Corpus Christi

If I had a vision of the full moon with a piece missing it would not have occurred to me that Jesus was telling me a feast celebrating the Eucharist was missing from the Church calendar.

If the connection between the moon with the piece missing and the host had occurred to me, I probably would have prayed for forgiveness. After all, as a good Catholic girl (more years ago than I like to admit (both the good and the Catholic)), I always thought you weren’t allowed to chew the host, because it would be like biting Jesus. But I guess that’s no longer the case, or maybe I was misinformed, since now I think they don’t have hosts that dissolve on the roof of your mouth, but are more like bread, and so you have to chew them.

So you can chew the host, even though it truly is the corpus Christi, and it’s that transubstantiation, as they call it, that gets celebrated today. And all this is due, amazingly enough, to a young thirteenth-century Belgian orphan named Juliana. She had the vision when she was eighteen, got Jesus’ message, became a nun, and kept fighting for this feast day even though lots of ecclesiastical authorities attacked her, even to the extent of getting the people of Liège to invade her monastery. Finally Bishop Robert of Thourette, on his deathbed in 1246, established the feast in order, as he put it, “to counteract the madness of heretics.”

And one more thing, in case you’re wondering why they needed this extra feast day when they had Holy Thursday, which after all celebrates the Last Supper – they decided that they were too busy, on Holy Thursday, washing feet.

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