sunday after Pentecost / Feast of Corpus Christi

[ now playing ] jeff buckley – corpus christi carol

It’s the Feast of Corpus Christi according to the calendar in my breviary. This particular feast isn’t really celebrated in any other church apart from the ones that our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters are in (and some within the Anglican church who have an Anglo-Catholic approach to worship; I have a slight bent towards this, I’m still fairly high church even though I am evangelical).

I suppose that this has been a day of particular solemnity if one does truly take adoration of the Blessed Sacrament seriously (after all, Roman Catholicism has a particularly well developed set of dogmas defining that Christ is physically present in the host, as it is the body of Christ). …

For me, Corpus Christi gives me a chance to reflect on the Eucharist, about the solemnity and joy with which it should be celebrated (it is neither one of these, always both). It is not a casual meal but yet at the same time it isn’t a set of meaningless rituals (God have mercy on us, if it ever is that!)

From St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on 1st Letter to the Corinthians 24,4: Patrologia Graece 61, pp 204-205):

Christ gave us his flesh to eat in order to deepen our love for him. When we approach him, then there should be burning within us a fire of love and longing. Otherwise the punishment awaiting us will be in proportion to the magnitude of the graces we have received and of which we have shown ourselves unworthy.

Just as coming to it in a casual way is perilous, so failing to share in this sacramental meal is hunger and death. This food strengthens us; it makes us bold to speak freely to our God; it is our hope, our salvation, our light, and our life. If we go to the next world fortified by this sacrifice, we shall enter its sacred portals with perfect confidence, as though protected all over by armor of gold.

But why do I speak of the next world? Because of this sacrament earth becomes heaven for you. Throw open the gates of heaven – or rather, not of heaven but of the heaven of heavens – look through and you will see the proof of what I say. What is heaven’s most precious possession? I will show you it here on earth. I do not show you angels or archangels, heaven or the heaven of heavens, but I show you the very Lord of all these. Do you not see how you gaze, here on earth, upon what is most precious of all? You not only gaze on it, but touch it as well. You not only touch it, but even eat it, and take it away with you to your homes. It is essential therefore when you wish to receive this sacrament to cleanse your soul from sin and to prepare your mind.

+ bf 0710hrs


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