Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, the body and blood of Christ. Reminds me of the time…
|the miraculous corporal of Orvieto|
I went with a bunch of my seminarian friends for the mass and procession. The mass itself was about two hours long, plus we waited in the Church for about an hour afterwards as the procession formed. So when we finally started walking, we were really tired, to say the least.
And it was a typical Italian day: hot and sunny. At first everything went fine. We were in the back of the procession just in front of the miraculous cloth, which was carried by four big strong guys in a huge gold holder. But after a mile or so of trudging along cobblestone streets, the heat and the sun started to get to me. I was thirsty and tired, and getting burnt. The beautiful procession was turning – at least for me – into an inferno.
It was but a moment, but one beautiful, glorious moment. And then it was gone. We kept walking, the drab brown stone reappeared, the heat and the sun beat down upon us again, and the procession continued.
And I had seen what heaven must be like.
This earth is a valley of tears. Blood, sweat, mud, muck, sorrow, and tears. Yes, there are beautiful moments, but nothing compares to what will come hereafter. So often we live for what we find here below – money, possessions, pleasure, power, honor, glory… and those things never fill us up. They leave us empty.
We were made for heaven. And anything short of heaven will not fill us. We will never find true happiness here below. Our life here, and all the tough moments it is made of, only makes sense as a preparation for heaven. Heaven, which isn’t some sort of dry, dull, endless sitting around. No! Heaven is life like it should be, life with no end, romance with no limits, beauty with no boundaries. Fullness. Completeness. True happiness and peace. I had a little taste of it there in Orvieto, and I'd be willing to bet many of you have had similar experiences.
It's been six months now – half a year! – that I've been a priest, and one of the most wonderful parts is being able to be so close to the Eucharist. Being a priest doesn’t make you any holier than anyone else nor does it make it easier for you to get to heaven. But so often you are closer to the One who is in heaven, who will bring us there, the One who is truly present in the bread and wine. What a gift!
You will all be in my prayers today,