Adoro Te Devote
June 14th, 1992
Brother John Raymond
Blessed Juliana of Mount Cornillon was born near Liege, Belgium
in 1192. She was orphaned at the age of five and placed in the care
of nuns at Mount Cornillon. Later she joined the community. At an
early age Blessed Juliana had repeated visions of what looked like
the moon with a dark spot on it. She did not understand what it
meant. So she prayed and fasted for enlightenment. Finally Our Lord
explained to her that the moon represented all the Feasts of the
Church celebrated throughout the year. The dark spot represented the
one missing Feast - one in honor of the Most Blessed Sacrament. From
then on Blessed Juliana tried to get this Feast instituted by the
In 1225 she was elected superior but hers was to be a long road
of suffering. She was accused of mismanaging funds for a hospital
under her control by its lay directors. Soon Blessed Juliana was
driven from the monastery. The Bishop investigated the matter, found
her innocent and reinstated her in the monastery in 1246. This
suffering she endured bore fruit for the Bishop introduced the Feast
of Corpus Christi in his diocese of Liege.
After the death of the Bishop she was again driven out of the
monastery in 1248. She found refuge at a Cistercian monastery. Soon
the town was beseiged by enemy troops who burned down the monastery.
Homeless again, she took refuge in the town of Fosses. There on
April 5th, 1258 she died. The work for the establishment of the
Feast was carried on by her good friend Blessed, Eva of Liege.
During Juliana's life she had the support of some high ranking
Church officials in Belguim including James Pantaleon. In God's
providence James Pantaleon became Pope Urban IV. In the back of his
mind he remembered the Feast of Corpus Christi but it would take a
miracle to bring him to declare it a universal Feast of the Church.
This miracle involved a Fr. Peter of Prague. In 1263 he was
traveling on Pilgrimage to Rome hoping to pray at the tomb of his
patron, St. Peter, for Fr. Peter had a very serious problem. He was
having very great doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the
Holy Eucharist. He hoped and prayed that his patron Saint would
obtain him the grace to save his faltering faith. On the way he
stopped in the little town of Bolsena, 70 miles north of Rome, to
spend the night.
The next day Fr. Peter celebrated Holy Mass in the Church of St.
Christine. As he said the words of Consecration, "This is My Body,"
the bread in his hands turned into Flesh and began to bleed
profusely. The Blood fell onto the Corporal (the little square cloth
on the Altar). Fr. Peter was shocked. He didn't know what to do. He
wrapped the Host in the Corporal and left the Altar. As he walked
away drops of Blood fell to the marble floor. Pope Urban IV happened
to be nearby in the town of Orvieto. Fr. Peter left the Corporal in
the church and went to tell the Pope what had happened. On learning
the news the Pope immediately sent a Bishop to St. Christine's to
verify what had happened and bring back the Corporal.
The Pope received the Corporal from the Bishop. He went to the
balcony of the Papal Palace and reverently displayed the miraculous
Corporal to the people. About this same time a follower of Blessed
Juliana contacted the Pope requesting again the institution of the
Feast of Corpus Christi. A year later, in 1264, the Pope instituted
this great Feast for the entire Church. (The miraculous Corporal is
preserved in the Cathedral in Orvieto to this day. The Blood-stained
marble stones are preserved in St. Christine's church in Bolsena.)
The Pope commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the Divine
Office for this great Feast. Let us pray the following hymn written
by him for the Feast of Corpus Christi this June 18th.
Adoro Te Devote (Paraphrased)
I adore You my hidden God truly present beneath the form and
appearance of bread and wine. My mind cannot grasp this Mystery but
my heart can understand. My senses fail me but I believe for You
have said it. You are the Word of truth that lasts forever. Only
listening to You is my trust secure. On the Cross You hid Your
Divinity but in the Holy Eucharist You have hid Your Humanity too.
Unto both alike I profess my belief like the Good Thief who
professed it to You.
Though I do not see Your Wounds like Thomas yet I profess You my
Lord and my God. Help me believe in You, hope in You and love You
more and more. You left this Sacrament not only as a reminder of
Your Saving Death but as a Living Bread which gives me Your life to
share. Enable me to taste Your sweetness here on earth.
O Jesus, grant me, a sinner, to be washed in Your Precious Blood.
That Blood of which a single Drop could save all the world.
Contemplating Your hidden Presence in the Holy Eucharist grant me
what my soul hungers and thirsts for, to behold Your Divinity and
Glory in Heaven both now and forevermore. Amen.