Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ as discerned in the Holy Communion. It grew from the devotion to the sacrament of a woman, the Norbertine nun Juliana of Liege, in the thirteenth century, and by the fifteenth was a major part of the annual calendar, giving an opportunity to take to the streets and celebrate in summer weather, with processions and plays.
I love it. And I am increasingly awed by the presence of Jesus in the sacrament of communion.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
Praying before the sacrament and processing it are a focus for many people’s spirituality. The drama I’d wonderful but for me the heart of the matter is the reality of the presence discerned as we break and share the bread and wine, encountering the twin mystery of Christ himself entering into our being, and we (the plural is important here: we do not make our communion alone) become his body’s continuing presence on earth to do his will and share his works.
Which leads to the challenging consequence that to receive communion and NOT allow ourselves to be taken on that journey of growth in love towards God and one another is a very dangerous place to be.
And I’m reflecting on the challenge of that for me today even more than for you.