Monday, June 27, 2011

The Morning After

Yesterday my parish celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi. A bang-up wrap-up to the Easter season, Corpus Christi celebrates what Flannery O'Connor called "the center of existence for me." That's right, folks, the Eucharist. The Biggest of Big Deals, the whole enchilada, the reason you have life in you. It's a major, major feast.

Yes, I realize it's also a city in Texas. A very pretty one from what I hear. But let's move on.

I don't remember Corpus Christi being observed with any particular fanfare when I was growing up. This is probably just as well, since in the 1970s the average Catholic church's idea of "fanfare" was a couple of extra guitars and some colorful balloons. (Yes, balloons. Don't get me started on that godawful fad.)

Lately, though, a lot of parishes are trying out a return to older customs for the feast. The most obvious of which, I guess, is a Eucharistic procession after the high mass.

A Eucharistic procession is when the priest carries the monstrance outside the church and walks around the block, while the congregation follows, singing hymns. I don't imagine many Americans have ever seen one. Which accounts for the funny looks you get from people watering their lawns on a Sunday morning as you process past.

At first I wasn't going to go along with the procession. I figured I'd stay discreetly behind in the church, waiting for everyone to return so e we could have Benediction and a celebratory picnic. But then my dear friend Jay, following the parade with his family, spotted me lurking in the shadows and dragged me along. Since Jay is such a good sport about all the guff I give him for belonging to Opus Dei, I thought it only polite to acquiesce.

If you're not used to processions, and I'm not, it's a strange experience. Strolling along a public street singing with a bunch of her fellow Catholics is something DIH normally only does on St Patrick's Day, and even then only with the aid of an adult beverage or two. But once I got past the lawn-waterers I started to get into it.

I mean, ask yourself: is the Eucharist the reason you have life in you, or is it just some old custom? Which do you really believe?

It's the kind of question you don't deal with head-on every day. The Feast of Corpus Christi sort of forces your hand.

So? What's your answer?

I'll leave it to my readers to discuss. In the meantime, a public note of thanks:

Dear Lawn-Waterers,

On behalf of my fellow processioners, I'd like to thank you for your hospitality yesterday. I know we were an odd sight, and I know (oh boy, do I know) that the spectacle of Catholics singing is enough to feed the grain of atheism in any man. Thank you for not throwing tomatoes. Thank you for just watching and wondering "What the hell are those weirdos up to now?" And thank you for keeping the neighborhood nice and green.

Yours truly,



Anne said...

I believe that the Eucharist is the reason that I have life in me.
My husband and I also participated in the local procession this year. We live in Rome, Italy, along the road where the Pope passes by with the Blessed Sacrament every year, so it's not like we have to go out of our way to be there. I am usually allergic to crowds and processions, hence the fact that I had never participated in this one before despite being "right there" but somehow this year my reasons for avoiding it paled to insignificance next to the reason why it was happening in the first place!

Anonymous said...

Jay is a dork.

Anonymous said...

But a nice one.

Mrs. C said...

All I can say is that I exsperienced profound changes in myself when I became Catholic 2 years ago. I had always been a Christian....but far from being a "Catholic". I was a Adventist for a most of my adult life and decided to turn to the "Dark Side".....Catholicism. LOL! After I had my confirmation and started going to Mass regularly, I changed. I wasn't the usual crabby housewife and mother. I actually grew a consience and a heart. It's hard to get your head around the idea that the little wafer offered at every Mass all over the world is truely the body of our Lord, but if ever really studied John chapter 6 then you will be able to understand that Jesus was taking literaly. We are being fed every Mass we attend. It has not only changed my life, but my families life. It has also changed my cousins life...who recently became Catholic herself. What a gift it is and when you study the scriptures and read ALOT of Catholic apologetics like I did over the last 4 will see that this IS a true miracle. I mean if your Christian and you believe that God exists and he created all thing...then why is it so hard to grasp that he changes the bread and wine to his flesh and blood for our spiritual growth and remission of sins. He tells his diciples in John chaper 6 this very thing and they can't even begin to understand and some actually leave because they can't swallow the idea. It takes time to understand this miracle, but when you do....your life will change and your heart will yearn for his presence in you.

Anonymous said...

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Will whats happened to The News of the World happen to The Rock?

At C.1:Q.96, Nostradamus foretells of an iconoclastic prophet, using refined language to continually educate, who is raised in the Last Days.

Logmion is here and says "Bring Back Petrus Romanus"

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Brenda from Flatbush said...

I like you, Desperate, like your attitude and your snark and your imperfection. You are genuinely funny, not oh-I'm-just-such-a-li'l nut funny. I am reminded of Lou Grant to Mary Richards: "Mary, you've got spunk. [pause] I HATE spunk." Well, I don't hate spunk. I'm sticking a toe in the [explicitly] Catholic blogosphere for the first time in ages and stumbled on you at random, and you're a refreshing change from the Sainted Moms Society...keep it up!