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Monday, June 27, 2011

THE EUCHARIST, THE BEATING HEART OF THE CHURCH

VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2011 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today, Benedict XVI made some remarks about the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the "Feast of the Eucharist", which is being celebrated today in many countries around the world and which represents "the Church's most valuable treasure".

  The Pope explained how "the Eucharist is like a beating heart giving life to the mystical Body of the Church, which is a social organisation entirely founded on its spiritual yet tangible bond with Christ. ... Without the Eucharist the Church would simply cease to exist. In fact, it is the Eucharist which renders a human community a mystery of communion, capable of bringing God to the world and the world to God. The Holy Spirit, which transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, also transforms those who receive it with faith into limbs of Christ's Body, thus the Church truly is a Sacrament of men's unity, with God and with one another.

  "In an increasingly individualistic culture", Benedict XVI added, "such as that in which we live in western societies and which is tending to spread throughout the world, the Eucharist constitutes a kind of 'antidote', working on the hearts and minds of believers and continually infusing them with the logic of communion, service and sharing, the logic of the Gospel. The first Christians in Jerusalem were an evident sign of this new lifestyle because they lived in fraternity and shared all their worldly goods, so that no one should be left in want. ... In later generations too, the Church, despite human limitations and errors, has continued to be a force for communion in the world. We think particularly of the times of greatest difficulty, times of trial: for example, what could the chance of coming together at Sunday Mass have meant in countries ruled by totalitarian regimes? ... Yet the vacuum produced by false freedoms can be equally dangerous; thus communion with the Body of Christ is like a medicine for the mind and the will, helping us rediscover our taste for truth and for the common good".

  After the Marian prayer, the Holy Father turned his attention to last Saturday's beatification in the German city of Lubeck of Frs. Johannes Prassek, Eduard Muller and Hermann Lange, killed by the Nazis in Hamburg in 1943. He also mentioned today's beatification in Milan, Italy, of Fr. Serafino Morazzone, an "exemplary pastor" from the area of Lecco who lived between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Fr. Clemente Vismara, a "heroic missionary" of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in Burma, and Sr. Enrica Alfieri of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, known as the "angel" of the Milanese prison of San Vittore.

  "In Italy, this Sunday preceding the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, marks the Day of the Pope's Charity", said the Holy Father. "I wish to thank everyone who, with prayer and offerings, supports my apostolic and charitable activities".

  Finally the Pope had words of greeting for "all the people of Poland and, in particular, Polish bishops and faithful who are participating in celebrations to mark the 600th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral of Wroclawek".
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