The Beating Heart of the Church

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The Church has a beating Heart: the Eucharistic Heart of Christ. This is what Pope Benedict XVI said in today's Angelus address:

“Today’s solemnity of Corpus Christi, which was celebrated last Thursday in the Vatican and in other countries, invites us to contemplate the supreme Mystery of our faith: the Most Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the altar. Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in the prayer of consecration he repeats: ‘This is my Body…this is my Blood.’ He lends his voice, his hands, and his heart to Christ, who wanted to remain with us in order to be the beating Heart of the Church.

But even after the Celebration of the Divine Mysteries the Lord Jesus remains present in the tabernacle. For this reason praise is rendered to Him especially through Eucharistic Adoration, as I sought to remind everyone in the recent Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (see nos. 66-69) following the Synod on this topic. In fact, there is an intrinsic connection between celebration and adoration. The Holy Mass is in itself already the greatest act of adoration on the part of the Church. ‘No one eats this flesh,’ St. Augustine wrote, ‘unless he has first adored it’ (Com. on Psalms 98,9; CCL XXXIX, 1385). Adoration apart from the Holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what has taken place in the liturgical celebration, and makes it possible to receive Christ in a real and profound way.”

I was especially touched by the Holy Father's description of the priest lending his voice, his hands, and his heart to Christ. It is through His priests that Christ, who desires with a great desire to abide with us, is the beating Heart of the Church in the Eucharist.

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Pope Pius XI composed the familiar Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart: “Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee. Grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.? To which we may add: the wretchedness which follows on losing the Mass and the hunger which can only be satisfied by Holy Communion!

The Act of Consecration to which Fr. Gregory refers was that used by Leo XIII for the Consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 9 June 1899. Pope Pius XI composed an Act of Reparation which was published at the end of his Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor and mandated for recitation on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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