Thursday, June 15, 2017

Corpus Christ 2017: Videte Miraculum

Recently, a photograph from the Synod of a Continuing Anglican jurisdiction has been published. It shows the moment of the consecration in which a strange disc of light appears above the Chalice as the sacred ministers genuflect.

The priest who published the photograph maintains that it is not a reflection. There are, of course, other potential explanations for this effect. Is it an "orb" - a strange photographic effect that some people attribute to spiritual activity and others a preternatural phenomenon associated with digital photography? Is it a camera defect? Or is it the reflection off of someone's watch?

Indeed, there could be a perfectly "rational" explanation, i.e. one that comes about from empirical reasoning usually under the assumption that there is nothing that cannot be explained by Science.

That's not the point though.

As a result of that photograph, the faith of many faithful Christians has been strengthened. They now find their belief in Our Lord's promises strengthened. They are able to open their hearts further to the presence of God. They have received a visible impression of God's Grace in their lives and a ratification for what they do. That is indeed the purpose of a miracle: it has turned people to God by reinforcing His teaching with a sign and wonder.

Of course, there have been a lot of hoax miracles over the years. People have become rich from the devotion of the gullible. The Mediaeval period was renowned for bleeding hosts, weeping statues and the like, all clever illusions and parlour tricks. It must make faithful Christians look like imbeciles when they see St Theresa of Calcutta in a bath bun or Our Lord in the foam of a cup of coffee.

As Christians, we don't need miracles save the miracle of the Incarnation. Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed. If we are truly sincere in our faith, we will be looking beyond this world and striving to see into the deeper reality behind it. Our minds must be in Heaven - we must "ponder nothing eartlhy minded" as Moultrie's translation of part of the Liturgy of St James says - especially at the consecration of the Eucharistic Elements. At that moment, although it is imperceptible to our senses, we are in Heaven with God. A photograph like this is, in itself, an ikon of this fact.

Whether there is, or is not, a rational explanation for this photograph is irrelevant. The photograph itself opens a window into Heaven where we may gaze upon God.

As we celebrate this most glorious of mysteries, we remember that the whole Mass is a miracle but hidden to those whose only intention is to reject God and deny His presence among us. We Christians should strive hard to believe that God can act in earthly things and transform the meanest sanctuary into Heaven itself, a tin pot into a golden chalice of the Blood of Christ, a pair of tiny candles into roaring flames of God's own light, and the smallest morsel of bread into Christ's very body.

Our destiny lies in the Mass itself, and when all earthly Masses cease, then we shall see the veil of the temple of this skin of reality rent in twain, and the majesty of God thunder through. Then we shall see our place in Heaven bowing before the Throne of God, re-created and made perfect through Him, with Him and in Him.

Blessed and praised be Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament!
Hosanna in excelsis!

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