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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

BENEDICTUS MOMENTS

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Sunday, 29 May 2016

CORPUS CHRISTI 2016




     “Do this as a memorial of me.” St Paul relates in First Corinthians that Jesus said these words at the Last Supper, both of the bread and of the cup: “This is my body, which is for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Paul himself adds, “Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.” So it is that Jesus transforms a simple Passover meal into the heavenly Banquet, the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. That is what we do every time we gather together as God’s family to celebrate the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Mass. From the earliest days, the Christian Church, as recorded in the New Testament, our forebears in the faith believed without doubting the word spoken by the Lord and its power to bring about what it says, just as at the beginning of creation God had said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. This is the faith of the Church today, our faith. When Jesus says this morning, “This is my body, which is given for you,” and “This is the cup of my blood, which is shed for you,” we can be sure that his word is true and that what he says, he does. However, it is not only in the Real Presence that Christians believe, for Jesus asks us to “do this as a memorial of me”. The Mass is a memorial of the whole of Christ’s life, from his Conception through the working of the Holy Spirit to his Ascension and the outpouring of that same Spirit. In other words, the Mass makes present for us the whole Christ event and, what is more, anticipates and prays for his Coming in glory as Judge at the end of time. When we talk about the Sacrifice of the Mass, we naturally think of Christ’s Passion, Crucifixion and Death, and, of course, in the Mass we are totally immersed in the Cross of Jesus, but it is true to say his whole life is sacrificial. In the Mass, then, we celebrate the whole of the Mystery of the Incarnation: his Conception in the Virgin’s womb, his Nativity in the cave of Bethlehem and his lying in the manger, his Circumcision and first shedding of the Precious Blood for our redemption, and so on. Every moment and aspect of the life of Jesus is Sacrifice, including his Resurrection. At Mass, in the Son, we receive the Father and the Holy Spirit. God, though three persons, is but One, and in communion with Christ we are united to the Holy Trinity. But there is something more. In today’s Gospel we read St Luke’s simplified account of the feeding of the five thousand. There was no small boy to bring forward the five loaves and two fish, one of the loveliest images in the Gospels. Even so, with this inadequate offering, Jesus is able to feed the multitude and there are leftovers in abundance, enough to fill twelve baskets. Leaving aside numerical symbolism, with the humblest of gifts, Jesus is able to feed a vast number of people and there is a lot left to share with others. Like the manna in the wilderness, the food, with which Jesus feeds us, does not run out. He who created all that is, can feed the hungry and nourish our souls. However, as with the widow’s mite, he needs the little we can give, especially if it is given with a loving and generous heart. At Mass we offer him bread and wine and receive in return his Body and Blood. What an extraordinary exchange of gifts! That is why we have come together to give thanks today. Abbot Paul Of Belmont (UK)






The Historical Origin of the Feast of
CORPUS CHRISTI




my source: http://www.salvemariaregina.info/Reference/CorpusChristi.html
This Feast of the Sacred Body of Our Divine Lord is celebrated in the Latin Church on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday to solemnly commemorate the Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. This great event is also commemorated on Maundy Thursday, mentioned as Natalia Calicis (Birth of the Chalice) in the Calendar of Polemius (448) for the 24th of March, the 25th of March being recognized in some places as the day of the Death of Christ. This day, however, occurs in Holy Week, a season of sadness, during which the minds of the faithful are expected to be occupied with thoughts of Our Lord's Passion. Moreover, so many other mysteries relative to the Passion are commemorated on this day that the principal event, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, is deserving of a particular festival. This is mentioned as the chief reason for introducing the feast of Corpus Christi in the Papal Bull Transiturus.

The instrument in the hand of Divine Providence was St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, in Belgium. She was born in 1203 at Retinnes near Liège. Orphaned at an early age, she was educated by the Augustinian nuns of Mont Cornillon. In time she made her religious profession and later became Superior. Intrigues and persecutions of various kinds drove her from her own convent several times. She died on the fifth of April, 1258, at the House of the Cistercian nuns at Fosses, and was buried at Villiers.

From her early youth, Sr. Juliana had a great veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and always longed for a special feast in Its honor. This holy desire was given further impetus by an authentic vision which she was shown of the Church, whose liturgical cycle appeared as an almost-full moon, yet having one dark void, signifying the absence of such a solemnity. She humbly submitted this revelation to Msgr. Robert de Thorete, then Bishop of Liège; to the learned Dominican Hugh, later Cardinal Legate in the Netherlands; and finally to Jacques Pantaléon, at that time Archdeacon of Liège, who afterwards was successively made the Bishop of Verdun, Patriarch of Jerusalem (after the First Crusade), and finally elected to the Papacy as Urban IV. Bishop Robert was favorably inclined to promote a greater devotion to our Eucharistic King. Since bishops had the right of ordering feasts for their respective jurisdictions, he called a synod in 1246, and ordered the celebration to be held in the following year; also, that a monk whose name was John should write the special Office for the occasion. The episcopal decree is still preserved in Binterim (Denkwürdigkeiten, V, 1, 276), together with parts of the Office. The pious Bishop did not live to see the fulfillment of his command, for he died on October 16, 1246. Nevertheless, the feast was celebrated for the first time by the obedient canons of the Cathedral of St. Martin at Liège.

Meanwhile, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Jacques Pantaléon, was elected Pope on August 29, 1261. There was at that time in Liège a devout recluse in whom St. Juliana had inspired a fervent devotion of the Holy Eucharist, who spent her time in adoration of Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. She besought the Bishop of Liège, Heinrich of Guelders, to request the Sovereign Pontiff to extend this beautiful celebration to the entire Catholic world. Pope Urban IV, who had long cherished a fervent devotion for the feast of Corpus Christi, granted the petition on September 8, 1264, by publishing the Bull Transiturus. Having extolled the love of Our Savior manifested in the Holy Eucharist, he ordered the annual celebration of Corpus Christi on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, and at the same time granted many Indulgences to the faithful for the attendance at Mass and at the Office. This Office, composed at the request of the Pope by the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, is one of the most beautiful in the Roman Breviary, and has been admired not only for its wonderful devotion, but also for its literary excellence.

The death of Pope Urban IV on October 2, 1264, shortly after the publication of the decree, somewhat impeded the spread of the new feast. But Pope Clement V again took the matter in hand, and at the General Council of Vienne (1311), took measures to implement the feast of Corpus Christi. His new decree embodied that of Pope Urban IV, and his successor, Pope John XXII (of Sabbatine Privilege fame) also urged its observance. The Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, which was already held in some places, was endowed with rich indulgences by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV. The pious Bishops of the German Empire were the first to accomplish a uniform observance of the new feast (instituted at Köln in 1306, at Worms in 1315, and in Strasbourg in 1316). In England it was introduced from the continent between 1320 and 1325.


MY COMMENTARY

Something which existed from the beginning, that we have heard, and we have seen with our own eyes, that we have watched and touched with our hands: the Word who is life - this is our subject. (1 John, 1,v1)
It is highly likely that this was written quite some time after the Ascension of our Lord into heaven, written by someone who, though he wrote in St John's name, had not actually seen Christ in the flesh; yet he stressed seeing, watching and touching as well as hearing.   This is in line with what Jesus says to St Mary Magdalene in St John's Gospel, "Noli me tangere - Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father."  This implied, paradoxically, that she would be able to embrace him once he is united with his Father in heaven.  It is also in keeping with his insistence that, "My flesh is real food and my blood real drink." (John 6, v55)  In communion, we do not just embrace our Lord, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him." (John 6 v56)   The visual aspect of the Eucharist is found in the earliest epiclesis in the Anaphora (eucharistic prayer) of St Basil which asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit to "show" the bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ.
Padre Wilmer Lamar: Corpus Christi in Peru

However, as the history of the Corpus Christi feast tells us, devotion to Christ's real presence in the Eucharist apart from the celebration of Mass and from communion is a characteristic of the western Latin tradition and thus is not universal.   I can think of three reasons for this.   The first is the rise of heresies in the West that denied the real Presence, this leading to a greater emphasis by the Church of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence.   The second is that, as people came less and less to communion at Mass - a phenomenon in both East and West - gazing at the consecrated host in adoration as a form of spiritual communion became a substitute for sacramental communion: the advantage of this form of eucharistic devotion being that it does not demand a certain interior preparation before it can be practised.   The third factor was the less than adequate reception by the West of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (the 2nd Council of Nicaea 787ad) due to the opposition of the Frankish bishops. Unfortunately, an inaccurate latin translation of the Greek led the bishops to believe the Council was advocating idolatry.  As the Franks could not stand the Greeks, they were willing to believe anything to their detriment, just as so many Greeks and Russians are now willing to believe anything against us!!)  As Catholicism wants to grasp Christ using all the senses, Eucharistic devotion was a substitute for icons.

Nevetheless, Eucharistic devotion is founded on sound theology; and there is much evidence that Our Blessed Lord actually coaxed the West to adopt this practice.  Firstly, there is the number of saints whose sanctity has been fed on this devotion.  Then there is the number of people who have been led to Christ through meeting him in his presence in the tabernacle or when exposed in a monstrance.  There was this sense of the presence of Christ in Catholic churches, catching them by surprise when  they enter a Catholic church for the first time - I have known many, including my own father.   It was predicted at the end of Vatican II that devotion to the Blessed Sacrament would die out, and statistics supported this view; but the very opposite has taken place: chapels of perpetual adoration are very common, and exposing the Blessed Sacrament has become a major tool in the New Evangelisation, the advantage being that the presence of Christ can be presented to people, no matter their state of soul.

Just as, in the Eastern Orthodox churches their way of "seeing, watching and touching" our Lord is the icon, so the classical western way is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  It is no surprise, therefore, that there are occasions when people encountering the Lord in one of these ways should come across the miraculous.   Once, when I was staying in St Elizabeth's Convent, an Orthodox monastery in Minsk, there visited an abbot of a monastery in central Europe, I think Bulgaria.  The first thing that surprised me was that he had lived in England and spoke perfect English with a Birmingham accent.  He showed me a small icon that was exuding myrrh.  This is not uncommon in the Christian East.   In the West there are cases of bleeding hosts.  The next two videos give modern examples of eucharistic miracles:
THE BLESSED SACRAMENT AND ICONS
One thing that is a characteristic of the modern Catholic Church is the way it strives to breath with both lungs, East and West, praying the Jesus Prayer and including devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the use of icons in natural combination.  The Peruvian monk who has replaced me as prior of our monastery in Pachacamac, Father Alex, is a highly gifted iconographer whose icon painting is an integral part of his monastic spirituality; but this does not stop him adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament: it is no longer an either-or.

A good example of this are the monks and nuns of the Assumption of Our Lady and St Bruno, a flourishing congregation in the erimetical Carthusian school, and their devotion embraces East and West:


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