Bread of Presence… Corpus Christi.

My understanding and appreciation of the feast of Corpus Christi has been influenced over recent years by the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, Richard Rohr and Ilia Delio. This feast is for me a celebration of the all-encompassing Presence of Christ in the Universe. As a lover of nature and in my frequent experiences of walking in places of beauty I have an ever-deepening awareness that I am surrounded by the Body of Christ and that I live in the Body of Christ.

As Saint Paul writes…

This God is not far from us but is the One in whom we live and breathe and have our being.Acts 17: 27-28

Last year Richard Rohr had a series of meditations on the Eucharist. He spoke of those familiar words of Jesus, “This is My Body” and “This my Blood”. In his explanation he spoke of Jesus expressing his desire for us to be drawn into the reality that when we hear these words “This is My Body” we are being invited into an awareness of the sacredness of all humanity, of all creatures and all that exists.

Teilhard de Chardin expresses similar sentiments when he writes;

From the moment you said, “This is my Body,” not only the bread and wine on the altar, but to a certain extent everything in the universe becomes Yours and nourishes in our souls the life of grace and the spirit…Teilhard de Chardin – Writings in time of War 1968

The words,“This is My Blood”  are a call  to recognise the presence of Christ suffering in our world today. The celebration of the Eucharist and the feast of Corpus Christi are a reminder to me to become the Bread of Christ’s presence and to appreciate the Source of this Presence in every encounter, and in all of creation.

The recent terrorist attack in Christchurch and the way people in New Zealand and the whole world responded have really given me a fuller appreciation of the Body of Christ.

In its aftermath we frequently heard the words:–

We are One, We are one humanity. They are Us!Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand)

“The eyes of my heart were enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18) as I listened to and witnessed the daily outpouring of love through the donating of food and money, through stories of compassion, of people joining Muslims in Mosques, of hundreds of young and old gathering for Vigils,  Throughout the country there was a felt sense of deep empathy and a growing desire to be in communion with our Muslim brothers and sisters. I grew in a deeper appreciation of the Body of Christ manifest through the encounters of love which were nourishing and sustaining those whose lives were traumatised.

The feast of Corpus Christi awakens us to the truth expressed in the words of Saint Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body now but yours…
Yours are the eyes through which
he looks compassion on the world.Saint Teresa of Avila

Lyndall Brown rsj


Image Communion Wine Bread by Bouf16 obtained from pixabay. Used with permission.