Feast of Corpus Christi | iPray with the Gospel
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men … And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces.”
Luke 9: 11b-17
On the Feast of Corpus Christi, we give thanks to God because he continues to feed His disciples with the Eucharist. In 2004 St. John Paul II led his last Corpus Christi procession. He could no longer walk. Archbishop Marini and Monsignor Konrad Krajewski helped place the Pope on a platform of a specially prepared car. In front of him was the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. Monsignor Krajewski explains: “We went down the Via Merulana towards the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. At some point, the Pope gave a sign to me to come closer. He said in Polish: ‘I want to kneel down.’ I was so surprised by this request that I didn’t know what to say. I realized that it was physically impossible. With great delicacy, and a trembling voice, I explained that the car shook and that it would be very difficult to kneel. In response, I heard a disapproving sound well-known to me: ‘Mmm’. A little further, the Pope repeated again: ‘I want to kneel down.’ I said shyly that it was better to wait a little longer, as we were getting closer to the basilica. And again I heard the familiar: ‘Mmm’. When we passed the church of the Redemptorists, he said firmly and loudly: ‘Here is Christ, Please!.’”
Archbishop Marini didn’t understand Polish, but having been with St. John Paul II for over 20 years, and knowing his love for the Eucharist, guessed his desire. Both priests looked at each other; carefully and without a word they helped the Holy Father to kneel. With great difficulty he knelt down at last. It only lasted a few seconds because his knees were not able to support his body on the kneeler. That was the last time St. John Paul II managed to kneel down in front of the Eucharist. Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, help me to receive your Son ‘with the purity, humility and devotion with which you received Him, with the spirit and fervour of the saints’.
This article originally appeared on www.ipraywiththegospel.org. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © Fr. George Boronat.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).