(Editor’s note: The following remarks were originally delivered in Spanish at the forty-fifth International Eucharistic Congress, Seville, Spain, June 1993.)
Beloved priests, religious men and religious women, most beloved brothers and sisters, It is for me a motive of special joy to prostrate myself with you before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in an act of humble and fervent adoration, of praise to the merciful God, of thanksgiving to the Giver of all that is good, of supplication to Him Whom is always alive to intercede for us.
"Remain in Me and I in you" (John 15, 4). We have just finished listening in the evangelical reading on the allegory of the grapevine and the branches. How well is that page understood from the mystery of the living presence and life giving of Christ in the Eucharist!
Christ is the grapevine, planted in a chosen vineyard that is the People of God, the Church. Through the mystery of the Eucharistic Bread, the Lord can say to each one of us: "He who eats My Body and drinks My Blood lives in Me and I in him" (John 6, 56). His life flows through us just like the living sap of the grapevine flows through its branches so that they live and produce fruit. Without a Real union in Christ - in Whom we believe and on Whom we nourish ourselves - there can be no supernatural life in us nor can we bear fruit.
Perpetual Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament has been a connecting thread of all the acts of this International Eucharistic Congress. For this reason I express my congratulations and my gratefulness of those, who with so much pastoral dedication and apostolic zeal, have carried the responsibility of this Congress. In fact, Perpetual Adoration...has been an enriching feature and characteristic of this Congress. I hope that this form of Adoration, with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will continue into the future. Specifically, I hope that the fruit of this Congress results in the establishment of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world.
...Yes, beloved brothers and sisters, it is important that we live and teach how to live the total mysteries of the Eucharist: the Sacrament of Sacrifice, of the Banquet, and of the permanent Presence of Jesus Christ the Savior....the several forms of worship of the Most Holy Eucharist are an extension and at the same time a preparation for the Sacrifice of the Mass and Communion. Will it be necessary to insist again on the deep spiritual and theological motivations of worship to the Most Holy Sacrament outside of the celebration of the Mass? It is true that the reservation of the Sacrament was made, from the beginning, in order to be able to take Communion to the sick and to those absent from the celebration. But, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "for the deepening of the faith in the Real Presence of Christ in His Eucharist, the Church became aware of the meaning of the silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species" (n. 1379).
"Know that I am with you all days until the end of the world" (Matthew 28, 30). These are the words of Christ Resurrected before ascending into heaven on the day of His Ascension. Jesus Christ is indeed theEmmanuel, God-with-us, from His Incarnation until the end of time. He is in an especially intensive and close way in the mystery of His permanent presence in the Eucharist. What power, what consolation, what firm hope does the contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery produce. It is God-with-us that makes us participants of His life and launches us into the world to evangelize, to sanctify it.
...The Eucharist is indeed the "source and summit" of all evangelization (Presbyterorum Ordinis, n. 5); It is the horizon and goal of all the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. We are always guided toward the Eucharist by word of truth, by the proclamation of the message of salvation. Therefore, all liturgical celebration of the Eucharist, lived according to the spirit and the norms of the Church, has a great evangelizing force. In effect, the Eucharistic celebration develops an essential and effective pedagogy of the Christian mystery: the believing community is summoned and gathered as the family and People of God, Body of Christ; it is fed in the double table of the Word and of the Eucharistic sacrificial Banquet; it is sent as an instrument of salvation in the middle of the world. All this in praise and thanksgiving to the Father.
Pray with me to Jesus Christ, the Lord, Who died for our sins and resurrected for our salvation that...the whole Church will come out strengthened for the new evangelization that the entire world needs; new, also for the explicit and deep reference to the Eucharist, as the center and root of the Christian life, as a sowing and requirement of fraternity, of justice, of service to all men, beginning with those most in need in the bodies and spirits. Evangelization for the Eucharist, in the Eucharist and from the Eucharist - three inseparable aspects of how the church lives the mystery of Christ and fulfills its mission of communicating it to all men.
May God grant that through the intimacy with Christ in the Eucharist may emerge many vocations of apostles, of missionaries, to carry this gospel of salvation on to the ends of the world....Today the Church is demanding a new missionary talent, a vibrant spirit of evangelization, "new in its ardor, in its methods, and in its expressions."
"The hour is coming, and is here now, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4, 23), Jesus said to the Samaritan woman of Sicar. The adoration of the Eucharist "is the contemplation and recognition of the Real Presence of Christ, in the Sacred Species, outside of the celebration of the Mass...It is a real dialogical encounter by means of which...we open ourselves to the experience of God...it is equally a gesture of solidarity with the needs and with the needy of the entire world" (Document-base of the Congress, n. 25). This Eucharistic Adoration, by its own spiritual dynamic, must lead to the service of love and of justice for the faithful.
Before the real and mysterious presence of Christ in the Eucharist - a new "veiled" presence, since it is seen only with the eyes of faith - we understand the meaning the word of the Apostle John who knew so much of the love of Christ: "He who does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see" (1 John 4:20)....
I have the firm hope that the evangelizing zeal shall raise in Christians a sincere coherence between faith and life and shall lead to a greater commitment of justice and charity, to the promotion of some more equitable relationships among men and among peoples. From this congress must be born...a strengthening of the Christian life, on the basis of renewed education in Faith. How important it is, in the middle of the current environment progressively secularized, to promote renovation of the celebration of Sunday Eucharist and of Christian life on Sunday! The commemoration of the Resurrection of the Lord and the celebration of the Eucharist should fill Sunday with religious content that is truly humanizing.Rest from work on Sunday, caring of the family, cultivating spiritual values, and the participation in the life of the Christian community will contribute to making a better world, more rich in moral values, more solid and less consummative.
...That the Virgin Mary that in Seville and in this holy cathedral church is honored with the title of Our Lady of the Kings, impel us and guide us to meeting Her Son in the Eucharistic mystery. She who was the true Ark of the New Covenant, living Tabernacle of the Incarnate God, teach us to care with purity, humility, and fervent devotion Her Son, Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacle. She, who is the Star of Evangelization, support us in our pilgrimage of faith to carry the Light of Christ to all men, to all people. So be it.+
"With this apostolic trip I come to celebrate, above all, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Who gives Himself to us in the Eucharist as the expression Infinite Love, the mystery of our faith, the fountain of our Christian life..."from the Holy Father’s arrival talk at the San Pablo Airport
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