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Corpus Christi

Back in the days of knights and crusades (1209 to be exact), a young, pious Augustinian nun named Juliana of Liège experienced a series of visions. She repeatedly saw a full moon, silver and majestic, in the night sky. However, marring its glory, Juliana saw that a slice of the moon was missing. It disturbed her greatly. She kept these images to herself.  

In the years leading up to her visions, the faithful had started to spend time with the consecrated host in adoration, and Juliana realised that there was a connection. She came to believe that the missing slice of the moon represented the absence of a feast day in honour of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.  

Eventually she revealed her mystical secret, these symbolic images, to the Canon of Liège, who in turn told the Archdeacon, who told the Archbishop. Eventually, the news of her visions found its way to the Pope.  

It was another fifty years before Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, was celebrated in earnest by the Catholic Church. This is largely thanks to the persistence of St Juliana and her supporters, including Pope Urban IV, who had once been Archdeacon in Liège. Pope Clement V provided the tipping point.  

Originally called Festum Eucharistiae, Corpus Christi is an opportunity for us to really contemplate the significance the Eucharist. Jesus said “I am the living bread which has come down from Heaven. Anyone who eats this bread that we break will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” John 8:51 

Through transubstantiation at the altar, the bread that we eat is the body of Christ and the wine that we drink is his blood. The Son of God is present in the Host in a very real sense. It is a complex sacrament, and the most beautiful of gifts. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me, and I will dwell in that person.” John 8:58  

This union with God is sacred and important. We are joined with him through his body and his blood, and we are joined together as a community in Christ, too.  

When I am in the presence of the Host, I genuinely feel like I am in the presence of our Lord, as if he is sitting with me. He is not.  

Because I take the Sacrament of the Eucharist, he is much closer. Jesus is part of me, in my heart and in my blood. At Corpus Christi, we contemplate this humbling truth.  

“Do you realise that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart... go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love.” St Therese of Lisieux  

Todays Readings: Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16   Psalm 147    1 Corinthians 10:16-17     John 6:51-58

Source: Corpus Christi

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