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What shall I render to the Lord on the feast of Corpus Christ?

What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things he hath rendered unto me? (Ps 116:12)

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My Dear Brethren,

Today we attempt to render honour and thanks to God for the greatest gift: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God-made-Man – Corpus Christi - which is given to us under the appearances of bread and wine in order that God may communicate Himself to our souls.

The Greatest of Mysteries

There are three great mysteries of faith by which God communicates Himself:

  1. The Mystery of the Blessed Trinity is the mystery of the eternal communication of the Divine nature of the Father to the Son in heaven by an act of eternal generation.
  2. The Mystery of the Incarnation is the mystery of the communication of Divine nature of God to His creation (the human nature of Jesus Christ) by the hypostatic union.
  3. The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist is the mystery of the communication of (a) the Son to the Father (through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass), (b) the Son (the physical Body. Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ) to individual creatures by the reception of the Blessed Sacrament which in turn brings about (c) the communication of Divine Nature to those creatures, an in-pouring of grace which makes them living members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

The three mysteries are like three links in a chain by which man is taken up, to be elevated and united to the Divinity.

These three mysteries reveal the very nature of God as Goodness in the perpetual act of diffusing Itself, giving Itself, communicating Itself.

Holy Communion

It is no surprise, therefore, that the Body of Christ is called Holy Communion when given to men, because by it, God communicates Himself to a soul and a soul that communicates worthily gives all it has back to God: its body, its faculties, and chief among these, its intellect and in its will.

Communication or communion is a two-way thing: God gives Himself to man and man gives himself to God. This communion is the essence of the act of love.
Receiving Holy Communion worthily, is in fact the greatest act of love that can exist on Earth between a soul and God.

God gives Himself most fully (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) to a soul, the soul, if it receives worthily, gives itself fully back to God so that the communion of God and the soul is complete.

The Greatest Sacrament

Other sacraments, of course, as channels of grace, communicate the Divine Life to souls but none so perfectly as the sacrament of Holy Communion and none so provocatively of a return of that total gift of self.

  • Other sacraments by their nature are efficacious signs of the communication of the Divine Nature, but none contain in their signs that which is communicated.
  • All the other sacraments use mundane things which have power lent to them (e.g. water for washing away original and actual sin) whereas the Holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ Himself giving Himself to souls to effect a spiritual perfection in those who worthily receive Him.

The best way to celebrate this feast

What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things he hath rendered unto me? Ps 116:12

We can render honour and thanks God for this great gift of Himself by making his dwelling place fitting for him: a clean and beautiful church, clean linens, beautiful vestments, beautiful liturgy etc. But more important is the interior dwelling place – our souls. The best way to honour and thank God for this infinite gift of Himself is to receive Him worthily in Holy Communion which means receiving Him with:

  1. A right intention. Not vain glory or the intention of pleasing others, but the intention of pleasing God, of being closer to Him.
  2. Freedom from mortal sin at least, and at best a freedom from attachment to any venial sin.
  3. Serious preparation. Although graces are receives ex opere operato, they are multiplied if the communicant has prepared himself by remembering the Passion, an act of Faith in the Real Presence, an act of hope that it will profit the soul for the achieving eternal life, an act of love, of total union with Our Lord, and indeed the whole Trinity and finally, an act of humility: “Whence it comes to me that this Lamb of God can vouchsafe to lower Himself to me.”

Perhaps if we imagine how the Blessed Virgin Mary received Holy Communion, we might be inspired to prepare ourselves with greater devotion! Let us ask her for this grace during this Mass: that we receive the Body of her Son as she did so that, elevated and wrapped in the Divinity, we may render an honour and thanks to God which is fitting for the that which is rendered unto us – the gift of Himself: Corpus Christi. Deo gratias.

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