The feast we celebrate this week, Corpus Christi, is about one of the most magnificent acts of love ever. This act of love is repeated every time a priest consecrates bread and wine, which through the power of the Holy Spirit, becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. When Jesus offered this gift on the night before He died, He made it clear that He intended for His followers to literally take His Body and Blood within them. He had indicated this earlier, as seen in His famous ‘Bread of Life’ discourse in John 6. The discourse had scandalized those who did not understand Him when He said that we must eat His body and drink His blood in order to have eternal life. But on the night of the Last Supper Jesus did as He had said He would: He blessed and broke the bread, handing it to His disciples with the very words, “Take and eat.” He did likewise with the cup. So while it is amazing that we actually do consume the Eucharist, He left it as such so we could internalize His presence and the many graces we need that we might take this forth into the world. Therefore we cannot receive His Body and Blood and remain immobile; Jesus invites us to prayer and He moves us outward in love and mercy toward others.
May we joyfully celebrate the gift of the Eucharist by taking Jesus into our hearts and embracing Him with love! May we be filled with wonder and awe in the presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! May we lead others to holiness by our works of love, no matter how small our acts may seem to be! May we learn to see the luminosity of God reflected in nature, in the holy ones in our midst, and in ourselves! May we generously share the light of His love with others! And may we come to the table of the Lord often and always, finding Jesus ever-present in welcome and love! Let us continue to meet in the Body and Blood of the Lord! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
The first image is an icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols called Sangre de Cristo. I chose it because I love how the blood of Christ is flowing into the chalice, a clear depiction of His Body and Blood given for us, offered continuously. Jesus is looking outward as we gaze at Him, so it is apparent that He is more interested in us than He is in Himself. You can find the icon at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/la-sangre-de-cristo-242-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
Following the icon is the de Heem painting which I described in the post, called Chalice and Host Surrounded by Garlands of Flowers. Jan Davidsz de Heem lived from 1606-84. You can find this work at http://www.lessingimages.com/viewimage.asp?i=40030421+&cr=236&cl=1.
Next is a Russian icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov, a saint who was said to literally look as if he was afire when he prayed, burning with the fire of God's love within him. He was probably one of the most luminous saints ever. I chose this version, among many, because not only is he seen at prayer, but there is an abundance of shades of yellow and gold in this icon. The entire icon seems to be bathed in light. The trees, (as connected to the next two images I have used), seem to glow, and even the very rock upon which he is kneeling has a yellow cast to it, as if even the rock is on fire at its core.
The fourth image is a painting by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. (1862-1918) He is well known for the many portraits he painted, but I think his landscapes are also quite marvelous. I chose this because the entire work seems to be bathed in light. The tree and its surroundings seem to shimmer. It was a reminder that creation is aglow with the beauty of God. Just as a painting is a reflection of the vision of the artist, so is creation a reflection of God.
Last is one of my own photographs, taken just outside Schulenberg, TX. It is obviously a vineyard, so it could not be more appropriate for this piece; in the liturgy the Body and Blood of Jesus begins as bread and wine, "the work of human hands and fruit of the vine." (From the Eucharistic prayers at Mass). But the most remarkable thing about this photo is that when I took the shot, my eye did not see the luminosity of the trees. I only saw it when I downloaded the photo on my computer. I promise that the photo was not altered in any way. This is what my camera ‘saw’ and so it is what God wanted us to see: luminosity.