This previous Sunday, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, I participated in an outdoor procession of the Holy Eucharist by way of the streets of downtown Louisville. Some readers could also be sufficiently old to recollect when the archdiocese held such processions yearly at Churchill Downs, with the participation of many parishes. That custom ceased earlier than my time, however I’ve seen the images.
In truth, after I take into account the title of this column, “Between Amens,” the Corpus Christi procession is likely one of the photographs that instantly springs to thoughts. “Between Amens” is concerning the work of the Church and the working of the Spirit in our lives that occurs after Mass and outdoors the partitions of the Church.
As Christian pilgrims, we’re all the time “in between” heaven and earth, looking for to carry Christ to the world but in addition to carry the world to religion in Christ.
Our traditional context for the sacred host — the Physique of Christ — is within the church, surrounded by ornate golden vessels, immaculate linens and stained glass. To take the Eucharist to the streets modifications our notion.
Right here we see the Blessed Sacrament set towards concrete, site visitors lights and post-pandemic city decay. This shift in context reminds us that Christ is for the world, and so is Christ’s Church. We’re known as to be the Physique of Christ on the earth.
Catholic theology of the Physique of Christ affirms two interconnected realities: first, that Christ is actually current to us within the Sacred Host and the Treasured Blood; and second, by partaking of this sacrament we’re reworked into the Physique of Christ, diversified in items and features, despatched to carry Christ to the world.
A wealthy and full eucharistic theology embraces each of those facets of the Physique of Christ. They’re interdependent. It’s Christ’s actual presence within the Eucharist that convenes the communal Physique of Christ — our neighborhood of affection for each other.
To paraphrase St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and so many different good theologians, you might be what you eat. The Corpus Christi procession is a vivid instance of this multivalent eucharistic theology: we, the Physique of Christ, fed by the Physique of Christ, bringing the Physique of Christ to a damaged world. That is dwelling between Amens.
The Corpus Christi procession is a grand and ornate event, as certainly it must be. However its central actuality — the actual presence of Jesus Christ in our lives — jogs my memory of different, less complicated gestures with the identical objective.
For instance, each time a minister of the church brings Holy Communion to at least one who’s homebound, or sick within the hospital, or in jail, that could be a Corpus Christi procession in miniature. Every time we share our religion with our kids or grandchildren, or each time we act in kindness to a neighbor, we carry Christ to a different, and that could be a form of Corpus Christi procession, too.
In the event you battle to elucidate transubstantiation otherwise you can’t articulate the Church’s doctrine of the Actual Presence, take coronary heart. The Physique of Christ is invoked not by way of dense terminology or assent to doctrine. It comes from an encounter of the guts — a recognition of the fantastic thing about the Physique of Christ — whether or not in a solemn procession or in a easy act of affection.