THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI

Out of the numerous types in the Old Law which foretold the Holy Eucharist, two in particular are pointed out to us, because they are mentioned, one at the time when Christ promised to give His Body and Blood as food, the other at the time when He actually made the gift.  At the time of the promise Christ mentioned the manna, at the time of the fulfilment He celebrated the supper of the Paschal Lamb.

May 31, 2018.

This feast is celebrated in the  Church on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday to solemnly commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist.  Of Maundy Thursday, which commemorates this great event, mention is made as Natalis Calicis (Birth of the Chalice) in the Calendar of Polemius (448) for the 24th of March, the 25th of March being in some places considered as the day of the death of Christ.  This day, however, was in Holy Week, a season of sadness, during which the minds of the faithful are expected to be occupied with thoughts of the Lord’s Passion.  Moreover, so many other functions took place on this day that the principal event was almost lost sight of.  This is mentioned as the chief reason for the introduction of the new feast, in the Bull “Transiturus de Mundo (August 11, 1264).”

I. The Blessed Sacrament heralded in the Old Testament.

  (i) In the manna. 

(ii) In the Paschal Lamb.

II. The Blessed Sacrament promised by Christ. 

III. Fulfilment of the promise. 

(i)The manner of consecration at the Last Supper.
(ii) The Rite at once a sacrament and a sacrifice.
(iii) Security for the perpetuation of this Rite in the ordination of the Apostles as priests.
(iv) The treasure we now enjoy is to have still the same priesthood with the same sacrament and sacrifice.

The prescience which God has of all that will happen to the creatures of His hand enables Him so to order the course of events that nothing shall come upon men unexpectedly; and in such preparation is a note of that continuous system of religion which has pleased Him to reveal, first more particularly to the nation of the Jews, and afterwards to mankind generally.  iu

Christ apprised His followers of those great crimes which, had they come upon the disciples unannounced, might have caused them scandal greater than they could bear — crimes such as the treason of the apostle Judas, the malice of those highest in office, the chief priests and scribes who brought about first the crucifixion, and then the bitter persecutions which accompanied the preaching of the Gospel after Ascension Day.  Speaking on the last head Christ declared, “These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalised.  They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.  And these things will they do to you; because they have not known the Father, nor me.  But these things I have told you, that when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them.  But I told you not these things from the beginning, because I was with you. And now I go to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou?” (John 16:1-5).  Just before the Passion He gave the warning, “Then Jesus said to them: All you shall be scandalised in me this night. For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.” (Matthew 26:31); and indeed so much did He feel the trial to which His conduct and its consequences would expose His friends, that He affirmed, “And blessed is he that shall not be scandalised in me.” (Matthew 11:6) 

This last example leads us to another kind of scandal, which Christ wished to speak of by prolepsis — the scandal no longer of sin, but of truths so sublime as to stagger the natural intelligence.  That the Incarnate Son of God should consent to die so humiliatingly was more than men could at once believe.  And as there were many other such truths to which the human mind required to be gradually initiated, as a consequence the revelation of these dogmas was a systematic process.  In the establishment of several particulars which go to form the constitution of our Church, we may frequently distinguish three stages, — two of preparation and one of fulfilment.  We find in the Old Testament a stage of distant heralding and in the New, first a stage of direct promise, and then a stage of accomplishment in regard to the thing promised.  Thus the Church was of old prefigured in the central city of worship and of government, Jerusalem with its Temple and high priests; secondly, the founding of the Church was promised to Simon Peter, who under Christ was to be its head; thirdly, the promise was satisfied.  After “thou shalt be called Peter” followed “thou art Peter,” and after “to thee will I give the keys of the kingdom” followed the commission “feed my sheep,” “feed my lambs,” that is, be shepherd of the whole flock, be the Supreme Pastor on earth, be Shepherd-King.  Again as to the feast of Easter; the Resurrection, that great miracle in the Faith of which the Church was enabled to gather her early converts, was prefigured in the safe deliverance of Jonas after three days’ entombment in a large sea-monster; it was promised by Christ when, referring to Jonas, He said, “Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.  For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” (Matthew 12:39-40). 

On another occasion the Jews sceptically asked, “What sign dost thou give us?” to which inquiry Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will build it up.”  The words were misunderstood by His hearers and were quoted against Him on the cross: “thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40).  But, as St. John explains, Christ “But he spoke of the temple of his body.  When therefore he was risen again from the dead, his disciples remembered, that he had said this, and they believed the scripture, and the word that Jesus had said.  Now when he was at Jerusalem, at the pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in his name, seeing his signs which he did.” (John 2:21-23).  For Christ fulfilled His own prediction — resurrexit sicut dixit — and He took abundant means to impress the fact on the belief of His disciples.  A further instance of the triple stage is furnished by the Church’s initiatory Sacrament, Baptism, which first was prefigured by the waters of the Red Sea, through which the Israelites passed, out of the land of bondage: “And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea:” (1 Corinthians 10:2); which secondly may be regarded as promised in the words spoken to Nicodemus, “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5); and thirdly in due time baptism was established, though of the precise occasion we are not certain: it was part of the mission to preach (Matthew 28:19). 

After these illustrations of a definite plan on God’s part we must pass on to the Sacrament, which we venerate today, and see how it was heralded, promised, and established.  We shall find each of these stages clearly marked. 

I

Out of the numerous types in the Old Law which foretold the Holy Eucharist, two in particular are pointed out to us, because they are mentioned, one at the time when Christ promised to give His Body and Blood as food, the other at the time when He actually made the gift.  At the time of the promise Christ mentioned the manna, at the time of the fulfilment He celebrated the supper of the Paschal Lamb.

 

  1. Moses had verified his divine commission as deliverer and legislator by many signs; and this led the Jews to ask Christ for a similar token that He had been sent by God: “They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6:30-31) — In reply Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.” (John 6:48-50).  Back then to the history of the manna we must go and there we shall find characters so clearly anticipatory of the Blessed Sacrament that it will be needless to point out all the applications.  As to time the manna was given during the forty years of wandering in the desert, and the gifts did not ceased util the land of promise was reached.  Not util the corn from Egypt, the great land of corn, was consumed, did the manna appear as food from heaven in contrast to earthly food; and it lasted till the corn of Canaan could be gathered.  It is called in Exodus (Exodus 16:4) “Bread from heaven”; in the Book of Wisdom (Wisdom 16:20), “Food of angels,” “Bread from heaven, having in it all that is delicious and the sweetness of every taste,” so that “serving every man’s will, it was turned to what each man liked”; and in the Psalms (Psalms 77:24-25) occur the names “bread of heaven,” “bread of angels.”  By St. Paul the manna is styled “spiritual food” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4).  Connected with the giving of the food are some circumstances highly significant which show the constant character of God’s gifts in this world of probation, that they are not only acts of benevolence but also trials of man’s fidelity.  God clearly affirmed His purpose in the words, “that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or not.” (Exodus 16:4).  Amid the complaints of the people the manna was first sent, along with the flesh of quails; but the quails were not continued, and subsequently the shouting for flesh became so loud that God yielded to them in His anger.  Some Egyptian followers raised a cry, which the Israelites without hesitation joined:  Who shall give us flesh to eat: we remember the fish we ate in Egypt. Our soul is dry, our eyes behold nothing else but manna.” (Numbers 11:4)  For a month the murmurers had quails in abundance; but they paid the price of their sensuality when, smitten with plague, they left behind corpses in such abundance that the place was called, “the graves of lust” (Numbers 11:34; Deuteronomy 8). Afterwards we find the psalmist alternating from verse to verse between the favours of God and the in gratitude of the people, between the punishments and the repentances of the Israelites.  They did eat and were filled exceedingly, and he gave them their desire; they were not defrauded of that which they craved.  As yet the meat was in their mouths and the wrath of God came upon them.  And he slew the fat ones among them, and brought down the chosen men of Israel. In all these things they sinned still, and they believed not His wondrous works. And their days were consumed in vanity and their years in haste. When He slew them they sought Him, and they returned to Him early in the morning. And they remembered that God was their helper, and the Most High their redeemer.  And they loved Him with their mouth, and with their tongue they lied unto Him. But their heart was not right, nor were they counted faithful in His covenant” (Psalms 77:10; 29-38).  Truly could St. Paul say, “But with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the desert.” (1 Corinthians 10:5).  Such were the Jews in their reception of the manna; and when we come to the use made by Christians of the Blessed Sacrament, we shall have to observe, that, if not “with most of them,” at least with very many “God is not well pleased,” and that it is the food which “tries the people, whether they will walk in the law or not.”[1]  Another thing about the manna that is relevant to the present festival is its mysteriousness, which led the people to ask, playing upon the word manhu, “what is this?”  To him who overcometh,” says Christ in the Revelation (2:17), “He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him that overcometh, I will give the hidden manna, and will give him a white counter, and in the counter, a new name written, which no man knoweth, but he that receiveth it.”; hidden, that is, up to the time of its being revealed in the Kingdom of Heaven, — hidden now, when in consecrating the Chalice the priest declares the work to be a “mystery of faith.”  To this character of mysteriousness we may add the mention of only one more circumstance, — the reservation of the manna in the Ark as a perpetual memorial of God’s bounty to His people.  Moses said to Aaron, “And Moses said: This is the word, which the Lord hath commanded: Fill a gomor of it, and let it be kept unto generations to come hereafter, that they may know the bread, wherewith I fed you in the wilderness, when you were brought forth out of the land of Egypt.  And Moses said to Aaron: Take a vessel, and put manna into it, as much as a gomor can hold: and lay it up before the Lord to keep unto your generations, As the Lord commanded Moses. And Aaron put it in the tabernacle to be kept.  And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land: with this meat were they fed, until they reached the borders of the land of Chanaan.” (Exodus 16:32-35).  Afterwards Aaron’s rod was added, a memorial of the true priesthood, by the side of what typified the future victim of the Christian Sacrifice.  The additions also were symbolical, — the temple of the Christian Church, the tabernacle of the Incarnation, the שכינה (shekinah) [2] of the Sacramental Presence, the table of the fulfilment of the Law. 
  2. The second figure was that of the Paschal Supper, at which, in anticipation of Him whom the Baptist pointed out as “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world,” a lamb was sacrificed and eaten in conjunction with unleavened bread and the wine-cup.  We notice the two words “sacrificed” and “eaten,” and observe the symbolism of the “unleavened bread,” signifying freedom from corruption, and pointing incidentally to the fact of the haste with which the people had to depart from the land of bondage, when there was no time for the ferment to do its work, and consequently it was omitted.  St. Paul speaks of the former as being more intrinsic to the rite itself (1 Corinthians 5:6-9); but the latter correlate more closely with what was signified by the girded loins and the feet shod, and the staves in the hand and the standing posture.  Thus was foreshadowed that which was to be the Food of us wayfarers, who have here no abiding city, but must be ever going forward towards the land of promise.  And just as the Jews were privileged above other peoples, so that no stranger, not aggregated to the race, might partake of their paschal supper, so we are privileged above the Jews, in that “We have an altar, whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle.” (Hebrews 13:10).  The blood of the slaughtered lamb was sprinkled or the doorposts, a sign to the death doing angel to pass; by the houses of God’s people, and a type of that still more saving Blood of which it is declared, “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.” (John 6:54-55).  This discourse occurs only in the Gospel of St. John, who is also the only Evangelist to apply what was commanded concerning the Paschal Lamb to the dead body of Christ: “You shall not break a bone of him.” of the victim (John 19:36; compare John 1:29-36).  Finally, as the Sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb was one of the three annual occasions when all the men of the Jewish race had to gather in Jerusalem, so Easter or thereabouts is the season when all Christians, of sufficient age, are commanded to gather round the Altar and to eat the Flesh of the Lamb of God sacrificed for their redemption “This is what thou shalt sacrifice upon the altar: Two lambs of a year old every day continually.” (Exodus 29:38). After the putting up of the Temple the Easter lamb had to be slaughtered there by the head of the household before the priest, who poured the blood on the altar and burnt the fat there.  There were exceptional occasions when a number of families combined. 

 

II

From the prefiguration we pass to the next stage, which is the promise made by Christ in chapter six of St. John’s Gospel.  After our Lord had fed five thousand persons by the miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two fishes, and after He had, by these and other means, disposed the minds of His audience so that they should burst forth into the declaration, “Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world,” (John 6:14) then it was that under an allurement and under a threat He announced that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood; though as to the mode of their so doing He gave, at the time, no indication.  They were to trust Him for finding His own way to His own ends.  The allurement He held out was ever lasting life for those who showed due obedience; the threat, in case of refusal, was everlasting death. 

If now we refer back to the manna we are reminded how it was meant to act as a test of the people, how it did try them, and was the occasion of much incredulity and murmuring.  So too was it when Christ announced the mystery of the Blessed Sacrament: He was met by incredulous questionings, by murmurings, by reference to His lowly origin at Nazareth.  Many left His previously valued company in disgust. To complete the lessons that we are intended to draw the Evangelist adds a detail which might seem out of place, but which really is very much in place.  But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.” (John 6:65) — thus coincidently with Christ’s first promise of the Holy Eucharist mention is made of Judas, who was perhaps the first sacrilegious communicant: and the mention is emphasised when, turning to His apostles Christ uttered those awful words, “Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:71)  Again at the Last Supper Christ repeated this pointed reference to Judas: and it is to keep before us the same sad aspect of a great truth that St. Paul, in the Epistle of the day, where he is describing the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, tells us that it took place “on the same night on which Christ was betrayed” by Judas; and is careful to add the warning, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:29)

Thus does the Blessed Sacrament bring before us a repeating of the complaints, the abuses, the ingratitude which marked the giving of the manna.  Faith in the Holy Eucharist is one great test by which to distinguish heresy from orthodoxy; while among believers themselves the conduct shown to the Holy Eucharist is a test of their spiritual state in the Church.  Christ is here to distinguish believers from unbelievers; and between believers themselves, to distinguish who will and who will not live up to his faith.  Take a Catholic congregation and consider what an approximate method of distinguishing between better, worse, and worst we have in the way in which different members comport themselves towards Christ in His Sacrament.  To many persons it is what it is intended to be, a bond of close and ever closer-growing union with God; whereas to others an exemplar of God’s love to man is turned into an exemplar of man’s ingratitude to God; and it were better for such as these that the Blessed Sacrament had never been.  To them this day, with all its jubilant manifestations, is less than meaningless; but, thank heaven, there are others for whom the Feast of Corpus Christi has its proper significance. 

 

III

At length the time came for the fulfilment of figure and promise; and it would have been quite out of proportion if the antitype had not far outdone the types, which were but its foreshadowings.  Here upon there is call for a brief declaration of the dogma of the Holy Eucharist which is not likely to chill the fervour of devotion; for is it not very characteristic of the Office of to-day that in it St. Thomas has so splendidly combined dogma with devotion?  Moreover, it is a fact that among Catholics there is often what may be styled a sad incuriosity, so that about points that they might easily know they are content to remain ignorant or dubious. Curiosity in our language generally bears a bad sense, standing for the desire to learn either what does not concern us, or what it is harmful for us to pry into; but curiositas in the Latin tongue means primarily a careful investigation in the praiseworthy sense.   Such mindfulness for knowledge of the greatest of our Sacraments should be had by all; about it no one should be half-heartedly incurious. Assuming, then, that God’s words are, when He wishes it, effective of that which they signify: “He said and they were made”; “He called and they replied, We are here.”

    1. Let us contemplate on the words of consecration.  Christ took bread into His hands, and over it He said “This is my body.”  Instantly the substance of bread ceased to be and in its place was His own body, after the likeness of the change of water into wine at Cana.  Christ’s body was present by the direct force of the words; but by reason of relatedness, or inseparable connection, because Christ’s Body was combined with His Blood animated by His soul, and hypostatically united with His divinity, the whole Christ, Man and God, was present under the aspect of bread.  In addition, owing to the fact that the Trinity is one in substance or essence, where the Son was, there too were Father and Holy Ghost.  The consecration of the Chalice is explained after a like manner.  Over the wine Christ said similarly, “This is my blood”: Instantly the substance of wine ceased to be, and in its place was His own Blood.  The Blood was there by the direct force of the words; while by force of association came the soul, the body, and all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, but primarily the Person of the Son, for He alone is Incarnate.
    2. The rite thus completed was a sacrifice, prophecy of that soon to be offered on Calvary; it was also a Sacrament of which, though Scripture does not expressly say so, it is supposed that Christ Himself first partook, and then gave to His Apostles.  In that case, it would be the one and only Sacrament that Christ received; for His baptism was clearly no more than the baptism of John, which was not our Sacrament of Baptism. 
    3. But what Christ once conferred, He intended to make a perpetual bequest.  It was “the New Testament in His Blood”; and the word “Testament” St. Paul interprets not only as a covenant, but also as a Last Will, in which Christ bequeathed to us the means of majestically “showing forth His death till He come,” that is, till the end of the world.  We have the authority of the Council of Trent for it, that in utter ing the words, “Do this in commemoration of me,” Christ ordained His apostles priests.  True, this is not the formula now used by a Bishop in the Ordination service, but it was admirably adapted for the purpose which our Lord intended; for what is at least the most essential note of all priesthood?  St.Paul answers, “Every high priest,” and also every priest, “is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices.”  To baptise, to absolve from sin, to anoint, is not the deepest character of the priesthood; but the power to offer sacrifice, that is primarily the priesthood, and that chiefly it was which Christ conferred, when after having offered the Eucharistic Sacrifice Himself, He said to His apostles, “Do this in commemoration of me.”
    4. From the consideration of what Christ did in the room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion just outside of the Old City walls of Jerusalem, we learn what a treasure we possess in the Holy Eucharist today.  We have in it our one sacrifice and our chief Sacrament; and on each of these two heads we can say some more.  The Holy Eucharist is our one great Sacrifice; one, because it is too great to allow a second; great, because of the victim and because of the priest.  The victim is Christ Himself, offered up mystically, and no longer in a bloody manner; yet really sacrificed so “the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world” is also and in a more faithful sense slain to the end of the world.  In the state of a victim to which Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is reduced the sacrifice is sufficiently provided for, without the actual shedding of blood.  Again, the Priest is likewise Christ, the one absolute independent priest of the New Law, all other priests being so relatively, ministerially, and because of their identification with Christ; an identification which never appears more forcibly than when, in the act of consecration, they each say, ‘This is my body,” “my blood.”  Here is the dignity of the Christian priesthood, after which if any one sincerely hopes for, these hopes are made good; but he must remember not to seek a dignity without its burden, privilege without its obligations.  For Christ, who communicates to the men that are His priests the power to sacrifice, expects sacrifice for sacrifice; and often the measure of success in ministerial duties is the degree of the spirit of the priest’s self-sacrifice.  Yet another remark on the Holy Eucharist as a sacrifice.  Sometimes a non catholic tells his minister that he can pray better at home, and does not need to go to church.  Well, the minister can, of course, even from his point of view, urge the duty of public worship, which binds everyone living in society; but he cannot urge what the Catholic priest can, namely, the plea that the Mass is our supreme act of worship above all private prayer, and not within the power of the layman to offer; that consequently the layman is bound to come to church, and to the morning service, rather than to the evening, because he must hear Mass.  The Mass beyond all others is the church service: it makes an altar really an altar, and not a mere table; a something as its name signifies, raised on high, the legitimate “high place,” the conspicuous spot where sacrifice is offered, and whither all faces must turn.  Hence, St. Anselm would say that “the church is made for the altar and not the altar for the church.”  Lastly we must consider the Holy Eucharist as a Sacrament, a great central Sacrament, around which all the others are encompassed, as encircling Him who is the grace giver in each of them.  Unlike other Sacraments the Eucharist is an abiding Sacrament; it is a Sacrament, not only in the act of reception, but as long as the species endure. The baptismal water and the consecrated oils we reverently keep in the church; but we do not pay to them that supreme adoration which we pay to the consecrated Host.  The Host is there to be worshipped with divine honours, but its outer appearances show us that it is further meant to serve as our food.  It is the tree of life in the paradise of God’s Church, and requires the state, if not spotless at least of restored innocence in those that eat of its fruits.  When duly prepared we partake of it; for us it is a transforming and almost a transubstantiating nourishment.  If there is any truth in the saying “Man is what he eats,” surely he who is fed on the glorified Body of Christ should be changed into some measure of another Christ.  Christ is your life,” “For me to live is Christ,” (Philippians 1:21) declares St. Paul: and though his words have not direct reference to our Sacrament, they are eminently applicable to it, and point out what should be the effect of our frequent communions. 

Corpus Christi being the wholly jubilant feast of the Blessed Sacrament, as Maundy Thursday is its half jubilant, half mournful feast, it is a day of splendour, and rightly so.  Before the great religious rebellion in England, it was a community festival, in which the civil authorities and the guilds walked in long procession. This is still done in Italy, Spain, Mexico to mention but a few, countries that have retained a catholic religious identity.  When the more solemn forms of ritual were terminated, when churches iu.jpegwere plundered of their sacramental items, and the whole service was made as joyless and almost sepulchral as possible, one great object of the change was the dissent against the doctrine of the Real Presence, — a piece of genuine Protestantism.  We keep to that which we have never renounced — to the old doctrine and the old ritual.  Yet while we go through our so called pompous ceremonies, we need to be very careful lest what our adversaries presume to be the essential evil of our mode of worship should be allowed to become an unforeseen blemish; lest we allow the outward display to steal away from the inner spirit.  We are certain that the Corpus Christi ceremonies were never meant by the Church to be performed in forgetfulness of the Body of Christ, which they profess to honour.   They were not intended to give to a church an opportunity of displaying its treasures before a vast crowd; or to give to those who take part in the function an opportunity of displaying themselves and their accomplishments; or to those who are listeners and onlookers, and ought to be something better, an opportunity for cold, dry criticism.  Christ did not make His perpetual bequest of His Body and Blood for such vain purposes.  It was an acerbic matter for the Jews, that God had to tell them more than once, “I reject your feasts and your fasts, your ceremonies and your sacrifices, because not I, but yourselves are to be found in them.” Our sacrifice in itself God cannot reject because of its intrinsic worthiness; but He could reject our manner of taking part in the Rite.  Therefore we have to look toward our temperament, to enter properly into the services of the feast, and from there carry away a great reverence for God’s sacramental presence. 

The exercise of the presence of God is a virtue proper to all feasts; but we Catholics add a belief in the sacramental presence, and should entertain for this perpetual presence such a perpetual reverence that in the words of one of the Church’s Post-communions “Being grateful for gifts received we may obtain favours yet more excellent.”  So we have to worship Christ under His sacramental veil, that the time may come for us when the veil shall be withdrawn, and faith shall give place to sight, and we shall be deluged with the glory of the Beatific Vision.  In the Post-communion for the Feast the Church reminds us that while the substance is the same, the manner of presentment and of acceptance is different: different as figure from the object figured: “Fill us with celestial grace: Thou, who feedest us below!Source of all we have or know! Grant that with Thy Saints above, Sitting at the Feast of Love, We may see Thee face to face.  Amen.” (translation of Lauda Sion Salvatorem, (Sion Lift Thy Voice and Sing) the sequence for the Mass of Corpus Christi written by St. Thomas Aquinas)

[1]     The lintel of the synagogue at כְּפַר נַחוּם (Capernaum) has been found, built around the 4th or 5th century; Beneath the foundation of this synagogue lies another foundation made of basalt, and Loffreda suggests that this is the foundation of a synagogue from the 1st century (Loffreda, 1974).  On it is carved the manna with vine-leaves and grapes. 

[2]     Shekhinah in the New Testament may be equated to the presence or indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord (generally referred to as the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of Christ) J. Hampton Keathley, III, Th.M. at bible.org.

[3]     Protestants are so called after the declaration (protestatio) of Martin Luther and his dissenting supporters.  The Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion contend that the “Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.  The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner.  And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith” (Article XXVIII).

Author: dom.Ugo-Maria

Catholic Priest - Hermit of Carthusian Charism, following the early and stricter Coutumes de Chartreuse (Rule) written about 1121-1128 written by Guigues du Chastel the 5th prior and Father General of Grande Chartreuse. Served as a curate and priest in Ireland for a while then moving to Devon as Parish Priest. A spell as Prison Chaplain and then Chaplain to the Railways (SouthEastern). Then a few years as a Diocesan Administrator, Vicar Forane, Vicar General and called as a Bishop (which I turned down). In the past I served as an officer in HM Armed Forces, lectured at Oxford, and teacher at the Royal School for Deaf children in Margate (now closed), for a spell (13 months) run an NHS hospital where I quickly realised that if you have no medical background and tend to use spreadsheets to reach a decision then you should not be running a hospital. Now I serve as Prior to the Hermits of Saint Bruno at St. Mary's Hermitage near Canterbury in Kent. I write on the Eremitic way of life although sometimes I tend to broach other subjects of interest, and occasionally undertake translations for Bishop Alistair from English to Italian. My life as a contemplative is extremely fulfilling and busy and I no longer have a public ministry which I occasionally miss especially the out-reach ministry. I also enjoy gardening on the hermitage grounds and as most gardeners will know its a never ending task, albeit quite rewarding. The hermitage also has some other residents, there is the hermitage guardian who is a layman who lives in rooms at the front of our hermitage and acts as a barrier/intermediary with the outside world; there is Jules a 4 year old Staffordshire terrier, who seems to know the Monastic Horarium and occasionally acts as a prompt, Augustus the tom cat who is 1 year old now and spends most of his time in the fields surrounding us catching moles, mice and rabbits (not so keen on birds) or in my cell when it gets too hot outside (he occasionally assist in writing my articles - having adopted the habit of falling asleep at my desk, occasionally waking and hitting the keyboard with his paw), Buffy who is 25 years old and Terra, her daughter who is 24 years old, female cats that were with me when I was parish priest at St. John Bosco's in Barnstaple. The two hens Hildegard (von Bingen) and Rosaline (of Villeneuve) who provide the eggs that we need, and then there is Topo Gigio a mouse who lives in one of our outhouses who is not scared of cats or people, can be quite vocal if you upset him by encroaching although quite frankly is no bother at all which is why he has been left alone. We currently also have 6 sheep outside in the field (not ours) but they do keep the grass cut. We are fortunate to have several fruit trees, Apples, Plums, Cherries, Pears, and 2 fig plants which I brought back from Sicily, quite a few herbs: mint, St. John's-wort, basil, chives, garlic, oregano, lemon balm, sage, chamomile, bay, echinacea, coriander, feverfew, lavender, valerian, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, cilantro and others, there are also many flowers, too many to list. My interests are mediaeval church & monastic history, ancient liturgies, the Old Catholic Movement, Nicene and post Nicene Fathers, Desert Fathers and Mothers and Carthusian history. I also speak Italian and German, Latin, Catalan, Sicilian and French although am rusty with some.