Belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a great gift to pass along to your children.
The feast of Corpus Christi always make me think of my father. He joined the Church almost 30 years ago and I vividly recall — about the time I was 12 or 13 — asking Dad what finally convinced him to convert. (It was one of the many serious conversations I’ve had with my father; conversations like this have always been a normal part of our relationship.) Raised in a Christian home, he decided to become a Catholic after five years of marriage to my mother. In the end it’s certainly Mom who deserves most of the credit for his conversion. However, one moment stands out for Dad as “the moment” when he came to believe in the Eucharist, and with that entered the Church.
When Dad was wrestling with his last doubts about joining the Church, he was discussing the nature of the Eucharist with a parish priest. Dad was objecting to the Real Presence, doubting the possibility that the host could really become the Body of Christ. Fr. Tim gently countered my dad’s objections. He asked my father, “Todd, do you believe that God is all-powerful?” My Dad said yes. Fr. Tim continued on, “Do you believe that God, who is all-powerful, could work a miracle whenever he wants?” My Dad said yes. “So,” Fr. Tim continued, “what’s to stop you from thinking that God, who is all-powerful, could miraculously turn bread into his body every Sunday?” That was what Dad needed.
For my part, I can honestly say that I’ve never seriously doubted in the Real Presence. At that age typically marked by uncertainty and suspicion, I heard my dad’s account of his own belief. My father told me that he thought the Sacred Host was Jesus. That was what I needed. What could be a more precious gift to hand on to your son or daughter?
To make Corpus Christi come alive in your home, here are some ideas:
1Attend a procession
Change your regular Mass schedule and go to Mass in order to attend a procession that day. If your usual Sunday Mass has a procession following, great! Going to a different church to mark a feast day, especially if your own parish doesn’t have a procession, will make the day especially memorable for your family. Many diocesan newspapers (now frequently available online) do a great job of listing which parishes will have processions.
2Go to Eucharistic Adoration or visit a church
Again, visiting another parish or Adoration Chapel could be a little Corpus Christi pilgrimage. Spend a few moments in prayer with your family. Children particularly love little chapels, places where they can be close to the Blessed Sacrament. Even if most of the time is spent getting your family in or out of a Church, your Heavenly Father, who “sees in secret” will repay you!
3Read the Last Supper or John 6
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke each narrate the Last Supper (Mt. 26:17–30, Mk. 14:12–26, Lk. 22:7–39). Gather your family in the living room and read these verses of Scripture which recall for us the moment when Christ first gave the Eucharist to his closest friends, the apostles. St. John’s Gospel, however, does not include a narrative of the Last Supper. Instead, John connects the Eucharist to the miraculous feeding of five thousand. Every Catholic should know that John, Chapter 6, contains the “Bread of Life” discourse, wherein Jesus teaches that his flesh is true food and his blood true drink.
4Pray a Litany of the Blessed Sacrament
In my parish ministry, I’ve found that praying litanies works very well with families. Adults and older children can read the invocations, and younger children can join in on the responses. Litanies often contain beautiful images, which are worth discovering and teaching to your family. This litanyis a powerful prayer about the Blessed Sacrament.
5Prepare a small altar in your home
If you are an activity driven person, why not prepare a little altar to mark the feast in your home? Place a crucifix to represent Christ at the center, then decorate with candles and flowers. Most pharmacies and supermarkets have devotional candles, which you could burn all day in honor of the feast!