The Feast of Corpus Christi

Aquinas :EucharistFather Michael was so keen­ly aware of the Gift of the Holy Eucharist. We spoke of this in one our first con­ver­sa­tions. I was talk­ing about how much my view of the Eucharist had changed in my life. I spoke of how as a First Com­mu­ni­cant, I was focused on meet­ing Jesus and hav­ing Him become part of me, a per­son­al vis­it and union. Then I told of how, post Vat­i­can II, the focus was so much on the Peo­ple of God, Church as Christ’s Body and we its mem­bers, our neigh­bors, that union- I remem­ber very lit­tle remain­ing of my child­hood view­point. But I told Father Michael I felt that as an old­er per­son I had come back to my child­hood view, but now keep­ing the com­mu­ni­ty in the pic­ture.

Father Michael just beamed as I spoke. I did some addi­tion­al explain­ing of how I was think­ing and Father  became most seri­ous as I talked. I wish I could remem­ber what I’d said.  Father M then stat­ed “Well that is a beau­ti­ful expla­na­tion of  amaz­ing­ly sound The­ol­o­gy!!”  with some sur­prise in his demeanor. I said “I know”, but won­dered why he was so sur­prised. Father said “But you don’t real­ize how many peo­ple don’t have a clue!” I replied “But Father Michael, I have six­teen years of Catholic edu­ca­tion, I should know this stuff.” He would often men­tion to me lat­er, as he fought his can­cer, that I was tru­ly blessed with under­stand­ing of the Eucharist.

I was aim­ing to have Father Michael become my spir­i­tu­al direc­tor at that point. He sug­gest­ed some read­ing about St Char­bel and to study some books on the Eucharist. We nev­er got around to the direc­tion because Father Michael’s can­cer showed up. Father was too sick to have the meet­ings. For quite awhile I didn’t see Father Michael at all. What a dis­ap­point­ment!

But I remem­ber Father M’s pure delight in dis­trib­ut­ing Holy Eucharist to all of us. He always smiled as we approached him, eyes gleam­ing. He radi­at­ed such warmth and reflect­ed a qui­et delight in giv­ing this great­est of Gifts to us, his parish fam­i­ly. Today is Cor­pus Christi and I think of Father Michael’s love for the Eucharist. Father’s beau­ti­ful being and pres­ence, his gen­tle­ness and holi­ness- all bore wit­ness to the exquis­ite nour­ish­ment pro­vid­ed by Our Lord.

And through the same Gift, we are all still togeth­er:

‘Now with glad thanks­giv­ing, praise Christ glo­ri­fied;
He in us is present; we in him abide.
Mem­bers of his body, we in him are one;
Hail this sacred union, heav’n on earth begun!’

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