“La Disputa” by Raffaello. Source: wga.hu.

“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. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink” (John 6: 53-55).

     This weekend, we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This feast is intimately connected to last week’s celebration of the Most Holy Trinity. When we consider the Blessed Trinity, we see our God, who is infinitely transcendent in His majesty; yet, He deigns to stoop down, as it were, and show His omnipotence by being present to us. This immediate availability of God to us, especially in the Person of Jesus Christ, is what we honor and worship today. 

     Jesus Christ is never so close to us as when we come before Him in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament or when we receive His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion. As much as we desire to be united to Him in this world as a prelude to eternity, He desires our communion with Him infinitely more. He prepared His followers one year before His suffering and death by teaching them that they would feast on His Body and Blood, and this true nourishment would give them life eternal. Unfortunately, many of His followers walked away because they did not like His teaching; they said it was too hard. This is exactly the same phenomenon that occurred in the sixteenth century with every Protestant denomination which even continues today: Protestantism rejects the true Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. This is also the same phenomenon that occurs with millions of baptized Catholics currently: they have walked away from their faith because they do not like some of the Church’s teachings, they do not believe in some of the truths that Jesus revealed, or they simply do not care about their eternal destiny because the immediate concerns of the world are much more important to them.

     However, to those who remain faithful to Jesus in this life, Communion with Him is the foretaste of a life of eternal blessedness with Christ, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the entire Church Triumphant. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us:

It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to His Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take His departure from His own in His visible form, He wanted to give us His sacramental presence; since He was about to offer Himself on the cross to save us, He wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which He loved us “to the end,” even to the giving of His life. In His Eucharistic presence He remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave Himself up for us, and He remains under signs that express and communicate this love…(no. 1380).

     Every time we come before the Blessed Sacrament, we express an act of faith because the change from ordinary bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ (otherwise known as transubstantiation) is not one perceived by our senses (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1381). Ordinarily, the change is not on the physical level, although there have been several Eucharistic miracles historically where the Host and the consecrated wine did physically exhibit such a change where one could actually see Jesus’ living Flesh and Blood. However, such miracles are the exception, not the rule. Instead, the change that the ordinary bread and wine experience is a metaphysical change. Metaphysical simply means “beyond the physical.” If one were to examine the Host after consecration, for example, the natural, scientific properties would continue to look like bread. Transubstantiation, however, is a change beyond the merely physical. To modern thinking which demands that the only things in life that are true are those things that can be scientifically shown, the entire notion of transubstantiation is preposterous. However, metaphysical truths are superior to natural ones because the physical world and all things associated with it will pass away one day. The truths beyond the merely physical, however, last eternally!

     Consequently, while Christ is locally present in heaven with His resurrected, glorified Body, He is also truly present sacramentally under the signs of bread and wine. The faithful who follow the truths of the Holy Spirit know with absolute assurance that they are receiving the living Flesh and Blood of God Himself; they can see beyond the physical signs. Jesus hides His presence under the veils of what looks like ordinary bread and wine precisely to elicit more faith from us. Just as we should not trust our mere senses when we receive Holy Communion because it looks like no change at all has occurred, so God wants us to trust Him in all aspects our life and not to rely solely on our immediate, physical realities. He offers us so much more. We pray that this weekend, we will renew our devotion to Jesus really, substantially, and sacramentally present in the Sacred Species and receive Him worthily and well all the days of our life until we will no longer need sacramental veils to experience His presence: we will see Him face-to-face eternally!      

     May you have a most blessed and holy week!

     Fr. Shawn William Cutler

 

LITANY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
O Living Bread, Who from Heaven descended, have mercy on us.
Hidden God and Savior, have mercy on us.
Grain of the elect, have mercy on us.
Vine sprouting forth virgins, have mercy on us.
Wholesome Bread and delicacy of kings, have mercy on us.
Perpetual sacrifice, have mercy on us.
Clean oblation, have mercy on us.
Lamb without spot, have mercy on us.
Most pure feast, have mercy on us.
Food of Angels, have mercy on us.
Hidden manna, have mercy on us.
Memorial of God’s wonders, have mercy on us.
Super substantial Bread, have mercy on us.
Word made flesh, dwelling in us, have mercy on us.
Holy Victim, have mercy on us.
O chalice of blessing, have mercy on us.
O mystery of faith, have mercy on us.
O most high and venerable Sacrament, have mercy on us.
O most holy of all sacrifices, have mercy on us.
O true propitiatory Sacrifice for the living and the dead, have mercy on us.
O heavenly antidote, by which we are preserved from sin, have mercy on us.
O stupendous miracle above all others, have mercy on us.
O most holy commemoration of the Passion of Christ, have mercy on us.
O gift transcending all abundance, have mercy on us.
O extraordinary memorial of divine love, have mercy on us.
O affluence of divine largess, have mercy on us.
O most holy and august mystery, have mercy on us.
Medicine of immortality, have mercy on us.
Awesome and life-giving Sacrament, have mercy on us.
Unbloody Sacrifice, have mercy on us.
Food and guest, have mercy on us.
Sweetest banquet at which the Angels serve, have mercy on us.
Bond of love, have mercy on us.
Offering and oblation, have mercy on us.
Spiritual sweetness tasted in its own fountain, have mercy on us.
Refreshment of holy souls, have mercy on us.
Viaticum of those dying in the Lord, have mercy on us.
Pledge of future glory, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From the unworthy reception of Thy Body and Blood, deliver us, O Lord.
From passions of the flesh, deliver us, O Lord.
From the concupiscence of the eyes, deliver us, O Lord.
From pride, deliver us, O Lord.
From every occasion of sin, deliver us, O Lord.
Through that desire with which Thou desired to eat the Passover with Thy disciples, deliver us, O Lord.
Through that profound humility with which Thou did wash Thy disciples’ feet, deliver us, O Lord.
Through that most ardent love, with which Thou instituted this Divine Sacrament, deliver us, O Lord.
Through the most precious Blood, which Thou has left for us upon the altar, deliver us, O Lord.
Through those five Wounds of Thy most holy Body, which was given up for us, deliver us, O Lord.
Sinners we are, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would graciously preserve and augment the faith, reverence, and devotion in us towards this admirable
Sacrament, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would graciously lead us through the true confession of our sins to a frequent reception of the Holy
Eucharist, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would graciously free us from every heresy, falsehood, and blindness of the heart, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would graciously impart to us the Heavenly and precious fruits of this most Holy Sacrament, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would graciously protect and strengthen us in our hour of death with this Heavenly Viaticum, we beseech Thee, hear us.
O Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.
Christ, hear us, Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father
Hail Mary

V. Thou did furnish them with the true Bread from Heaven.
R. Having in it every delight.
Let us pray: O God, Who under a marvelous Sacrament
has 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 perceive within us the
fruit of Thy Redemption. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.