Home » Behind the Catholic Counter » The "Source and Summit" – Sunday, May 25 is the Feast of Corpus Christi

The "Source and Summit" – Sunday, May 25 is the Feast of Corpus Christi

“The Feast of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ, known as Corpus Christi, is Sunday, May 25”

“The introduction of the feast (of Corpus Christi) can be traced back to a vision of St. Juliana of Mont-Cornillon who was born in Belgium in 1193 . . . known for her love of the Blessed Virgin, the sacred Passion, and especially the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of 16 she began to experience visions, and in one of these she saw the full moon, whose brightness was disfigured by a single dark spot. . . . After many days of prayer, Juliana heard a heavenly voice render the meaning:

‘That which disturbs thee is that a feast is wanting to My Church Militant, which I desire to establish. It is the feast of the Most High and Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. At present the celebration of this mystery is only observed on Maundy Thursday, but on that day My sufferings and death are the principal objects of consideration; therefore I desire another day to be set apart in which it shall be celebrated by the whole of Christendom…'

Three reasons were then given for this request: First, that faith in this sacrament would be confirmed by this feast when future attacks against its validity would be introduced; second, that the faithful would be strengthened on their way to virtue by a sincere and profound adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; third, that because of this feast, and the loving attention given to it, reparation would be made for the irreverence and impiety shown to the Blessed Sacrament.

In 1264, Pope Urban IV ordered the feast of Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. In present day, the feast is observed in the United States on the Sunday following Holy Trinity Sunday.”

-From Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz

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Pope Benedict XVI's “Apostolic Journey to the United States” with the theme “Christ Our Hope” has just concluded. For some time to come, we will all be thinking about and reflecting on this historic visit.

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“The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.

The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. “For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?” asks St. Ambrose. He says elsewhere, “The altar represents the body [of Christ] and the Body of Christ is on the altar.” The liturgy expresses this unity of sacrifice and communion in many prayers. Thus the Roman Church prays in its anaphora:

We entreat you, almighty God,

that by the hands of your holy Angel

this offering may be borne to your altar in heaven

in the sight of your divine majesty,

so that as we receive in communion at this altar

the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,

we may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace.

“Take this and eat it, all of you”

The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: “Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

– from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1382 – 1384

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Reflections of Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and others

The Holy Eucharist, the Vatican II Council tells us, is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, no. 11; and Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). Since the Christian life is essentially a spiritual life, we might say as well that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of Christian spirituality” too.

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In honor of the upcoming feast day,

The Novena for Corpus Christi –  (to begin 9 days before the feast)

“O Lord Jesus Christ, You who have given us Your precious Body and Blood to be our meat and drink, grant that through frequent reception of You in the Holy Eucharist, I may be strengthened in mind and body to do Your holy will. Amen.

Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, have mercy on us.”

One comment

  1. Please let me know when the The Parish Book of Chant is available. Thank you.

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