Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fr. Perrone on Corpus Christi...

From the Pastor's Descant this weekend in the Grotto News. The link will only work for so long so here is the full article:

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, or simply Corpus Christi, is observed today. Much like Ascension Day, this ‘Thursday’ feast has been transferred to Sunday. Thursday was the traditional day for this because Corpus Christi is a liturgical echo of Holy Thursday, the day on which our Lord instituted the most Holy Eucharist. In Catholic countries this Thursday would be a holiday and so all would be able to participate in the midweek ceremonies. In our non-Catholic country, it is good that those not exempt from work can still become involved in the festivities of the day by celebrating Corpus Christi on a Sunday. So, here we are.

I found a book in my liturgical library that offered some good thoughts for us to ponder today. I would like to summarize them, giving them my own twist.

Sometimes a useful distinction–one we may not always realize–is made between joy and happiness. Too often we think of these words as synonyms, but they are not. Joy is something essentially interior. It comes from giving, most especially from giving ourselves to God. And we can give Him our all. But happiness comes from getting something, and we cannot have all–at least in this life. God will give all to us in heaven, where we will be both full of joy and full of happiness in His Presence.

So, we can be fully joyful in this life, but not completely happy. Yet there is a way we can have a foretaste of heaven now. And this comes from being in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. This is because before the Holy Eucharist we experience in some measure what we will have in heaven. Sometimes–maybe often–we may not have a feeling of this happiness before the Blessed Sacrament. Why?

The reason is that our sensory powers, our desires, our tastes, the things in our imaginations and memories often are not centered on the right things. As a result, we often come before the Lord in an unpurified state. We have to yield all our powers to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and let Him transform them. We ought to abandon and humble ourselves before Him in adoration and in love. If, instead, we are impatient with our lack of purity of soul, and go about looking for other things of the world to fulfill our already disordered desires, then we will never have any happiness in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Or if we present ourselves filled with distracting thoughts, thinking about ourselves, our doubts, our disturbances rather than giving our hearts entirely to Christ, we will not do much good aside from a few prayers recited from memory or out of a prayer book.

Corpus Christi is the day when we reaffirm our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: His Body and Blood, His soul and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. This is the objective truth: He is there. It is also a day of adoration of Christ in the Holy Sacrament. This is the truth that depends upon our participation. Will we give Him what is His due?

We have the Blessed Sacrament exposed for adoration everyday but Sunday in our convent chapel. There are now some hours of adoration that need to be covered. Maybe this is the moment you are being given the inspiration to consent to make this one hour, once a week commitment. If you come, you will find the Lord. Whether you find the happiness you seek, depends on how you approach Him. Again, perfect happiness you will only have in heaven, but the foretaste of it is offered to you now in adoration. Please consider making that extra something in your life that can bring about the most significant change for the better. There are sign-up sheets at the side entrances of the church for you to indicate that you will be there. So many of your fellow parishioners are already benefiting from this. Why should you be left out?

Fr Perrone