Jesus Host – Source of All Holiness

Father John Gregory of the Trinity, o.d.m.

On this great feast day of the Eucharist, Corpus Christi, I would like to address a few words to you. In reality, the true feast of the Eucharist is Holy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. We commemorate it with less solemnity then, as Holy Week is the time of the Passion, a time of sorrow, of penance. The Church postpones this feast until June, a more propitious month in most countries, so as to be able to celebrate the feast of the Eucharist with greater splendor. It is Our Lord Himself who asked for this feast day, of Saint Juliana of Mount Cornillon who lived in a convent near Liège, Belgium, in the 13th century.

All the ceremonies, the Corpus Christi processions, help to activate our imagination. Adults feel less need of this; but for youngsters, beautiful religious feasts and great ceremonies leave memories that stay with them their whole life long. If you could have seen all the imposing preparations for Corpus Christi in the past! In every parish it was a community project to prepare these magnificent religious solemnities. In our town the teaching Brothers organized teams of children, and we removed pebbles all along the procession route. Nothing was left lying about; everything was tidied up. People decorated their houses. We can never forget such solemnities.

At the beginning of Christianity, everything was centered on the Eucharist. Where did the early martyrs draw the strength and courage to undergo all kinds of mock trials, with endless interrogations, scourges, torments of every sort? It was from the Eucharist. Sometimes they spent many months in dreadful dungeons, enduring interminable tortures; it is in the Eucharist, the Bread of the strong, that they found the grace to persist in confessing their Christian faith. Many Saints were martyred while taking the Eucharist to prisons, like young Saint Tarcisius.

Saint Cyprien

Saint Cyprien

Saint Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Doctor of the Church, martyred in the year 258, said, “Since the purpose of the divine Eucharist is to fortify those who receive it, let us satisfy with the sacred food those whom we want to shelter from foreign incursions. I ask you, how can we persuade them, with our exhortations, to shed their blood confessing the Name of Jesus Christ if, when the combat approaches, we refuse them the Blood of Jesus Christ? One is hardly ready for martyrdom when the Church has not armed the athlete for combat, and the soul which the Eucharistic Bread neither sustains nor inflames is soon faint from weakness.

Christianity began with the Eucharist. The renewal will also come by the Eucharist. The devil knows this, and that is why he so virulently attacks priests. The world will be saved by holy priests, and these Saints will be formed by the Eucharist. For this reason it is highly important to educate people, and children in particular, to teach them to make good Communions and become Eucharistic souls. Saint Pius X understood this: “We will give Communion to the little ones,” he said, “and we will have Saints among the children.” That is what has happened.

Taken from the brochure: Father John Gregory of the Trinity, Jesus Host – Source of All Holiness, Editions Magnificat, 1998.

Available on our website Editions-Magnificat.com, see article #2242 of Editions Magnificat

 

Procession in honor of the Blessed Sacrament

Praise, O Sion, praise thy Saviour,
Shepherd, Prince, with glad behavior,
Praise in hymn and canticle:
Sing His glory without measure,
For the merit of your Treasure
Never shall your praises fill.
Wondrous theme of mortal singing,
Living Bread and Bread life-bringing.
Sing we on this joyful day:

Lauda Sion Salvatorem
Latin hymn for Corpus Christi

Procession in honor of the Blessed Sacrament

Sing His praise with voice sonorous;
Every heart shall hear the chorus
Swell in melody sublime:
For this day the Shepherd gave us
Flesh and blood to feed and save us,
Lasting to the end of time.

Lauda Sion Salvatorem
Latin hymn for Corpus Christi

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

O Good Shepherd, still confessing
Love, in spite of our transgressing,—
Here Thy blessed Food possessing,
Make us share Thine every blessing
In the land of life and love:
Thou, whose power hath all completed
And Thy Flesh as Food hath meted,
Make us, at Thy table seated,
By Thy Saints, as friends be greeted,
In Thy paradise above.  Amen.

Lauda Sion Salvatorem
Latin hymn for Corpus Christi

 

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

O Jesus, we adore Thee,
Our Victim and our Priest,
Whose precious Blood and Body
Become our sacred Feast.

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

O Sacrament most Holy,
O Sacrament Divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving,
Be every moment Thine.

“The Eucharist is Christ, and Christ is the source of all grace. Today’s feast, my brothers and sisters, is the feast of grace par excellence. The source of grace, God Himself, makes Himself the food of our souls. The transformation of souls will follow upon true devotion to the Eucharist. But let us beware not to go to Communion indifferently, like sheep following the flock, without making an effort to have the required dispositions. Perhaps you will say, “If I don’t go, what will the others think of me?” What is important is to know what God will think of you. If we receive Communion without being well disposed towards God, we receive the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily, we eat and drink our own condemnation, according to the expression of Saint Paul.” (Cf.  I Cor. 11:29).

Father John Gregory