Category Archives: Eucharist

The Eucharistic Theology of Pope Francis: Covenant and holiness for service and life

Breaking of the bread. Español: Fracción del p...

As the “new man” on the block I am trying to figure what the new Roman Pontiff’s taught prior to his move to Rome. In 2008, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio now Pope Francis, was invited to give a teaching on the Holy Eucharist to International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City, Canada. The title of his talk was “The Eucharist: Gift of God for the Life of the World.”

I would say that his controlling idea is based on the Aparecida document where it is written, “The Eucharist is the vital center of the universe, able to satisfy our hunger for life and happiness. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood in this happy banquet participates in eternal life, and thus our daily existence is transformed into an extension of the Mass.” He then develops the theme of the Eucharist as gift and mission in light of the Church’s enduring self-understanding as covenant. He appeals to tradition, some saints and the Mother of God to demonstrate that evangelization is about Eucharistic Presence, sacrifice, and communion. He argues in the key of communio theology.


Much of what we’ve heard in the last two weeks in his papal addresses and homilies given here.


The text: Bergoglio Eucharist Gift of God for the Life of the World.pdf

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Lauda Sion Salvatorem: Corpus Christi a Mysterical renunion

Corpus Christi procession.jpg

The feast of Corpus Christi has a rich fare to savor: prayers, Bible readings, music, and poetic texts. The point of the Church offering us this opportunity to honor the Eucharistic Presence is to extend in our lives a deeper grace given in Communion theology, to have a closer with the Lord in His promised hundredfold. It is, of course, a deepening in our lives what the Lord Himself did and gave to us on Holy Thursday with Eucharist and the priesthood.

The Sequence (the poetry which follows the second lesson at Mass and directly precedes the Alleluia verse), Lauda Sion Salvatorem, is ideally fitting for the sacred Liturgy. Google this masterpiece of poetry expressing theology in a way that stimulates prayer and deepens one’s faith.

The English priest Father Ronald Knox offers a perspective on what we’re doing in observing the great feast of the Lord’s Body and Blood. The following is taken from his meditation on Corpus Christi:

Like the Jewish Temple, the Christian altar is the rallying point of God’s people. The whole notion of Christian solidarity grows out of, and is centered in, the common participation of a common Table. The primitive Church in Jerusalem broke bread day be day from house to house; its stronghold of peace was not any local centre, but a common meal. Christian people, however separated by long distances of land or sea, still meet together in full force, by a mystical reunion, whenever and wherever the Bread is broken and the Cup blessed.

Corpus Christi 2012

Benedict before monstance June 7 2012.jpg

The observance of Corpus Christi, sometimes called Corpus Domini (The Body of the Lord). In places like Rome, the traditional day to observe this feast is Thursday, connecting with Holy Thursday. A portion of the Pope’s homily is noted below (the full text is here).


… the sacredness of the Eucharist. Also here we heard in the recent past of a certain misunderstanding of the authentic message of Sacred Scripture. The Christian novelty in regard to worship was influenced by a certain secularist mentality of the 60s and 70s of the past century. It is true, and it remains always valid, that the center of worship is now no longer in the rites and ancient sacrifices, but in Christ himself, in his person, in his life, in his paschal mystery. And yet, from this fundamental novelty it must not be concluded that the sacred no longer exists, but that it has found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, incarnate divine Love. The Letter to the Hebrews, which we heard this evening in the Second Reading, speaks to us precisely of the novelty of the priesthood of Christ, “high priest of the good things that have come” (Hebrews 9:11), but it does not say that the priesthood is finished. Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15), established in his blood, which purifies our “conscience from dead works” (Hebrews 9:14). He did not abolish the sacred, but brought it to fulfillment, inaugurating a new worship, which is, yes, fully spiritual but which however, so long as we are journeying in time, makes use again of signs and rites, of which there will be no need only at the end, in the heavenly Jerusalem, where there will no longer be a temple (cf. Revelation 21:22). Thanks to Christ, the sacred is more true, more intense and, as happens with the Commandments, also more exacting! Ritual observance is not enough, but what is required is the purification of the heart and the involvement of life.

Pope Benedict XVI

Corpus Christi at the Basilica of St. John Lateran

7 June 2012

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

BVM with St Peter Julian Eymard.jpgGracious God of our ancestors, You led Peter Julian Eymard, like Jacob in times past, on a journey of faith. Under the guidance of Your gentle Spirit, Peter Julian discovered the gift of love in the Eucharist which Your Son Jesus offered for the hungers of humanity. Grant that we may celebrate this mystery worthily, adore it profoundly, and proclaim it prophetically for Your greater glory. Amen.

Saint Peter Julian’s importance to us is identified when he was placed on the Roman liturgical calendar:
Font and fullness of all evangelization and striking expression of the infinite love of our divine Redeemer for mankind, the Holy Eucharist clearly marked the life and pastoral activity of Peter Julian Eymard. He truly deserves to be called an outstanding apostle of the Eucharist. In fact, his mission in the Church consisted in promoting the centrality of the Eucharistic Mystery in the whole life of the Christian community.
Decree of the Insertion of the Celebration of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest, in the General Roman Calendar, 1995.

Corpus Christi is God’s expression of love that doesn’t consume


Eucharist detail JvanWassenhove.jpg

It is only
because God himself is the eternal dialogue of love that he can speak and be
spoken to. Only because he himself is relationship can we relate to him; only
because he is love can he love and be loved in return. Only because he is
threefold can he be the grain of wheat which dies and the bread of eternal
life.

Ultimately, then, Corpus Christi is an expression of faith in God, in
love, in the fact that God is love. All that is said and done on Corpus Christi
is in fact a single variation on the theme of love, what it is and what it
does. In one of his Corpus Christi hymns Thomas Aquinas puts it beautifully:
love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives. And in giving it is
not used up but renews itself.

Since Corpus Christi is a confession of faith in
love, it is totally appropriate that the day should focus on the mystery of
transubstantiation. Love is transubstantiation, transformation. Corpus Christi
tells us
: Yes, there is such a thing as love, and therefore there is
transformation, therefore there is hope
. And hope gives us the strength to love
and face the world.

Perhaps it was good to have experienced doubts about the
meaning of celebrating Corpus Christi, for it has led us to the rediscovery of
a feast which, today, we need more than ever.

Pope Benedict XVI Benedictus

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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