The Corpus Christi Procession, the Christian Vocation, the Rally for Religious Liberty
The Christian vocation is about relationship, with the Father, in and through His Son Jesus - and in Jesus Christ with one another for the sake of the world
Material food first of all turns itself into the person who eats it, and as a consequence, restores his losses and increases his vital energies. Spiritual food, on the other hand, turns the person who eats it into Itself, and thus the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, so that he may no longer live for himself, but that Christ may live in Him.
Pope Benedict XVI leading the faithful in the Corpus Christi Procession
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - On Thursday June 7, 2012 the Holy Father celebrated Mass on the square in front of Rome's St. John Lateran Basilica for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Following the Liturgy he presided over the traditional Eucharistic procession along Via Merulana, to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Vatican offices were closed in honor of this great Feast. The faithful lined the street with lit candles symbolizing the light of Jesus Christ coming into the streets of the real world.
The faithful followed the Consecrated Eucharistic Host through the streets of Rome. In the Corpus Christi procession, the Priest carries the consecrated Eucharistic host in a beautifully adorned vessel called a "monstrance". The faithful are reminded in the procession that Jesus Christ continues to walk in the world through His Body, the Church, of which we are members.
Jesus told his disciples "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." We who have been given the bread of angels now carry His Life within us. We are sent into the world to carry Jesus to others. We are "living monstrances" called to enthrone the Lord in our hearts and reveal Him in our daily lives
In biblical language, the heart is the center of the person. The love of God purifies and refines us like the refiners' fire purified the gold used to make the many Monstrances carried in the streets on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Like Mary, the Mother of the Lord, we give our own "Fiat", our "Yes", to the God of love and allow His Life to be formed within us.
As we march the Monstrance through the cities of the world we participate in a prophetic act. The early Eastern Church Fathers referred to the Church as the new world. The Risen Jesus walks into the world now through His Body, the Church. We live in the Church and go into the world to bring the world back to God in and through Jesus Christ. In his homily this year Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful that the Eucharist is "the sacrament of the charity of Christ which must permeate all of daily life."
Corpus Christi is called a "moveable feast" in liturgical language. It has been transferred to this Sunday in the United States. The faithful are invited to be changed by their participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharistic procession. No 'old fashioned ritual', the Feast reveals the truth of the new reality brought about through the Paschal mystery of Jesus Christ whenever it is celebrated,
The celebration of this Solemnity goes back to the thirteenth century. Pope Urban IV instituted it in 1264 for the entire Church. He directed that it be filled with joy and accompanied by hymns and a festive procession. He asked the great Western Church father, St. Thomas Aquinas, to compose two Offices of prayer. St Thomas did so- along with five hymns - and they have nourished the piety of Christians for centuries.
In one of them St. Thomas noted: "Material food first of all turns itself into the person who eats it, and as a consequence, restores his losses and increases his vital energies. Spiritual food, on the other hand, turns the person who eats it into Itself, and thus the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, so that he may no longer live for himself, but that Christ may live in Him. And as a consequence it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual losses caused by sins and defects and of increasing the power of the virtues".
In this celebration we also proclaim our belief in the Real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist and affirm that the very same Jesus lives within each one of us who are baptized into His Body, the Church. In fact, the entire Trinity takes up residence within us. Through living our life in the Church and participating fully in the Sacraments, we live in the Trinity. This is the mystery we call communion.
The Christian vocation is about relationship, with the Father, in and through His Son Jesus - and in Jesus Christ with one another for the sake of the world. The world into which we process is the world that God still loves so much that He continues to send His Son to save, recreate and transform it from within. The Corpus Christi procession symbolizes the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ and our participation in it.
I have fond memories of this beautiful event which stretch back into my early childhood. It is an extremely important day in my own vocation as a member of the Clergy of the Catholic Church. It is the anniversary of my ordination to the Diaconate in Christ. Since my ordination to ministry as a Deacon, it has come to signify my call to go "from the altar and ambo into the world." This is how I explain the ministry of a deacon to anyone who asks. We are ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Priests for Life: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Most Significant Legislative Step Forward
- In the Wake of the Moore Tornado: What Can we Learn from the Disaster?
- US Supreme Court Accepts Religion Case: Will Legislative Prayer Survive Religious Censorship?
- Largest Burmese Python caught in Miami-Dade County
- Court sides with Obama, Osama death photos can remain secret - for your own good
- Two Oklahoma men killed in tornadoes; Kansas, Iowa batten down for severe weather
- Supreme Court to decide if prayer before town meeting is permissible
- All survive terrifying plane 'belly landing' in Newark
- Nebraska Bishop: Gosnell clinic was 'reminiscent of Auschwitz'
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?