The Center

While reading the book that I mentioned before in my post about Communion in the Hand, I was struck by a passage from one of the writings of Pope Paul VI. It is from his encyclical letter Mysterium Fidei, which he issued in 1965 to renew an appreciation for the Catholic teaching on the Holy Eucharist.

In the quotation, as you will see, the Pope speaks about how the Eucharist is the center of our hearts, of our community, and of the Church; and that personal devotion to the Eucharist fosters not only an increase in love for the Lord, but also an increase in love for our brothers and sisters.

I have blogged on various occasions about the importance of making visits to the Blessed Sacrament. May this post serve as yet another reminder!

Someone makes a visit in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the Church of St. Sulpice, Paris, France.

From the numbers 67-69 of the Encyclical Letter, Mysterium Fidei, of Pope Paul VI (with some minor corrections to the translation):

No one can fail to see that the divine Eucharist bestows an incomparable dignity upon the Christian people. For it is not just while the Sacrifice is being offered and the Sacrament is being confected, but also after… – while the Eucharist is reserved in churches or oratories – that Christ is truly Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” For He is in our midst day and night; He abides with us full of grace and truth. He raises the level of morals, fosters virtue, comforts the sorrowful, strengthens the weak, and stirs up all those who draw near to Him to imitate Him, so that they may learn from his example to be meek and humble of heart, and to seek not their own interests but those of God.

Anyone who has a special devotion to the sacred Eucharist and who tries to repay Christ’s infinite love for us with an eager and unselfish love of his own, will experience and fully understand – and this will bring great delight and benefit to his soul – just how precious is a life hidden with Christ in God, and how worthwhile it is to carry on a conversation with Christ; for there is nothing more consoling here on earth, nothing more efficacious for progress along the paths of holiness.

You also realize… that the Eucharist is reserved in churches or oratories to serve as the spiritual center of a religious community or a parish community, indeed of the whole Church and the whole of mankind, since it contains, beneath the veil of the species, Christ the invisible Head of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the center of all hearts, “by whom all things are and by whom we exist.”

Hence it is that devotion to the divine Eucharist exerts a great influence upon the soul in the direction of fostering a “social” love, in which we put the common good ahead of private good, take up the cause of the community, the parish, the universal Church, and extend our charity to the whole world because we know that there are members of Christ everywhere.

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