Corpus Christi (Fr. Simham)
On this Corpus Christi Sunday when the whole catholic world is making every effort to publicly venerate the Lord truly, really, and substantially present in the Blessed sacrament, I thought I can reflect together with you about the adoration or the respect that is due to our Lord who comes to us everyday in the Holy Eucharist or the Holy communion.
When we receive the Holy Communion, we receive the body and blood of our Lord who is really and substantially present in the communion. That is why we call it as communion. Because we are ‘coming into union’ with Christ. No one understood it better than Blessed Elizabeth of Trinity about whom I started reading these days. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, was given such titles as “the prophet of the presence of God,” or “the saint of the divine indwelling,” because of her strong awareness of the indwelling of God in her soul. She was strongly convinced that she was the living or the walking tabernacle of the Most High.
Elizabeth once wrote the following words to a friend who had just made her First Communion: “If He came this morning into your little heart, it was not to pass through it and go away, but to remain there always.” Again she wrote to her parish priest and said, ‘God in me and I in him–oh! That is my life!….What a consolation to think that, except that we do not see him, we possess Him already as the blessed possess Him in heaven.”
This is the first or the important truth we need to remember on this Corpus Christi Sunday. It is not just enough to venerate him once in a year like this or once in a week when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. We need to venerate him everyday and every time we receive in Holy Communion. And we need to realise that ‘We are the living or the walking Tabernacles of God.’ I remember one incident from the life of St. Philip Neri. Once Philip Neri noticed that a parishioner usually left the church immediately after receiving Holy Communion. To correct him, he told two acolytes to wait out outside the church and accompany the man with lighted candles as he walked home. The people in the streets stared in surprise. When the man returned to St. Philip to complain and ask why, St. Philip replied, “We have to pay proper respect to Our Lord, Whom you are carrying away with you. Since you neglect to adore Him, I sent two acolytes to take your place.” Realizing his fault, the man knelt and made proper thanksgiving after Holy Communion.
This is what we need to be aware of. We need to be aware that Jesus has come into our hearts in the Holy communion and he is truly and really present there in our hearts after the communion. And that time after communion is the most important time. Jesus revealed to St. Faustina Kawalska in a private revelation and told her: “My great delight is to unite myself with souls…When I come to a human heart in communion, my hands are filled with graces which I want to give to souls. But souls do not pay attention to me: they leave me to myself and busy themselves with other things. They do not recognize love. They treat me as a dead object.” How sad to know this. How sad to know that we, including me, don’t pay enough attention to him. We are more worried about locking him up in the Tabernacle.
St. Teresa of Avila urged her daughters not to rush out after Mass but to treasure the opportunity for thanksgiving: “Let us detain ourselves lovingly with Jesus,” she said, “and not waste the hour that follows Communion.” St Teresa says that during communion Jesus remains in the soul as on a throne of grace, and says to the soul: “What do you want that I should do to you?” As if saying: “O Christian soul, I have come for the express purpose of giving you my graces. Ask what you wish and you shall obtain it”.
Pope John Paul II (in Inaestimabile Donum) said “The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion. They may do this during the celebration with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time.” And our present Pope in his latest Document Sacramentum Caritatis said, ‘The precious time of thanksgiving after communion should not be neglected.”
On this Corpus Christi Sunday, let us remember that 10 or 15 minutes after communion is the most precious time of our lives. As far as possible let us not waste that time and ignore the supreme guest of our souls. Amen.
Fr. Showreelu Simham