Posted by: fvbcdm | June 8, 2012

Feast of Saint William of York (8 June 2012)

In mid-June of 1954, I was discharged from the Navy on the west coast, and made my way by easy stages to the Trappist monastery of Our Lady of  Gethsemani in Kentucky.  I had hoped to become a monk there.  I arrived at the abbey during the eight-day period between the feast of Corpus Christi and its octave day a week later.  Following an old European tradition, the “choir monks” as they were called had paved the four halls of the inner cloister with flowers and greenery in intricate designs made from wildflowers and many of the leaves of the fresh, new vegetation of the Kentucky springtime.  On Thursday which was Corpus Christi Day itself, a procession passed through the cloisters, with the Father Abbot carrying the Blessed Sacrament over that beautiful carpet of natural beauty.  Then, the following week, after my arrival there, the second procession was held in the cloister over a new supply of flowers and greenery, this  time designed and laid down by the laybrothers—those monks who were not “choir monks” and did not aspire to the priesthood in the monastic life.  It was a delight to see those floral arrangements so lovingly and carefully laid to welcome our Eucharistic Lord in His sacramental presence on the great feast of the Blessed Sacrament, that feast which was for centuries called “Corpus Christi.”   Now, the feast is usually transferred to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, and the name is usually translated into English as “The Body and Blood of Christ.”  But the great love of the Church for her sacramental Lord is the same, and this weekend, we will celebrate our solemnity of the Eucharist or Corpus Christi. 

Whether we lay flowers and greenery for the Blessed Sacrament to be carried over, or whether we adorn our hearts and minds with our love for Jesus in the  Eucharist and his abiding presence with us in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, it is important for us to pour out in great devotion our love for this incarnate God of ours.  First he, who is God, became a human being in the womb of his virgin Mother.  Then, on the night before he died, he became bread in the sacrament of the Eucharist.  And now, from pole to pole, the Catholic Church by means of the priesthood of its popes, bishops, and priests, proliferates this sacramental presence of the God-in-the- form-of-man and now God-in-the-form-of-bread.  Bringing the reality of the Eucharist to our altars, we adore it as our Divine Companion and receive it as our nutrition. When our Dominican brother SaintThomas Aquinas wrote about the Eucharist, he called it the “Sacred Banquet in which Christ is received as food.”  Please, let us do all we can to keep this splendid festival in our minds and hearts this weekend.  Let us hunger for this bread, since “hunger is the best sauce” as the proverb says.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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