Receive Him with Faith

Corpus Christi 
Beloved in Christ,
for little Louis Martin, his life was not always easy. He was born with a rare disease that left the doctors confused; he spent a lot of time lying on the couch instead of playing with his friends. But eventually the doctors figured it out, and with the proper medicine, he started to improve.
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In August of 2013, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, WI, Louis’ older brother Gregory, received his 1st Communion; he received Jesus for the first time from none other than Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was visiting his boyhood diocese.
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Louis sat with his family during the Mass, but afterwards he wouldn’t say a word. Finally, his parents discovered that he was heart broken that he couldn’t receive Jesus in the Eucharist like his brother. After Mass, Cardinal Burke came over to greet the families of the first communicants. He had a little gift for each one. When he approached the Martins, he gave Gregory his gift, but then he saw Louis crying. He asked what was wrong. Did he want a gift too?
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His mother explained that he was sad because he did not receive his 1st Communion as well. Cardinal Burke looked compassionately at Louis, and with that, Louis leaned into the Cardinal grabbing his vestments, and cried. His Eminence embraced the boy warmly and said, “don’t worry! Your first Communion will come soon enough!” Well, it was true. The next year, actually on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, young Louis Martin received his first Holy Communion at the hands of His Eminence, Cardinal Burke.
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Friends in Christ, this true story is floating around the internet, and I thought it was very appropriate for today, to hear about a little boy who longed to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.  Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi: the Body of Christ. It is the day that we put all of our attention and love on Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist.
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We can pray to Jesus all day, and we should – spiritually. But only in Holy Communion can we touch him, bodily receive him, join our flesh to his. This union is the most sublime of all existence, our union with God. This union on earth is veiled by sacrament, under the appearance of bread, but it is a foretaste – an anticipation of our union with the Lord in heaven. Receiving Christ at Mass, we should then speak to him, tell him all our worries and ask him many things.
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Jesus came bodily into this world 2000 years ago; his disciples could touch God, embrace God, in the flesh, but it took Faith. This marvel continues through history, Jesus Christ still comes bodily into the world, is born on our altars that we may touch and embrace and love this Lord, and become one with him.
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Today on Corpus Christ – the Feast of the Body of Christ – we proclaim this to the world. At 2pm we will have our Eucharistic procession, weather permitting. We will carry this Jesus, gloriously displayed in a beautiful gold monstrance with all the pageantry and solemnity owed to a king, because he is Our King, he is really here in the world, and so we display our Faith.
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It is so beautifully Catholic, that all over the world on this day, from the doors of Catholic Churches stream little processions of young and old, the serious and the excited, marching through the streets of the secular world. So many people – too many people – live in our neighborhoods and do not know this Lord, this Savior. Today is a day that we carry him through our streets, singing, marching, praying – stopping at altars, to be blessed again by our Eucharistic Jesus.
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I often wonder: ‘what do the police think as they block the streets for us, for this excited little band of pilgrims carrying their Jesus? I wonder about those who are not Catholic or have no Faith at all: what do they think looking through their curtains at this motley group of Catholics? ‘Look honey, they are out there again, so many. You really have to give them credit.’ ‘Dear, why are you crying?’ ‘Because it’s so beautiful – I mean, their faith.’
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I wonder about the lax Catholics who don’t attend Mass. When they see this procession out their window. If they wonder: ‘I should be with them.’ There are altar boys, and incense, and candles; priests, music and singers and instruments; people walking with canes – there’s a wheel-chair being pushed, and another; children who don’t know how to stay in line – ‘What gives them such faith?,’ they ask. ‘Maybe we should return to God.’
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Elizabeth Hesselblad, who was a protestant, when a Eucharistic procession was going past, the Catholic people were all going down on their knees. ‘I will certainly not kneel down’ she said to herself. But as soon as the priest came by her spot, she felt herself compelled to kneel. She said, ‘I knew it was true’. She became a Catholic, and re-founded the Brigiteen sisters.
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Dom Chautard reminds us, that it was just after Christ had given us the Holy Eucharist at the last supper, that he spoke of the Vine and the Branches. ‘I am the Vine, you are the branches.’ By receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, with a holy heart and living the Christ-life, it is in this way that we the branches are in contact with the Vine; then Christ can act in us; ‘He that abides in me and I in him, will bear much fruit.’
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When the Christian retains in his heart the Eucharistic life of Christ from Mass – when his heart is consumed with the fire that consumes the heart of Jesus – what life his words and actions will have, they will be living flames.
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For each of us, our 1st Holy Communion was a great event; well prepared, we tried to receive Jesus with great faith and love. But this love and faith – we must make it grow, and seek to receive our Savior with ever greater devotion.
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Let us ask then, the Blessed Virgin to help us have great faith; faith in our Eucharistic Lord; faith to know that when we receive Holy Communion, we are receiving the Living Lord, his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Nicholas]

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