Feast of Corpus Christi
From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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Why is this day called Corpus Christi?

BECAUSE on this Thursday the Catholic Church celebrates the institution of the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Latin term Corpus Christi signifies in English, Body of Christ.

Who instituted this festival?

Pope Urban IV who, in the decree concerning it, gives the following explanation of the institution and grandeur of this festival:
"Although we daily, in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, renew the memory of this holy Sacrament, we believe that we must, besides, solemnly commemorate it every year, to put the unbelievers to shame; and because we have been informed that God has revealed to some pious persons that this festival should be celebrated in the whole Church, we direct that on the first Thursday after the octave of Pentecost the faithful shall assemble in church, join with the priests in singing the word of God," &c
Hence this festival was instituted on account of the greatness of the divine mystery; the unbelief of those who denied the truth of this mystery; and the revelation made to some pious persons. This revelation was made to a nun at Liege, named Juliana, and to her devout friends Eve and Isabella. Juliana, when praying, had frequently a vision in which she saw the bright moon, with one part of it somewhat dark; at her request she received instructions from God that one of the grandest festivals was yet to be instituted: the festival of the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

In 1246, she related this vision to Robert, Bishop of Liege, who after having investigated the matter with the aid of several men of learning and devotion, among whom was Jacob Pantaleon, Archdeacon of Liege, afterwards Pope Urban IV, made arrangements to introduce this festival in his diocese, but death prevented his intention being put into effect. After the bishop's death the Cardinal Legate Hugh undertook to carry out his directions, and celebrated the festival for the first time in the year 1247, in the Church of St. Martin at Liege. Several bishops followed this example, and the festival was observed in many dioceses, before Pope Urban IV in 1264 finally ordered its celebration by the whole Church. This order was confirmed by Clement V at the Council of Vienna in 1311, and the Thursday after the octave of Pentecost appointed for its celebration. In 1317, Pope John XXII instituted the solemn procession.

Why are there such grand processions on this day ?

For a public profession of our holy faith that Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in this Blessed Sacrament; for a public reparation of all the injuries, irreverence, and offences, which have been and are committed by impious men against Christ in this Blessed Sacrament; for the solemn veneration and adoration due to the Son of God in this Sacrament; in thanksgiving for its institution, and for all the graces and advantages received therefrom; and finally, to draw down the divine blessing upon the people and the country.

Had this procession a prototype in the Old Law?

The procession in which was carried the Ark of the Covenant containing the manna, was a figure of this procession.


The Church sings at the Introit the words of David: He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia: and filled them with honey out of the rock. Allel. allel. allel. Rejoice to God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. (Ps. lxxx.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who under a wonderful sacrament hast left us a memorial of Thy Passion; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy body and blood, that we may ever feel within us the fruit of thy redemption. Who livest, &c.

EPISTLE. (i Cor. xi. 23—29.) Brethren, I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat; this is my body which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This Chalice is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until he come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink of the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthy, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

GOSPEL. (John vi. 56—59.) At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: My flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live forever.

Quote:The Jews liberated, by the powerful hand of God, from Egyptian captivity, went on dry ground through the midst of the Red Sea, whose waters became the grave of their pursuer, King Pharao, and his whole army. Having arrived in the desert called Sin they began to murmur against Moses and Aaron, their leaders, on account of the want of bread, and demanded to be led back to Egypt where there was plenty. The Lord God took pity on His people. Jn the evening He sent into their camp great flocks of quails, which the Jews caught and ate, and on the morning of the next day the ground was covered with white dew, and in the desert something fine, as if pounded in a mortar, looking like frost on the earth, which as soon as the Jews beheld, they exclaimed in surprise: "Man hu?'' "What is that?'' But Moses said to them: "This is bread which the Lord has given you." And they at once began to collect the food which was white, small as Coriander seed, and tasted like wheat-bread and honey, and was hence- forth called man or manna. God gave them this manna every morning, for forty years, Sabbaths excepted, and the Jews lived upon it in the desert, until they came to the Promised Land. This manna is a figure of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar which contains all sweetness, and nourishes the soul of him who receives it with proper preparation, so that whoever eats it worthily, dies not, though his body sleeps in the grave, for Christ will raise him to eternal life.

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What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

IT is that Sacrament in which under the appearance of bread and wine the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are really, truly, and substantially present.

When and in what manner did Christ promise this Sacrament?

About one year before its institution He promised it in the synagogue at Capharnaum, according to St. John the Evangelist: (vi. 24 — 65) When Jesus, near the Tiberian Sea, had fed five thousand men in a miraculous manner with a few small loaves, these men would not leave Him, because they marvelled at the miracle, were anxious for this bread, and desired to make Him their king. But Jesus fled to a high mountain, and in the night went with His disciples to Capharnaum which was a town on the opposite side of the sea; but a multitude of Jews followed Him, and He made use of the occasion to speak of the mysterious bread which He would one day give them and all men. He first exhorted them not to go so eagerly after the perishable bread of the body, but to seek the bread of the soul which lasts forever, and which the Heavenly Father would give them, through Him, in abundance. This im- perishable bread is the divine word, His holy doctrine, especially the doctrine that He had come from heaven to guide us to eternal life. (vers. 25—38.) The Jews murmured because He said that He had come from heaven, but the Saviour quieted them by showing that no one could believe without a special grace from His Heavenly Father (v. 43, 44) that He was the Messiah, and had come from heaven. After this introduction setting forth that the duty of faith in Him and in His divine doctrine was a spiritual nourishment, Christ very clearly unfolded the mystery of another bread for the soul which was to be given only at some future time, and this the Saviour did not ascribe to the Heavenly Father, as He did the bread of the divine word, but to Himself by plainly telling what this bread was: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If
any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world, (v. 51, 52.)

But the Jews would not believe these words, so clearly expressed, for they thought their fulfilment impossible, and said: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (v. 53.) But Jesus recalled not His words, answered not the Jews' objections, but confirmed that which He had said, declaring with marked emphasis: Amen, amen, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. (v. 54.) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed; he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live forever, (v. 55 — 59.) Jesus, therefore, said distinctly and plainly, that at a future time He would give His own Body and Blood as the true nourishment of the soul; besides, the Jews and the disciples alike received these words in their true, literal sense, and knew that Jesus did not here mention His Body and Blood in a figurative sense, but meant to give them His own real Flesh and Blood for food; and it was because they believed it impossible for Jesus to do this, and because they supposed He would give them His dead flesh in a coarse, sensual manner, that the Jews murmured, and even several of His disciples said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But Jesus persisted in His words: My flesh is meat indeed, &c, and calls the attention of His disciples to another miracle: to His future ascension, which would be still more incredible, but would come to pass; and by the words: It is the spirit which quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing, the words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life, [v. 64) He showed them that this mystery could be believed only by the light and grace of the Holy Spirit, and the partaking of His Body and

Blood would not be in a coarse , sensual manner but in a mysterious way. Notwithstanding this, many of His disciples still found the saying hard, and left Him, and went no longer with Him. ftn 67.) They found the saying hard, because, as our Saviour expressly said, they were lacking in faith. He let them go, and seid to His apostles: Will you also go away? thereby showing that those who left Him, understood Him clearly enough, and that His words did contain something hard for the mind to believe. The apostles did not leave Him, they were too well assured of His divinity, and that to Him all was possible, as St. Peter clearly expresses: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that thou art Christ, the Son of God. [v. 69, 70.)

From the account given by St. John, it is plainly seen that Christ really promised to give us for our food His most precious Body and Blood, really and substantially, in a wonderful, mysterious manner, and that He did not speak figuratively of faith in Him, as those assert who contemn this most holy Sacrament. If Jesus had so meant it, He would have explained it thus to the Jews and to His disciples who took His words literally, and therefore could not comprehend, how Jesus could give His Flesh and Blood to them for their food. But Jesus persisted in His words, that His Flesh was truly food, and His Blood really drink, He even made it the strictest duty for man to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood; (v. 54) He shows the benefits arising from this nourishment of the soul, (v. 55) and the reason why this food is so necessary and useful, (v. 56.) When His disciples left Him, because it was a hard saying, He allowed them to go, for they would not believe His words, and could not believe them on account of their carnal manner of thinking. This holy mystery must be believed, and cannot be comprehended. Jesus has then promised, as the Catholic Church has always maintained and taught, that His Body and Blood would be present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Blessed Sacrament, a true nourishment for the soul, and that which He promised, He has really given.

When and in what manner did Christ institute the most holy Sacrament of the Altar?

At the Last Supper, on the day before His passion, after He had eaten with His apostles the paschal lamb, which was a prototype of this mystery. Three Evangelists, Matthew, (xxvi. 26 — 29) Mark, (xiv. 22 — 25.) and Luke (xxii. 19 — 20) relate in few, but plain words, that on this evening Jesus took into His hand bread and the chalice, blessed and gave both to His disciples, saying: This is my body, that will be given for you; this is my blood, which will be shed for you and for many. Here took place in a miraculous manner, by the all-powerful word of Christ, the mysterious transformation ; here Jesus gave Him- self to His apostles for food, and instituted that most holy meal of love which the Church says contains all sweetness. That which three Evangelists plainly relate, St. Paul confirms in his first epistle to the Corinthians, (xi. 23 — 29. See this day's epistle) in which to his account of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament he adds: Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, (that is, in a state of sin) shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, (v. 27 — 29.)

From these words and those of the three holy Evangelists already mentioned, it is clear that Jesus really fulfilled His promise, really instituted the most holy Sacrament, and gave His most sacred Body and Blood to the apostles for their food. None of the Evangelists, nor St.Paul, informs us that Christ said: this will become my body, or, this signifies my body. All agree that our Saviour said this is my body, this is my blood, and they therefore decidedly mean us to understand that Christ's body and blood are really, truly, and substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine, as soon as the mysterious change has taken place. And this is confirmed by the words: that is given for you; which shall be shed for you and for many; because Christ gave neither bread nor wine, nor a figure of His Body and Blood, for our redemption, but His real Body, and His real Blood, and St. Paul could not assert that we could eat the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily, if under the appearance of bread and wine were present not the real Body and Blood of Christ, but only a figure of them, or if they were only bread and wine. This is also proved by the universal faith of the Catholic Church, which in accordance with Scripture and the oldest, uninterrupted Apostolic traditions* has always believed and taught, that under the appearance of bread and wine the real Body and Blood of Christ are present, as the Ecumenical Council of Trent expressly declares: (Sess. xiii. c. i. can. i. de sacros. Euchar.) "All our ancestors who were of the Church of Christ, and have spoken of this most Blessed Sacrament, have in the plainest manner professed that our Redeemer instituted this wonderful Sacrament at the Last Supper, when, having blessed the bread and wine, He assured the apostles in the plainest and most exact words, that He was giving them His Body and Blood itself; and if any one denies that the holy Eucharist truly,really, and substantially contains the Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, therefore the whole Christ, and asserts that it is only a sign or figure without virtue, let him be anathema."

*Thus St. Ignatius, the Martyr, who was instructed by the apostles themselves, rebukes in these words those who even at that time would not believe in the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord: "They do not believe that the real body of Jesus Christ our Redeemer who suffered for us and has risen from death is contained in the Sacrament of the Altar." (Ep. ad Smyr.) Thus St. Ireneus who was a disciple of St. Polycarp, a pupil of St. John the Evangelist, writes : "Of the bread is made the body of Christ." (Lib. IV. adv. haer.) In the same manner St. Cyril: "Since Christ our Lord said of this bread, This is my body, who dares doubt it? Since He said, This is my blood, who dares to say, it is not His blood?" (Lib. iv. regul. Cat.) and in another place: "Bread and wine which before the invocation of the most Holy Trinity were only bread and wine, become after this invocation the body and blood of Christ." (Cat. myrt. i.)

What can the unbelievers say to this testimony? Do they know the truth better than those apostles who themselves saw and heard Jesus at the Last Supper, and who taught their disciples that which they had seen and heard? All Christian antiquity proves the error of these heretics.

Did Christ institute this Sacrament for all time?

Yes; for when He had promised that the bread which He would give, was His flesh for the life of the world, (John. vi. 52.) and had said expressly that whosoever did not eat His Flesh and drink His Blood would not have life in Him, He, at the Last Supper, by the words: Do this for a commemoration of me, (Luke xxii. 19.) gave to the apostles and their successors, the priests, the power in His name to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood, also to receive It and administer It as a food of the soul, which power the apostles and their successors, the priests, have always exercised, (i Cor. x. 16.) and will exercise to the end of the world.

How long after the change does Christ remain present under the appearance of bread and wine?

As long as the appearances remain; this was always the faith of the Church; therefore in the primitive ages when the persecutions were raging, after the sacrifice the sacred body of our Lord was taken home by the Christians to save the mystery from the pagans; at home they preserved it, and received It from their own hands, as affirmed by the holy Fathers of the Church Justin, Cyprian, Basil, and others. But when persecution had ceased, and the Church was permitted to profess the faith openly, and without hinderance, the Blessed Sacrament was preserved in the churches, enclosed in precious vessels, (ciborium, monstrance, or ostensorium) made for the purpose. In later times it was also exposed, on solemn occasions, for public adoration.

Do we Catholics adore bread when we pay adoration to the Blessed Sacrament?

No; we do not adore bread, for no bread is there, but the most sacred Body and Blood of Christ, and wherever Christ is adoration is due Him by man and angels. St. Augustine says: u No one partakes of this Body until he has first adored, and we not only do not sin when we adore It, but would sin if we did not adore It." The Council of Trent excommunicates those who assert that it is not allow- able to adore Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, in the Blessed Sacrament. How unjust are those unbelievers who sneer at this adoration, when it has never entered into the mind of any Catholic to adore the external appearances of this Sacrament, but the Saviour hidden under the appearances; and how grievously do those indifferent Catholics sin who show Christ so little veneration in this Sacrament, and seldom adore Him if at all!

Which are the external signs of this Sacrament?

The form and appearance, or that which appears to our senses , as the figure, the color, and the taste, but the substance of the bread and wine is by consecration changed into the real Body and Blood of Christ, and only the appearance of bread and wine remains, and is observable to the senses.

Where and by whom is this consecration effected?

This consecration is effected on the altar during the holy Sacrifice of the Mass (therefore the name Sacrament of the Altar), when the priest in the name and by the power of Christ pronounces over the bread and wine the words which Christ Himself pronounced when He instituted this holy Sacrament. St. Ambrose writes: "At the moment that the Sacrament is to be accomplished, the priest no longer uses his own words, but Christ's words, therefore Christ's words complete the Sacrament."

Is Christ present under each form?

Christ is really and truly present under both forms, in Divinity and Humanity, Body and Soul, Flesh and Blood. That Jesus is thus present is clear from the words of St. Paul: Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more. (Rom. vi. 9.) Because Christ dies no more, it naturally follows that He is wholly and entirely present under each form. Hence the council of Trent says: "Whoever denies that in the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist the whole Christ is present in each of the forms and in each part of each form, where a separation has taken place, let him be anathema."

Then no matter how many receive this Sacrament, does each receive Christ?

Yes, for each of the apostles received Christ entirely, and if God by His omnipotence can cause each individual to rejoice at the same instant in the sun's light, and enjoy its entireness, and if He can make one and the same voice resound in the ears of all the listeners, is He not able to give the body of Christ, whole and entire, to as many as wish to receive It?

Is it necessary that this Sacrament should be received in both forms?

No, for as it has already been said, Christ is wholly present, Flesh and Blood, Humanity and Divinity, Body and Soul, in each of the forms. Christ promises eternal life to the recipient also of one form when He says: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world. (John. vi. 52.) The first Christians, in times of persecution, received this Sacrament only in the form of bread in their houses. Though in earlier times, the faithful, like the priests partook of the chalice, it was not strictly required, and the Church for important reasons has since ordered the reception of Communion under but one form, because there was danger that the blood of our Lord might be spilled, and thus dishonored ; because as the Blessed Sacrament must always be ready for the sick, it was feared that the form of wine might be injured by long preservation; because many cannot endure the taste of wine; because in some countries there is scarcity of wine, and it can be obtained only at great cost and with much difficulty, and finally, in order to refute the error of those who denied that Christ is entirely present under each form.

Which are the effects of holy Communion?

The graces of this most holy Sacrament are, as the Roman Catechism says, innumerable; it is the fountain of all grace, for it contains the Author of all the Sacraments, Christ our Lord, all goodness and perfection. According to the doctrine of the Church, there are six special effects of grace produced by this Sacrament in those who worthily receive it. It unites the recipient with Christ, which Christ plainly shows when He says: He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him; (John vi. 57.) hence the name Communion, of which St. Leo writes: "The participation of the Body and Blood of Christ transforms us into that which we receive," and from this union with Christ, our Head, arises also a closer union with our brethren in Christ, into one body, (i Cor. x. 17.) It preserves and increases sanctifying grace, which is the spiritual life of the soul, for our Saviour says: He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. (John vi. 58.) It diminishes in us concupiscence and strengthens us against the temptations of the devil. St. Bernard says: "This holy Sacrament produces two effects in us, it diminishes sensation in small sins, it removes the full consent in grievous sins; if any of you feel not so often now the harsh emotion of anger, of envy, or impurity, you owe it to the Body and Blood of the Lord;" and St. Chrysostom: "When we communicate worthily we return from the table like fiery lions, terrible to the devils." It causes us to perform good works with strength and courage; for he who abides in Christ, and Christ in him, bears much fruit. (John xv.) It effaces venial sin, and preserves from mortal sin, as St. Ambrose says: "This daily bread is used as a help against daily weakness; and as by the enjoyment of this holy Sacrament, we are made in a special manner the property, the lambs of Christ, which He Him- self nourishes with His own heart's blood, He does not permit us to be taken out of His hands, so long as we cooperate with His grace, by prayer, vigilance, and contest. It brings us to a glorious resurrection and to eternal happiness; for he who communicates worthily, possesses Him w r ho is the resurrection and the life, (John xi. 25.) who has said: He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. (John vi. 55.) He has therefore in Christ a pledge, that he will rise in glory and live for ever. If the receiving of this Sacrament produces such great results, how frequently and with what sincere desire should we hasten to enjoy this heavenly banquet, this fountain of all grace! The first Christians received it daily, and St. Augustine says: "Daily receive, what daily benefits!" and St. Cyril: "The baptized may know that they remove themselves far from eternal life, when they remain a long time from Communion." Ah, whence comes in our days, the indifference, the weakness, the impiety of so many Christians but from the neglect and unworthy reception of Communion ! Christian soul, close not your ears to the voice of Jesus who invites you so tenderly to His banquet: Come to me all you who are heavily laden and I will refresh you. Go often,, very often to Him; but when you go to Him, do not neglect to prepare for His worthy reception, and you will soon feel its effects in your soul.

In what does the worthy preparation for this holy Sacrament consists?

The worthy preparation of the soul consists in purifying ourselves by a sincere confession from all grievous sins, and in approaching the holy table with profound humility, sincere love, and with fervent desire. He who receives holy Communion in the state of mortal sin draws down upon himself, as the apostle says, judgment and condemnation. The worthy preparation of the body consists in fasting from midnight before receiving Communion, and in coming properly dressed to the Lord's banquet.

The holy Sacrament of the Altar is preserved in the tabernacle, in front of which a light is burning day and night, to show that Christ, the light of the world, is here present, that we may bear in mind that every Christian congregation should contain in itself the light of faith, the flame of hope, the warmth of divine love, and the fire of true devotion, by a pious life manifesting and consuming itself, like a light, in the service of God. As a Christian you must believe, that under the appearance of bread Christ is really present in the tabernacle, and that He is your Redeemer, your Saviour, your Lord and King, the best Friend and Lover of your soul, whose pleasure it is to dwell among the children of men; then it is your duty often to visit Him in this most holy Sacrament, and offer Him your homage and adoration. "It is certain," says St. Alphonsus Ligouri, "that next to the enjoyment of this holy Sacrament in Communion, the adoration of Jesus in this Sacrament is the best and most pleasing *of all devotional exercises, and of the greatest advantage to us." Hesitate not, therefore, to practise this devotion. From this day renounce at least a quarter of an hour intercourse with others , and go to church , to entertain yourself there with Christ. Know that the time which you spend in this way, will be of the greatest consolation to you in the hour of death and through all eternity. Visit Jesus not only in the church, but also accompany and adore Him when carried in processions, or to sick persons. You will thus show your Lord the homage due to Him, gather great merits for your- self, and have the sure hope that Christ will one day repay you a hundredfold.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Feast of Corpus Christi
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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A great solemnity has this day risen upon our earth: a Feast both to God and men: for it is the Feast of Christ the Mediator, who is present in the sacred Host, that God may be given to man, and man to God. Divine union,—yes, such is the dignity to which man is permitted to aspire; and, to this aspiration, God has responded, even here below, by an invention which is all of heaven. It is today that man celebrates this marvel of God’s goodness.

It is today that man celebrates this marvel of God’s goodness. And yet, against both the Feast and its divine object, there has been made the old-fashioned objection: How can these things be done? It really does seem as though reason has a right to find fault with what looks like senseless pretensions of man’s heart. Every living being thirsts after happiness; and yet, and because of that, it only aspires after the good of which it is capable; for it is the necessary condition of happiness that, in order to its existence, there must be the full contentment of the creature’s desire. Hence, in that great act of creation which the Scripture so sublimely calls his playing in the world, when, with his almighty power, he prepared the heavens and enclosed the depths, and balanced the foundations of the earth, we are told that Divine Wisdom secured the harmony of the universe by giving to each creature, according to its degree in the scale of being, an end adequate to its powers; lie thus measured the wants, the instinct, the appetite (that is, the desire) of each creature, according to its respective nature; so that it would never have cravings which its faculties were insufficient to satisfy.

In obedience, then, to this law, was not man, too, obliged to confine within the limits of his finite nature his desires for the good and the beautiful, that is, his searching after God, which is a necessity with every intelligent and free being? Otherwise, would it not be that, for certain beings, their happiness would have to be in objects which must ever be out of the reach of their natural faculties? Great as the anomaly would appear, yet does it exist; true psychology, that is, the true science of the human mind, bears testimony to this desire for the infinite. Like every living creature around him, man thirsts for happiness; and yet he is the only creature on earth that feels within itself longings for what is immensely beyond its capacity. While docile to the lord placed over them by the Creator, the irrational creatures are quite satisfied with what they find in this world; they render to man their several services, and their own desires are all fully gratified by what is within their reach: it is not so with Man; he can find nothing in this his earthly dwelling which can satiate his irresistible longings for a something which this earth cannot give and which time cannot produce;—for that something is the infinite.

God himself, when revealing himself to man through the works he has created, that is, when showing himself to man in a way which his natural powers can take in; God, when giving man to know him as the First Cause, as Last End of all creatures, as unlimited perfection, as infinite beauty, as sovereign goodness, as the object which can content both our understanding and our will,—no, not even God himself thus known and thus enjoyed could satisfy man. This being, made out of nothing, wishes to possess the Infinite in his own substance; he longs after the sight of the face, he ambitions to enjoy the life, of his Lord and God. The earth seems to him but a trackless desert, where he can find no water that can quench his thirst. From early dawn of each wearisome day, his soul is at once on the watch, pining for that God who alone can quell his desires; yea, his very flesh, too, has its thrilling expectations for that beautiful Infinite One. Let us listen to the Psalmist, who speaks for us all: As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after thee, O God! My soul hath thirsted after the strong, living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My tears have been my bread, day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: “Where is thy God?” These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God. With the voice of joy and praise, the noise of one that is feasting. Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise unto him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

If reason is to be the judge of such sentiments as these, they are but wild enthusiasm and silly pretensions. Why talk of the sight of God, of the life of God, of a banquet wherein God himself is to be the repast? Surely, these are things far too sublime for man or any created nature to reach. Between the wishes and the object longed for, there is an abyss,—the abyss of disproportion, which exists between nothingness and being. Creation, all powerful as it is, does not in itself imply the filling up of that abyss. If the disproportion could ever cease to be an obstacle to the union aspired to, it would be by God himself going that whole length and then imparting something of his own divine energies to the creature that had once been nothing. But what is there in man to induce the Infinite Being, whose magnificence is above the heavens, to stoop so low as that? This is the language of reason.

But on the other hand, who was it that made the heart of man so great and so ambitious that no creature can fill it; how comes it that, while the heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth how full of wisdom and power is every work of his hands, how comes it, we ask, that in man alone there is no proportion, no order? Could it be that the great Creator has ordered all things, excepting man alone, with measure and number and weight? That one creature who is the masterpiece of the whole creation; that creature for whom all the rest was intended as for its king; is he to be the only one that is a failure, and to live as a perpetual proclaimer that his Maker could not, or would not, be wise when he made Man? Far from us be such a blasphemy! God is love, says St. John; and love is the knot which mere human philosophy can never loosen, and therefore must ever leave unsolved the problem of man’s desire for the Infinite.

Yes, God is charity; God is love. The wonder in all this question is not our loving and longing for God, but that he should have first loved us. God is love; and love must have union; and union makes the united like one another. Oh! the riches of the Divine Nature, wherein are infinite Power, and Wisdom, and Love! These three constitute, by their divine relations, that blessed Trinity which has been the light and joy of our souls ever since that bright Sunday’s Feast, which we kept in its honor. Oh! the depth of the divine counsels wherein that which is willed by boundless Love finds, in infinite Wisdom, how to fulfill in work what will be to the glory of Omnipotence!

Glory be to thee, O holy Spirit! Thy reign over the Church has but just begun this Year of grace, and thou art giving us light whereby to understand the divine decrees. The day of thy Pentecost brought us a new Law, a Law where all is brightness; and it was given to us in place of that Old one of shadows and types. The pedagogue, who schooled the infant world for the knowledge of truth, has been dismissed; light has shone upon us through the preaching of the Apostles; and the children of light, set free, knowing God and known by him, are daily leaving behind them the weak and needy elements of early childhood. Scarcely, O divine Spirit! was completed the triumphant Octave, wherein the Church celebrated thy Coming and her own birth, which that Coming brought when all eager for the fulfilment of thy Mission of bringing to the Bride’s mind the things taught her by her Spouse, thou showedst her the divine and radiant mystery of the Trinity, that not only her Faith might acknowledge, but that her adoration and her praise might also worship it; and she and her children find their happiness in its contemplation and love. But that first of the great mysteries of our faith, the unsearchable dogma of the Trinity, does not represent the whole richness of Christian revelation; thou, O blessed Spirit, hastenest to complete our instruction and widen the horizon of our faith.

The knowledge thou hast given us of the essence and the life of the Godhead was to be followed and completed by that of his external works, and the relations which this God has vouchsafed to establish between himself and us. In this very week when we begin, under thy direction, to contemplate the precious gifts left us by our Jesus when he ascended on high; on this first Thursday, which reminds us of that holiest of all Thursdays,—our Lord’s Supper,—thou, O divine Spirit, bringest before our delighted vision the admirable Sacrament, which is the compendium of the works of God, one in Essence and three in Persons; the adorable Eucharist, which is the divine memorial of the wonderful things achieved by the united operation of Omnipotence, Wisdom, and Love. The most holy Eucharist contains within itself the whole plan of God with reference to this world of ours; it shows how all previous ages have been gradually developing the divine intentions, which were formed by infinite love, and by that same love, carried out to the end, yea, to the furthest extremity here below, that is, to Itself; for the Eucharist is the crowning of all the antecedent acts done by God in favor of his creatures; the Eucharist implies them all; it explains all.

Man’s aspirations for union with God,—aspirations which are above his own nature, and yet so interwoven with it as to form one inseparable life,—these strange longings can have but one possible cause, and it is God himself—God who is the author of that being called Man. None but God has formed the immense capaciousness of man’s heart; and none but God is willing or able to fill it. Every act of the divine will, whether outside himself or in, is pure love, and is referred to that Person of the Blessed Trinity who is the Third; and who, by the mode of his Procession, is substantial and infinite love. Just as the Almighty Father sees all things before they exist in themselves, in his only Word, who is the term of the divine intelligence,—so, likewise, that those same things may exist in themselves, the same Almighty Father wishes them, in the Holy Ghost, who is to the divine will what the Word is to the infinite intelligence. The Spirit of Love, who is the final term to the fecundity of persons in the divine essence, is, in God, the first beginning of the exterior works produced by God. In their execution, those exterior works are common to the Three Persons, but they are attributed to the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as he, being the Spirit of Love, solicits the Godhead to act outside Itself. He is the Love who, with its divine weight and influence of love, sways the Blessed Trinity to the external act of creation; infinite Being leans, as it were, towards the deep abyss of nothingness, and out of that abyss, creates. The Holy Spirit opens the divine counsel and says: Let us make man to our image and likeness! Then God created man to his own image; he creates him to the image of God, taking his own Word as the model to which he worked; for that Word is the sovereign archetype according to which is formed the more or less perfect essence of each created being. Like him, then, to whose image he was made, Man was endowed with understanding and free will. As such, he would govern the whole inferior creation and make it serve the purposes of its Creator, that is, he would turn it into an homage of praise and glory to its God; and though that homage would be finite, yet would it be the best of which it was capable. This is what is called the natural order; it is an immense world of perfect harmonies; and, had it ever existed without any further perfection than its own natural one, it would have been a masterpiece of God’s goodness; and yet it would have been far from realizing the designs of the Spirit of Love.

With all the spontaneity of a will which was free not to act, and was as infinite as any other of the divine perfections, the Holy Spirit wills that Man should, after this present life, be a partaker of the very life of God by the face to face vision of the divine essence; nay, the present life of the children of Adam here on this earth is to put on, by anticipation, the dignity of that higher life; and this so literally that the future one in heaven is to be but the direct sequel the consequent outgrowth of the one led here below. And how is man, so poor a creature in himself, to maintain so high a standing? how is he to satisfy the cravings thus created within his heart? Fear not: the Holy Ghost has a work of his own, and he does it simultaneously with the act of creation; for the Three Persons infuse into their creature, Man, the image of their own divine attributes; and upon his finite and limited powers graft, so to say, the powers of the divine nature. This being made for an end which is above created nature; these energies superadded to man’s natural powers, transforming, yet not destroying, them and enabling the possessor to attain the end unto which God calls him;—is called the supernatural order, in contradistinction to that lower one, which would have been the order of nature had not God, in his infinite goodness, thus elevated man above his own mere state as man, and that from the very first of his coming into existence. Man will retain all those elements of the natural order, which are essentials to his human nature; and with those essential elements, the functions proper to each: but there is a principle that, in every series, that should give the specific character to the aggregate which was the end proposed by the ruling mind. Now, the last end of Man was never other in the mind of his Creator than a supernatural one; and consequently, the natural order, properly so called, never existed independently of or separately from the supernatural.

There has been a proud school of philosophy called “free and independent,” which professed to admit no truths except natural ones, and practice no other virtues than such as were merely human: but such theories cannot hold. The disciples of godless and secular education, by the errors and crimes into which their unaided nature periodically leads them, demonstrate almost as forcibly as the eminent sanctity of souls which have been faithful to grace, that mere nature or mere natural goodness never was and never can be a permanent and normal state for man to live in. And even granting that he could so live, yet man has no right to reduce himself to a less exalted position than the one intended for him by his Maker. “By assigning us a supernatural vocation, God testified the love he bore us; but at the same time, he acted as Lord and evinced his authority over us. The favor he bestowed upon us has created a duty corresponding. Men have a saying, and a true one: ‘He that hath nobility, hath obligations:’ and the principle holds with regard to the supernatural nobility, which it has pleased God to confer upon us.”

It is a nobility which surpasses every other; it makes man not only an image of God, but like unto him! Between God,—the Infinite, the Eternal,—and Man, who but a while back was nothing, and ever must be a creature,—friendship and love are henceforth to be possible:—such is the purpose of the capabilities, and powers, and the life bestowed on the human creature by the Spirit of Love. So, then, those longings for his God, those thrillings of his very flesh, of which we were just now reading the inspired description by the Psalmist—they are not the outpourings of foolish enthusiasm! That thirsting after God, the strong, the living God; that hungering for the feast of divine union;—no, they are not empty ravings. Made partaker of the divine nature, as St. Peter so strongly words the mystery, is it to be wondered at if man be conscious of it and lets himself be drawn by the uncreated flame into the very central Fire it came from to him? The Holy Spirit, too, is present in his creature, and is witness of what himself has produced there; he joins his own testimonies to that of our own conscience, and tells our spirit that we are truly what we feel ourselves to be—the sons of God.

It is the same Holy Spirit who, secreting himself in the innermost center of our being, that he may foster and complete his work of love,—yes, it is that same Spirit who, at one time, opens to our soul’s eye by some sudden flash of light the future glory that awaits us, and then inspires us with a sentiment of anticipated triumph; and then, at another time, he breathes into us those unspeakable moanings, those songs of the exile, whose voice is choked with the hot tears of love, for that his union with his God seems so long deferred. There are, too, certain delicious hymns which, coming from the very depths of souls wounded with divine love, make their way up to the throne of God; and the music is so sweet to him that it almost looks as though it had been victorious and had won the union! Such music of such souls does really win if not the eternal union,—for that could not be during this life of pilgrimage, and trials, and tears,—still it wins wonderful unions here below, which human language has not the power to describe.

In this mysterious song between the Divine Spirit and man’s soul, we are told by the Apostle that He who searcheth hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth, because he asketh for the saints according to God. What a desire must not that be, which the Holy Spirit desireth! It is as powerful as the God who desires it. It is a desire, new, indeed, inasmuch as it is in the heart of man, but eternal, inasmuch as it is the desire of the Holy Spirit, whose Procession is before all ages. In response to this desire of the Spirit, the great God, from the infinite depths of his eternity, resolved to manifest himself in time and unite himself to man while yet a wayfarer; he resolved thus to manifest and unite himself not in his own Person, but in his Son, who is the brightness of his own glory and the true figure of his own substance. God so loved the world as to give it his own Word—that divine Wisdom who, from the bosom of his Father, had devoted himself to our human nature. That bosom of the Father was imaged by what the Scripture calls Abraham’s bosom, where, under the ancient covenant, were assembled all the souls of the just, as in the place where they were to rest till the way into the Holy of Holies should be opened for the elect. Now, it was from this bosom of his eternal Father, which the Psalmist calls the bride chamber, that the Bridegroom came forth at the appointed time, leaving his heavenly abode and coming down into this poor earth to seek his Bride; that, when he had made her his own, he might lead her back with himself into his kingdom, where he would celebrate the eternal nuptials. This is the triumphant procession of the Bridegroom in all his beauty; a procession whereof the Prophet Micheas, when speaking of his passing through Bethlehem, says that his going forth is from the days of eternity. Yes, truly from the days of eternity; for as we are taught by the sublime principles of Catholic theology, the connection between the eternal procession of the divine Persons and the temporal mission is so intimate that one same eternity unites the two together in God: eternally, the Trinity has beheld the ineffable birth of the Only Begotten Son in the bosom of the Father; eternally, with the same look, it has beheld him coming, as Spouse, from that same Father’s bosom.

If we now come to compare the eternal decrees of God one with the other, it is not difficult to recognize which of them holds the chief place and, as such, comes first in the divine intention of creation. God the Father has made all things with a view to this union of human nature with his Son;—union so close that, for one individual member of that nature, it was to go so far as a personal identification with the Only Begotten of the Father. So universal, too, was the union to be that all the members were to partake of it in a greater or less degree; not one single individual of the race was to be excluded, except through his own fault, from the divine nuptials with eternal Wisdom, which was made visible in a Man, the most beautiful above all the children of men. For, as the Apostle says, God, who heretofore commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath himself shined in our hearts, giving them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in, and by, the face of Christ Jesus. So that the mystery of the Marriage Feast is, in all truth, the mystery of the world; and the kingdom of heaven is well likened to a King, who made a Marriage for his Son.

But where is the meeting between the King’s Son and his Betrothed to take place? Where is this mysterious union to be completed? Who is there to tell us what is the dowry of the Bride, the pledge of the alliance? Is it known who is the Master who provides the nuptial banquet and what sorts of food will be served to the guests? The answer to these questions is given this very day, throughout the earth; it is given with loud triumphant joy. There can be no mistake; it is evident from the sublime message, which earth and heaven re-echo, that He who is come is the Divine Word. He is adorable Wisdom, and is come forth from his royal abode to utter his voice in our very streets, and cry out at the head of multitudes, and speak his words in the entrance of city gates; he stands on the top of the highest places by the way, in the midst of the paths, and makes himself heard by the sons of men. He bids his servants go to the tower and the city walls with this his message: Come! eat my Bread, and drink the Wine which I have mingled for you; for Wisdom hath built herself a House; supported on seven pillars; there she hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table; all things are ready; come to the marriage!

O Wisdom, that camest forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end, disposing all things with strength and sweetness! we besought thee, in the season of Advent, to come unto Bethlehem, “the house of Bread;” thou wast the long Expected of our hearts. The day of the glorious Epiphany showed us the mystery of the Nuptials, and manifested to us the Bridegroom; the Bride was got ready in the waters of the Jordan; we commemorated the Magi, who, with their gifts, hastened to the royal nuptials, where the guests were regaled with a miraculous wine. But the Water which, to make up for the deficiency of a bad tree, was changed into wine, was a prophetic figure of future mysteries. The Vine, the true Vine, of which we are the Branches, has yielded its sweet-smelling flowers, and its fruits of honor and riches. Wheat hath abounded in our valleys, and they shall sing a hymn of praise; for this strength of the earth shall cover the mountain tops, and its fruit shall go up beyond Libanus.

O Wisdom, thou noble queen, whose divine perfections enamor, from early childhood, hearts that are taken with true beauty! the day of the true Marriage-feast is come. Thou art a mother full of honor, and a young Bride in thy charms, and thou comest to nourish us with the bread of life, and give us to drink of a cup of salvation. Thy fruit is better than gold; and thy blossoms, than choicest silver. They that eat thee shall still hunger after thee; and they that drink thee shall again thirst for thee; for thy conversation hath no bitterness, nor thy company any tediousness, but joy and gladness, and riches, and glory, and virtues.

During the days of this great Solemnity, when thou art seated in a pillar of a cloud and placest thy throne in the holy assembly, we would fain take each mystery of this thy divine banquet, and ponder over its marvels, and then publish them, yea, go to choir with thee, 0 beautiful Wisdom, and sing thy praise in the presence of thy Angels, who will be there adoring the Sacred Host! Do thou vouchsafe to open our lips and fill us with thy Holy Spirit, O divine Wisdom! that so our praise may be worthy of its theme, and, as thou hast promised in thy Scriptures, may it abound, may it be full to overflowing, in the mouths of thy faithful worshippers!

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The Procession, which immediately precedes Mass on other Feasts, is, today, deferred till after the offering of the great Sacrifice. In this Procession, our Jesus is to preside in person: we must, therefore, wait until the sacred Action (so our Fathers call the Mass) has bowed down to us the heavens where he resides. He will soon be shrouded beneath the mysterious cloud. He is coming, that he may nourish his elect with the fat of wheat, of that Wheat which has fallen on our earth, and is to be multiplied by being mystically immolated on the countless Altars of this earth. He is coming today, that he may receive a triumph at the hand of his people, and hear the songs we shall so joyously sing to the God of Jacob. These are the ideas expressed by the Introit, wherewith the Church opens her chants during the holy Sacrifice; it is taken from the 80th Psalm, which is so very sublime, and forms one of those already recited in the Matins of this Feast.

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia: et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia: and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: Jubilate Deo Jacob. ℣. Gloria Patri. Cibavit eos.
Ps. Rejoice unto God, our helper: sing joyfully unto the God of Jacob. ℣. Glory, &c. He fed them.

In the Collect, the Church reminds us of the intention our Lord had in instituting, on the eve of his Passion, the Sacrament of love;—it was to be a perpetual memorial of the Passion, which he was then going to suffer. Our Mother prays, that being thus imbued with the spirit which leads her to pay honor to the Body and Blood of Christ, we may obtain the blessings which were purchased for us by his Sacrifice.

Deus qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili passionis tuæ memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quæsumus; ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuæ fructum in nobis jugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis.
O God, who, under the wonderful Sacrament, hast left us a memorial of thy Passion: grant us, we beseech thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that, in our souls, we may always feel the fruit of thy Redemption. Who livest, etc.

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. I Ch. XI.

Brethren, for I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

Quote:The holy Eucharist, both as Sacrifice and Sacrament, is the very center of the Christian religion; and therefore, our Lord would have a fourfold testimony to be given in the inspired writings to its Institution. Besides the account given by Saints Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we have also that of St. Paul, which has just been read to us and which he received from the lips of Jesus himself, who vouchsafed to appear to him after his Conversion and instruct him.

St. Paul lays particular stress on the power given by our Lord to his disciples, of renewing the act which he himself had just been doing. He tells us what the Evangelists had not explicitly mentioned, that as often as a Priest consecrates the Body and Blood of Christ he shows (he announces) the Death of the Lord: and by that expression, tells us that the Sacrifice of the Cross, and that of our Altars, is one and the same. It is likewise by the immolation of our Redeemer on the Cross that the flesh of this Lamb of God is truly meat, and his Blood truly drink, as we shall be told in a few moments by the Gospel. Let not the Christian, therefore, forget it, not even on this day of festive triumph. The Church insists on the same truth in her Collect of this Feast: it is the teaching which she keeps repeating, through this formula, throughout the entire Octave, and her object in this is to impress vividly on the minds of her children this, the last and earnest injunction of our Jesus: As often as ye shall drink of this cup of the new Testament, do it for the commemoration of me! The selection she makes of this passage of St. Paul for the Epistle should impress the Christian with this truth,—that the divine Flesh which feeds his soul was prepared on Calvary, and that, although the Lamb of God is now living and impassible, he became our food, our nourishment, by the cruel death which he endured. The sinner, who has made his peace with God, will partake of this sacred Body with deep compunction, reproaching himself for having shed its Blood by his sins: the just man will approach the holy Table with humility, remembering how he too has had but too great a share in causing the innocent Lamb to suffer; and that if he be at present in the state of grace, he owes it to the Blood of the victim, whose Flesh is about to be given to him for his nourishment.

But let us dread, and dread above all things, the sacrilegious daring spoken against in such strong language by our Apostle,—and which, by a monstrous contradiction, would attempt to put again to death Him who is the Author of Life; and this attempt to be made in the very banquet which was procured for us men by the precious Blood of this Saviour! Let a man prove himself, says the Apostle; and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. This proving one’s self is sacramental confession, which must be made by him who feels himself guilty of a grievous sin which has never before been confessed. How sorry soever he may be for it, were he even reconciled to God by an act of perfect contrition, the injunction of the Apostle interpreted by the custom of the Church and the decisions of her Councils forbids his approaching the holy Table until he has submitted his sin to the power of the Keys.

The Gradual and Alleluia-Verse are a further instance of the parallelism between the two Testaments, which we have already noticed in the composition of the Matin Responsories. The Psalmist extols the bounty of that God to whom every living creature looks for its food; and our Jesus offers himself to us, as we have it in St. John’s Gospel, as our truest nourishment.

Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine: et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno.
The eyes of all hope in thee, O Lord: and thou givest them food in due season.

℣. Aperis tu manum tuam, et imples omne animal benedictione.
℣. Thou openest thy hand, and fillest with thy blessing every living creature.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus; qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in eo.
℣. My flesh is truly meat, and my blood is truly drink; he that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.

Then follows the Sequence,—that well-known composition of the Angelical Doctor. The Church, the true Sion, expresses her enthusiasm, and love, for the living and life-giving Bread, in words which, at first sight, would see too precise and scholastic, to comport the poetry of form and sentiment. The Eucharistic mystery is here developed with that concision and solemnity for which St. Thomas had such a wonderful talent. The words are accompanied by a chant which is worthy of them; and the two together excite in the Christian soul the sentiments of unearthly joy, which are so peculiar to this Feast of the Sacrament of Love.

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Lauda Sion Salvatorem,
Lauda ducem et pastorem
In hymnis et canticis.

Praise thy Savior, O Sion! praise thy guide and shepherd, in hymns and canticles.

Quantum potes, tantum aude:
Quia major omni laude,
Nec laudare sufficis.

As much as thou hast power, so also dare; for he is above all praise, nor canst thou praise him enough.

Laudis thema specialis,
Panis vivus et vitalis
Hodie proponitur.

This day, there is given to us a special theme of praise,—the living and life-giving Bread,

Quem in sacræ mensa cœnæ,
Turbæ fractrum duodenæ
Datum non ambigitur.

Which, as our faith assures us, was given to the Twelve brethren, as they sat at the the Table of the holy Supper.

Sit laus plena, sit sonora,
Sit jucunda, sit decora
Mentis jubilatio;

Let our praise be full, let it be sweet; let our soul’s jubilee be joyous, let it be beautiful;

Dies enim solemnis agitur,
In qua mensæ prima recolitur
Hujus institutio.

For we are celebrating that great day, whereon is commemorated the first institution of this Table.

In hac mensa novi Regis,
Novum Pascha novæ legis,
Phase vetus terminat.

In this Table of the new King, the new Pasch of the new Law puts an end to the old Passover.

Vetustatem novitas,
Umbram fugat veritas,
Noctem lux eliminat.

Newness puts the old to flight, and so does truth the shadow; the light drives night away.

Quod in cœna Christus gessit,
Faciendum hoc expressit
In sui memoriam.

What Christ did at that Supper, that he said was to be done in remembrance of him.

Docti sacris institutis,
Panem, vinum in salutis
Consecramus hostiam.

Taught by his sacred institutions, we consecrate the Bread and Wine into the victim of salvation.

Dogma datur Christianis,
Quod in carnem transit panis,
Et vinum in sanguinem.

This is the dogma given to Christians,—that bread passes into flesh, and wine into blood.

Quod non capis, quod non vides,
Animosa firmat fides,
Præter rerum ordinem.

What thou understandest not, what thou seest not,—that let a generous faith confirm thee in, beyond nature’s course.

Sub diversis speciebus,
Signis tantum et non rebus,
Latent res eximiæ.

Under the different species,—which are signs not things,—there hidden lie things of infinite worth.

Caro cibus, sanguis potus;
Manet tamen Christus totus
Sub utraque specie.

The Flesh is food, the Blood is drink; yet Christ is whole, under each species.

A sumente non concisus,
Non confractus, non divisus,
Integer acciptur.

He is not cut by the receiver, nor broken, nor divided: he is taken whole.

Simit unus, sumunt mille:
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
Nec sumptus consumitur.

He is received by one, he is received by a thousand; the one receives as much as all; nor is He consumed, who is received.

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
Sorte tamen inæquali,
Vitæ vel interitus.

The good receive, the bad receive,—but with the difference of life or death.

Mors est malis, vita bonis:
Vide paris sumptionis
Quam sit dispar exitus.

’Tis death to the bad, ’tis life to the good: lo! how unlike is the effect of the one like receiving.

Fracto demum Sacramento,
Ne vacilles, sed memento,
Tantum esse sub fragmento,
Quantum toto tegitur.

And when the Sacrament is broken, waver not! but remember, that there is as much under each fragment, as is hid under the whole.

Nulla rei fit scissura,
Signi tantum fit fractura:
Qua nec status, nec statura
Signati minuitur.

Of the substance that is there, there is no division; it is but the sign that is broken; and He who is the Signified, is not thereby diminished, either as to state or stature.

Ecce panis Angelorum,
Factus cibus viatorum:
Vere panis filiorum,
Non mittendus canibus.

Lo! the Bread of Angels is made the food of pilgrims; verily, it is the Bread of the children, not to be cast to dogs.

In figuris præsignatur,
Cum Isaac immolatur:
Agnus Paschæ deputatur,
Datur manna patribus.

It is foreshown in figures,—when Isaac is slain, when the Paschal Lamb is prescribed, when Manna is given to our fathers.

Bone Pastor, panis vere,
Jesu nostri miserere:
Tu nos pasce, nos tuere:
Tuo nos bona fac videre
In terra viventium.

O good Shepherd! true Bread! Jesus! have mercy upon us: feed us, defend us: give us to see good things in the land of the living.

Tu qui cuncta scis et vales,
Qui nos pascis hic mortales:
Tuos ibi commensales,
Cohæredes et sodales,
Fac sanctorum civium.
Amen. Alleluia.

O thou, who knowest and canst do all things, who feedest us mortals here below, make us to be thy companions in the banquet yonder above, and thy joint-heirs, and fellow-citizens with the Saints! Amen. Alleluia.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John. Ch. VI.
At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: My flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.

Quote:The beloved Disciple could not remain silent on the Mystery of Love. But at the time when he wrote his Gospel, the institution of the Eucharist had been sufficiently recorded by the three Evangelists who had preceded him, as also by the Apostle of the Gentiles. Instead, therefore, of repeating what these had written, he completed it by relating the solemn promise made by Jesus on the banks of Lake Tiberias a year before the Last Supper.

He was surrounded by the thousands, who were in admiration at his having miraculously multiplied the loaves and fishes: Jesus takes the opportunity of telling them that he himself is the true bread come down from heaven and which, unlike the manna given to their fathers by Moses, could preserve man from death. Life is the best of all gifts, as death is the worst of evils. Life exists in God as in its source; he alone can give it to whom he pleases and restore it to him who has lost it. Man, who was created in grace, lost his life when he sinned, and incurred death. But God so loved the world as to send it, lost as it was, his Son, with the mission of restoring man to life. True God of true God, Light of Light, the Only Begotten Son is, likewise, true Life of true Life by nature: and as the Father enlightens them that are in darkness by this Son, who is his Light, so likewise he gives life to them that are dead, and he gives it to them in this same Son of his who is his living Image. The Word of God, then, came amongst men, that they might have life, and abundant life. And whereas it is the property of food to increase and maintain life, therefore did he become our Food, our living and life-giving Food, which has come down from heaven; partaking of the life eternal which he has in his Father’s bosom, the Flesh of the Word communicates this same life to them that eat It. That, (as St. Cyril of Alexandria observes) which, of its own nature, is corruptible, cannot be brought to life in any other way than by its corporal union with the body of him who is life by nature: now, just as two pieces of wax melted together by the fire make but one, so are we and Christ made one by our partaking of his Body and Blood. This life, therefore, which resides in the Flesh of the Word made ours within us, shall be no more overcome by death; on the day appointed, this life will throw off the chains of the old enemy, and will triumph over corruption in these our bodies, making them immortal (In Johan, lib. x. cap. 2). Hence it is that the Church, with her delicate feelings both as Bride and Mother, selects from this same passage of St. John, her Gospel for the daily Mass of the Dead; thus drying up the tears of the living who are mourning over their departed friends, and consoling them by bringing them into the presence of the holy Host, which is the source of true life, and the center of all our hopes.

Thus was it to be that not only the soul was to be renewed by her contact with the Word, but even the body, earthly and material as it is, was to share in its way of what our Savior called the Spirit that guickeneth. “They,” as St. Gregory of Nyssa has so beautifully said, “who have been led, by an enemy’s craft, to take poison, neutralize by some other potion the power which would cause death; and as was the deadly, so likewise the curative must be taken into the very bowels of the sufferer; that so the efficacy of that which brings relief may permeate through the whole body. Thus we, having tasted that which ruined our nature, require a something which will restore and put to right that which was disordered; and that when this salutary medicine shall be within us, it may, as an antidote, drive out the mischief of the poison which had previously been taken into the body. And what is this (salutary medicine)? No other than that Body which had both been shown to be stronger than death, and was the beginning of our life. For, says the Apostle, as a little leaven makes the whole paste to be like itself, so, likewise, that Body which God had willed should be put to death, when it is within ours, transmutes and transfers it wholly to Itself … Now, the only way whereby a substance may be thus got into the body, is by its being taken as food and drink.”

The Offertory is taken from those words of Leviticus (xxi, t), wherein God commands the Priests of the ancient covenant to be holy, because of their having to offer incense and loaves of proposition to him, as figures of something to be at another time. As much as the priesthood of the New Testament is superior to this ministry of the figurative Law, so much should the hands of Aaron be surpassed in holiness by those that have to offer, to God the Father, the true Bread of heaven, which is the incense of infinite fragrance.

Sacerdotes Domini incensum et panes offerunt Deo: et ideo sancti erunt Deo suo, et non polluent nomen ejus, alleluia.
The priests of the Lord offer unto God incense and loaves: and, therefore, shall they be holy to their God, and shall not defile his name, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Priest prays that there may be, in the Church, that unity and peace, which are the special grace of the holy Sacrament, as the Fathers teach us. The very bread and wine which are offered express this: the bread is made up out of many grains and the wine out of many berries.

The Preface, both for the Feast and the Octave, is that of Christmas: we are thus reminded of the close connection which exists between the two mysteries of the Birth of Christ and the Eucharist. It was in Bethlehem, the house of Bread, that Jesus, the Bread of Life, came down from heaven through the Virgin, his ever blessed Mother.

Ecclesiæ tuæ, quæsumus Domine, unitatis et pacis propitius dona concede: quæ sub oblatis muneribus mystice designantur. Per Dominum.
Mercifully grant thy Church, O Lord, we beseech thee, the gifts of unity and peace, which are mystically represented in these offerings. Through, etc.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus; quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium, nova mentis nostræ oculis lux tuæ claritatis infulsit: ut dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur: et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God; for that, by the mystery of the Incarnate Word, a new ray of thy glory has appeared to the eyes of our soul: so that, while we behold God visibly, we may be carried by him to the love of things invisible: and, therefore, with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly.

Faithful to her Lord’s injunction, which she brought before us in the Epistle, the Church reminds her children, in the Communion-Anthem, that they announce the Death of Christ, when they receive his Body; and that consequently, they should tremble at the very thought of an unworthy Communion.

Quotiescumque manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis, donec veniat: itaque quicumque manducaverit panem, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini, alleluia.
As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord, until he come: whosoever, therefore, shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord, alleluia.

The Church concludes the Mysteries by praying that there be granted that eternal and unveiled union with the divine Word, of which she has a pledge and figure in the partaking, here below, of the real substance of his Body and Blood, under the veil of Faith.

Fac nos, quæsumus Domine, divinitatis tuæ sempiterna fruitione repleri: quam pretiosi Corporis et Sanguinis tui temporalis perceptio præfigurat. Qui vivis.
Grant us, O Lord, we beseech thee, the everlasting possession of thyself: as a pledge of which, we have received thy Body and Blood. Who livest, etc.

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The Procession

Who is this who comes up, embalming the desert of the world with her clouds of incense and myrrh, and perfumes unnumbered? The Bride has awakened of her own accord today. Full of desire to please him, and very lovely, the Church is standing round the golden litter, wherein is throned her Spouse in his glory. Near him are drawn up the valiant ones of Israel,—the priests and levites of the Lord who are strong even with God. Go forth, ye daughters of Sion! fix your gaze on the true Solomon, so beautiful in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him on the day of his espousals, the day of the joy of his heart! That diadem is the Flesh received by the divine Word, from the Virgin Mother, when he took our human nature for his Bride. By this most perfect of Bodies, by this sacred Flesh, there is every day continued, in the Eucharistic banquet, the ineffable mystery of the marriage between man and eternal Wisdom. For our true Solomon, then, each day is the day of the joy of his heart, the day of nuptial rejoicing: could anything be more just than that once in the Year, holy Church should give full freedom to the transports of the love she has for her divine Spouse, who resides with her in the Sacrament of Love, although in a hidden manner? It is on this account that in today’s Mass, the Priest has consecrated two Hosts; and that, after having received one of these in communion, he has placed the other in the glittering Ostensorium, which is to be carried in his trembling hands beneath a canopy, while hymns of triumphant joy are being sung, and the Faithful, in prostrate adoration, are being blessed by their Jesus, who thus comes amongst them.

This solemn homage to the sacred Host is, as we have already said, a later institution than the Feast itself of Corpus Christi. Pope Urban the Fourth does not speak of it in his Bull of the Institution, in 1264. Twenty-two years later, Durandus of Mende wrote his Rational of Divine Offices, in which he several times mentions the Processions which were then in use; but he has not a word upon that of Corpus Christi. On the other hand, Martin the Fifth, and Eugenius the Fourth, in their Constitutions, which we have already quoted (May 26, 1429, May 26, 1433), plainly show that it was then in use, for they grant Indulgences to them that are present at it. Donatus Bossius of Milan tells us, in his Chronicle, that on Thursday the 24th of May, 1404, “there was carried, for the first time solemnly, the Body of Christ in the streets of Padua, which has since become the custom.” Some writers have concluded from these words that the Procession of Corpus Christi was not in use before that date, and that it first originated at Padua; but the words of Bossius scarcely justify such an inference, and words he uses may be understood of a local custom.

Indeed, we find mention made of this procession in a Manuscript of the Church of Chartres, in 1330; in an Act of the Chapter of Tournai, in 1325; in a Council of Paris in 1323; and in one held at Sens in 1320. Indulgences are granted by these two Councils to those who observe abstinence and fasting on the vigil of Corpus Christi, and they add these words: “As to the solemn Procession made on the Thursday’s Feast, when the holy Sacrament is carried, seeing that it appears to have been introduced in these our times by a sort of inspiration,—we prescribe nothing at present, and leave all concerning it to the devotion of the clergy and people.” So that the initiative to the institution of today’s Procession seems to have been made by the devotion of the Faithful; and that this admirable completion given to our Feast began in France, and thence was adopted in all the Churches of the West.

There is ground for supposing that at first the sacred Host was not carried in these Processions as it is now; it was veiled over or enclosed in a sort of rich shrine. Even so far back as the 11th Century, it had been the custom, in some places, to carry It in this way during the Processions of Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday morning. We have elsewhere spoken of these devotional practices which, however, were not so much for the direct purpose of honoring the Blessed Sacrament as for that of bringing more forward the mystery of those solemnities. Be this as it may, the use of ostensoria, or monstrances as they are termed in a Council held in 1452 at Cologne, soon followed the institution of the new Procession. They were made, at first, in shape like little towers. In a Manuscript Missal, dated 1374, the letter D, which is the first of the Collect for the feast of Corpus Christi, gives us a miniature illumination, representing a Bishop, accompanied by two acolytes, who is carrying the Host in a golden tower, which has four openings. But Catholic piety soon began to offer to its Lord all the exterior honor it could; to that Lord who hides himself and his glory in the Mystery of Love; and to the Sun of Justice thus shrouded, it suggested the compensation, poor though it must necessarily be, of a crystal sphere, surrounded by rays of gold or of other precious material, and of exposing the sacred Host within it. Not to mention other, and more ancient records, we find a very marked instance of the rapidity wherewith this use of the Monstrance was adopted: it occurs in a Gradual of the period of Louis the Twelfth (1498-1515); the initial letter of the Introit for Corpus Christi has within it a sun or sphere, like those in present use; it is being carried on the shoulders of two figures vested in copes, who are followed by the King, and several Cardinals and Prelates.

And yet, the Protestant heresy, which was then beginning, gave the name of novelty, superstition, and idolatry to these natural developments of Catholic worship, prompted, as they were, by faith and love. The Council of Trent pronounced anathema upon these calumnies; and in a Chapter apart, showed how rightly the Church had acted in countenancing these practices. The words of the Council are as follows: “The holy Council declares, that there has been most piously and religiously introduced into God’s Church the practice, that each year, on a certain special feast, the august and venerable Sacrament should be honored with singular veneration and solemnity, and that It should be reverently and with every honor carried in processions through the public roads and places. For it is most just that certain holidays should be appointed, whereon all Christians should, with special and unusual demonstrations, evince their gratitude and mindfulness towards their common Lord and Redeemer, for this so unspeakable and truly divine favor in which is represented his victory and triumph over death. And it was also necessary, that thus invincible truth should triumph over lying and heresy; that her enemies, seeing all that splendor, and being in the midst of such great joy of the whole Church, should either grow wearied and acknowledge their being beaten and broken, or, being ashamed and confounded, should be converted.”

But to us Catholics, faithful adorers of the Sacrament of Love, “O the joy of the immense glory the Church is sending up to God this hour: verily! as if the world was all unfallen still! We think, and as we think, the thoughts are like so many successive tide-waves filling our whole souls with the fullness of delight, of all the thousands of Masses which are being said or sung the whole world over, and all rising with one note of blissful acclamation, from grateful creatures, to the Majesty of our merciful Creator. How many glorious processions, with the sun upon their banners, are now winding their way round the squares of mighty cities, through the flower-strewn streets of Christian villages, through the antique cloisters of the glorious cathedral, or through the grounds of the devout seminary, where the various colors of the faces, and the different languages of the people are only so many fresh tokens of the unity of that faith, which they are all exultingly professing in the single voice of the magnificent ritual of Rome! Upon how many altars of various architecture, amid sweet flowers and starry lights, amid clouds of humble incense, and the tumult of thrilling song, before thousands of prostrate worshippers, is the Blessed Sacrament raised for exposition, or taken down for benediction! And how many blessed acts of faith and love, of triumph and of reparation, do not each of these things surely represent! The world over, the summer air is filled with the voice of song. The gardens are shorn of their fairest blossoms, to be flung beneath the feet of the Sacramental God. The steeples are reeling with the clang of bells; the cannon are booming in the gorges of the Andes and the Appenines; the ships of the harbors are painting the bays of the sea with their show of gaudy flags; the pomp of royal or republican armies salutes the King of kings. The Pope on his throne, and the school-girl in her village, cloistered nuns and sequestered hermits, bishops and dignitaries and preachers, emperors and kings and princes, all are engrossed today with the Blessed Sacrament. Cities are illuminated; the dwellings of men are alive with exultation. Joy so abounds that men rejoice they know not why, and their joy overflows on sad hearts, and on the poor, and the imprisoned, and the wandering, and the orphaned, and the home-sick exiles. All the millions of souls that belong to the royal family and spiritual lineage of St. Peter are today engaged more or less with the Blessed Sacrament: so that the whole Church Militant is thrilling with glad emotion, like the tremulous rocking of the mighty sea. Sin seems forgotten; tears even are of rapture rather than of penance. It is like the soul’s first day in heaven; or as if earth itself were passing into heaven, as it well might do, for sheer joy of the Blessed Sacrament.”

There are sung, during the Procession, the Hymns of today’s Office, the Lauda Sion, the Te Deum, and, if time permit, the Benedictus, Magnificat, or other liturgical pieces, which are in keeping with the spirit of the Feast, such as the Hymns for the Ascension, as specified in the Ritual. Having returned to the Church, the function concludes, as at other Benedictions, with the Tantum ergo, the Versicle and Collect of the Blessed Sacrament. But after the Blessing has been given, the Deacon does not put the Sacred Host into the Tabernacle, but on the Throne prepared for it, and around which, for eight days, the Faithful will be keeping a devout and adoring watch.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Feast of Corpus Christi






"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Short Sermons of Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas
Taken from here.

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Sermon of St. Augustine

For while by food and drink men seek to attain to this end that they shall neither hunger nor thirst; there is nothing that truly does this, except that food and drink, which makes those who partake of it immortal and incorruptible; namely, the very fellowship of the Saints, where there will be peace, and full and perfect unity. And so, just as men of God understood this before us, our Lord Jesus Christ has commended to us his body and blood in those things, which from being many are reduced to some one thing. For a unity (bread) is formed out of many grains; and another unity (wine) is made by the juice of many berries flowing together. At length, he now explains how that of which he speaks comes to pass; and what it is to eat his body and to drink his blood.

He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him. And so it is apparent that one eats that food and drinks that drink, if he abides in Christ, and Christ in him. Consequently, he who does not abide in Christ, and in whom Christ does not abide, without doubt does not spiritually eat his flesh, nor drink his blood, though he may, in the flesh and visibly, press with his teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; but rather does he eat and drink the sacrament of so great a thing to his own judgment, because he, being unclean, has presumed to draw near to Christ's sacraments, which no man takes worthily, except he who is clean: of whom it is said: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.

And says He, the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he who eats me, the same also shall live by me. As though he should say: That I live by the Father; that is, that I ascribe my life to Him as to one greater than I, is brought about by that emptying of myself in which he sent me; but, that one lives by me is effected by that participation in which he eats me. And so I, being brought low, live by the Father; while that man, being raised up, lives by me. But if it is said: I live by the Father; so as to mean that he is of the Father, not the Father of him, it is said without disparagement to the equality between them. But on the other hand, by saying: He who eats me the same also shall live by me; he did not signify equality between him and ourselves, but He thereby showed the grace of the mediator.

Sermon of St. Thomas Aquinas

The immense blessings bestowed by the divine mercy upon the Christian people give it an inestimable dignity. There is not, nor ever was, a nation so great that has gods so nigh as our God is present to us. And this body that he took from us he gave wholly for our salvation. For he offered his own body to God the Father upon the altar of the cross as a victim for our reconciliation, and he shed his own blood both to redeem and cleanse us, that we, being bought back from a wretched slavery, might be washed from all our sins. And then, that the memory of such a great benefit might abide in us, he left his body to be our food and his blood to be our drink, that the faithful might receive them under the species of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet, health-giving and full of all sweetness! What could be more precious than this banquet, in which no longer as under the law the flesh of calves and goats is eaten, but Christ the true God is set before us that we may receive Him? What could be more wonderful than this sacrament, in which bread and wine are substantially changed into the body and blood of Christ? And therefore Christ, perfect God and man is contained under the appearance of a little bread and wine. He is eaten by the faithful but not torn asunder; indeed when the Sacrament is divided he remains entire in each particle. The accidents subsist without a subject, that there may be room for faith, when we receive visibly that which is invisible and hidden under an appearance not its own. Thus the senses are kept free from deception, for they judge of accidents known to them.

Of all the sacraments none is more health-giving, for by it sins are washed away, virtues are increased, and the soul is fed with an abundance of all spiritual gifts. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, that all may profit by that which was instituted for the salvation of all. Finally, no words suffice to describe the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delights are tasted at their very source and the exceeding charity of Christ in his passion is called to mind. It was in order to impress more deeply upon the minds of the faithful the boundless extent of his charity that, when he had kept the Pasch with his disciples and was about to depart out of this world to his Father, Christ instituted this sacrament as a perpetual memorial of his passion, the fulfillment of the ancient figures, the greatest of all his miracles. To those who grieved at his absence it was to be a special consolation.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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Feast of Corpus Christi
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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Morning Mediation

The Most Holy Sacrament is the Gift of God’s pure love. Jesus had already given Himself to us in many ways; as our Companion, our Master, our Father, our Light, our Example, our Victim. “It was the last effort of love when He gave Himself to be our Food.” -(St. Bernardine).


Let us consider the great love Jesus has shown us in giving us Himself in the Holy Eucharist. The Most Holy Sacrament is the Gift of pure love. According to the Divine decree it was necessary that our Redeemer should die in order to save us, and should by the sacrifice of His life, satisfy the Divine justice for our sins; but what necessity was there that Jesus Christ, after dying for us, should leave us Himself to be our Food? Yet, thus His love willed. St. Laurence Justinian says His excessive charity alone led Him to institute the Most Holy Sacrament, only to make us understand the immense love He bears us; and this is precisely what St. John writes: Jesus, knowing that his hour was come that he should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end-(Jo. xiii. 1). Knowing that the time had come for Him to quit this world, Jesus would leave us the greatest possible proof of His love, which was this Gift of the Most Blessed Sacrament, as we are taught in these words, He loved them unto the end; that is, “with extreme love He loved them to the utmost,” as Theophylact and St. Chrysostom explain it.

And we must observe what the Apostle mentions, that the time in which Jesus Christ was pleased to leave us this Gift was the very time of His Death: The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat; this is my body-(l Cor. xi. 23, 24). While men were preparing scourges and thorns, and a Cross to put Him to death, our loving Saviour wished to leave us this last proof of His love. And why did He institute this Sacrament when He was going to die, and not before? St. Bernardine says that He did so because “the last marks of love given by dying friends remain more easily in our memory, and are more dearly cherished.” The Saint adds that Jesus Christ had already given Himself to us in many ways; He had made Himself our Companion, our Master, our Father. our Light, our Example, and our Victim: “It was the last effort of love when He gave Himself to be our Food; for He gave Himself to be united completely to us, as food and he who eats it are united; so that our Redeemer was not satisfied with merely uniting Himself to our human nature, but He was pleased to find in this Sacrament the means of uniting Himself to each of us in particular.

O infinite love of Jesus, worthy of infinite love! Ah! my Jesus, when shall I love Thee as Thou hast loved me? Thou couldst do nothing more to make me love Thee; and I have forsaken Thee, 0 infinite Good, for the sake of vile and miserable goods! Ah! enlighten me, my God, and discover to me always more and more the greatness of Thy goodness, that my whole soul may be enamoured of Thee, and that I may labour to please Thee.


St. Francis of Sales says: “There is no action in which we may more perfectly see the tenderness and love of our Saviour than in this, in which He, as it were, annihilates Himself, and reduces Himself into Food, to penetrate our souls, and unite Himself to the hearts of His faithful.” “So that,” says St. John Chrysostom, “we unite ourselves, and are made one body and one flesh with that of the Lord, on Whom the Angels dare not fix their eyes.” The same Saint adds, “What shepherd ever fed his sheep with his own blood? But why do I speak of shepherds? There are many mothers who give their children to others to be nursed; but He acts not thus, He feeds us with His own Blood.” But why did He make Himself our Food? Because, says the Saint, He loved us ardently, and so desired to unite Himself to us and to become One and the same thing with us: “He mingled Himself with us that we might be one thing with Him: for this is the property of those who ardently love.” Thus, then, did Jesus Christ will to perform the greatest of all miracles-He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works, he hath given food to them that fear him (Ps. cx. 4, 5)-in order to satisfy the desire He had of remaining with us and of uniting our hearts to His own Most Sacred Heart. “Oh, how wonderful is Thy love, Lord Jesus!” exclaims St. Laurence Justinian; “Thy desire is to incorporate us so entirely with Thy own Body, that our heart and soul may be inseparably united to Thine own.”

The great servant of God, Father de la Colombiere, used to say: If anything could shake my faith in the mystery of the Eucharist, I should not doubt the power, but the love which God shows us in His Sacrament. If you ask me how bread becomes the Body of Jesus-how Jesus is to be found in many places-I reply, God can do all things. But if you ask me how God can love man to such an excess as to become his Food,-I can only answer that I do not understand it, and that the love of Jesus cannot be comprehended.

But, O Lord, it seems that such an excessive affection as to reduce Thyself to Food is not becoming Thy majesty. St. Bernard answers that love makes the lover forget his own dignity; and St. Chrysostom answers similarly, that love does not seek what is suitable when it wishes to make itself known to the beloved: “Love neglects reason; and goes where it is led, not where it ought.” The angelical St. Thomas was, then, right in calling this the Sacrament of Love, and the Pledge of Love; and St. Bernard, in calling it “the Love of loves.” So was St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi in calling Maundy Thursday, on which day this Sacrament was instituted, “the day of love.”

I love Thee and I thank Thee, O my Jesus, my Love, my All; and I wish to unite myself frequently to Thee in this Sacrament, in order to detach myself from all things, and to love Thee alone, Who art my Life. Through the merits of Thy Passion, assist me, O my Redeemer! O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, do thou, too, assist me; beg of Jesus to inflame my whole heart with His holy love.

Spiritual Reading


To every soul that visits Jesus in the Most. Holy Sacrament, He addresses the words He said to the Sacred Spouse: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come-(Cant. ii. 10). Thou, O soul, that visitest Me, arise from thy miseries; I am here to enrich thee with graces. Make haste, approach, come near Me; fear not My majesty, which has humbled itself in this Sacrament in order to take away thy fear, and to give thee confidence. My beloved, thou art no longer My enemy, but My friend, since thou lovest Me and I love thee. My beautiful one, My grace has made thee fair. And come, draw near and cast thyself into My arms, and ask Me with the greatest confidence whatever thou willest.

St. Teresa says that this great King of Glory has disguised Himself in this Sacrament under the species of bread, and that He has concealed His majesty to encourage us to approach His divine heart with greater confidence and affection; let us unite ourselves to Him, and let us ask Him for graces.

O Eternal Word made Man, and present for my sake in this Sacrament, what joy should be mine now that I am in Thy presence, Who art my God, infinite Majesty and infinite Goodness, and Who hast so tender an affection for my soul! Ye souls who love God, wherever you may be, either in Heaven or on earth, love Him for me also. Mary, my Mother, help me to love Him. And Thou, most loving Lord, make Thyself the object of all my love. Make Thyself the Lord of my entire will; possess my entire self. I consecrate my whole mind to Thee, that it may always be occupied with the thought of Thy goodness; I also consecrate my body to Thee, that it may help me to please Thee; I consecrate my whole soul to Thee, that it may be all Thine. Would, O Beloved of my soul, that all men could know the tenderness of the love Thou bearest them, that all might live to honour Thee and to please Thee, as Thou desirest and deservest. Grant that, at least, I may always live enamoured of Thine infinite beauty. From this day forward my desire is to do all that I can to be pleasing to Thee. I now resolve to abandon everything, be it what it may, as soon as I perceive that it displeases Thee, however much it may cost me, even should it be necessary for this purpose to lose all, or even to lay down my life. Fortunate indeed shall I be, if I lose all to gain Thee, my God, my Treasure, my Love, my All!

Ejac. Jesus, my love, take all that I have; take full possession of me.


My Jesus, I believe that Thou art truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I desire to possess Thee within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee as already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee.


Whoever is a little one, let him come to me-(Prov. IX. 4}. Mary invites all children who need a mother to have recourse to her, as to the most loving of all mothers. The devout Nieremberg says that the love of all mothers is but a shadow in comparison with the love which Mary bears to each one of us. My Mother, Mother of my soul, thou who lovest me and desirest my salvation more than any other after God-O Mother, show thyself a Mother!

Ejac. My Mother, grant that I may always remember thee!

Concluding Prayer

Most holy Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary, to thee, who art the Mother of my Lord, and Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I have recourse today I, who am the most miserable of all. I render thee my most humble homage, O great Queen, and I thank thee for all the graces thou hast conferred on me until now, particularly for having delivered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. I love thee, O most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and to do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee all my hopes; I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O Mother of Mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of thee I ask a perfect love of Jesus Christ. From thee I hope to die a good death.

O my Mother, for the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech thee, until thou seest me safe in Heaven, blessing thee, and singing thy mercies for all eternity. Amen. So I hope. So may it be.

Evening Meditation




It was a saying of St. Jane Frances de Chantal that “a person who is truly humble takes occasion from receiving some humiliation to humble himself the more.” Yes, for he who is truly humble never supposes himself humbled as much as he deserves. Those who behave in this manner are styled blessed by Jesus Christ. They are not called blessed who are esteemed by the world, who are honoured and praised as noble, as learned, as powerful; but they who are spoken ill of by the world, who are persecuted and calumniated; for it is for such that a glorious reward is prepared in Heaven, if they only bear all with patience: Blessed are you when they shall revile you and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you untruly for my sake: be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven-(Matt. v. 11, 12).

O Incarnate Word, I entreat Thee, by the merits of Thy holy humility, which led Thee to embrace so many ignominies and injuries for our love, deliver me from all pride, and grant me a share of Thy humility. And what right have I, 0 Jesus, to complain of any affront whatever that may be offered me, after having so often deserved hell? O my Jesus, by the merit of all the scorn and affronts endured for me in Thy Passion, grant me the grace to live and die humbled on this earth, as Thou didst live and die humbled for my sake. For Thy love I would willingly be despised and forsaken by all the world; but without Thee I can do nothing. I love Thee, O my sovereign Good; I love Thee, O Beloved of my soul!


The grand occasion for practising humility is when we receive correction for some fault from superiors or from others. Some people resemble the hedgehog; they seem all calmness and meekness as long as they are not touched; but no sooner does a superior or a friend touch them, by an observation on something which they have done imperfectly, than they forthwith become all thorns and answer warmly, that so and so is not true, or that they were right in doing so, or that such a correction is quite uncalled for: in a word, to rebuke them is to become their enemy; they behave like persons who rave at the surgeon for paining them in the cure of their wounds. “Medicanti irascitur-they are angry with their physician,” writes St. Bernard. “When the virtuous and humble man is corrected for a fault,” says St. John Chrysostom, “he grieves for having committed it; the proud man on the other hand, on receiving correction, grieves also; but he grieves that his fault is detected; and on this account he is troubled, gives answers, and is angry at the person who corrects him.” This is the golden rule given by St. Philip Neri, to be observed with regard to receiving correction: “Whoever would really become a saint must never excuse himself, although what is laid to his charge be not true.” And there is only one case to be excepted from this rule, and that is when self-defence may appear necessary to prevent scandal. Oh, what merit with God has that soul which is wrongfully reprehended, and yet keeps silence, and refrains from defending herself! St. Teresa said: “There are occasions when a soul makes more progress and acquires a greater degree of perfection by refraining from excusing herself than by listening to ten sermons; because, by not excusing herself she begins to obtain freedom of spirit, and to be heedless of whether the world speaks well or ill of her.”

I love Thee, O my Jesus, and I hope, through Thee, to fulfil my promise of suffering all for Thee-affronts, betrayals, persecutions, afflictions, dryness, and desolation. Enough it is for me if Thou dost not forsake me, O sole object of the love of my soul. Suffer me never more to estrange myself from Thee. Enkindle in me the desire to please Thee. Grant me fervour in loving Thee. Give me peace of mind in suffering for Thee. Give me resignation in all contradictions. Have mercy on me. I deserve nothing; but I fix all my hopes in Thee, Who hast purchased me with Thine own Blood. And I hope all from thee, too, 0 my Queen and my Mother Mary, who art the refuge of sinners!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Quotes from St. Julian Eymard - Apostle of the Eucharist

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The Eucharist is the supreme proof of the love of Jesus. After this, there is nothing more but Heaven itself

Happy is the soul that knows how to find Jesus in the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in all things!

How kind is our Sacramental Jesus! He welcomes you at any hour of the day or night. His Love never knows rest. He is always most gentle towards you. When you visit Him, He forgets your sins and speaks only of His joy, His tenderness, and His Love. By the reception He gives to you, one would think He has need of you to make Him happy.

Hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints.

It was Mary who first adored the Incarnate Word. He was in her womb, and no one on earth knew of it. Oh! how well was our Lord served in Mary's virginal womb! Never has He found a ciborium, a golden vase more precious or purer than was Mary's womb! Mary's adoration was more pleasing to Him than that of all the Angels. The Lord 'hath set His tabernacle in the sun,' says the Psalmist. The sun is Mary's heart," and "Mary is the aurora of the beautiful Sun of Justice.

To be possessed by Jesus and to possess Him - that is the perfect reign of Love.

O Mary! teach us the life of adoration! Teach us to see, as thou didst, all the mysteries and all the graces in the Eucharist; to live over again the Gospel story and to read it in the light of the Eucharistic Life of Jesus. Remember, O our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, that thou art the Mother of all adorers of the Holy Eucharist

The Eucharist is the life of the people. The Eucharist gives them a center of life. All can come together without the barriers of race or language in order to celebrate the feast days of the Church. It gives them a law of life, that of charity, of which it is the source; thus it forges between them a common bond, a Christian kinship

The Eucharist is everything, because from the Eucharist, everything is

When we work hard, we must eat well. What a joy, that you can receive Holy Communion often! It's our life and support in this life - Receive Communion often, and Jesus will change you into himself.

Be the apostle of the divine Eucharist, like a flame which enlightens and warms, like the Angel of his heart who will go to proclaim him to those who don't know him and will encourage those who love him and are suffering.

The Holy Eucharist is like a divine Storehouse filled with every virtue; God has placed It in the world so that everyone one may draw from It.

In one day the Eucharist will make you produce more for the glory of God than a whole lifetime without it.

Eucharistic adoration is the greatest of actions. To adore is to share the life of Mary on earth when she adored the Word Incarnate in her virginal womb, when she adored Him in the Crib, on Calvary, in the divine Eucharist

If we did not have the adorable Eucharist here below, Jesus our God-with-us, this earth would be much too sad, this life too hard, and time too long. We must be grateful to the divine goodness for having left us this hidden Jesus, this pillar of cloud and fire in this desert

Love cannot triumph unless it becomes the one passion of our life. Without such passion we may produce isolated acts of love; but our life is not really won over or consecrated to an ideal. Until we have a passionate love for our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament we shall accomplish nothing

You have read very good books, I am sure; there is an excellent book however, that never grows old; it is the one that God has written on every plant, on every grain of sand, in yourself; it is the book of Divine love. Give, therefore, your preference to that beautiful book and add to it a few pages of admiration and gratefulness. Read and understand all other books in the light of this one.

Have a great love for Jesus in his divine Sacrament of Love; that is the divine oasis of the desert. It is the heavenly manna of the traveller. It is the Holy Ark. It is the life and Paradise of love on earth.

Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones." Ask and you shall receive," Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord.

Today solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is the grace and need of our time. Society will be restored and renewed when all its members group themselves around our Emmanuel.

Virgin Immaculate, perfect lover of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we ask you to obtain for us the graces we need to become true adorers of our Eucharistic God. Grant us, we beg of you, to know Him better, to love Him more, and to center our lives around the Eucharist, that is, to make our whole life a constant prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Amen.

In order to succeed in it (prayer), it should be done when we first awaken, when our whole being is calm and recollected. We need to make our meditation before anything else.

How happy I will be if I keep my heart free from attachment to anyone, and chained to Jesus, my God, alone... I will devote all my efforts to this end... I will go before the Blessed Sacrament, and there sign these resolutions with my blood.

Our Lord did not want to remain on earth only through His grace, His truth or His words; He remains in person. We possess the same Lord Jesus Christ Who lived in Judea, although under a different form of life. He has put on a sacramental garment, but He does not cease being Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Mary.

The Eucharist is the link that binds the Christian family together. Take away the Eucharist and you have no brotherliness left
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
"Lauda Sion Salvatorem" – Sequence of the Corpus Christi Mass – Gregorian Chant
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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