Did you know that there’s a feast that celebrates the Eucharist outside of Holy Thursday? The Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated one week after Trinity Sunday, usually in the month of June. St. Juliana, a Norbertine nun, was the greatest advocate for the creation of this feast day.
According to Catholic Answers:
“Bl. Juliana of Cornillon, in Belgium, had a vision in which she saw a full moon that was darkened in one spot. A heavenly voice told her that the moon represented the Church at that time, and the dark spot showed that a great feast in honor of Corpus Christi was missing from the liturgical calendar. She reported this vision to a local Church official, the archdeacon of Liège, He later became Pope Urban IV.”
What Pope Urban IV witnessed is called a “Eucharistic miracle” and is one of the reasons why the Feast of Corpus Christi became part of the liturgical calendar. Along with Holy Thursday, the Feast of Corpus Christi reminds us that the Eucharist is a feast.
The funny thing, though, is that every Eucharist celebrated at Mass is a feast. The Mass celebrates the feast of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, and at the center of every Mass is the Eucharist. As St. Paul said “For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’
Like a feast, the Eucharist requires great preparation. We come in dressed in differently than how we normally would in our daily lives. People in religious orders create the communion hosts and make the wine that will later be consecrated. Then, we gather together in the Church, listen to the readings, sing praises and psalms, and kneel down as we remember the Last Supper.
Eucharistic miracles such as those that led to the creation of the feast of Corpus Christi remind us that each time that the priest consecrates the bread and the wine, a miracle occurs.
There’s a story that I read in To Save a Thousand Souls about St. John Bosco experiencing his own Eucharistic miracle.
“One morning, as Don Bosco was celebrating Mass, he looked down at the altar and noticed that the sacristan had made a serious error. He had forgotten to place enough unconsecrated hosts on the altar to be confected into the Body and Blood of Jesus, in order to give Holy Communion to all the boys. Only a few consecrated hosts were in the tabernacle, and by the time he noticed the error, the consecration was finished. it was too late to add more. Don Bosco looked up to heaven, said a quick prayer, and then started giving Holy Communion to the boys. He never broke a single host in half and he just kept giving out Holy Communion. Because there were so many boys, the sacristan and everyone else began to realize that a miracle was taking place, a miracle of multiplication. Every boy received the Eucharist and they were all whispering to each other ‘It is a miracle. God has done a miracle through Don Bosco.’
“After the Mass was over, the boys all gathered around Don Bosco in the courtyard, chattering excitedly. One boy asked ‘Father, what were you thinking when you realized that God was doing a miracle through you? He was multiplying the hosts. Don Bosco replied, ‘I just kept thinking that transubstantiation is a much greater miracle than multiplication, and I see that every day.’”
How lucky are we that we get to witness this miracle happen at every Mass we go to!
I pray that you take these thoughts with you when you spend time with the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration today. God bless, my dear sisters in Christ!
St. Juliana, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Don Bosco, pray for us!