In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In some parts of the world we are observing a sacred time, traditionally this observance landed on the date of June 15th of this year, but it is moved to the following Sunday.
So with that understanding, I wanted to take this Sunday and speak on it as the message from this observance transcends time.
I am speaking of the solemn feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the living lord in the true presence of the Eucharist. This occasion actually marks the observance of three feasts into one. The Feast of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, The Feast of the Eucharistic sacrifice and the Feast of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament. This day is known as a doctrinal feast and has its early origins in the Roman Catholic diocese of Liege in Belgium in the year 1246.
In the Apostolic Sacramental world the celebration of the Eucharist is seen as the most indigenous Christian expression of faith. If you are a student of the earliest of Christian writings and history you know that this is in fact true. The celebration of the Eucharist marks the first and greatest of Christian observances. This is not to say that the other sacraments take a back seat, that is absolutely not the case, but there is a unique quality to the Eucharist which makes both its practice and the liturgical culture that was created to support this sacred Rite stand apart from the other religions of the world.
This act, and the spiritual reality surrounding it is known by Eucharistic Theologians as the process called transubstantiation: The Substance of the bread and wine is changed into the complete substance of the risen Christ, in both body and blood.
Our heaviest criticism from outside of our cultural and spiritual practice of this sacrament come in the form of questioning the legitimacy of the teaching of transubstantiation. We are admonished by both the non-liturgical Christian world and the non-Christian world to explain this concept in a way that they can readily understand. To do so I have found is in error. Why? Why do I not give my best attempt to explain this teaching? The answer has to do with the heart of the Gnosis of the act of transubstantiation. It is a sacred mystery, in a faith which began as a Mystery cult. It is the basis for faith in the transcendent deity. It is the unexplainable mystery, the untouchable actuality of the mystery of all time and space.
It is not so much that I won’t explain it, but quite honestly that I can’t and that I don’t choose to break it down into a simple formula. There is nothing simple about the truth of transubstantiation and I have never read an explanation of it that I have found to be sufficient to the reality of the mystery.
This is something that you must plainly experience, Gnosis of this truth must come from the encounter of it into your own soul. If you do not understand, there is nothing I can say or do that will make it any more rational sounding for you. Therefore, when it comes to transubstantiation, you must accept that you will never be given a summation of it that will fit into any box of your own psychological expectations.
I have been asked if I have ever actually “felt” anything during the moments when I have been in service to Christ in the form of celebrating the Eucharist as a Priest. The fast and true answer to that is, yes. I have felt the moment of the transition, the great change when the species turned into the substance. I can also tell you that I cannot explain what that feeling was, but when it occurred I knew exactly what it was and that it was a true and living presence.
We must deal with reality in our own subjective bubble. I can only tell you truth as it has been revealed to me through the experiences of my senses. I know things because I have experienced things (through my senses.) Yet, even with the limits of my senses I have been able to peer a bit into Gnosis. There have been times when I have been infused with a reality that has transcended what I know into what I am. In a way I can only speak simply about the truth of this sacred Rite. Yet, the deeper understanding of this truth, the understanding that reaches into the depth of the soul past the darkness that existed before your first memory, that is where the truth of transubstantiation lives, that is where the mystery exists and one that you will merge into again when the great story has come to fruition.
In this we pray. Amen.
In service to the Logos,
Msgr. Meinrad, n/OSC – Priory of the Rose Cross