Skip to content

Father Cantalamessa Explains Why Frequent Communion

2nd Lenten Sermon at Vatican

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 5, 2005 (Zenit) - Becoming one with Christ is an effect of receiving Communion, and the reason behind exhorting its frequent reception, said the Papal Household preacher in a Lenten meditation.

Reflecting today on the fifth stanza of the Eucharistic hymn "Adoro Te Devote," Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa led the second in a series of meditations, held in the Vatican on Fridays during Lent.

John Paul II, who has been hospitalized for the past eight days, was unable to participate in the meditation.

Father Cantalamessa's sermon, held in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, was attended by members of the Roman Curia and other cardinals, bishops and religious close to the Vatican.

The fifth stanza - "Memorial of the Lord's death! / Living bread that gives life to man / grant that my soul live from you / and that it always taste your sweetness" -- is theologically the "most profound of the whole hymn," said Father Cantalamessa.

The Eucharist is the "presence of the incarnation and memorial of Easter," he added.

"The Pauline perspective emphasizes the idea of sacrifice and immolation, making the Eucharist the proclamation of the Lord's death and the fulfillment of Easter," said Father Cantalamessa.

Examples in the writing of Paul include: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26); and "For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

"The Johannine perspective emphasizes the idea of the Eucharist as banquet and communion: 'For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink' (John 6:55)," he said.

"One explains the Eucharist from the paschal mystery, the other from the incarnation; if in fact Christ's flesh gives life to the world it is because 'the Word became flesh' (John 1:14). The two dimensions of the Eucharist -- as sacrifice and sacrament -- are reconciled, which are not always easy to keep together," said the preacher.

The two views of the Eucharist, the Pauline -- "centered on the paschal mystery" -- and the Johannine -- "centered on the incarnation of the Word" -- "gave rise since antiquity to two different and complementary Eucharistic theologies and spiritualities: the Alexandrian and the Antiochian," said Father Cantalamessa.

"The Alexandrian view of the Eucharist is closely connected with a certain way of understanding the incarnation," he said.

Father Cantalamessa continued by saying that the Gospel of John does "not say that he was made in the flesh, but, repeatedly, that he became flesh, to show his union ... So that whoever eats the sacred flesh of Christ has eternal life: the flesh has, in fact, in itself the Word, which is life by nature."

"Here everything assumes an extremely concrete and realistic character. Whoever eats the flesh and drinks the blood of Christ is united and merged in him, as wax united to wax. As leaven makes the whole dough rise, so a small portion of Eucharistic bread fills all our body with divine energy. He is in us and we in him, as leaven in the dough and dough in the leaven. Thanks to the Eucharist we make ourselves 'corporeal' with Christ," said Father Cantalamessa.

"The practical consequence of all this is an urgent exhortation to frequent Communion," stressed the papal preacher.

From the Johannine view we can appreciate "other elements which have become of great importance," such as "the emphasis on service" as highlighted by the washing of the feet in the Gospel of John.

Father Cantalamessa said that John's Gospel also underlines "the role of the Father in the Eucharist." "'It was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven,' (John 6:32) Jesus said to the Jews."

In the Antiochian perspective, the Eucharist is presented "in its aspect of sacrifice, as memorial of an event, the death and resurrection of Christ," said Father Cantalamessa. "Everything is centered on the paschal mystery."

"We today can also complete and actualize this second patristic view of the Eucharist in the light of the doctrine of the Mystical Body and of the universal priesthood of all the baptized," said Father Cantalamessa.

Finally, the prayerful conclusion of this stanza, "as simple as it is profound" -- "grant that my soul live from you" -- encloses for its part a "causal and final value," both of "provenance as well as destiny," he said.

"It means that whoever eats the body of Christ lives 'from' him, namely, because of him, on the strength of the life that comes from him," but also lives "in view of him, because of his glory, love and kingdom."

The last verse makes us want to "taste the sweetness" of Christ. "The Eucharist has always been one of the privileged places of mystical experience," said Father Cantalamessa.

The best summary of "this sweetness" is in the liturgy of the feast of Corpus Domini: "How good, Lord, is your spirit! To show thy tenderness to your children, you have given them a delicious bread brought down from heaven, which fills the hungry with good things and leaves the weary rich empty."


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



Communion, Mass, Lent, Sermon, Church, Cantalamessa, Eucharist

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.