I never associated tripping with the feast of Corpus Christi. But this concept unexpectedly was a leitmotif of my Corpus Christi this year.
It wasn’t that I tripped over my cassock or experienced any epic failure as an acolyte. I had the grace of being able to attend the Mass and Eucharistic procession in Bolsena, Italy, along with 50 fellow brothers. Bolsena is the site of the 1263 Eucharistic miracle that became the motivation for the official institution of the feast of Corpus Christi a year later. You could say this is THE Corpus Christi procession. The townspeople decorate the streets with mosaics made from flower pedals. The streets of that mountain town overlooking a calm lake come alive with the color and beauty of the flower, that delicate creature that speaks volumes of the tender love of the Father to his children, who have lovingly arranged them in anticipation of his passing through truly present in the Eucharist that evening. A very moving experience to process through this beauty in the company of Jesus. We all watched our step very carefully to not trip on those magnificent yet delicate mosaics.
But when the Bishop Benedict of Bolsena greeted us at the beginning of the Mass, I had to sheepishly pull out my Kindle dictionary to look up an Italian word he kept mentioning. Was he really saying “trip over the Eucharist”? Yes, he was.
He is a wise man. His point was we so easily pass over this silent, faithful, total love of our most humble God in this sacrament. We either ignore him or rush by as a mere duty of belonging to the Church. We fail to see the Gift! The bishop was inviting us to stop, to trip, to bow down in front of our Eucharistic Lord to appreciate just what this gift means. May we all learn to slow down, stop, and savor more this unfathomable gift we have, this Companion for the journey, Our Lord at our side.