"Even if we open the heavens, and look into the Heaven of heavens, we shall find there nothing more holy, nothing greater than what Jesus Christ Himself has placed upon our altars." - St. Chrysostom. St. Imelda receives Our Lord
Catholic Life; or Feasts, Fasts, and Devotions of the Ecclesiastical Year+ Imprimatur 1908
These two words, Corpus Christi, mean Body of Christ. The feast kept on the first Thursday after the octave of Pentecost was established to commemorate and give thanks for that great mystery of love which Christ left us at His last supper, when, consecrating the bread and wine, He gave us His Body and Blood under those appearances, for the remembrance of His Passion, for the comfort of His Church, as an agreeable sacrifice to His Heavenly Father, and a most precious food to nourish our souls. Holy Thursday would seem at first sight to be the proper time for this celebration, but the Church, being taken up in contemplating the sufferings of her Spouse, thought fit to postpone the joyful commemoration for the institution of so amiable a mystery. We ought to celebrate this great feast and its octave by strengthening our faith in this mystery by receiving Holy Communion with unusual fervour; by taking part in the procession, if held in our locality; by contributing flowers, ect. for the decorations; and by frequent visits to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, to pour out our souls in acts of adoration, gratitude, love and petition for ourselves and others. We should try and go to Benediction also. This is a ceremony which gives us an opportunity of making public profession of our faith by acts of adoration. It excites us to an increase of love and confidence, by reminding us that it is for love of us that He dwells in our tabernacles.
When the priest makes the Sign of the Cross over us with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, let us beg God's grace and blessing on our souls, and particularly for strength to carry our cross after Him, and to fulfill the duties of our state in life. Practices like these will increase our faith and devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and we shall then experience the blessedness of conversing familiarly with Him as a friend, and we shall enjoy the peace which surpasseth understanding. "Jesu! Whom for the present veiled I see,
What I so this for, O, vouchsafe to me;
That I may see Thy countenance unfolding,
And may be blest Thy glory in beholding."
Example.- Corpus Christi in Paraguay.
The Christian converts of the Reductions of Paraguay, so flourishing in the eighteenth century, animated by the spirit of fervour which distinguished the early Christians, solemnized the Feast of Corpus Christi with all the pomp which their piety, aided by their resources, could suggest. They adorned the church and all the roads which the procession was to pass. Being only reclaimed savages, their decorations were entirely rustic; but they were in such variety and profusion as to vie with our most expensive ornaments at home. Waving palms, scented laurels and myrtles, blooming orange-trees, intermingled with wreaths and festoons of beautiful flowers and fruits, lined the streets, while triumphal arches spanned the larger spaces. The caciques furnished peacocks, parrots, and other birds of gorgeous plumage, which, tied by a string, flitted gaily over the heads of the precisionists. Here and there stags and wild beasts were tied to stakes, or caged. All kinds of creatures were brought to render homage to their Creator. The air was laden with perfumes from odoriferous herbs strewn on the way.
After Mass, at which nearly every one received Communion, the procession was formed in European fashion. A few companies of soldiers led the way, to the sound of many musical instruments unknown to us, and occasional discharges of musketry. Next came the men, afterwards the women. The viceregent, chiefs, captains, judges, other officials preceded or accompanied the Blessed Sacrament. Different choirs and bands alternated in sacred melodies, and pious enthusiasm pervaded the whole.
When the ceremony was over, the fowl, fruits, and vegetables were given to the strangers, or set aside for invalids. Those who came from a distance were hospitably entertained. Several conversations generally followed so edifying a spectacle.
"The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature."
Excerpts from the Encyclical Quas PrimusBy Pope Pius XII
19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men." If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquility, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.
20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth -- he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."
21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year -- in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.
22. History, in fact, tells us that in the course of ages these festivals have been instituted one after another according as the needs or the advantage of the people of Christ seemed to demand: as when they needed strength to face a common danger, when they were attacked by insidious heresies, when they needed to be urged to the pious consideration of some mystery of faith or of some divine blessing. Thus in the earliest days of the Christian era, when the people of Christ were suffering cruel persecution, the cult of the martyrs was begun in order, says St. Augustine, "that the feasts of the martyrs might incite men to martyrdom." The liturgical honors paid to confessors, virgins and widows produced wonderful results in an increased zest for virtue, necessary even in times of peace. But more fruitful still were the feasts instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin. As a result of these men grew not only in their devotion to the Mother of God as an ever-present advocate, but also in their love of her as a mother bequeathed to them by their Redeemer. Not least among the blessings which have resulted from the public and legitimate honor paid to the Blessed Virgin and the saints is the perfect and perpetual immunity of the Church from error and heresy. We may well admire in this the admirable wisdom of the Providence of God, who, ever bringing good out of evil, has from time to time suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak, and allowed Catholic truth to be attacked by false doctrines, but always with the result that truth has afterwards shone out with greater splendor, and that men's faith, aroused from its lethargy, has shown itself more vigorous than before.
23. The festivals that have been introduced into the liturgy in more recent years have had a similar origin, and have been attended with similar results. When reverence and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament had grown cold, the feast of Corpus Christi was instituted, so that by means of solemn processions and prayer of eight days' duration, men might be brought once more to render public homage to Christ. So, too, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted at a time when men were oppressed by the sad and gloomy severity of Jansenism, which had made their hearts grow cold, and shut them out from the love of God and the hope of salvation.
24. If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would
be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.
25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.
26. The way has been happily and providentially prepared for the celebration of this feast ever since the end of the last century. It is well known that this cult has been the subject of learned disquisitions in many books published in every part of the world, written in many different languages. The kingship and empire of Christ have been recognized in the pious custom, practiced by many families, of dedicating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only families have performed this act of dedication, but nations, too, and kingdoms. In fact, the whole of the human race was at the instance of Pope Leo XIII, in the Holy Year 1900, consecrated to the Divine Heart. It should be remarked also that much has been done for the recognition of Christ's authority over society by the frequent Eucharistic Congresses which are held in our age. These give an opportunity to the people of each diocese, district or nation, and to the whole world of coming together to venerate and adore Christ the King hidden under the Sacramental species. Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King. It is by a divine inspiration that the people of Christ bring forth Jesus from his silent hiding-place in the church, and carry him in triumph through the streets of the city, so that he whom men refused to receive when he came unto his own, may now receive in full his kingly rights.
27. For the fulfillment of the plan of which We have spoken, the Holy Year, which is now speeding to its close, offers the best possible opportunity. For during this year the God of mercy has raised the minds and hearts of the faithful to the consideration of heavenly blessings which are above all understanding, has either restored them once more to his grace, or inciting them anew to strive for higher gifts, has set their feet more firmly in the path of righteousness. Whether, therefore, We consider the many prayers that have been addressed to Us, or look to the events of the Jubilee Year, just past, We have every reason to think that the desired moment has at length arrived for enjoining that Christ be venerated by a special feast as King of all mankind. In this year, as We said at the beginning of this Letter, the Divine King, truly wonderful in all his works, has been gloriously magnified, for another company of his soldiers has been added to the list of saints. In this year men have looked upon strange things and strange labors, from which they have understood and admired the victories won by missionaries in the work of spreading his kingdom. In this year, by solemnly celebrating the centenary of the Council of Nicaea. We have commemorated the definition of the divinity of the word Incarnate, the foundation of Christ's empire over all men.
28. Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October -- the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day. This year, however, We desire that it be observed on the thirty-first day of the month on which day We Ourselves shall celebrate pontifically in honor of the kingship of Christ, and shall command that the same dedication be performed in Our presence. It seems to Us that We cannot in a more fitting manner close this Holy Year, nor better signify Our gratitude and that of the whole of the Catholic world to Christ the immortal King of ages, for the blessings showered upon Us, upon the Church, and upon the Catholic world during this holy period. READ THE FULL ENCYCLICAL HERE
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"O Sacred Banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given."
- St. Thomas
From Catholic Life
This day is commemorative of the Last Supper, at which our Lord instituted the Blessed Eucharist. The Gospel says: "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat: This is My body. And taking the chalice He gave thanks: and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this, for this is My blood of the New Testament which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. xxvi 26-28).
All ought to assist at Holy Mass to-day, and receive Holy Communion out of love to our Lord, Who gave Himself to us as a most previous legacy on the very eve of His death.
The circumstances under which He instituted the Blessed Eucharist reveal His unbounded love. He instituted It 'the same night in which He was betrayed" (I Cor. xi. 23), and therefore at the very time when the hatred of His enemies was at its highest pitch, and when they were actually making their preparations to put Him to death. He instituted It though He knew that there was a vile traitor among His chosen followers, and that many Christians would despise and dishonour Him in this Sacrament.
At Mass to-day the priest consecrates a host to be reserved for the priest's communion to-morrow, there being, properly speaking, no Mass on Good Friday. This host is carried in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose, where it is kept till brought back in procession to the principal altar the following morning.
No bells are rung from the Gloria in excelsis till the same time on Saturday, to express the deep sorrow of the Church for the death of her Spouse.
After Mass the altars are uncovered, to put us in mind how Jesus, Whom the altar represents, was stripped of His garments at the time of His Passion; and therefore, while the priest uncovers them, he says the twenty-first Psalm, which is a clear prediction of our Saviour's Passion. During the day devout worshippers are to be seen coming and going to pay their homage and adoration to the God of love, and to get in return the love of God.
These worshippers feel better than they can express the reality of the Divine Presence. If they are in grief, they find peace and consolation. If in danger and temptation, they feel, rather than hear, Him say, "It is I: fear not," and their troubled bosoms enjoy a calm which is a foretaste of Heaven. Above all, they feel that their love is not misplaced, that it is not fruitless, that it is not followed by the emptiness of heart which succeeds the outpourings of love on created objects.
"No art or eloquence of man
Can tell the joys of love;
Only the Saints can understand
What they in Jesus prove.
Come, then, dear Lord, possess my heart,
Chase thence the shades of night;
Come, pierce it with Thy flaming dart
And ever-shining light."
Gabriel Garcia Moreno
Example. - Don Garcia Moreno
Moreno was re-elected President of Ecuador in 1869. During his term of office marvelous improvements were witnessed everywhere- in schools, in hospitals, the army and navy, finances, roads, railways, and especially in maintaining peace.
His last autograph letter was to the Holy Father Pius IX., announcing his re-election and begging benediction. "I have," he wrote, "the more need of the Divine protection now, since the Masonic lodges of the neighboring states vomit out every kind of atrocious insult and infamous slander against me, and have actually taken means secretly to assassinate me. What a happiness it is for me, most Holy Father, to be hated and calumniated for the love of our Divine Redeemer! What an immense blessing would it be for me if your benediction obtained for me grace to shed my blood for Him Who, being God, yet deigned to shed His blood for us on the Cross."
On the first Friday in August he received, as was his custom, Holy Communion in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some hours later, as he was passing the cathedral, he entered, and remained some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. His assassins, three in number, were dogging his steps, and, becoming impatient at his remaining so long in church, they sent in word that some persons were waiting for him on important business.
He came out at once, and had already reached his palace when the first struck him with a heavy sword on the back of the neck. The President, fearless as ever, turned on the ruffian, when the two accomplices then rushed on him, and shot him many times with their revolvers and hacked him with their knives.
The troops, hearing the noise, rushed to the rescue, but it was too late. The President was mortally wounded. He was carried into the cathedral, where, after giving signs of consciousness and forgiveness of his assassins, he expired. His dying words were,
"GOD NEVER DIES!"
Great picture book!
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We just finished previewing this wonderful book from the library. A fairy tale type story that shows how much the Sacrifice of the Mass is worth in a great way for little ones! A charming story about a baker who would not give bread to a poor lady in return for her attending a Mass for him. They get out a scale to weight bread compared to a piece of paper that says 'weight of the mass' on it and no matter how high they pile the pastries and breads the Mass is still worth so much more! In the end the poor baker realizes his folly and has more appreciation for the Mass and sacrificing his bread to the poor. Look inside this book on Amazon