Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Eucharistic Treasure

At midday Sunday, before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI recalled that today, "in Italy and in other countries, marks the Solemnity of Corpus Christi."

Corpus Christi, the Pope explained, "is the solemn public feast of the Eucharist, Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, ... which on this day is shown to everyone, amid the fervor of faith and devotion of the ecclesial community.

"The Eucharist," he added, "constitutes the 'treasure' of the Church, the precious heritage that her Lord left her. ... But this treasure, which is intended for the baptized, does not limit its field of action to the environment of the Church. The Eucharist is the Lord Jesus Who gives Himself 'for the life of the world.' In all times and places, He wishes to encounter men and women and bring them the life of God."

"The Eucharist also has a cosmic significance," the Pope went on. "Indeed, the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ constitutes the beginning of the divinization of creation itself. For this reason, the Feast of Corpus Christi is particularly characterized by the tradition of carrying the Most Holy Sacrament in procession: a gesture rich in significance.

"In carrying the Eucharist through the streets and squares," the Holy Father concluded, "we want to immerse the bread of heaven in our daily lives. ... On this feast day, Christians as a community proclaim that the Eucharist represents everything for them, it is their very life, the source of love that conquers death."

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