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11 quotes from the saints to celebrate Corpus Christi

Kristina Glicksman

Friday, June 17, 2022

Detail of Saint Clare Driving Away the Infidels With the Eucharist by Isidoro Arredondo (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324
This weekend, the Church celebrates one of the great solemnities in our calendar: the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (more popularly known by its Latin name, Corpus Christi). Established in the 13th century and born out of popular devotion to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, this feast is an opportunity to honour and give thanks for the great gift of the Blessed Sacrament beyond the daily sacrifice of the Mass.
To help you celebrate this great feast and meditate on the mystery of the Eucharist, here are eleven quotes from some of our saints. As Pope St. John Paul II advises us in his 2003 encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “Let us take our place, dear brothers and sisters, at the school of the saints, who are the great interpreters of true Eucharistic piety.”
St. Justin Martyr (c. 100 – c. 165)
“For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” – First Apology
St. Irenaeus (c. 130 – c. 202)
“Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? … For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.” – Against Heresies
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313 – 386)
“Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to you, yet let faith establish you. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to you.” – Catechetical Lecture 22
St. John Chrysostom (347 – 407)
“How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! You see Him, Thou touchest Him, you eat Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He gives Himself to you not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within you. Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one faint-hearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all aroused. For if Jews standing, and having on their shoes and their staves in their hands, ate with haste, much more ought thou to be watchful. For they indeed were to go forth to Palestine, wherefore also they had the garb of pilgrims, but you are about to remove unto Heaven.” – Homily 82 on Matthew
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)
Behold the bread of angels, sent
For pilgrims in their banishment,
The bread for God’s true children meant,
That may not unto dogs be given:
Oft in the olden types foreshowed;
In Isaac on the altar bowed,
And in the ancient paschal food,
And in the manna sent from heaven.
Come then, good shepherd, bread divine,
Still show to us thy mercy sign;
Oh, feed us still, still keep us thine;
So may we see thy glories shine
In fields of immortality;
O thou, the wisest, mightiest, best,
Our present food, our future rest,
Come, make us each thy chosen guest,
Co-heirs of thine, and comrades blest
With saints whose dwelling is with thee.
– Excerpt from “Lauda Sion”, the sequence written for the feast of Corpus Christi
St. Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380)
“‘For as the sun cannot be divided into light, heat, and colour, the whole of God and the whole of man cannot be separated under the white mantle of the host; for even if the host should be divided into a million particles (if it were possible) in each particle should I be present, whole God and whole Man. When you break a mirror the reflection to be seen in it is not broken; similarly, when the host is divided God and man are not divided, but remain in each particle.’” – The Dialogue
St. John Vianney (1786 – 1859)
“Our Lord is hidden there, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our request to Him. See how good He is! He accommodates Himself to our weakness. In Heaven, where we shall be glorious and triumphant, we shall see him in all His glory. If He had presented Himself before us in that glory now, we should not have dared to approach Him; but He hides Himself, like a person in a prison, who might say to us, ‘You do not see me, but that is no matter; ask of me all you wish and I will grant it.’ He is there in the Sacrament of His love, sighing and interceding incessantly with His Father for sinners.” – Instructions on the Catechism
St. John Henry Newman (1801 – 1890)
“Thou knowest, O my God, who madest us, that nothing can satisfy us but Thyself, and therefore Thou hast caused Thy own self to be meat and drink to us. O most adorable mystery! O most stupendous of mercies! Thou most Glorious, and Beautiful, and Strong, and Sweet, Thou didst know well that nothing else would support our immortal natures, our frail hearts, but Thyself; and so Thou didst take a human flesh and blood, that they, as being the flesh and blood of God, might be our life.” – “Food of the Soul”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 – 1897)
“Oh, my darling, think, then, that Jesus is there in the Taber­nacle expressly for you, for you alone-, He is burning with the de­sire to enter your heart." – Letter to Marie Guérin
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) (1891 – 1942)
“For every Catholic there lies ready an immeasurable treasure: the proximity of the Lord in the holy sacrifice and in the most holy sacrament of the altar. Whoever is imbued with a lively faith in Christ present in the tabernacle, whoever knows that a friend awaits here constantly – always with the time, patience, and sympathy to listen to complaints, petitions, and problems, with counsel and help in all things – this person cannot remain desolate and forsaken even under the greatest difficulties. He always has a refuge where quietude and peace can again be found.” – “The Spirituality of the Christian Woman”
St. John Paul II (1920 – 2005)
“The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history and lights up our journey.” – Ecclesia de Eucharistia
Pope Urban IV (not a saint) (c. 1195 – 1264)
“Therefore, to strengthen and exalt the Catholic Faith, we decree that, besides the daily memory that the Church makes of this Sacrament, there be celebrated a more solemn and special annual memorial. Then let the hearts and mouths of all break forth in hymns of saving joy; then let faith sing, hope dance, charity exult, devotion applaud, the choir be jubilant, and purity delight. Then let each one with willing spirit and prompt will come together, laudably fulfilling his duties, celebrating the Solemnity of so great a Feast.” – From the papal bull Transiturus de Hoc Mundo, which established the feast of Corpus Christi as an annual celebration for the whole Church

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