Today’s feast of The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) has its origins in thirteenth century Belgium. St. Juliana of Liege intuited the need for this special celebration of the Eucharist. It began to be celebrated in Belgium and spread in Europe. In 1264 Pope Urban IV established the feast of Corpus Christi as a universal feast in the Latin Rite of the Church. This feast is a good example of how the intuition of the people of God can become part of the practice of the Catholic Church.
For centuries this feast was also celebrated with a Eucharistic procession. The Blessed Sacrament was carried throughout towns and cities accompanied by hymns and litanies. The people would venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by.
The origins of this feast day point to two enduring dimensions of the Eucharist. First, the Risen Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist. Second, by graceful participation in the Eucharist, we are to carry the presence of Christ into the world by our virtuous living and by our witness of faith, hope, and love.
What helps you to be aware of Christ’s presence in our Eucharistic celebrations? How are you called to manifest the presence of Christ in the world?