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On the Feast of Corpus Christi and Pickle Farming

by David Gray, June 10, 2012
This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ; and what a wonderful annual reminder this feast is to provoke us into remembering what we believe as Catholics; that the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. We believe that at the time of consecration during the Sacrifice of the Mass, what was previously wine and bread becomes the promise of Jesus Christ; that the wine becomes His actual Blood of the Covenant and Bread becomes His actual Body. This belief is distinctly different from what other Christians believe about ‘Communion’; which ranges from it being just a remembrance shared in grape juice distributed in little plastic cups and unsalted crackers, to it being consubstantial presence (Christ Jesus IN/WITH the Bread and Wine), rather than a transubstantial presence (Christ Jesus AS the Bread and Wine).

What we Catholics believe about the Corpus Christi as the Holy Eucharist is what Jesus literally recorded to have taught in each Gospel book, what Saint Paul actually taught in 1 Corinthians, and what the Fathers of the Church taught from the beginning. The most beautiful thing about our teaching on the Holy Eucharist is its consistency with sacred Scripture and fulfilled theology; all of which I talked about in three apologetic articles on the subject:

The hardest thing for me to come to grips with during my conversion to the Catholicism was belief in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. In fact it wasn’t until I read a book called Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz, which contains “over thirty five famous, amazing, historical miracles of the Eucharist: Hosts that have turned to visible flesh when consecrated, Hosts which have bled. Hosts which have become hard as stone upon being received by a person in mortal sin, Hosts which have levitated or manifested their hidden presence by mysterious lights, etc,” that I came to believe in the Real Presence. After reading about all of these well documented miracles I could no longer deny the power and grace of God in deigning to share His life with us in this way. To read about these Eucharistic Miracles online, just visit the website of the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association.

To contrast the reality of the Presence of Christ Jesus as the Holy Eucharist, let me tell you about some things that are not real that I experienced one day at a pickle farm. First, I saw the very same batch of pickles, with the very same juices and herbs, being packed into at least ten different labeled jars. How’s that for comparison shopping? The next unreal thing was that after prolonged exposure to crushed red pepper seeds being used for Hot & Spicy pickles, I actually found myself hallucinating and seeing things that were not real. I’ve never smoked marijuana or done acid or any illegal drug, but if that is what it is like, I’ll continue to pass. I think I saw dead people. The last unreal thing I experienced came by the way of the young Amish girls who were packing the pickles. Heretofore, I thought that Amish women were some of the most quiet and virtuous creatures known to man. What I learned this day was that Amish women curse worse than sailors and seem quite content to yell and laugh at decibels that cause headaches. They might still be virtuous, but the jury is completely out on that now.

What the Catholic Church taught me about Holy Eucharist and Jesus Christ is that what I thought was unreal is actually real. What life in the world continues to teach me is that what I thought was real is actually unreal. In a world where there are so many parades for things that are not real and have no heavenly value, it’s good that the Catholic Church still holds fast to the tradition of parade for Corpus Christi.

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A EUCHARIST PRAYER
“Lord God I pray that the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus,
that I receive the Holy Eucharist become fully part of me,
so that I might die to Christ and He live in me.
In Jesus’ name I pray.”

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Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
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