Posted by: fvbcdm | June 5, 2015

Feast of Saint Boniface (5 June 2015)

As we observe the first Friday of the month of June, a day very close to our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we also prepare to celebrate the great solemnity of Corpus Christi which is the principal feast in honor of Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Our Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrament at the time of the Last Supper, but that falls in our liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday, a moment of sadness in which he foretells his betrayal by one of the apostles, and then the terrible agony in the garden of Gethsemani that night.

In the 13th century, a Belgian nun was inspired to press for the establishment of a totally joyous feast of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. She was Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon. From the time of her childhood, she often saw a vision of a beautiful moon, however with one dark spot in it. It was revealed to her that the beautiful moon signified the Church and its devotional life, and the one dark spot represented the lack of a feast of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  We Dominicans are happy to note that she consulted a number of prominent churchmen in this regard. One was Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher, one of our early Dominicans who often advised the Popes of his time in theological matters. He encouraged her to continue her efforts in that regard.

When the Holy See actually decreed the establishment of this feast, another Dominican, Saint Thomas Aquinas, was chosen to compose the Mass and the Divine Office to be used in celebrating the feast. Most of us are familiar with the Benediction hymns “Tantum Ergo” and “O Salutaris Hostia,” both part of the compositions of Saint Thomas for the proper adornment of this important day in the prayer life of the universal church.

Originally, the feast of what was called “Corpus Christi” (the Body of Christ) was celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. But now, the Church has transferred it to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday so that the entire Catholic community can celebrate the Blessed Eucharist on a Sunday when more can attend Mass and contemplate the truths presented to us by the sacred liturgy.

So this weekend, let us beautify our spiritual lives by a fervent devotion to this “Sacred Banquet,” as Saint Thomas Aquinas calls the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and show our gratitude for this exquisite gift that Jesus makes to us of Himself under the form of bread and wine and a sacrifice by which we worship God as he deserves. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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