"Inspectio Cordis": Corpus Christi, June 2

Saint Ignatius of Loyola wrote in his letters that ingratitude is the root of all evil; the Eucharist, then, is the antidote, by deepening our gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus. A good manner, then, of preparing for Holy Communion is remembering “all the good He has done” and placing ourselves with Christ upon the paten as a “sacrifice of thanksgiving.”

By Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC

A gaze of the heart. Examining the depth of one’s heart.

There is no one way to translate the Latin title Inspectio Cordis, given to the collection of meditations for Sundays by the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczyński (1631-1701).

These meditations, published weekly on Fridays in preparation for the Sunday Mass, follow the style and purpose of our holy Father Founder. While his original text is worth reading, his examples and style can feel outdated to the modern reader. As his spiritual son, I will attempt my best to imitate his style and imitate his ministry of preaching to hearts.

The goal is to allow Jesus to gaze into your heart and teach you self-examination, leading you to a more fruitful reception of Holy Communion, where there is a true encounter of our hearts with His Sacred Heart – especially fitting during this period of National Eucharistic Revival.


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ / Corpus Christi – Cycle B
June 2, 2024

This Sunday’s Inspectio Cordis meditation uses the original meditations – in the quotation marks – from St. Stanislaus Papczyński. 

Before Holy Communion

1. “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”    
“Amen” responds directly to the priest who says, “The Body of Christ.” We believe that what looks like bread is truly His Body. However, our amen also is a response to all that we have heard during the entirety of Mass, which, like the first reading, is structured to be a renewal of the covenant between God and His People.

"Sacrament" comes from the Latin sacramentum, or oath. We “swear,” like the Hebrews, to fulfill the obligations of the covenant, to heed and do the Word of God we have heard at Mass. This removes us from the sphere of passivity, whereby we merely fulfill an obligation by attending Mass. The Lord desires us to be His covenant partners, actively participating in our relationship by fulfilling His commands, just as He fulfills His duties to be “our God” who watches over us as His holy, consecrated People.

What does it mean to you when you say ‘Amen’ to Holy Communion? How do you “heed and do” what you have heard at Mass during the week? 

2. “How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me?”
"Eucharist" in Greek means “thanksgiving.” We gather to unite our thanksgiving to that of Christ, who thanks the Father who saved Him from death by raising Him anew to life. The best manner of giving thanks to God for His blessings and His salvation is participation in Mass, through interior union with Christ in His self-offering to the Father. For, in truth, we cannot make any return to the Lord for all the good He has done; His generosity far exceeds our thanksgiving.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola wrote in his letters that ingratitude is the root of all evil; the Eucharist, then, is the antidote, by deepening our gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus. A good manner, then, of preparing for Holy Communion is remembering “all the good He has done” and placing ourselves with Christ upon the paten as a “sacrifice of thanksgiving.”

For what are you most grateful this week? Where do you find ingratitude creeping into your heart through bitterness, complaining, or jealousy?

3. “.... who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God.”
Sacrifice, in the minds of many, always requires painful destruction. But sacrifice comes from the Latin “to make holy.” The essence of sacrifice is not pain but love, as St. Thomas makes clear that Jesus redeemed us by His loving obedience, that took the shape of His death upon the Cross.

Our lives, both joys and sorrows, can be united with Christ’s self-offering, by opening them up to the “eternal Spirit.” We do this in each Holy Communion, for when we receive Jesus in His self-offering, we also are filled with His Spirit, who consumes our hearts from within. What interests the Father is the love in our hearts that transforms all we do into a holy, unblemished sacrifice. This becomes the “worship” of the “living God” that pleases the Father.

How can you make of your daily activities an unblemished offering in the Spirit? What joys, sorrows, and activities can you surrender to the Spirit?

After Holy Communion

1. “Take it; this is my body."
In each Holy Communion, Jesus offers us not merely His flesh but His whole person as a physical being. His death upon the Cross is a gift of himself for us. But He invites us to “take." His giving also requires our receiving of this gift into the depths of our being.

When we receive Holy Communion, we need to be aware of this amazing gift, hidden in what looks like bread. Moreover, we need to be active in our reception, not merely swallowing the Host, but absorbing Jesus into our being, so that we become one with Him. Saint Thomas Aquinas warns that we can receive the physical Host without grasping the graces that Jesus desires to give us in our hearts. “Take” shows Jesus’ desire for us to receive, and He instructs us to prepare for Him with our own desire. This word also indicates the need for quiet thanksgiving after Mass.

How do you “take” the gift of His Body in Holy Communion? How do you receive not only the Host but all that Jesus desires to offer?

2. “Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.”
Sharing the cup of Jesus means sharing in His atoning sacrifice: sharing willingly in His sufferings as well as in its benefits, namely, our restored communion with the Father. We may forget this when we say "Amen" to Holy Communion or to the Precious Blood in the chalice given to us at Mass.

The sacrifice of Jesus includes our own sacrifices, our own willing participation in the redemption of the world. That entails carrying out Cross through daily self-denial for the sake of loving others and atoning for sin. But it also means that, with Christ, we will share in eternal joy. For wine symbolizes joy, festivity, abundance, and even divine life. There is no other path to such joy of divine life than union with Christ in His suffering.

What does it mean for you when you say ‘amen’ to the Chalice? How willing are you to share in His suffering to share also His joy and life?

3. “...which will be shed for many.”
The literal translation is that His blood “is shed” for us, signifying the violent death Jesus is willing to endure to reveal the Father’s love for us. These words are a window into the “inner reality of His Passion.” His gift of self is available to us, at a distance of two thousand years, through the Mass. We are, as it were, transported back to Calvary, to witness His sacrifice, that is efficacious in forgiving us our sins.

In Confession, His Blood touches and cleanses our souls from all sin, even mortal sin. In the Eucharist, His Blood cleanses us from all venial sin to unite us to Himself. The generosity of Jesus is present here: He sheds His Blood only once, and yet, He makes that same shedding present to us each day. And He invites us to do the same for others: to be willing to love them, even to the point of the shedding of our blood, as a witness of Christ and the power of His love which we receive in each Eucharist.

What does it mean for your mind and heart that Jesus sheds His Blood for you, to love you and cleanse you from all sin? How can you – even in small ways – imitate His love for others by bearing with their faults and sins?

Next week: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 9.
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