Dear St. Catherine Parish Family,
This Sunday, the Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi, or the Body (and Blood) of Christ. This feast is an especially important day for us to reflect on the sublime gift of the Eucharist. Our belief regarding the Eucharist should be reflected, particularly, in our demeanor when we come to Mass. Although we could certainly say that the Lord doesn’t need anything from us, our reverence for this incredible mystery helps remind us that God truly is present in the Eucharist, and that He deserves our utmost devotion.
This is why we as Catholics have always had certain traditions and practices that demonstrate our devotion: like maintaining an attitude of prayerfulness and silence while in the church, genuflecting toward the tabernacle as we enter into our pews, and receiving the Lord at Holy Communion with great reverence (either on our tongue or by making the throne for Him with our hands), and not receiving the Lord if we are in a state of mortal sin and have not gone to confession.
Another way we demonstrate our respect for the Eucharist is by the way that we dress. How we dress reflects the fact that we really recognize the great dignity of what we are doing at Mass, and that the Mass is something very different from a regular informal type of gathering. I have to confess that I think it is somewhat unfortunate that our modern culture has lost a sense of “Sunday best” attire.
Additionally, a particularly important way we show the Lord our reverence for His real presence is by making sure to pray devoutly after we receive him in Communion. Receiving the Lord in Communion is the most intimate encounter we can have with Him, and it is so important that we take time to meditate on the fact that He is truly present body, blood, soul, and divinity in us in these moments after we receive Him. It always grieves me to see people leaving Mass early right after they receive Communion. I know there may be rare occasions when this might be necessary, but this should certainly not be the norm.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who witness to us of the deep love and reverence you have for our Lord in the Eucharist, particularly those of you who are guardians for our perpetual adoration chapel. It always amazes me to see those of you, in particular, who are willing to make the incredible sacrifice to come to spend an hour with the Lord in the middle of the night. I pray the Lord will bless you immensely for this gift you offer to Him. As we celebrate this great feast of Corpus Christi, may the Lord open all of our hearts and minds to recognize the great beauty of this great sacrament, so that the Eucharist might bear greater fruit in our lives and help us to grow in deeper holiness and love.