This Sunday, in the Liturgy of the Mass, Catholics around the globe will celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi - from the Latin, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. St. Paul wrote vividly about what the Catholic Church believes is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; and the Catholic Church has defended the apostolic origins of this belief for two millennia. Man is ordered to the good, the true, and the beautiful because, as the Catholic Church teaches, in such things we encounter God. Today, we encounter "Allegory of the Eucharist" by Alexander Coosemans. For a reflection about this painting, and for a Catholic defense of the apostolic origins of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, please enjoy below. Peace be with you! From the Author, My Daily Bread: A Reason2bCatholic blog
The fine arts, but above all sacred art, “of their nature are directed toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by human hands…” (CCC 2513).
Allegory of the Eucharist
Word of God from the Gospel of John 6:52-59
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.”
Reflection on the Painting
This rather charming painting of the Allegory of the Eucharist features a juxtaposition of the following elements:
– grapes of course produce the wine, referring to Christ and His Blood
– the stalks of wheat refer to His Body and the Eucharistic Bread
– the two cornucopia flanking the 17th-century chalice symbolise the generosity of Creation
– the pomegranate symbolises eternal life and divine prosperity
– the peaches represent virtue and honour
– the pear halves are symbolic of marital faith
– the single rose with its many petals represents the wounds of Christ
A gentle light is emanating from the Sacred Host, set with an embossed image of the crucifixion.
Our Gospel reading today starts with ‘The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”‘ The people arguing show that our minds cannot always understand God, but our hearts can. Jesus in His replies tells us to move from the mind to the heart. He is not telling us just to simply accept His teachings, but He is inviting us to be fully drawn into His Life and that of His Father. He invites us to be all consumed by God. He invites us to let go of our reservations and hesitations and to trust fully in Him… through the Eucharist…
Source: from Today’s Reading: My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink; by Patrick van der Vorst; – https://christianart.today/reading.php?id=408; Christian Art Today – https://christianart.today
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Truth Beauty, and Sacred Art (2501)
Created “in the image of God,” man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man (CCC 2501).
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
– St. Paul, Letter to the Philippians (4:8)
St. Paul wrote vividly about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. For more about the Catholic teaching of the Real Presence and the apostolic origins of the Catholic belief please visit: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/heres-why-you-can-be-absolutely-sure-that-paul-believed-in-the-eucharist
St. Paul, Apostle, Martyr, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.