Thoughts for the Feast of Corpus Christi from Fr Willie Doyle

Real devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is only to be gained by hard, grinding work of dry adoration before the Hidden God. But such a treasure cannot be purchased at too great a cost, for once obtained, it makes of this life as near an approach to heaven as we can ever hope for.

COMMENT: Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. While the feast properly falls on a Thursday, the liturgical celebration is translated to the following Sunday. The International Eucharistic Congress also begins today; so starting from today we will focus each day on some aspect of Fr Doyle’s thoughts about the Eucharist (or about the particular theme of that day at the Congress – we’ll see how it goes.)

In today’s quote, Fr Doyle shows us that the encounter with Christ in prayer and adoration is not primarily emotional. We may experience consolations, but it is often more likely that this will not happen.

It was this hard, grinding work at prayer (and indeed in all aspects of his life) that prepared Fr Doyle and procured for him the grace to willingly suffer the deprivation of the trenches and to make the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life while serving others.

I recently read (on the always excellent Vultus Christi bloga wonderful quote from Mother Mectilde du Saint-Sacrement (1614-1698), foundress of the Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, which is relevant for today’s topic.

The interior life is not what one thinks or imagines. It consists not in having beautiful thoughts, nor in saying beautiful words, nor in remaining in a passive kind of prayer without applying one’s mind, as if one were in lofty heights. All of this is, more often than not, no more than fantasy.

The interior life is found in the solid practice of mortification, in the love of littleness and in total detachment from oneself and from creatures.

May we all seek to love the Lord through this tried and tested manner, whether we feel like it or not.

Mother Mechtilde

We shall conclude with prayers for the Eucharistic Congress.

Lord Jesus,
You were sent by the Father
to gather together those who are scattered.
You came among us, doing good
and bringing healing,
announcing the Word of salvation
and giving the Bread which lasts forever.
Be our companion on life’s pilgrim way.

 May your Holy Spirit inflame our hearts,
enliven our hope and open our minds,
so that together with our sisters and brothers in faith we may recognise you in the Scriptures
and in the breaking of bread.
May your Holy Spirit transform us into one body
and lead us to walk humbly on the earth,
in justice and love,
as witnesses of your resurrection.

In communion with Mary,
whom you gave to us as our Mother
at the foot of the cross,
through you may all praise,
honour and blessing be to the Father
in the Holy Spirit and in the Church,
now and forever.

Here is the prayer for the 1932 Eucharistic Congress (also held in Ireland) at which my grandparents met, after my grandfather had traveled from Canada for the event.

O Jesus, we believe that Thou art Truly, really and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament. Every day Thou dost offer Thyself anew in the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass for our Sanctification and salvation. In Holy Communion Thou makest Thyself the food of our souls. In Thy abiding Presence Thou art to us the unfailing source of consolation and strength in this valley of tears.

O deign to crown and bless with complete success the coming Eucharistic Congress. May it intensify in the minds and hearts of our people the knowledge and love of the Divine Sacrament of the Altar. May it keep far from our midst the accursed spirit of wordliness, with all its attendant evils. May its benign influence extend over all our beloved country, and over the whole world.

Inflame, O Jesus, the hearts of all with love for the Holy Mass and Thy Sacramental Presence. Grant that frequent and daily Communion may be practised in all the countries of the world. Grant that the reign of Thy Sacred Heart may be everywhere established.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, bless the Congress.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.

St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.

St Pascal Baylon, Patron of the Eucharistic Congresses, pray for us.

St Patrick, St Laurence O’Toole, and All ye saints of Ireland, pray for us.