by Sister Diane Heiss, SDSH
Photo Eucharistic Heart of Jesus by Isabel Piczek, © Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart
How many ways are there to say, “I love you?” Probably as many as there are unique persons, each trying to express our love as best as we can. With our limitations, our attempts can fall short of the love we feel. God’s love is infinite, and capable of being expressed in countless ways. Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, one of the greatest expressions of Jesus’ love for us through the gift of his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. On Holy Thursday, at the Last Supper on the night before he died, Jesus took bread, blessed, broke and gave it, saying “… This is My Body which will be given up for you” and then took a cup of wine, blessed it and said “This is … My Blood … which will be poured out for you … for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.” With that, in a way we cannot understand but believe due to the gift of faith, Jesus is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. This change is called Transubstantiation, meaning that although the appearances remain the same, the reality or substance is different – that what formerly was bread and wine is now Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
We might struggle with the idea of the True Presence, wondering how Jesus can be present in what appears as bread and wine. Would an analogy help? Due to extensive advances in science, we have medicines to treat the Corona Virus and certain types of cancer, thus extending people’s lives. Unfortunately, we also can make poison to kill someone. If we can put life or death in a tiny pill, why can’t Jesus put himself in a tiny piece of bread?
On Friday of this week, we celebrate another great manifestation of God’s love: the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the poem “How Do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning) the poet describes some of the ways her heart loves. Jesus loves each of us infinitely more, calling us by name, longing for us to accept his love and love him in return. He took on our humanity at the Incarnation and experienced all we go through except sin. Because of the original sin of our first parents Adam and Eve, we had no hope of entering heaven. His loving heart could not stand that we would be lost forever, so he offered his life to restore us to friendship with the Father and provide a way home. “Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for a friend.” (Jn. 15:13) “What can I give you, Jesus, for all the gifts you have given me?”
Family Activities for the Feast of Corpus Christi:
*Participate in a Corpus Christi procession.
*Write a letter thanking Jesus for the tremendous gift of receiving Him in Holy Communion.
*If you have not received the Sacrament of Matrimony and are living together, prepare for this Sacrament and invite Jesus to be your third partner – the glue that holds you together in love.
*If you have not recently gone to Confession (received the Sacrament of Penance), do so soon and start receiving Jesus regularly in Holy Communion.
*Read I Corinthians 11:23–26 and talk about your favorite parts of the Mass.
*Using Biblical references on love, prepare a family prayer service.
*Find Corpus Christi coloring/craft activities on-line for your children.
Family Activities for the Feast of the Sacred Heart:
*Make a Holy Hour.
*Pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart.
*Choose a different invocation from the Litany each day and pray with it, asking the grace to realize what it cost Jesus to pour out His life and love to redeem each of us.
*Make heart shaped cookies, decorate and enjoy them.
*Watch the Sacred Heart Kids’ Club Video: Sacred Heart – the Love of Jesus Made Visible (Video #5 under Creed Series)