Holy Eucharist: June 2010 Archives

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The Holy Father Teaches

The Holy Father's June 17th address to the Convention of the Diocese of Rome on the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist and the celebration of Sunday is a model of pastoral catechesis for every bishop of the Church. Catholics, the world over, are hungry for precisely this kind of clear teaching. Even if bishops and parish priests may not, themselves, be capable of offering teaching of this quality, they can certainly transmit the discourse of the Holy Father to the faithful. Pope Benedict XVI facilitates the mandate to teach that is incumbent upon every bishop and parish priest. Not only does he provides a model of effective teaching; he makes available to all the content of his own tireless transmission of the faith. My own commentary is in italics.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Psalm says: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1). It really is like this: it is a profound motive of joy for me to meet again with you and share the great good that the parishes and the other ecclesial realities of Rome have realized in this pastoral year. I greet with fraternal affection the cardinal vicar and I thank him for the courteous words he addressed to me and for the diligence he dedicates daily to the governance of the diocese, in supporting priests and the parish communities. I greet the auxiliary bishops, the entire presbyterate and each one of you. I address a cordial thought to all those who are sick and in particular difficulties, assuring them of my prayer.

As Cardinal Vallini recalled, we are engaged, since last year, in the verification of ordinary pastoral care. This evening we will reflect on two points of primary importance: "Sunday Eucharist and Testimony of Charity." I am aware of the great work that the parishes, the associations and the movements have realized, through meetings of formation and encounter, to deepen and live better these two fundamental components of the life and the mission of the Church and of every individual believer. This has also fostered that pastoral responsibility that, in the diversity of ministries and charisms, must be diffused ever more if we really want the Gospel to reach the heart of every inhabitant of Rome. So much has been done, and we thank the Lord; but still much remains to be done, always with his help.

Doctrine

Faith can never be presupposed, because every generation needs to receive this gift through the proclamation of the Gospel and to know the truth that Christ has revealed to us. The Church, therefore, is always engaged in proposing to all the deposit of the faith; contained in it also is the doctrine on the Eucharist -- central mystery in which "is enclosed all the spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ himself, our Pasch" (Presbyterorum Ordinis, No. 5) -- doctrine that today, unfortunately, is not sufficiently understood in its profound value and in its relevance for the existence of believers. Because of this, it is important that a more profound knowledge of the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord be seen as an exigency of the different communities of our diocese of Rome. At the same time, in the missionary spirit that we wish to nourish, it is necessary to spread the commitment to proclaim such Eucharistic faith, so that every man will encounter Jesus Christ who has revealed the "close" God, friend of humanity, and to witness it with an eloquent life of charity.

Yes, faith can never be presupposed. The embers of faith that glow beneath the ashes of a burned out secular culture need to be fanned into a great flame capable of filling the Church with fire and with light. The Holy Father speaks clearly of doctrine, a word that is rarely heard in today's pastoral discourses and in homilies. In particular, the Church's unchanged, unchanging, and unchangeable doctrine concerning the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord must be taught again, at every level, with clarity and with the authority of Christ Himself.

The crucified Christ
revealed the face of God.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

In all his public life, through the preaching of the Gospel and miraculous signs, Jesus proclaimed the goodness and mercy of the Father towards man. This mission reached its culmination on Golgotha, where the crucified Christ revealed the face of God, so that man, contemplating the Cross, be able to recognize the fullness of love (cf. Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, No. 12). The sacrifice of Calvary is mysteriously anticipated in the Last Supper, when Jesus, sharing with the Twelve the bread and wine, transforms them into his body and his blood, which shortly after he would offer as immolated Lamb. The Eucharist is the memorial of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, of his love to the end for each one of us, memorial that He willed to entrust to the Church so that it would be celebrated throughout the centuries. According to the meaning of the Hebrew word "zakar," the "memorial" is not simply the memory of something that happened in the past, but a celebration which actualizes that event, so as to reproduce its salvific force and efficacy. Thus, "the sacrifice that Christ offered to the Father, once and for all, on the Cross in favor of humanity, is rendered present and actual" (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 280). Dear brothers and sisters, in our time the word sacrifice is not liked, rather it seems to belong to other times and to another way of understanding life. However, properly understood, it is and remains fundamental, because it reveals to us with what love God loves us in Christ.

To recapitulate the Holy Father's teaching: The face of the Father, upon which we can "read" the secrets of His Heart is revealed on the suffering Face of the Crucified in the hour of His sacrifice. That same sacrifice, offered on Calvary in a bloody manner, was anticipated in a sacramental manner at the Last Supper, and is actualized in the same sacramental and unbloody manner so often as as Holy Mass is offered. Sacrifice is not a popular word, even in today's "theological culture." It is, however, integral, to a Catholic understanding of the Mass. It must become, once again, part of every Catholic's working theological vocabulary. For this to happen, the doctrine of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass must become a key theme in catechesis and in preaching.

Catechesis and preaching, however, are insufficient by themselves. The entire "ars celebrandi" must be corrected and reformed so as to more clearly manifest the sacrificial character of the Mass. This means, before anything else, the restoration of the eastward position ("versus Deum") of priest and people together for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Nothing has done more to erode the understanding of the Mass as a sacrifice by both priests and lay faithful than the nearly universal trend of the Liturgy of the Eucharist "versus populum." Who will have the courage to catechize the faithfully clearly and patiently in preparation for this necessary step in the re-Catholicization of the "ars celebrandi"? Why are priests so invested in preserving a trend that, for the last forty years, has resulted in a weakening of the faith, in the loss of reverence, and in a downward spiral from "latria" into performance?

Recognize in the bread
that same body that hung on the cross,
and in the chalice
that same blood that gushed from his side.
(Saint Augustine)

Transubstantiation

In the offering that Jesus makes of himself we find all the novelty of Christian worship. In ancient times men offered in sacrifice to the divinity the animals or first fruits of the earth. Jesus, instead, offers himself, his body and his whole existence: He himself in person becomes the sacrifice that the liturgy offers in the Holy Mass. In fact, with the consecration of the bread and wine they become his true body and blood. Saint Augustine invited his faithful not to pause on what appeared to their sight, but to go beyond: "Recognize in the bread -- he said -- that same body that hung on the cross, and in the chalice that same blood that gushed from his side" (Disc. 228 B, 2). To explain this transformation, theology has coined the word "transubstantiation," word that resounded for the first time in this Basilica during the IV Lateran Council, of which in five years will be the 8th centenary. On that occasion the following expressions were inserted in the profession of faith: "his body and his blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar, under the species of bread and wine, because the bread is transubstantiated into the body, and the wine into the blood by divine power" (DS, 802). Therefore, it is essential to stress, in the itineraries of education of children in the faith, of adolescents and of young people, as well as in "centers of listening" to the Word of God, that in the sacrament of the Eucharist Christ is truly, really and substantially present.

The key word in this section of the Holy Father's teaching is transubstantiation: another word that has been effectively erased from catechetical discourse and preaching. The meaning and truth of transubstantiation must, once again, be taught regularly, clearly and with authority. Pope Paul VI's valiant attempt at shoring up a crumbling faith in the Most Holy Eucharist by the promulgation of his now almost forgotten "Credo of the People of God" was, in rather bleak way, prophetic:

Sacrifice of Calvary
24. We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence.
Transubstantiation
25. Christ cannot be thus present in this sacrament except by the change into His body of the reality itself of the bread and the change into His blood of the reality itself of the wine, leaving unchanged only the properties of the bread and wine which our senses perceive. This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church transubstantiation. Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable body and blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine, as the Lord willed it, in order to give Himself to us as food and to associate us with the unity of His Mystical Body.
26. The unique and indivisible existence of the Lord glorious in heaven is not multiplied, but is rendered present by the sacrament in the many places on earth where Mass is celebrated. And this existence remains present, after the sacrifice, in the Blessed Sacrament which is, in the tabernacle, the living heart of each of our churches. And it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore in the blessed Host which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word whom they cannot see, and who, without leaving heaven, is made present before us.

The Rightness of the Rubrics

The Holy Mass, celebrated in the respect of the liturgical norms and with a fitting appreciation of the richness of the signs and gestures, fosters and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith. In the Eucharistic celebration we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. This universal openness, this encounter with all the sons and daughters of God is the grandeur of the Eucharist: we go to meet the reality of God present in the body and blood of the Risen One among us. Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely this reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle "lex orandi - lex credendi." And because of this we can say "the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself well celebrated" (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis," No. 64).

It is time to pursue a renewed appreciation for the intrinsically theological value of liturgical rubrics. As I often say in lecturing, "Squeeze a rubric, and theology spurts out of it!" The multiplication of options in the New Order of the Mass has created a situation in which celebrants, faced with options A, B, C, and D, readily (and not altogether unreasonably) assume that they can invent options E, F, and G. Thus do we find ourselves grappling with liturgical formulae and actions that are subjective, personal, and without any roots in sacred tradition. This personal manipulation of the lex orandi leads willy-nilly to the corruption of the lex credendi, and to a lex vivendi characterized by relativism.

It is necessary that in the liturgy the transcendent dimension emerge with clarity, that of the mystery, of the encounter with the Divine, which also illumines and elevates the "horizontal," that is the bond of communion and of solidarity that exists between all those who belong to the Church. In fact, when the latter prevails, the beauty, profundity and importance of the mystery celebrated is fully understood. Dear brothers in the priesthood, to you the bishop has entrusted, on the day of your priestly Ordination, the task to preside over the Eucharist. Always have at heart the exercise of this mission: celebrate the divine mysteries with intense interior participation, so that the men and women of our City can be sanctified, put into contact with God, absolute truth and eternal love.

It is precisely this clear and luminously transcendent dimension of the liturgy that is absent from the greater number of Sunday (and weekday) celebrations of Holy Mass in parishes across the United States and around the world. The multiple options of the New Order of the Mass, codified with the best intentions in the GIRM, have fomented a state of confusion (not clarity) and have fostered a shrinking of the mystery into the small "here and now" of any given celebrant and group of the faithful. One has only to reflect on the complete ineffectiveness of the directives concerning the Proper Chants of the Mass, to see how a minimalistic interpretation of liturgical law has come to prevail in practice, thus doing violence to elements constitutive of the architecture of the Mass itself.

Sunday

And let us also keep present that the Eucharist, joined to the cross and resurrection of the Lord, has dictated a new structure to our time. The Risen One was manifested the day after Saturday, the first day of the week, day of the sun and of creation. From the beginning Christians have celebrated their encounter with the Risen One, the Eucharist, on this first day, on this new day of the true sun of history, the Risen Christ. And thus time always begins again with the encounter with the Risen One and this encounter gives content and strength to everyday life. Because of this, it is very important for us Christians, to follow this new rhythm of time, to meet with the Risen One on Sunday and thus "to take" with us his presence, which transforms us and transforms our time.

A number of factors have contributed to a loss of the uniqueness of Sunday in Catholic life. Who, among our bishops, will have the courage to reexamine critically the now universally accepted Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday evening? Is this not, in most parishes, the preferred Mass of those who want to have their Sunday free for other pursuits? How has this affected the time available for confessions? Was not the original intention of the Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday evening to provide those engaged in public service and obliged to work on Sunday with an opportunity to fulfill the Sunday obligation, to be nourished by the Word of God, and by the adorable mysteries of Christ's Body and Blood? Is it not time to reiterate this original intention and to emphasize the traditional encounter with the Risen Christ on Sunday morning?

Eucharistic Adoration

Moreover, I invite all to rediscover the fecundity of Eucharistic adoration: before the Most Holy Sacrament we experience in an altogether particular way that "abiding" of Jesus, which He himself, in the Gospel of John, posits as necessary condition to bear much fruit (cf. John 15:5) and to avoid our apostolic action being reduced to sterile activism, but that instead it be testimony of the love of God.

The fecundity of Eucharistic adoration: what a marvelous expression! Eucharistic adoration is a privileged of way of abiding in the love of Jesus Christ, in the radiance of His Face, and close to His Open Heart. It is the perennial antidote to the sterile activism that exhausts so many workers in the vineyard of the Lord.

The Eucharist Makes the Church

Communion with Christ is always communion also with his body, which is the Church, as the Apostle Paul reminds, saying: "The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Corinthians:16-17). It is, in fact, the Eucharist that transforms a simple group of persons into ecclesial community: the Eucharist makes the Church. Therefore, it is fundamental that the celebration of the Holy Mass be effectively the culmination, the "bearing structure" of the life of every parish community.

Better Care of the Preparation and Celebration of the Eucharist

I exhort all to take better care, also through apposite liturgical groups, of the preparation and celebration of the Eucharist, so that all who participate can encounter the Lord. It is the Risen Christ, who renders himself present in our today and gathers us around himself. Feeding on Him we are freed from the bonds of individualism and, through communion with Him, we ourselves become, together, one thing, his mystical Body. Thus the differences are surmounted due to profession, to class, to nationality so that we discover ourselves members of one great family, that of the children of God, in which to each is given a particular grace for common usefulness. The world and men do not have need of a another social aggregation, but have need of the Church, which is in Christ as a sacrament, "which is sign and instrument of the profound union with God and of the unity of the whole human race" (Lumen Gentium, No. 1), called to make the light of the Risen Lord shine on all people.

Communion of Blood with Jesus

Jesus came to reveal to us the love of the Father, because "man cannot live without love" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Hominis, No. 10). Love is, in fact, the fundamental experience of every human being, what has given meaning to daily living. Nourished by the Eucharist we also, following the example of Christ, live for Him, to be witnesses of love. Receiving the Sacrament, we enter into communion of blood with Jesus Christ. In the Hebrew conception, blood indicates life; thus we can say that being nourished by the Body of Christ we receive the life of God and learn to look at reality with his eyes, abandoning the logic of the world to follow the divine logic of gift and gratuitousness.

Reception of the Most Holy Sacrament establishes us in a communion of blood -- a supernatural kinship of blood -- with Jesus. Thus do we become sons in the Son. The life of the Father is communicated to us through the Body and Blood of the Son, made present by the words of consecration and by the action of the Holy Spirit. Every Holy Communion is transforming. Every Holy Communion marks another step in conversion of life, another surrender to what the Holy Father calls "the divine logic of gift and gratuitousness."

The Social Impact of Supernatural Charity

St. Augustine recalls that during a vision he thought he heard the voice of the Lord who said to him: "I am the nourishment of adults. Grow up, and you will eat me, without, because of this, my being transformed into you, as the nutriment of your flesh; but you are transformed into me" (cf. Confessions VII, 10, 16). When we receive Christ, the love of God expands in our innermost self, modifies our heart radically and makes us capable of gestures that, by the expansive force of good, can transform the life of those that are next to us. Charity is able to generate an authentic and permanent change of society, acting in the hearts and minds of men, and when it is lived in truth "it is the principal propelling force for the true development of every person and of the whole of humanity" (Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, 1). For the disciples of Jesus, the testimony of charity is not a passing sentiment, but on the contrary it is what molds life in every circumstance. I encourage all, in particular the Caritas and Deacons, to be committed in the delicate and essential field of education to charity, as permanent dimension of personal and community life.

Catholics have always believed in the "expansive force of good." One who lives from the Most Holy Eucharist, that is from a sacramental infusion of charity, becomes an agent of charity and a servant of the merciful designs of God for individuals and for the world.

Rome: This City of Ours

This City of ours asks of Christ's disciples, with a renewed proclamation of the Gospel, a clearer and more limpid testimony of charity. It is with the language of love, desirous of the integral good of man, that the Church speaks to the inhabitants of Rome. In these years of my ministry as your Bishop, I have been able to visit several places where charity is lived intensely. I am grateful to all those who are engaged in the different charitable structures, for the dedication and generosity with which they serve the poor and the marginalized. The needs and poverty of so many men and women interpellate us profoundly: it is Christ himself who every day, in the poor, asks us to assuage his hunger and thirst, to visit him in hospitals and prisons, to accept and dress him. A celebrated Eucharist imposes on us and at the same time renders us capable of becoming, in our turn, bread broken for brothers, coming to meet their needs and giving ourselves. Because of this, a Eucharistic celebration that does not lead to meet men where they live, work and suffer, to take to them the love of God, does not manifest the love it encloses.

Sacrificial Oblation

To be faithful to the mystery that is celebrated on the altars we must, as the Apostle Paul exhorts us, offer our bodies, ourselves, in spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God (cf. Romans 12:1) in those circumstances that require dying to our I and constitute our daily "altar." Gestures of sharing create communion, renew the fabric of interpersonal relations, marking them with gratuitousness and gift, and allowing for the construction of the civilization of love. In a time such as the present of economic and social crisis, let us be in solidarity with those who live in indigence to offer all the hope of a better tomorrow worthy of man. If we really live as disciples of the God-Charity, we will help the inhabitants of Rome to discover themselves brothers and children of the one Father.

Here, the Holy Father speaks of the essence of "actual participation" in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: union with Christ the Victim, and the abandonment of ourselves into the hands of Christ the Priest. The altar becomes the place of our own oblation with Christ to the Father, and the starting point of a newness of life marked by self-giving love.

Vocations to Rebuild the Church

The very nature of love requires definitive and irrevocable choices of life. I turn to you in particular, dearly beloved young people: do not be afraid to choose love as the supreme rule of life. Do not be afraid to love Christ in the priesthood and, if you perceive in your heart the call of the Lord, follow him in this extraordinary adventure of love, abandon yourselves with trust to him! Do not be afraid to form Christian families that live faithful, indissoluble love open to life! Give witness that love, as Christ lived it and as the magisterium of the Church teaches, does not take anything away from our happiness, but on the contrary it gives that profound joy that Christ promised to his disciples.

The call of the Lord to the priesthood and to the formation of Christian families is, in effect, a call to rebuild the Church. I am mindful of Our Lord's words to Saint Francis of Assisi in the ruined church of San Damiano, "Francis, rebuild thou My Church, which, as thou seest, is falling into ruin." The rebuilding of the Church in every age is marked by joy.

The Virgin Mary and the Holy Sacrifice

May the Virgin Mary accompany the path of our Church of Rome with her maternal intercession. Mary, who in an altogether singular way lived communion with God and the sacrifice of her own Son on Calvary, enable us to live ever more intensely, piously and consciously the mystery of the Eucharist, to proclaim with the word and life the love that God has for every man. Dear friends, I assure you of my prayer and impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing to you all. Thank you.

Increasingly, it seems to me, the Holy Father refers to Our Lady's unique and incomparable role in the mystery of redemption. She who offered her Divine Son with a virginal, maternal, and sacerdotal heart at the foot of the Cross, is the model of "participatio actuosa" in the Holy Sacrifice.

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Feast Instituted by Benedict XV

On 9 November 1921, Pope Benedict XV instituted the feast of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus to be celebrated on the Thursday within the Octave of the Sacred Heart with a Proper Mass and Office. The feast continues to be celebrated in some places and by some communities, notably by the Redemptorists who maintain it in their Proper Calendar. In instituting the feast, Pope Benedict XV wrote:

The chief reason of this feast is to commemorate the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the mystery of the Eucharist. By this means the Church wishes more and more to excite the faithful to approach this sacred mystery with confidence, and to inflame their hearts with that divine charity which consumed the Sacred Heart of Jesus when in His infinite love He instituted the Most Holy Eucharist, wherein the Divine Heart guards and loves them by living with them, as they live and abide in Him. For in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist He offers and gives Himself to us as victim, companion, nourishment, viaticum, and pledge of our future glory.

Even to the Consummation of the World

The adorable mystery of the Eucharist sums up, contains, and communicates to us the entire mystery of Christ: His incarnation, life, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. If you seek the open Side of the glorious ascended Christ, you will find it in the Eucharist. If you seek the pierced Heart of Christ, beating with love for the Father and with mercy for sinners, you will find it in the Eucharist. The Communion Antiphon of the Mass of the feast is meant to be repeated and treasured. It is, at once, a promise and an invitation: "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Mt 28:20).

Here, apart from the Epistle, Gradual, Alleluia, and Gospel, is my own translation of the Proper of the Mass of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, together with (optional) General Intercessions.

Introit

SCIENS Jesus quia venit hora ejus ut
transeat ex hoc mundo ad Patrem:
cum dilexisset suos, qui erant in
mundo, in finem dilexit eos. Alleluia,
alleluia. Ps. 97. 1. Cantate Domino
canticum novum: quia mirabilia
fecit. Gloria Patri.

Jesus, knowing that His hour had come
to pass out of this world to the Father,
having loved His own who were in the world,
loved them to the end (Jn 13:1).

Collect

DOMINE Jesu Christe, qui divitias
amoris tui erga homines effundens
Eucharistiæ Sacramentum condidisti:
da nobis, quæsumus; ut amantissimum
Cor tuum diligere, et tanto
Sacramento digne semper uti valeamus:
Qui vivis.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Who in pouring out the treasures of Your love for mankind,
instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist,
grant us, we beseech You,
always to cherish Your most loving Heart,
and worthily to avail ourselves of so great a Sacrament.
Who live and reign with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

Epistle: Ephesians 3. 8-12, 14-19
Brethren: To me, the least of all the Saints, is given the grace, to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ: and to enlighten all men, that they may see what is the dispensation of the mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God, Who created all things: that the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the Church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord: in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all paternity in Heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and grounded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the Saints, what is the breadth and length, and height and depth: to know also the charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge. That you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.

Gradual

EXSULTA et lauda, habitatio Sion,
quia magnus in medio tui Sanctus
Israel. Notas facite in populis adinventiones
ejus.

Exult and praise, O abode of Sion, for
great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst
of thee. Among the people make known His
works.

Alleluia

ALLELUIA, alleluia. V. Quid bonum
ejus est, et quid pulchrum ejus, nisi
frumentum electorum, et vinum
germinans virgines. Alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. What is His good and
what is His beauteous thing, but the wheat of
the elect, and wine bringing forth virgins?
Alleluia.

Gospel: Luke 22:15-20
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer. For I say to you that from this time I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And having taken the chalice, He gave thanks and said: Take and divide among you. For I say to you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come. And taking bread, He gave thanks and brake and gave to them, saying: This is My Body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me. In like manner, the chalice also, after He had supped, saying: this is the chalice, the new testament in My Blood, which shall be shed for you.

General Intercessions

That the Church may more worthily celebrate, adore, and contemplate
the Sacrament that reveals the Face of Christ shining for all peoples
and the Sacrifice that presents to all His Pierced Side
flowing with living water,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That the leaders of nations
may turn from every temptation
to greed, violence, and the abuse of power,
and seek the things that make for peace,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That those who are enemies of the Cross may find
reconciliation and healing in its embrace;
that the sick may find strength in the Body and Blood of Christ;
and that those tempted against hope
may find comfort and peace in the Sacrament of the Altar,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That families broken by divorce,
divided by misunderstandings,
or wounded by the refusal to forgive and be forgiven,
may be repaired and healed
by the love that ever streams from the Eucharistic Heart of Christ,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That by offering our adoration to the Eucharistic Heart of Christ today
we may in some way make reparation
for those who fail to recognize in the Sacrament of the Altar
a mercy ready to forgive every sin,
a love capable of healing every wound,
and a joy surpassing all joys,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

Collect at the General Intercessions

O God, who, in the Heart of Your Son, wounded by our faults,
have opened for us the treasures of Your infinite love,
grant that, with all the saints, we may contemplate this mystery
and, in the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist
recognize the wedding feast of the Lamb,
the sacrifice that saves the world,
and the abiding presence of Him who with great desire
longed to share the paschal meal with His disciples
before He suffered.
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Offertory Antiphon

QUAM magna multitudo dulcedinis
tuæ, Domine, quam abscondisti timentibus
te. Alleluia

O how great is the multitude of Your sweetness, O Lord,
which You have hidden away for them that fear You, alleluia (Ps 30:30).

Prayer Over the Oblations

TUERE nos, Domine, tua tibi holocausta
offerentes: ad quæ ut ferventius
corda nostra præparentur, flammis
adure tuæ divinæ caritatis. Qui
vivis.

Look upon us, Lord,
as we offer You this Your holocaust;
and to prepare our hearts for offering it more ardently,
make them burn with the flame of Your divine charity.
Through Christ our Lord.

Preface

VERE dignum et justum est, æquum
et salutáre, nos tibi semper, et ubíque
grátias ágere: Dómine sancte,
Pater omnipotens, ætérne Deus per
Christum Dominum nostrum. Qui
pridie quam pro nobis immolaretur
in ara crucis, dilectionis suæ in homines
divitias velut effundens, de
Cordis sui thesauro Eucharistiæ
prompsit mysterium. In quo credentium
fides alitur, spes provehitur,
caritas roboratur, et futuræ gloriæ
pignus accipitur. Et ídeo cum Angelis
et Archángelis, cum Thronis et
Dóminatiónibus, cumque omni
milítia coeléstis exércitus, hymnum
glóriæ tuæ cánimus sine fine dicéntes:

Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

Who on the day before He was sacrificed
on the altar of the cross,
desiring to pour out upon men the riches of His love,
brought forth from the treasury of His Heart
the mystery of the Eucharist.

In this mystery the faith of believers is nourished,
their hope increased,
their charity strengthened,
and they receive the pledge of future glory.

And therefore with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominations,
and with all the hosts of the heavenly army,
we sing a hymn to your glory,
ceaselessly saying:

Communion Antiphon

ECCE ego vobiscum sum omnibus
diebus, usque ad consummationem
sæculi, dicit Dominus. Alleluia.

Behold I am with you all days,
even to the consummation of the world (Mt 28:20).

Postcommunion

DIVINIS donis Cordis tui satiati:
quæsumus, Domine Jesu, ut in tui
semper amore permanere et usque
in finem crescere mereamur. Qui vivis.

Filled with the divine gifts of Your Heart, Lord Jesus,
we pray that we may be found worthy
ever to abide in Your love
and to grow therein unto the end.
Who live and reign forever and ever.

This Day Was Chosen

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The transfer of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ to Sunday by the Bishops of the United States is unfortunate; it effectively dismantles the mystagogy of the feast by detaching it from its native theological context on Thursday.

Just as the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on a Friday, inviting us to return to Calvary, there to look upon the pierced Side of the Lord in the company of Our Lady and the Beloved Disciple, so too does the feast of Corpus Christi on a Thursday invite us to return to the Cenacle, there to relive in adoration and joy the gift and mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist. Similarly, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on a Saturday, recalling the Great Sabbath lived by Our Lady who, in her own pierced Heart, kept alive the flame of the Church's faith and hope.

Listen to the Angelic Doctor:

To the end that devotion may be enkindled in the faithful,
we do well to celebrate this solemnity in honour of the institution
of so health-giving and so wonderful a Sacrament,
that thus we may meetly worship our God
who in this Sacrament is present before our eyes,
although in a manner beyond the power of words to describe;
and that thus we may praise God's power,
whereby in this Sacrament are wrought so many and great wonders;
and also that thus we may give God due thanks
for this his bounteous gift so full of health and sweetness.

It is true that special mention is made of its institution
at the celebration of the Mass on Maundy Thursday,
(when we commemorate the Last Supper, at which, as we know,
this Sacrament was instituted;)
but all the rest of the Office on that day
is chiefly concerned with Christ-Suffering,
to the worshipping of whom the Church doth at that season
give all her mind.

In the year of salvation 1264, to the end that the faithful might celebrate
the institution of so great a Sacrament with a complete festal Office,
Urban IV, Bishop of Rome, was moved by his devotion thereto,
to put forth a godly ordinance,
to the effect that the memory of the said institution
should be celebrated by all the faithful
on the Thursday next after the Octave Day of Pentecost.
This day was chosen in order that we,
who from one end of the year to the other
do use this Sacrament to our soul's health,
might particularly celebrate the institution thereof
at that season wherein the Holy Ghost taught the hearts of the disciples
to acknowledge the mysteries thereof;
for then it was, as we read, that they continued stedfastly
in the Apostles' Doctrine and Fellowship,
and in the Breaking of the Bread and the Prayers.

From a Sermon by Saint Thomas Aquinas
Opusculum 57

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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