Skip to main content

On the Eucharist

"It Nourishes That Profound Joy in Believers"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 19, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peterís Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

I have just returned from the Juvenile Detention Center in the Casal di Marmo in Rome. I went there to visit on this Fourth Sunday of Lent, which we call in Latin "Laetare" (rejoice) from the first word of the entrance antiphon of the liturgy of today's Mass.

Today the liturgy invites us to rejoice because Easter is drawing near, the day of Christ's victory over sin and death. But where do we find the source of Christian joy if not in the Eucharist, which Christ has left us as spiritual food while we are pilgrims on earth? In every age the Eucharist nourishes that profound joy in believers that makes us all one with love and with peace. This joy has its origin in our communion with God and with our brothers.

Last Tuesday the postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" was presented. This document has as its theme the Eucharist as source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. I elaborated this theme, gathering the fruits of the 11th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that took place in the Vatican in October 2005.

I plan to return to such an important text but at the moment I would like to underline that it is an expression of the faith of the universal Church in the eucharistic mystery, and that it places itself in continuity with the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II.

In this document I wanted, among other things, to highlight its connection with the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est": That is why I chose "Sacramentum Caritatis" as the title, retrieving St. Thomas Aquinas' beautiful definition of the Eucharist (cf. Summa Theologiae III, q. 73, a. 3, ad 3), "sacrament of charity."

Yes, in the Eucharist, Christ wanted to give to us his love, which led him to offer his life for us on the cross.

During the Last Supper, washing the disciples' feet, Jesus left us the commandment of love: "Love one another as I have loved you," (John 13:34). But because this is possible only so long as we remain united with him, as branches of the vine (John 15:1-8), he chose to stay with us in the Eucharist, and this is what makes it possible for us to remain in him.

Therefore, when we nourish ourselves in faith with his body and his blood, his love passes into us and renders us able in turn to give our lives for the brethren (cf. 1 John 3:16). From here flows Christian joy, the joy of love.

The "eucharistic woman" par excellence is Mary, the masterpiece of divine grace: God's love made her immaculate and "in his presence in charity" (Ephesians 1:4). God placed St. Joseph -- whose liturgical solemnity we will celebrate tomorrow -- by her side, to guide the Redeemer.

I particularly invoke this great saint so that believing, celebrating, and living with faith the Eucharistic mystery, the people of God will be pervaded by the love of Christ and will spread the fruits of joy and peace through all humanity.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English he said:]

I extend warm greetings to all the English-speaking pilgrims gathered for today's Angelus. Continuing our journey towards the Paschal feast, we are reminded in this Sunday's Gospel of the heavenly Father's boundless love. May the riches of his infinite mercy fill you with peace and joy this Lenten season. Upon you and your families I invoke God's abundant blessings.

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Catholic Online  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Eucharist, Pope, Benedict, Angelus, Address, Jesus

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; it is God's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 13 Saint of the Day

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and ... Read More