My friend Fr. Ray Blake, the great parish priest of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, alerted me via his blog to something the Holy Father said during his trip this weekend to Ancona, Italy, for the Eucharistic Congress. The full text is here.
My emphases and comments.
[...] The 2,000-year history of the Church is studded with men and women saints whose life is an eloquent sign of how in fact from communion with the Lord, from the Eucharist a new and intense assumption of responsibility is born at all levels of community life; born hence is a positive social development, which has the person at the center, especially the poor, the sick and the straitened. To be nourished by Christ is the way not to remain foreign and indifferent to the fortunes of our brothers, but to enter into the very logic of love and of gift of the sacrifice of the Cross; [Here is the big quote...] he who is able to kneel before the Eucharist, who receives the Lord’s body cannot fail to be attentive, in the ordinary course of the days, to situations unworthy of man, and is able to bend down personally to attend to need, is able to break his bread with the hungry, share water with the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned (cf. Matthew 25:34-36). He will be able to see in every person the Lord who did not hesitate to give the whole of himself for us and for our salvation. Hence, a Eucharistic spirituality is a real antidote to individualism and egoism that often characterize daily life, and leads to the rediscovery of gratuitousness, the centrality of relationships, beginning with the family, with a particular care for binding the wounds of the broken. A Eucharistic spirituality is the soul of an ecclesial community that overcomes divisions and oppositions and appreciates the diversity of charisms and ministries putting them at the service of the unity of the Church, of her vitality and of her mission. A Eucharistic spirituality is a way to restore dignity to man’s days and, hence, to his work, in the quest for reconciliation with the times of celebration and the family and in the commitment to surmount the uncertainty of precariousness and the problem of unemployment. A Eucharistic spirituality will also help us to approach the different forms of human fragility conscious that they do not obfuscate the value of the person, but require closeness, acceptance and help. Drawn from the Bread of life will be the vigor of a renewed educational capacity, attentive to witnessing the fundamental values of life, of learning, of the spiritual and cultural patrimony; its vitality will make us inhabit the city of men with the willingness to spend ourselves on the horizon of the common good for the building of a more equitable and fraternal society. [...]
As I have said a zillion times, Pope Benedict, I believe, has a Marshall Plan to help rebuild our Catholic identity. If we don’t know who we are and what we believe, we cannot offer what we have as Catholics to the world around us. Thus, we fail in our mission in Matthew 28 and, weaken, we open ourselves to attacks.
The key to any plan is our liturgical worship.
Benedict seems to think that a Eucharistic spirituality, which must be liturgical at its core, is a key to living as a Catholic and applying correctives to many aspects of modern life.
Benedict seems to think that kneeling before the Eucharistic Lord is important for our Eucharistic identity.