Today the Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi – the Body of Christ. In 1263 the feast was instituted when a doubting priest – Peter of Prague who was having difficulty in believing in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist – witnessed a miracle. Soon after saying the words of consecration, the host that he was holding began to bleed. Moved by this experience, he took the corporal – the cloth on which the blood dripped – to the local bishop in Orvieto to be examined. Upon examination, it was declared by Pope Urban IV that the corporal contained stains from the blood of Christ, and thus he instituted the feast of Corpus Christi in honor of the miracle and had St. Thomas Aquinas compose special prayers and hymns in honor of the feast.
As we traveled on our way we had the honor to visit the town of Orvieto, and to see and pray in the chapel in which the corporal is contained and venerated. As I sat in Church today and heard the beautiful readings and the Gospel speaking of the miracle of Christ’s Incarnation, and reflecting on the gentle reminders Christ gives us like the eucharistic miracle in Orvieto, as well as looking at the miracles that God has bestowed upon my wife and I through the gift of our children who are called to be Christ bearers, I was struck by the gravity of Christ present in Word and Sacrament that we are called to celebrate each time we are called to Mass. May the power of Christ’s incarnation be ever with us to help guide our hearts into the way of peace and our hands to do God’s work here on earth.