The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
PARTAKING OF TRUE FOOD
by Lucinda M. Vardey
When Jesus taught that his flesh is true food and his blood true drink, many of his followers left his community. Yet, in fact, Jesus was establishing the binding of community, the future church, the body of Christ. St. John Henry Newman said in a sermon that Jesus’ incarnation is a divine gift that visibly unites heaven and earth establishing a sacramental principle in the heart of Christian devotion.
On this solemn feast of Corpus Christi, we celebrate the gift of the sacrament of the Eucharist that nourishes our souls. True food fills us with the presence of Jesus, opens us to be transformed into a temple for the Holy Spirit and brings us into communion with all those who partake with us. But there is also much more that goes on beyond our reason or understanding.
This bread, this body of Christ is food that “endures for eternal life” (John 6:27) and partaking of it helps satiate our spiritual longing and hunger for God.
The following prayer is attributed to St. Ambrose
O Bread most sweet, heal the palate of my heart, heal it of all weakness and frailty through the sweetness of your love.
O Bread, most fair, that refreshes us and never fails, may my heart feed on you…
O holy Bread, living bread, enter my soul and heal and cleanse me within and without, then I will neither hunger or thirst because of being wondrously satisfied in you and by you.
Grant that this holy feeding on Your Body and Blood, of which, unworthy as I am, I propose to partake, provide the healthy bringing forth of fruit well pleasing to you.
Deuteronomy 8.2-3, 14b-16a
1 Corinthians 10.16-17