In 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the Papal Bull Transiturus de Hoc Mundo, promulgating to the Latin Rite the Solemn Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, to be celebrated on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Around this same time, Rudolf the eighth Count of Hapsburg aided and protected a priest bringing the Viaticum to a dying farmer, giving the priest his horse and guiding him across a raging torrent, walking bareheaded. The priest then prophesied that the humble Count and his descendents would receive the Imperium of the Holy Roman Empire.
This veneration of the Holy Eucharist was continued by all the descendants of the Noble House, and the Feast of Corpus Christi in the Hapsburg realms became second only to the Solemn Feasts of Easter and Christmas. The Family indeed owed all to Rudolf’s great devotion to the Holy Eucharist, and the special Eucharist blessing bestowed on him, thus it was most fitting that the Feast of Christ’s Body should become the greatest feast of the Empire. So long as the Family remained devoted to the Cross and the Eucharist, God would bless and protect them (and He still does, even though they have been cast from the throne).
First in the great procession in the Imperial City of Vienna came three priests in splendid vestments like heralds to the city. Then came the Court officials in full Court dress, and the Court Clergy vested in gold and white vestments, followed by dignitaries of every rank. Before the gilded canopy marched the Archdukes of the House, carrying candles, and the acolytes carrying forward the Cross, the golden banners swaying in the wind, the swinging thuribles sending into the air clouds of incense, and the ever ringing bells. The great canopy itself was carried by four noble chamberlains in Imperial livery, upheld over the Hofburg Parish Priest who held up in benediction the golden Monstrance with radiating rays like the sun, in which resided the truly present Most Sacred Body of the Son of God, while the Emperor of Christendom walked behind bareheaded and flanked by the Imperial Guard, humbly worshiping his Divine King.
In the Sacred Ages (Middle Ages), men once believed that the eagle renewed his youth by immolating himself in the sun. Only by unwavering to devotion to the Most Precious and Truly Present Body and Blood of Son of God will the Holy Roman Empire (aptly symbolized by an eagle) be restored.
May God bless and grant you a Holy Feast of Corpus Christi!
Or if you have already celebrated the holy feast, may God grant that the graces you have received by celebrating the feast remain with you throughout the year!