Clergy Notes — Sunday, June 18, 2017

This week we celebrate Corpus Christi, (Latin for “The Body of Christ”) when we focus on the reality of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The liturgy is a reflection eight weeks after Easter on the institution of the Lord’s Supper as it has been handed down to us from that first Maundy Thursday when Jesus celebrated it with his disciples, passing the bread and wine among them, and instructing them: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

We celebrate the Eucharist six days a week at St. James’ and twice on a Sunday, so why do we need a special feast? Good question. The feast came about thanks to an Augustinian nun, named Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillion, Belgium.

Saint Juliana held great reverence for the Eucharist and felt that it should be a time for rejoicing. However, Maundy Thursday and much of Holy Week is incredibly solemn, and she did not feel that the Eucharist was getting the attention it deserved. After receiving a vision concerning the church’s lack of devotion to the Eucharist, she petitioned Bishop Robert de Thorete, who convened a synod in 1246 where he directed that a feast of Corpus Christi should be observed the following year, which it was.

After the death of both Bishop Robert and Saint Juliana, another woman, Eve (a close friend of Juliana’s), took up the cause to make the feast universal in the church. “In 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the bull transiturus, a declaration ordering the Feast of Corpus Christi extended throughout the entire Church. The date was set for the celebration to be held on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, at the request of the Pope, wrote the Office for the feast. Pope Urban IV died later that year, and the feast was set aside for other pressing matters, until Pope Clement V ordered its adoption at the General Council of Vienne in 1311. By 1325, the feast had been adopted throughout all of Europe and England.”

So there you have it, two fabulous women devoted to Christ brought us this wonderful feast into our liturgical year, so this Father’s day, you can think of them as well!

Deacon Lucy
Accessed June 12, 2017


Clergy Notes — Sunday, June 11, 2017

Let us live in this love and this happiness, you and I and all of us, in the love of Christ and in contemplation, for this is where we find ourselves and one another as we truly are. It is only in this love that we at last become real. For it is here that we most truly share the life of One God in Three Persons.

God in His Trinity of subsistent relations infinitely transcends every shadow of selfishness. For the One God does not subsist apart and alone in His Nature. He subsists as Father and as Son and as Holy Spirit. These Three Persons are one, but apart from them God does not also subsist as One. He is not Three Persons, plus one nature therefore four! He is Three Persons but One God. He is at once infinite solitude (one nature) and perfect society (three persons). One infinite Love in three subsistent relations.

The One God Who exists only in Three Persons is a circle of relations in which His infinite reality, Love, is ever identical and ever renewed, always perfect and always total, always beginning and never ending, absolute, everlasting and full.

In the Father the infinite Love of God is always beginning and in the Son it is always full and in the Holy Spirit it is perfect and it is renewed and never ceases to rest in its everlasting source. But if you follow Love forward and backward from Person to Person, you can never track it to a stop, you can never corner it and hold it down and fix it to one of the Persons as if He could appropriate to Himself the fruit of the love of the others. For the One Love of the Three Persons is an infinitely rich giving of Itself which never ends and is never taken, but is always perfectly given, only received in order to be perfectly shared.

It is because the Love of God does not terminate in one self-sufficient self that is capable of halting and absorbing it, that the Life and Happiness of God are absolutely infinite and perfect and inexhaustible. Therefore in God there can be no selfishness, because the Three Selves of God are Three subsistent relations of selflessness, overflowing and super abounding in joy in the Gift of their One Life.

-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation