We recently celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi. Links!
To the Quiet offers us Augustine's witness: "The Body and Blood of Christ."
Alan reminds us of the words of St. Thomas:
"Since it was the will of God's only begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine."
I found an icon and offered a bit from Thomas' Tantum Ergo here.
Mike Aquilina offers a history of the festival.
From Andrew Blume's Corpus Christi sermon at the (Anglo-Catholic) Church of the Advent in Boston (HT: Amy Welborn and Jim Tucker):
In the Sacrament we are offered no less than the love of God who is, as St. John always reminds us, Love’s very self. It is no less than the love that looked down at us from the Cross, looked down at us at our worst moment and still said, “I love you and offer you my love.” It is the love that overcomes death and finds, in the midst of the greatest tragedy, hope and resurrection life. And we are free to accept or refuse. In fact, this truly radical freedom to respond to the love God offers us is one of the signs that we are created in God’s image, that we share with God in the capacity for real love, freely given.Bye bye.
Love is that fundamental quality of God that can not be forced upon us. We can not be coerced into loving and we know this from our own experiences of human love. So much more then, God can not force us to love him. God can not force us to love each other. God can persuade us. God can and does continually offer us opportunities to respond to the love we are offered and for us to act in love. But for the love of God to be real, for it to operate in us, it must be accepted freely. This is the love - freely and continually offered - that is pulsing in the very Body of Christ, in the bread and in the wine that, being brought forward and placed upon the altar, is transformed by the Eucharistic actions of thanking, remembering offering, and invoking the Holy Spirit into God’s self-giving love present with us, and then made available for us.
It is our decision whether or not to carry in ourselves, make a part of our physical being, and bring into the world the love and very presence of God. And in deciding to come forward, using the freedom God has given us in Creation, we know that the Eucharist is not merely something that we take, something to which we are entitled, but rather that it is a gift we are given. As we come forward and decide to accept this love, this new life, into our own bodies, we open ourselves to the possibility of being transformed by it and changed into that which we have received: the very Body of Christ alive in the world. In this way we pass along the gift God has given us in the Sacrament to the world through the actions of our transformed lives. This decision and the action of reception are our acts of faith. It is a faith that is not an intellectual ascent to a doctrine or idea, but the true, corporeal response to the love of God offers us. Our faith is something we Catholic Christians do.