Solemnity of the
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
After the Church concludes her Easter season with Pentecost, and after celebrating the Most Holy Trinity one week later, she turns her liturgical focus to the Most Blessed Sacrament. These are all celebrations of God’s mysterious but personal and omnipotent presence in our lives, from the gift of the Spirit that animates the Church, to the personal indwelling of the Blessed Trinity, and now, to the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
All of these mysteries were revealed by Jesus Christ to the Apostles. Henceforth and until the end of time, we encounter Immanuel (God with us) in the Church, through the very mysteries received from the Lord himself (see, e.g., 1 Cor 11.23 ff.).
The universal celebration of the feast dates to 1264, when Urban VI promulgated the Mass and Office that St. Thomas Aquinas composed upon the pope’s request. This past week, the present pope had these words to say about the significance of the feast and of the Church’s Common Doctor:
“St. Thomas has a profoundly Eucharistic soul. The beautiful hymns that the liturgy of the Church sings to celebrate the mystery of the real presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist are due to his faith and theological wisdom…. Thomas’s personal humility but also the fact that all that we are able to think and speak about the faith, as elevated and pure as it may be, is infinitely surpassed by the greatness and the beauty of God who will reveal himself to us in the fullness of paradise.”
“All of us prostrate ourselves to adore [the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ] because present in it is our Teacher and Lord, present is the real Body of Jesus, Victim and Priest, salvation of the world.”
The Church grants a plenary indulgence to the faithful under the normal conditions, who devoutly participate in a solemn Eucharistic procession, held inside or outside a church, most significantly, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum, veneremur cernui…