Sunday, June 6, 2010
Corpus Christi--and the banquet in heaven
June 6: The feast of Corpus Christi, or the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
This major feast dates from the 13th century. St. Thomas Aquinas--great theologian, great philosopher, great poet--wrote the entire Office.
There is such beautiful music for this feast! You can hear Aquinas's "Ave Verum," as composed by William Byrd at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvXMVAITwWg, and in Mozart's wonderful setting at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UXLKmhd920 . Many other beautiful recordings and settings are available as well. Would you like to mention ones you particularly love, in a comment?
The centuries-old tradition of Corpus Christi processions, as shown in the picture here, is a beautiful expression of our belief that Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
I have come to particularly love this prayer after communion, written by Aquinas:
Lord, Father all-powerful and ever-living God, I thank Thee, for even though I am a sinner, Thine unprofitable servant, not because of any merit of my own, but in the kindness of Thy mercy, Thou hast fed me with the precious Body and Blood of They Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring me condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation.
May it be an armor of faith and a shield of good will. May it purify me from my vices and put an end to my evil passions.
May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in every virtue.
May it be a firm defense against the wiles of all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect quieting of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual. May it unite me more closely to Thee, the one true God, and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with Thee.
And I pray that Thou will lead me, a sinner to that ineffable banquet where Thou, with Thy Son and Holy Spirit, art to Thy Saints true light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, and perfect happiness.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.