by Clemens Pater
As the Easter Season ended with the Solemn Feast of Pentecost, the Church’s liturgical calendar resumed what is called “Ordinary Time.” However with the successions of several wonderful major Feast days, we continue to be uplifted by the testimony and reminder of God’s grace.
The Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday.
The following week brings Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Corpus Christi is historically the Thursday after the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity, but in many places it is celebrated instead on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.
The Friday of the week after Corpus Christi is celebrated as the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
These great days in the Church can be seen to emphasize how God desires to be very close to us. He offers us a powerful and intimate love.
In the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, we look to God the Father, “Our Father,” who takes us as His very own sons and daughters. He invites us, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to call Him, “Abba” Father. This name, like our “Dad, or Daddy,” Is a term of great endearment and reveals how completely God wishes us to come close, and to experience His love. In the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we are also given the Gift of the Holy Spirit to be the very Breath (Spiritus) of our life. His love was revealed, with intensity and power, as a “strong driving wind” and in “tongues of fire.” (Acts 2:2-3)
In Corpus Christi we adore the Body of Christ. His Flesh is real food; His Blood real drink. (Jn 6:55). In the most amazing and clear terms, Jesus invites us to “eat His Flesh,” and “drink His Blood” (Jn 6:54-56). Our Lord so desires to be one with us that he bids us consume Him. This extraordinary offer of intimacy shocked many who first heard it. They could not comprehend and accept the completeness with which God, in Jesus Christ, wanted to give Himself to us. Many walked away from Christ at that point. (Jn 6: 60-61. 66)
In the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we have another remarkable sign of the intensity of God’s love for us. His Heart is a Heart pierced with a lance for us. He is a furnace of burning love. This Jesus calls to us, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest …. for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Mt 11:28-29). In the First Epistle of St John – the Second Reading for the Mass for the Sacred Heart - we are shown the reality of this love: “In this is love - not that we have loved God, but that He first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:10)
While the Church enters into Ordinary Time these wonderful Feast days - The Most Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, and Sacred Heart of Jesus - open for us the grace of God’s immense love. They call us to a constant intimacy with the Eternal God, who so loved the world.
Excerpt from The Litany of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Formed by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mother, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Burning Furnace of charity, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Full of goodness and love, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Abyss of all virtues, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Patient and abounding in mercy, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Fountain of life and holiness, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Atonement for our sins, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Bruised for our offenses, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Pierced with a lance, Have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Salvation of those who hope in Thee, Have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make our hearts like unto Thine.
Excerpt from The Sequence for Corpus Christi, Lauda Sion Salvatórem
~ Written by St Thomas Aquinas, ca. 1264 A.D.
Sion, lift up thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King,
Praise with hymns thy shepherd true.
All thou canst, do thou endeavour:
Yet thy praise can equal never
Such as merits thy great King.
See today before us laid
The living and life-giving Bread,
Theme for praise and joy profound.
His own act, at supper seated
Christ ordain'd to be repeated
In His memory divine;
Wherefore now, with adoration,
We, the host of our salvation,
Consecrate from bread and wine.
Hear, what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.
Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending
Leaps to things not understood.
Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden,
Signs, not things, are all we see.
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
Yet is Christ in either sign,
All entire, confessed to be.
Behold the Bread of Angels,
For us pilgrims food, and token
Of the promise by Christ spoken,
Children's meat, to dogs denied.
Jesu, shepherd of the sheep:
Thou thy flock in safety keep,
Living bread, thy life supply:
Strengthen us, or else we die,
Fill us with celestial grace.
Thou, who feedest us below:
Source of all we have or know:
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see Thee face to face.