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“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54). In the beginning, God who is eternal spoke the Word and there came into being all that He saw and considered good. How glorious and indescribably overwhelming to even begin to discover the joy creation might have experienced when it came into being by the sound of the voice of The Almighty God. This same Word, which was with God, became incarnate as man, taking the species of flesh, blood and soul. Through His salvific purpose on earth, Jesus, fully God and fully Man, gave purpose to man’s grafting into the vine that is holy and everlasting. The Body and Blood of God Incarnate – Jesus, is the Word that became flesh.
The feast of Corpus Christi is the celebration of the reality of God present in the lives of baptized Catholics, around them and within them, not only for the nourishment of their body and soul, but also as the source of Divine Utterance from the mouth of The Father, constantly at work, creating all things new, and with a sigh of immeasurable contentment saying, “it is good” (Genesis 1:31). Jesus gave us His body and blood not as a symbolic gesture for intellectual or spiritual contemplation, but rather fundamentally as life to our soul that falls victim to the fatal corruption of sin.
St. Catherine of Siena was invited to drink the Precious Blood of Jesus, which flowed from His side. After drinking from the Fountain of His Precious Blood, she could not eat or drink anything more. For seven years before her death she lived on no food but Our Lord in the Eucharist. She was not hungry, but remained active and strong.
One of the most well known attitudes towards the real presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is the attitude of disbelief. Many believers and unbelievers throughout the ages have either lacked faith or trust in the actual, real and living presence of Jesus in flesh and blood in the species of the consecrated host. There have been numerous incidents around the globe where our dear Blessed Lord Jesus has been gracious enough to reveal the glory of His human nature in it’s very species of flesh and blood, within the transubstantiated Eucharistic bread.
A hardened heretic in the region of Tolosa challenged St. Anthony that if he can prove with a miracle that in the Eucharist of believers there is, however hidden it may be, the true body of Christ, he will renounce every heresy and submit myself to the Catholic faith. He said that if his mule, which he would starve for 3 days, ignored the fodder and rushes to adore the living body of Jesus in the host, and then he will instantly convert. St. Anthony agreed. Finally, asking for silence the man of God said to the animal with great faith: “In the name of virtue and the Creator, who I, although unworthy, am carrying in my hands, I ask you, o beast, and I order to come closer quickly and with humility and to show just veneration, so that the malevolent heretics will learn from this gesture that every creature is subject to the Lord, as held in the hands with priestly dignity on the altar”.
God’s servant had hardly finished speaking, when the animal, ignoring the fodder, knelt down and lowered his head to the floor, thus genuflecting before the living sacrament of the body of Christ. The faithful were filled with uncontrollable joy, and the heretic, renounced the his doctrine in front of all present, and from then on was obedient to the precepts of the holy Church (Benignitas16,6-17).
As the Church of Christ Jesus acknowledges the real presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, she ‘proclaims his death and resurrection until He comes again’ – Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I. She celebrates the meal, which assures eternal sustenance of the soul and life everlasting with The Trinity. The reality of a Catholic life is immersed as well as illuminated in the radical reality of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the species of the Holy Eucharist. Without this reality there is no Catholic faith, without the Catholic faith there is no hope for eternal life with the One True Eternal God.
With heartfelt gratitude to Pope Urban who instituted the feast of Corpus Christi and to St. Thomas Aquinas for his venerable work in praise and adoration to this glorious feast, I wish you all very Happy Feast of Corpus Christi.