(Reblogged from June 14, 2009)
Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ. We thank Christ for instituting the Eucharist for us and truly being physically present to us day after day in the Bread and Wine until the Day of His return. Fr. Wilhelm told a little story, that at first, while nice, didn’t seem to connect with Corpus Christi for me. When he was first a priest, he was stationed as chaplain at the Naval Base in San Diego (wooot San Diego!) and after Mass, he would walk with some of the other priests down to McDonald’s to eat and they would always pass a tatoo parlor. Fr. Wilhelm would never look in because he thought it might not be too savory for a priest to do so. Until one day, they were walking by and the owner of the shop was outside, so Fr. decided it was probably the Christlike thing to do and say “hello.” They stopped and chatted and Fr. Wilhelm eventually commented on how many different things someone could get tatooed with. Then the owner told Fr. Wilhelm that whatever people get tatooed on themselves is already tatooed on their hearts and their souls. How very true and profound Fr. Wilhelm thought. Now I didn’t connect it at first, but now I do. When we take the Eucharist, we need to fully grasp what it is, the ACTUAL Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. And when we grasp that, it will begin to be tatooed on our heart and our soul as we internally take it. And then the outside of our lives will begin to reflect what is tatooed on our hearts, namely Christ. So how we behave, how we act really is a reflection of our hearts. If we continue to sin again and again with little attention to true repentance, what does that say about the condition of our heart? Faith starts in our heart and soul, but it will rapidly make an impression on the outside, on our actions, on the way we hold ourselves. The stronger our faith becomes, the brighter our life will shine for others. Thanks Father Wilhelm. Another quick tidbit about Fr. Wilhelm, the first Mass he gave as a priest was Corpus Christi Mass in 1994, making today his 15th anniversary in the priesthood. Congratulations Father Wilhelm!
After Mass, St. Mary’s had the traditional Eucharistic Procession as we went around the Cathedral block, making stops at four altars along the way, praying a decade of the Rosary between each altar. The first altar was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which we petitioned Christ to have mercy on us. The second altar was dedicated to St. Mary, in which our petition was that we would say “yes” as Mary did. The third was to St. Joseph in which we petitioned him to protect our parish family and our individual families as he did with the Holy Family. The fourth was to all of the Saints and we layed our own personal petitions before the Lord. Mine were for my friends’ continual conversions, my family, and my vocation. The Procession was long and very hot (it was 83 degrees out), but it was very reverent and I loved the looks people would give as they went by. I even saw two people I knew, who were RAs this year with me, bike past giving us odd looks. Hopefully it gets people thinking about the Holiness of Christ.
Afterwards, we had lunch, I met some people from the NDSU Newman Center that I had never met before, which was cool, and my friend who is beginning his conversion process talked a little bit with Fr. Wilhelm about RCIA for the fall. I’m really excited for him, and I’m really excited to be in Jesus. Today is one of those days where I know I made the right decision in following Christ to the Catholic Church, and I am really and extremely happy that I am Catholic!
As we celebrate Corpus Christi and look in anticipation for the Year of the Priest to begin on Friday, let us pray to Christ:
Lord Jesus Christ, you gave us the Eucharist as the memorial of your suffering and death. By our worship of the sacrament of your body and blood we beg you to give the Church more priests.
Guide them to be worthy ministers for your altars and courageous servants of the Gospel. Help them to serve you with undivided hearts as they follow in your footsteps. Strengthen them to pour out their lives in loving service to their brothers and sister. Keep them faithful to your teaching and never let them be parted from you for you are the Lord forever and ever. Amen.
(adapted from The Roman Missal by the Vocation Office of the Diocese of Fargo).