Et habitavit in nobis

Msgr. Carlo Maria Viganò

Et habitavit in nobis

Homily on the feast of Corpus Christi

Et  verbum caro factum est,
et habitavit in nobis.

Jn 1:14


Tantum ergo Sacramentum veneremur cernui. Let us fall prostrate in veneration of such a great Sacrament. These are the famous words of the Corpus Christi Hymn, composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas, just like the other liturgical texts of this feast. We repeat them every time the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to the adoration of the faithful, underlining our internal disposition by bowing our bodies, in the same posture as Moses before the burning bush. Even the priests of the New Covenant cover their hands with the humeral veil, as a sign of respect, when they have to impart the Eucharistic blessing. And it is also in this manner – cernui, prostrate – that we must present ourselves before the King of kings.

The modern mentality hates every earthly hierarchy and proclaims the equality of individuals, not because it wants peace and brotherhood between peoples, but because it knows very well that the only earthly society in which peace and brotherhood can reign is the one in which both civil and religious authority are the vicarious expression of the sole, supreme power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King and High Priest. Because it is around the ontological reality of the universal Lordship of Christ that the entire Creation revolves: omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est (Jn 1:3). The history of Redemption revolves around Christ, the Unconquered Sun; and the Cross on the summit of Golgotha has become the center of the universe: Stat Crux, dum volvitur orbis. The same Cross is planted on our altars, where the priest acts in the person of Christ, and where Christ is offered under the species of bread and wine. And it is in Christ that all things are summarized, it is in Him that every aspect of our life takes on meaning, it is to Him that we must give an account of our own souls and the souls of those whom Providence has entrusted to our care. The world does not want peace, because peace exists only where Christ is, and if Satan is to reign, then chaos, destruction, and war must also reign. The peace of Christ is founded on the stability of order, and this earthly order must necessarily be a mirror of the divine order: sicut in cœlo et in terra.

It is very painful to see that in the midst of a society hostile to Christ and entirely devoted to evil, the Catholic Hierarchy has effectively separated itself from the ecclesial body, causing scandal to the faithful and also alienating Priests and Religious. Just as the battle rages most fiercely, the generals and officers open the doors of the Citadel and allow both soldiers and civilians to be massacred. Bella premunt hostilia, we sing in the hymn Verbum supernum prodiens at Lauds on the Feast of Corpus Christi: terrible wars loom, and they are spiritual wars for which we must be prepared: da robur, fer auxilium. But these battles that we face daily both as individuals and as an ecclesial body are part of an epochal war that has already been won, once and for all, by our King and Lord, who has become our ally, making Himself the nourishment of our souls, offering Himself as a ransom by His own Passion and giving Himself triumphantly as a reward: Se nascens dedit socium, convescens in edulium, se moriens in prætium, se regnans dat in præmium. When he was born he became our companion, in his banquet He gave himself as food, when He died He became our price, in his kingdom He gives Himself as a reward

This betrayal of the Roman Sanhedrin is no different from the betrayal of the High Priests in the time of Our Lord. Their subservience to power is the same, and both contemptuously consider Christ as a usurper of an authority that in reality they have usurped from Him. But just as among the crowds of that time there were those who triumphantly welcomed the King of Israel and those who had Him crucified, so even today there are those who love and adore Him and those who profane Him and abandon Him to sacrilege.

Just as happened during the Passion, the Lord agrees to allow Himself to be offended and beaten even in His Eucharistic flesh, and other apostles abandon Him, deny Him, and hand Him over to His enemies. The Judases of today are no less guilty than the Iscariot, whom it is no coincidence that they admire; and while they deny his betrayal they try to hide their own.

But this Presence – without which the world would end – gathers together at the foot of the tabernacle many good souls, many simple people, many repentant sinners, who precisely by getting on their knees and adoring their God, Lord, and King, find the strength and the Grace to cross the desert of this world, the darkness of this rebellious and hostile society. Manna absconditum: heavenly nourishment, viaticum to face the earthly journey towards eternity. Panis supersubstantialis, the Bread of Angels that becomes the Bread of men. O res mirabilis: manducat Dominum pauper, servus et humilis. The poor man, the servant, the humble person nourishes himself with the Lord!

The world does not understand the priceless gift that the Lord has given us, making himself truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. It does not understand this gift because every soul that is worthily nourished by the Most Holy Eucharist receives with it the formidable protection of Grace, grows in virtues, and progresses in holiness. Here on earth she takes confidence, so to speak, in the Divine Presence of God which makes her blessed in eternity. Holy Communion is the medicine against the plague of the world, because it restores in each soul the primacy of Our Lord over creatures, encouraging each soul to fight under the banner of the Cross. Pay attention to this: the solitude into which Satan pushes his victims is first of all distance from the Lord, abandonment or profanation of Holy Communion, and contempt for the Blessed Sacrament. And when this enormous void of the absence of God has been created in a soul that was created to be inhabited by Him, the surrogate, the superstition, and the ideology all reveal their fraud and show forth the deformed traits of the Enemy, who is envious of the privilege granted to us miserable mortals and denied to the Angels themselves. This is why it is important that our soul becomes an increasingly worthy tabernacle for the Lord; may it shine with simplicity and decorum, to allow itself to be reverberated by the divine splendor of the spotless Lamb.

Do not forget, dear brothers, to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. Do not fail to send your Guardian Angel to the Divine Prisoner of the tabernacle, so that he may render due adoration to Him on your behalf. Do not neglect to make thanksgiving after Holy Communion, because in those blessed moments your voice rises more acceptably to Heaven. If the voice is that of children, it moves the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord: teach them to ask Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to make them saints, and to confuse the plans of His (and our) enemies.

On this solemn feast, in which the Holy Church honors Her Lord by proclaiming Her unchanged Faith in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, we return to the foot of the altar, to Him who is and must be the center of everything. We recognize in Saint Paul’s warning, instaurare omnia in Christo (Eph 1:9), a call to recapitulate every aspect of our life in the Eucharistic King, quia te contemplans totum deficit, because only by contemplating Christ do we realize that without Him everything else it has no value. And so may it be.


+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop

June 2, 2024
Dominica infra Octavam Corporis Christi