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On Holiness and the Blessed Sacrament

"The Priests Who Are in Love With the Eucharist"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 20, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before he prayed the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered at the papal summer residence.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters:

As the Year of the Eucharist comes to an end, I would like to take up again a particularly important topic, one which was dear to the heart of my predecessor, Pope John Paul II: the relationship between holiness, the path and destination of the Church and of every Christian, and the Eucharist.

In particular, my words today are directed to priests in order to underline that in the Eucharist is precisely the secret to their sanctification. In virtue of holy orders, the priest receives the gift and the commitment to repeat sacramentally the gestures and words with which Jesus, in the Last Supper, instituted the memorial of his Pasch.

In his hands this great miracle of love is renewed, from which he is called to convert himself into witness and herald, every day more faithful ("Mane Nobiscum Domine," No. 30).

For this reason the priest must be, before all else, one who adores and contemplates the Eucharist, from the moment he celebrates the sacrament.

We know well that the validity of the sacrament does not depend on the holiness of the celebrant, but the effectiveness of the sacrament for him and for others would be greater in the measure that he lives with a profound faith, an ardent love and a fervent spirit of prayer.

During the year, the liturgy presents us as examples holy ministers of the altar, which from daily intimacy with Christ in the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist, have found the strength to imitate him.

A few days ago we celebrated the feast of St. John Chrysostom, patriarch of Constantinople at the end of the fourth century. It was said that he had a "golden mouth" due to his extraordinary eloquence, but he was also called a "Eucharistic doctor" for the magnitude and profundity of his doctrine on the Blessed Sacrament.

The Divine Liturgy, which is more celebrated in Eastern Churches [and] carries his name and his motto -- "A man full of zeal is enough to transform an entire people" -- demonstrates the effectiveness of the action of Christ through his sacraments.

In our time, the figure of St. Pio of Pietrelcina stands out, whom we will remember next Friday. Celebrating the holy Mass, he relived with such fervor the mystery of Calvary and the faith and devotion of all. Even the stigmata that God gave to him were expressions of his intimate conformity with Jesus crucified.

Thinking of the priests who are in love with the Eucharist, it is not possible to forget St. John Mary Vianney, humble parish priest of Ars in the time of the French Revolution. With a holy life and pastoral zeal he managed to make the small town of Ars into a model Christian community animated by the Word of God and the sacraments.

We will direct ourselves now to Mary, praying in a special way for all priests of the world so that they take from this Year of the Eucharist the fruit of renewed love for the sacrament that they celebrate.

May they, through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God, be able to always live and give testimony to the mystery that has been place in their hands for the salvation of the world.

[The Pope then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I extend a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Angelus. May your time here at Castel Gandolfo and your stay in Rome be filled with joy and deepen your love of the universal Church. I wish you a happy and blessed Sunday!


The Vatican , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000



Eucharist, Pope, Benedict, Angelus

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