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Liturgy for Sundays and Main Feasts

The Angels adore Jesus Host
Solemn Feast of Corpus Christi

Reflections on the Liturgy of the Day – from L’Année Liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger

Let us adore Christ, the King, who rule the nations; who give fatness of spirit to them that eat Him.

A great solemnity has this day risen upon our earth: a Feast both to God and men: for it is the Feast of Christ the Mediator, who is present in the sacred Host, that God may be given to man, and man to God. Divine union, – yes, such is the dignity to which man is permitted to aspire; and, to this aspiration, God has responded, even here below, by an invention which is all of heaven. It is today that man celebrates this marvel of God’s goodness.

The holy Eucharist, both as Sacrifice and Sacrament, is the very centre of the Christian religion; and, therefore, our Lord would have a fourfold testimony to be given, in the inspired writings, to its Institution. Besides the account given by Saint Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we have also that of St. Paul, which he received from the lips of Jesus Himself, who vouchsafed to appear to him, after his conversion, and instruct him.

St. Paul lays particular stress on the power given by our Lord to His disciples, of renewing the act which He Himself had just been doing. He tells us, what the Evangelists had not explicitly mentioned, that as often as a Priest consecrates the Body and Blood of Christ, he shows (he announces,) the Death of the Lord: and, by that expression, tells us, that the Sacrifice of the Cross, and that of our Altars, is one and the same. It is, likewise, by the immolation of our Redeemer on the Cross, that the Flesh of this Lamb of God is truly meat, and His Blood truly drink, as we shall be told, in a few moments, by the Gospel. Let not the Christian, therefore, forget it, not even on this day of festive triumph. The Church insists on the same truth in her Collect of this Feast: it is the teaching which she keeps repeating, through this formula, throughout the entire Octave: and her object in this is to impress vividly, on the minds of her children, this, the last and earnest injunction of our Jesus: As often as ye shall drink of this cup of the new Testament, do it for the commemoration of Me! The selection she makes of this passage of St. Paul for the Epistle, should impress the Christian with this truth, – that the divine Flesh which feeds his soul, was prepared on Calvary; and that, although the Lamb of God is now living and impassible, He became our food, our nourishment, by the cruel death which He endured. The sinner, who has made his peace with God, will partake of this sacred Body with deep compunction, reproaching himself for having shed its Blood by his sins: the just man will approach the holy Table with humility, remembering how he, also, has had but too great a share in causing the innocent Lamb to suffer; and, that if he be at present in the state of grace, he owes it to the Blood of the Victim, whose Flesh is about to be given to him for his nourishment.

He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia: and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Rejoice unto God, our helper: sing joyfully unto the God of Jacob.

Let us pray. – O God, who, under the wonderful Sacrament, hast left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant us, we beseech Thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that, in our souls, we may always feel the fruit of Thy Redemption.

Epistle

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians I. Ch. XI.

Brethren, for I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is My body which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of Me. In like manner, also, He took the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as often as ye shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord, until He come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But, let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment unto himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

The eyes of all hope are in You, O Lord: and You give them food in due season. You open Your hand, and fill with Your blessing every living creature. Alleluia, alleluia. My flesh is truly meat, and My blood is truly drink; he that eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, abides in Me, and I in him.

Gospel

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John. Ch. VI.

At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed. He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood, abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so, he that eats Me, the same, also, shall live by Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eats this bread, shall live for ever.

  1. Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All,
    How can I love Thee as I ought?
    And how revere this wondrous gift,
    So far surpassing hope or thought?
    Sweet Sacrament! we Thee adore!
    Oh, make us love Thee more and more! (bis)

  2. Had I but Mary’s sinless Heart
    To love Thee with, my dearest King!
    Oh, with what bursts of fervent praise
    Thy goodness, Jesus! would I sing!
    Sweet Sacrament! we Thee adore!
    Oh, make us love Thee more and more! (bis)

  3. Thy Body, Soul, and Godhead, all!
    O mystery of love divine!
    I cannot compass all I have,
    For all Thou hast and art are mine!
    Sweet Sacrament! we Thee adore!
    Oh, make us love Thee more and more! (bis)

  4. Sound, sound His praises higher still,
    And come, ye Angels, to our aid;
    ’Tis God! ’tis God! the very God,
    Whose pow’r both man and Angels made!
    Sweet Sacrament! we Thee adore!
    Oh, make us love Thee more and more! (bis)