Angelus Message on Feast of Corpus Christi
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today's Solemnity of Corpus Domini, which in the Vatican and some other nations was already celebrated last Thursday, invites us to contemplate the supreme Mystery of our faith: the Most Blessed Sacrament, real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the altar.
Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic sacrifice, he repeats at Consecration: "This is my body...this is my Blood." He says it by lending his voice, his hands and his heart to Christ, who has wanted to stay with us and be the beating heart of the Church. But even after the celebration of the divine mysteries, the Lord Jesus remains living in the tabernacle - that is why we worship him specially in Eucharistic adoration, as I wished to recall in the recent post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis(cfr nn. 66-69). There is an intrinsic link between celebration and adoration. The Holy Mass is in itself the greatest act of adoration in the Church: "No one eats of this flesh," St. Augustine wrote, "unless he has adored it first"(Enarr. in Ps. 98,9: CCL XXXIX, 1385).
Adoration outside the Holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what has happened in the liturgical celebration and makes possible a true and profound welcome to Christ. Today therefore, in all the Christian communities, there will be a Eucharistic procession, a singular form of public adoration of the Eucharist, which is enriched by beautiful traditional manifestations of popular devotion. I wish to take the occasion of today's solemnity to recommend sincerely to the pastors and to all the faithful the practice of Eucharistic adoration.
I express my appreciation to the Institutes of Consecrated Life, as well as to the associations and confraternities which are specially dedicated to the practice: they offer to all a reminder of the centrality of Christ in our personal and ecclesial life. I am very glad to see that many young people are discovering the beauty of adoration, be it personal or communal.
I invite the priests to encourage youth groups in this respect, but also to see that the forms of community adoration are always appropriate and dignified, with adequate spaces of silence and of listening to the Word of God. In today's life, which is often noisy and disorganized, it is more than ever important to recover the capacity for interior silence and meditation: Eucharistic adoration allows doing this not only around one's "I" but in company with that "You" full of love who is Jesus Christ, "the God close to us."
May the Virgin Mary, lady of the Eucharist, introduce us to the secret of true adoration. Her heart, humble and simple, was always absorbed in the mystery of Jesus, in which she worshipped the presence of God and His redeeming love. Through her intercession, may faith in the Eucharistic mystery, the joy of participating in the Holy Mass, especially on Sundays, and the impulse to bear witness to Christ's immense charity grow in all the Church.
After the Angelus, he said some special words in behalf of people who have been kidnapped: I frequently receive, unfortunately, requests in behalf of persons, among them Catholic priests, who are held in captivity for different reasons in various parts of the world. I have them all in my heart and in my prayers, and I think today, among other cases, of those held hostage in Colombia. I address my heartfelt appeal to the authors of these execrable acts so that they may become aware of the harm that they do and that they may return those they now hold captive to their loved ones as soon as possible. I entrust the victims to the maternal protection of the Most Blessed Mary, mother of all men.
In English, he said: I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who have gathered here for the Angelus. On this day, many are celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Most Holy Eucharist. We give thanks to God for the great gift of the Eucharist, the sacred banquet in which we receive Christ. We remember his sufferings, our minds are filled with his grace and we receive a pledge of the glory that is to be ours. I pray that all of you may grow in love for the Lord through the great sacrament of his Body and Blood. May God bless you all.
Papa Ratzi Forum