The Solemnity of Corpus Christi/Boże Ciało/The Body of Christ

The Solemnity will be observed on its feast day, Thursday, June 11th. At 7pm in the evening, a eucharistic procession shall be conducted signifying the presence of the Body of Christ in all the four corners of the world. A homily and the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament conclude the liturgy for this day. Please take some time to adore and worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on this special feast day.

Corpus ChristiJust a word about this liturgy to be conducted this coming week: The Church realized around the eighth century that a proper observance of the Lord’s presence to us in the Sacred mystery of the Bread of the Altar needed to be developed.

You remember that the observance of the truth of the Holy Eucharist comes during the Paschal Triduum (Maundy Thursday) in a solemn time in the liturgical year. A separate celebration noting the presence of the Body of Christ around the world (hence, the four altars) was developed and began to be practiced widely around the ninth century. The Thursday following Trinity Sunday was chosen as a celebration properly placed after the close of the Easter season.

The four altars will be placed in each corner of our parish church and processed to each in a simple procession. Special Gospel readings are assigned at each altar. The litany of the Blessed Sacrament is an ancient prayer of the Church.

Why we stand

Over the Easter season, our tradition calls for the congregation to stand during the Eucharistic prayer. A few of our parishioners had asked the question “why?” Let me try to answer:

We are not to be gloomy in Church; yet we are to be reverent. Our manner in Church and our attitude should reflect our respect and love for almighty God! Very briefly, the origin of this custom dates from the earliest centuries of the Church, and is believed to have existed in apostolic times. St Justin, who was martyred in the second century, commented about this custom: “When we kneel, we signify thereby that we have fallen to earth by our sins, and, therefore, during Easter / Paschal time, we stand in order to show that by the Resurrection of Christ and by penance we have risen from our unfortunate fall, and that being awakened from the death of the soul we must persevere in good resolutions.” Therefore by standing during Eastertide, we conform to the practice of the Fathers of the Church as early as the second century. At the beginning of the fourth century this practice became a general law for the whole Church. The first Ecumenical Council (Nicea 325) although it was primarily a dogmatic council, did, nevertheless, pass legislation on this matter. The 12th Canon of the Council (which is the only Canon relating to worship) mandates that on every Sunday between Easter and Pentecost, worship and prayer shall be performed standing!

Remember, also, that the rubrical postures for the congregation during a Eucharistic procession are as they are during the Easter morning procession (such as they shall be for every Eucharistic Procession). The congregation stands in reverence of the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and genuflects as the Presence passes close to the participant.

Standing has, and always will be, the most reverential posture for the believer.

A caveat shall always be, however, that God certainly understands if the worshipper is physically unable to comply with the rubrical directive. A heart that stands in reverence is truly what God desires.