Pope Benedict XVI and the Eucharist

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                                                      God Among Us
                                                 by Fr. Sergius Wroblewski,            OFM

            Pope Benedict XV I and the Eucharist

     The Eucharist holds a special place           likeness” (Phil 2:7 ). Through the        his infancy narrative. Joseph
     in the Holy Father’s theology. Pope           Incarnation, the Word was brought         comes at the conclusion of the
     Benedict’s ecclesiology especially            near to us.“By the power of               Davidic genealogy,“Jacob the
     is eucharistic and in his book on             the Holy Spirit he was born               father of Joseph, the husband
     the Eucharist, Joseph Cardinal                of the Virgin Mary and became             of Mary” (Mt 1:16). Joseph upheld
     Ratzinger, God Is near Us; the Eu-            man”(Creed). From that moment             the Davidic dynasty and trans-
     charist, the Heart of Life, Ignatius          on, God is near us. Hence, he             formed it into the Kingdom
     Press: San Francisco, 2003, the               was given the name Emmanuel               of God in the whole world.
     Holy Father lays the ground work              which means “God with us.”                The figure of Mary appears
     for the eucharistic presence in the              The biblical foundation for            alongside that of Joseph.
     very first chapter. This article is a         this teaching that the Incarnation           Matthew applied the prophecy
     paraphrase of his teaching in chap-
                                                   is God’s nearness is to be found          about the Virgin Birth to Mary.
     ters one and five.
                                                   in three scriptural texts:                “Behold, a virgin shall conceive
                                                                                             and bear a Son and shall call his
                                                      1. Lk 1:28-36                          name Emmanuel” (Mt 1:23) which

     A          s human beings, we dread
                being alone because we
                were made for relationships,
         for being with others, with human
         beings and with the Triune God.
                                                      The archangel Gabriel told
                                                   Mary that the Child who was
                                                   being born would be called Son
                                                   of the Most High, Son of God.
                                                   The Holy Spirit as the power of
                                                                                             means,“God with us.” But this
                                                                                             nearness of God through the In-
                                                                                             carnation had nothing to do with
                                                                                             Joseph whose prerogative was to
                                                                                             protect the Mother and Child.
         Perhaps that is why cell phones           the Most High would bring about           Everything in this narrative is
         are so popular; they help us keep         the conception in a mysterious            about Christ: Joseph is the child’s
         in touch all day long. Moreover,          way. Luke uses the word “over-            father according to the Law; and
         what we desire, consciously               shadow” to describe it. That word         Mary is his Mother and embodies
         or unconsciously, above all is            is an allusion to the Holy Cloud          the hope of humankind.
         fellowship with God.                      that rested over the “Tent of
            Before the fall of Adam and            Meeting” to show God’s presence              3. Jn 1:13ff
         Eve, these two were privileged            and nearness. Mary’s “yes” (fiat)            This text is “the Word became
         to enjoy intimate fellowship and          offered her womb as a dwelling            flesh.” We have become so accus-
         communion with God. We can                place for God in the world.               tomed to this statement so that
         infer that from Gen 3:8 that God                                                    we’re no longer amazed by this
         daily walked in the garden in the            2. Mt 1:18-25                          immense reality, the union of
         cool of the day, and that Adam               What stands out in Matthew’s           divinity and humanity which
         and Eve enjoyed this time with            infancy narrative is the annuncia-        makes God near. John used the
         him. But when they chose to trust         tion to Joseph. Matthew sets the          expression,“pitching a tent,”
         the devil instead of God and to           figure of Joseph in the forefront in      which is an allusion to the Tent
         disobey the command of God,
         they sinned. Sin’s consequence
         was separation from God, the
         rupture of fellowship with him.
            The rest of the Bible is the story
         of how God fulfilled his promise
         of salvation so that sinful human
         beings could once again draw
         near to a Holy God. That hap-
         pened when God sent his Son to
         become as men are.“He emptied
         himself... coming in human

                                                  Fr. Sergius Wroblewski, OFM: Snapshots taken from a Catholic series, produced
                                                  in DVD, that had been presented on Catholic television in Johannesburg,
1   Immaculata                                    South Africa, where Father Sergius was a missionary for many years.
       of Meeting where Moses saw
     God “face to face.” The “yes” of
                                            drink his blood
                                            you have no                 *
                                                                   ***** IS
     Mary opened for the Word, the          life in you...
                                                                 SP  ACE !         Growing in Holiness Through the Eucharist
     Second Person, the place where         My flesh is food      L IMIT
     he could “pitch his Tent.”
       All these things happened at
                                            indeed.” The
                                            Jewish listeners
                                                                                   JUNE 16 - 17, 2006
     Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusa-        dismissed his claim          MAIN PRESIDER: Fr. Sergius Wroblewski, OFM
     lem; hence, they are regarded          as absurd. And Jesus         CELEBRANTS:
     as sacred places where one             did not explain              Most Rev. Bishop Joseph N. Perry
     can see the footprints of the          himself by saying,           Fr. John Grigus, OFM CONV.
                                                                         Fr. Stephen McKinley, OFM CONV.                     io c esa
     Redeemer and where the                 “Do not be dis-                                                         A r c h d or e d
     Incarnation touched us directly.       turbed; this is
                                                                         June 16                June 17                 S p ons !
     They lay the foundation for            metaphorical
                                                                         • Prayer & Praise      • Prayer & Praise
                                                                                                                            Even t
     God’s nearness, that closeness         language.”Instead,
     to us which will find its grandest     refusing to tone it          • Opening Mass         • 3 conferences
     expression in the Eucharist.           down, he said with           • All-Night Adoration • Lunch • Closing Mass
                                            emphasis,“My flesh
       The Presence of the                  is food indeed.”                     *** PLEASE RESPOND BY JUNE 9 ***
       Lord in the Eucharist                This heavenly Bread         PDF registration: www.marytown.com/upcoming.html
       In his fifth chapter, Pope           had to be literally,
                                                                          Marytown • 1600 W. Park Ave • Libertyville, IL 60048
     Benedict gave his observations         physically eaten.
     about the Real Presence in the                                                          Event Co-Sponsored by
                                                                              The Pope John Paul II Eucharistic Adoration Association
     Eucharist. His main teaching is           The second                                 of the Archdicoese of Chicago
     that the Glorified Christ is present   question is about
     in the Eucharist; and that he has      the possibility for a
     a Body that is different, described    body to share itself
     briefly in 1 Cor 15:42- 44.            out: that is, to be always there in        Lord Jesus Christ, both God and
       Explaining the Real Presence         many hosts. First of all, we have          Man. And that calls for adoration.
     has always been difficult. Nowa-       to understand that this happens            We are not on the same footing ;
     days, they raise three questions       in the sphere of the Resurrection,         he is the wholly Other. Saint
     about the Eucharist: 1. Does the       a sphere in which we do not live           Augustine said to First Communi-
     Bible say anything about it;           nor have any experience of.                cants,“No one can receive Com-
     perhaps it was misunderstood?              The Resurrection appearances           munion without first adoring.”
     2. Is it truly possible for a          show Jesus to have a body                  When the monks of Cluny (c. 1000
     body to share itself out into          with entirely different qualities          AD) went to receive Communion,
     all places and at all times?           (Cf Lk 24:36- 42). Moreover, in the        they took their shoes off; they
     3. Hasn’t modern science,              language of the Bible, the word            knew the burning bush was there.
     with its view on “substance”           “body”—“This is my Body”—does
     and material being, rendered           not mean just body “in contradis-             The third question raises
     obsolete the Church’s doctrine         tinction to the spirit.” Body in the       the issue of the Real Presence of
     about the Eucharist?                   language of the Bible denotes              Christ and asks if this doctrine
       The Bible does speak of the          “the whole person in whom body             has not been rendered obsolete
     Real Presence in John’s Gospel         and spirit are indivisibly one.”           since “transubstantiation” comes
     6:33,35. Jesus said: “Unless you eat      “This is my Body” therefore,            from primitive science. In the
     the flesh of the Son of Man and        means “This is my whole person             12th century the mystery of the
                                            existing in bodily form.” Its nature       Eucharist was being torn apart
                                            is described in the words “which           by two groups.
                                            is given up for you;” it is a self-           There were those who claimed
                                            giving Person and he can be                Jesus was there bodily and that
                                            shared out. Our body is a body             in the Eucharist we chew on the
                                            that separates us from others. But         flesh of the Lord like cannibals.
                                            the Risen Body is not limiting; its        And there were those who argued
                                            capacity for communion remains.            that since Christ cannot be there
                                               In Holy Communion we do                 in an earthly body, the Eucharist is
                                            not receive “a piece of the body,          simply symbolic. The Holy Father
                                            a thing, but him, the risen One            pointed out that Christ is not in
                                            himself. We receive a Person, the          the realm of what can be mea-
                                                                                                                      continued on page 3

Immaculata                                                                                             April/May/June 2006                  2
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    continued from page 2

            sured and quantified.“Christ is        transignification; she insists        is consumed in seconds, but
            there with his true Being (the         on “the change of substance.”         then we adore because the
            Second Person in a glorified           It is not the different use of the    Risen One remains in us as
            Body) and that is the “substance.”     bread and wine that changes but       long as the species endure.
              He made two observations             through the faithful prayer of the       In that way the reception of
            about this “substance.” First, the     Church, the Lord himself does         Holy Communion stretches out
            Body of Christ is not added to         a new thing; and his presence         beyond the time of celebration
            the bread, as if they could exist as   remains and we adore the Lord         of the Mass. That is why the prac-
            two substances in the same place       in the Bread and the Wine.            tice in the Church for roughly a
            side by side. The Risen Lord takes                                           thousand years has been to install
            possession of the bread and wine ;       This teaching about the             a tabernacle to house the conse-
            he lifts them up out of the setting    Eucharist justifies Eucharistic       crated Bread with the Risen
            of their normal existence into a       Adoration. Some object that the       one and to place near it a vigil
            new order.                             Eucharist is not to be gazed at but   light to indicate that the Lord
              The other observation has to do      to be eaten. In other words, it is    is always there to be adored.
            with “transignification.” It is said   to be eaten, not adored. But when     For as Pope Benedict XVI states,
            that the bread does not change,        we receive Christ, that is not like   “Without adoration, there is no
            but its use. The Church rejects this   eating a slice of bread. The Bread    transformation of the world.” ✝

3     Immaculata                                                                                      April/May/June 2006