Today marks the solemnity of Corpus Christi. In the past, there would be processions; the real presence in the monstrance carried aloft beneath a suitably devised (and adorned) canopy, or at least an ombrelino. Many of the priests celebrating the eucharist today will be unable to accommodate such displays. For some, it may be considered passé. For others, the pastoral charge of more than one parish might present practical difficulties. In his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia St John Paul II of happy memory, observed:
"The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a 'mystery of light'. Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: "their eyes were opened and they recognised him" (Lk 24:31)"
This engagement with the person of Christ in the Eucharist was not lost on St Teresa of Calcutta:
"When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the sacred Host, you understand how much Jesus loves you now."
There can be no disputing the pressures and demands of the times in which we live. Perhaps in the course of today, we might ponder the words of these great saints who, despite the signs of their times, bore witness to the Divine invitation to find life in Him who made us. In responding to that invitation, we must not forget that the Blessed Sacrament provides both the means and the grace of a personal encounter with the Divine. In the words of St. Jean Vianney:
"When we go before the Blessed Sacrament, let us open our heart; our good God will open His. We shall go to Him; He will come to us; the one to ask, the other to receive. It will be like a breath from one to the other."