Saturday, June 21, 2014

If we are not recollected: Corpus Christi Sermon

We had a rather beautiful Missa Cantanta on Thursday evening, the choir sang the Palestrina Missa Brevis, just a few voices it was quite exquisite. 'Engelond', not me but the football team, were playing in the World Cup and as it is no longer a Holy Day there weren't that many at Mass, after Benediction we sang the Salve and in a gesture of patriotic zeal I recited the Prayer for England. and what Our Lady did was plain for all to see. She does approve of Processions but I don't think she approves of footballing on Corpus Christi.
Anyhow, here is the Corpus Christi sermon preached by Fr Gerrard Hatton, who was in choro. He was ordained three years ago and exemplifies so much that is good about our younger clergy. It is short, pithy and challenging, it is one of the better sermons I have heard recently.

I recently meet a lady who is a missionary in China, she is not catholic but knew a lot about the underground church in China, she told me about the patriot church that does not have the pope, neither do they uphold the belief in the second coming or the holy Spirit, as it power and authority that the government cannot control. Later that day I was listening to pod cast on the liturgy, the speaker said many things but he summed up his talk by speaking about Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei of China who was put into prison by the communists for 30 years, as he refused to deny his faith and the authority of pope, he was not allowed to offer Holy Mass, he made spiritual communions and prayed the rosary three times a day, he had been made a cardinal in secret. The speaker noted the red of a cardinal is simply more than a noble colour, but the willingness of these men to shed their blood for the faith in union with the successor of St Peter.
 Our age is no stranger to that Blood which has been shed for Christ, the speaker went on to talk about his experience of serving Holy Mass with this Cardinal was who in his 90s and offered it in Latin, he was stuck that even after the deacon who had purified the vessels this man, short of sight cleansed them again. Not because he was scrupulous, but he did out of love. All those years he had waited to hold the Body of Christ for whom he had suffered and he wanted not one crumb to be lost. Are we that careful, do we care that much, are we willing to turn to someone who was starved and denied of Our Lord for 30 years and ask him who we should behave in front of Our Eucharistic Lord? Do we prepare well for the Sacrifice of the King of Martyrs, has our piety become like a remote control, something we switch on when we do Holy things. 
Cardinal Kung teaches us that our whole life should be in imitation of our Blessed Lord, that our work, our homes, our prayer, our talk, even our fun and chill time should be a preparation for the Holy Mass. There is an important mission we all need to be a part off and rightly so to make every Mass Extraordinary, filled with holiness, be it low or high, new rite or old. We can have most devout priest, the finest choir and most meticulous adherence to the rubrics but if we are not recollected, if we are not willing to pray or visit the blessed sacrament, go benediction often, if we do not avail ourselves of frequent confession, or go to daily Mass or as often as we can, or make a spiritual communion when we can’t, if we don’t live a Eucharistic life worthy of Our lord and those martyrs, then it vanity and dressing up.We are the people the Lord has chosen, imperfect, sinful but he wants us and loves us more, in today’s feast we celebrate that enteral bond of his loving presence in Holy Communion and we recommit ourselves to that holy striving, that desire to be his and the need to form our lives in shadow of his passion, death and resurrection that he has left to us in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.


13 comments:

Fred Brown said...

Wonderful Stuff!

Chrissy said...

What a wonderful homily.

Jacobi said...

It’s good, Father, that you make this Corpus Christi sermon available to a wider “congregation”.
I attend both forms of the Mass, but last Thursday could only manage the NO. I remember being taken aback that the altar colours were green.

The Catholic Church is in a mess over Holy Days not to mention many other matters.

That Corpus Christi is relegated to “the nearest Sunday” epitomises the gradual withdrawal from the acknowledgement of the Real Presence which has been a feature of the post Vat II retreat from Catholicism.

On the plus side, (we’re away this weekend, so went to the vigil Mass at our Cathedral), the sermon, given by a recently ordained young priest, on the deepening understanding of the Body of Christ over the centuries, from the early Christians, through St Catherine of Liege, was such as I haven’t heard for a long time.

If this is the quality of our future priests, even if they are not many, there’s hope yet!

Nicolas Bellord said...

This sermon very much reflects what Bishop Athanasius Schneider told us at West Grinstead - how extreme circumstances: a Soviet or a Chinese prison makes people realise how wonderful the Real Presence is. And yet we in comfortable circumstances seem to downgrade it.

eileen shaw said...

Many thanks for posting this wonderful sermon.It is indeed sad that so many Holydays have been offloaded to Sundays.Attended Mass on [NO] Thurs,but not a nod to the fact that the feast of Corpus Christi was being celebrated in many countries that day, indeed the Pope led the devotions in Rome.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Praise the Lord for our priests ! With "youngsters" like Father Hatton, we can feel re-assured.

viterbo said...

Thank you for posting the sermon, Father.

"All those years he had waited to hold the Body of Christ for whom he had suffered and he wanted not one crumb to be lost."

The insistance of so many, in words and actions, that the 'crumbs' don't matter is too strange.

p.s. "[Our Lady] does approve of Processions but I don't think she approves of footballing on Corpus Christi." heheh - but does that mean She approves of Wayne Rooney?

Genty said...

How refreshing to read a homily which is short but in which every word counts. So different from the rambling and repetition I'm used to tuning out.

Paul Hellyer said...

I can only repeat what Jacobi said
"The Catholic Church is in a mess over Holy Days not to mention many other matters.

That Corpus Christi is relegated to “the nearest Sunday” epitomises the gradual withdrawal from the acknowledgement of the Real Presence which has been a feature of the post Vat II retreat from Catholicism."

It is encouraging that after the old trendy priests have gone we will be served by new very faithful ones.

nickbris said...

Just about the only people who do have time to go to week-day Mass are like myself living on borrowed time,over the three score and ten,and with the desperate shortage of Priests that we are constantly reminded of it seemed the logical thing to move the Holy Day's to Sunday.

Some Parishes do no even have Mass every week.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Nickbris: In London and I am sure many other places there is ample opportunity to go to Mass before work or in the lunch hour or after work. And what do you imagine such Priests, as we do have, are doing on Thursdays that they are not doing on Sunday which prevents them from celebrating the feast days.

Last Sunday I went to the solemn mass at Westminster Cathedral. Marvellous and a very good sermon on Christ's gift to us in the Eucharist. Good as far as it went but the beautiful sequence got omitted completely - not even the shortened version - and I imagine fitting in a Corpus Christi procession in the tight schedule for Sunday masses is just too difficult.

And what about school children? I remember it as a very special day - a real holyday. A wonderful opportunity to inspire children who possibly do not get taken Church even on a Sunday.

Ascension Day, this year, was overshadowed by something called World Communications Day - something to do with ipods I suppose.

fpf said...

I wonder whether in the UK, the doctrine of the Mystical Immolation, at the root of an explanation of the Mass qua Sacrifice has taken the hit that it has here in the States. My experience has been that not even the seminarians of the EF societies are cognizant of the simple, yet thorough paradigm which has great catechetical value, connecting as it does the sacramental action of the Holy Eucharist with the historical Redemption. Corpus Christi's celebration here was occasion for promoting its greater dissemination. Feel free to ask for it.

Supertradmum said...

Amen--some see this and most waste time they could be using to become holy