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The Feast of Corpus Christi is now upon us, and I reflect on what this feast means to me in all its spiritual fullness as I do every time the feast comes. It’s an important day (week, actually; as we celebrate it for eight days) because it calls to remembrance the Body and Blood of Christ, and His actions on Maundy Thursday at the Last Supper when He turned bread into His Flesh and wine into His Blood. It’s a Divine Mystery that cannot be fully understood with our feeble human minds (as are most Holy Mysteries), even though it is something that can be experienced by us. It’s the Sacrament that He gave us, to feed us in our life “in exile.” 

The Church celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ on Maundy Thursday with as much solemnity as it possibly can; yet in the preceding hours before His impending arrest, His imprisonment, trial, and death, a deep shadow is cast over the glorious Truth. Without going into the history of the feast day itself (which is widely available online and isn’t really necessary for this writing), the Church instituted this feast day, Corpus Christi, to properly celebrate the Mystery with all due solemnity without being in the shadows of Good Friday.

Getting back to my original thought, I started pondering just what this feast means to me in my life outside of prayer, outside of the Mass, outside of the celebrations and processions and benedictions. Put simply: What of Corpus Christi can I carry with me in my everyday life?

Though it’s a simple question, there’s hardly a simple answer. And I guess there’s nothing very enlightening about that thought. Delving deeply within (and I’m not just talking about meditation, contemplation, and the like, but rather who we are on the inside), it’s all about who we really are; it’s not the “face” we present to our friends, our families, our co-workers, and every stranger we pass on the street, because all are eventually able to see past that image to see who we really are. It’s how we act and react. It’s being truly human.

Most of us say we pray. We “send up a prayer” or a moment of thought of God when someone asks for it because of sickness or need; or kneel by the bedside with a child and recite, “Now I lay me down to sleep…;” or perhaps have a full-on audible one-on-one discussion with God while tensely driving to work in the morning, bobbing and weaving between slower drivers. Rarely do we find someone who spends hours in meditative or contemplative prayer, or formal prayer (like the breviary) punctuated throughout the day. All these forms of prayer are important. Not a one is more or less “good” than another. It’s the outcome that is important. It’s the “end product,” so to speak, that defines whether or not that prayer is good. That prayer is our connection to the Creator, and the strength of that connection (not length) is what is reflected in our lives. It’s not what we intend others to see, but what we really are.

We are nourished through the Body and Blood of Christ, and through that nourishment, in our connection with Him, we are able to nourish others. There is no room for deceit in any of our actions. Our thoughts should not be about what’s best for us, but what’s best for another. We should not judge and condemn others for who they are or what they are. We should not have money (which comes and goes so quickly; just look at the stock market’s volatility) as our central focus. Through that nourishment and connection with Him, we should be able to walk in our daily lives and see Him in everyone else, no matter how hidden. Corpus Christi for the secular life is about remembering – in all our dealings – Who is within us, and with Whom we deal.

Perhaps that will give us a little more peace in our days. Perhaps that will guide us in our everyday business. And hopefully that will enlighten us a little more.

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