The Feast of Corpus Christi  

Corpus ChristiSome years ago we had the extraordinary event of the visit to Ireland of the Relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux.  It will long be remembered for the outpouring of affection for one of the Church’s favourite saints.

There was a sense of awe, of reverence and appreciation which gripped the Irish Church: there was a family-like welcome for the one who was known by so many as ‘The Little Flower’: the cynics, the begrudgers and the irreverent seemed absent: it was like as if a favoured daughter had returned.

My own memories of this time are magical.  I was quite involved with the ceremonies at one of the venues and was privileged to have been.

What stays in my memory most of all is the constant stream of devotees passing the reliquary for over twenty-four hours.  There were old people, young people, sick and crippled people: there were religious, priests, young men in sports gear returning from training and a group of finely dressed young women returning from a social function in the ‘small hours’.  They were each filled with awe.  They bowed, they prayed, they reverenced and kissed the reliquary. 

This saint had touched their lives and how they appreciated her ‘presence’ among them.  She was there to pray with us!

The presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the altar has become so familiar to all of us.  He is present to us, not as a relic, but in reality.  His promise was that He would be with us “all days until the end of time” and within our tabernacles He remains, silent but real, to be seen, to be touched and touch our hearts and our souls.

The ‘Corpus Christi’ processions of old were a startling reminder to us of how Christ walks among us and shares our journey.  We honoured Him with flowers, incense, music and flags.  Our honouring of the Blessed Sacrament may not be so spectacular on an everyday basis but we need to remind ourselves that He is here to be adored and praised.