This solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also called Corpus Christi, honors the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The day is observed either on a Thursday or a Sunday following Trinity Sunday. Corpus Christi means “Body of Christ” in Latin and refers to the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation—the consecration, transformation of the substances of bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ. We Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

“In 1551, the Council of Trent declared that the doctrine of transubstantiation is a dogma of faith[47] and stated that “by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood.”  Learn more here.

Many may have participated in Corpus Christi processions, a triumphant liturgical procession in which the sacred host (the wafer that has been consecrated during the Mass is carried out of the Church “for the Christian faithful to make public profession of faith and worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament”.

corpus christi at daylesford abbeyThe photo is of a previous Corpus Christi procession at Daylesford Abbey.

The opening prayer of the liturgy highlights the reason for these celebrations, “that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your (our) redemption.”

The reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians reminds us “that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”

During the many months when we were limited by the Covid pandemic to livestream Masses, and spiritual Communion we heard these words. “My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul.

Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You; never permit me to be separated from You.” Source.

It is truly a privilege to receive in person the Body and Blood of Christ once again. The Gospel for the day, from Luke, tells us once again of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Blessing and sharing, for all those present. We too are nourished and strengthened by the Body and Blood of Christ and called to share the gifts of peace and love with others.

Jesus of Nazareth gives himself to us as nourishment to his church, and for our daily tasks. “In his Easter Sermon, 227, Saint Augustine exhorts: “If we receive the Eucharist worthily, we become what we receive.” And in receiving Christ, we become one body in him, and through him, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Through receiving the Eucharist, we enter into a unique and personal relationship with the Trinity and with one another, the Body of Christ. We become what we eat.” From the Catholic News Agency. 

The phrases “The hands of Jesus” and “The love and care of Jesus for others” give us descriptions of what we can do. The prayer after Communion reminds us of what the results might be, “that we may delight for all eternity in that share in your divine life which is foreshadowed in the present age by our reception of your precious Body and Blood.”

Nourishment, yes, but also a mission, to bring the peace and love of Jesus to others. A visit to Daylesford Abbey can give us a glimpse of what this mission might be. It often begins with prayer, a deepening of our awareness of our relationship with Jesus.

Spiritual retreats and individual spiritual direction are tools to aid in our discovery, our discernment of our mission. Also sharing in their prayer at Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Adoration and daily and Sunday Mass are ways to pray with and for others. Those who pray regularly with the Norbertine priests are even invited to serve in the several liturgical ministries that make their worship possible.

In addition to visiting Daylesford Abbey in person, a visit to our website highlights ways in which people can be involved in the Norbertine priests’ ministries, working with migrants, refugees, the homeless, in other varieties of Outreach Ministry, such as delivering food to St. Gabriel’s Food Cupboard, supporting the homeless, at the Bethesda Project, and helping at Mission Santa Maria in their ministry to the migrant community.

In “becoming what we eat” God may be calling you to an even longer realization of what this means, by exploring and pursuing a vocation as a Norbertine priest. Take time to visit and explore more about vocations at Daylesford  to read and learn more. This website has many exciting features and includes photos and stories of “Why Am I A Norbertine.

Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist is a life-giving and enduring gift. Where will this nourishment lead each of us? The journey of discovery is yours, to begin, to explore, to continue, while being fed, nourished, and strengthened by the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.