Benedict XVI to children: “When I receive Communion, …”

I have not been paying the greatest attention to Pope Benedict’s trip to Africa, though I have been scanning the reports and the new Post-Synodal Exhortation.  Yesterday, however, His Holiness spoke to children at a parish in Cotonou in Benin.  Here is the text sans intro with my comments and emphases:

God our Father has gathered us around his Son and our brother, Jesus Christ, who is present in the host consecrated during the Mass. This is a great mystery before which we worship and we believe. Jesus, who loves us very much, is truly present in the tabernacles of all the churches around the world, in the tabernacles of the churches in your neighbourhoods and in your parishes. I ask you to visit him often to tell him of your love for him.

Some of you have already made your First Holy Communion, and others are preparing for it. The day of my First Holy Communion was one of the most beautiful days of my life. It is the same for you, isn’t it? And why is that? It’s not only because of our nice clothes or the gifts we receive, nor even because of the parties! It is above all because, that day, we receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time! When I receive Communion, Jesus comes to live in me. I should welcome him with love and listen closely to him. [The most perfect form of "active participation" is the reception of Communion in the state of grace!] In the depths of my heart, I can tell him, for example: “Jesus, I know that you love me. Give me your love so that I can love you in return and love others with your love. I give you all my joys, my troubles and my future.” Do not hesitate, dear children, to speak of Jesus to others. He is a treasure whom you should share generously. Throughout the history of the Church, the love of Jesus has filled countless Christians, and even young people like yourselves, with courage and strength. In this way, Saint Kizito, a Ugandan boy, was put to death because he wanted to live according to the baptism which he had just received. Kizito prayed. He realized that God is not only important, but that he is everything.

What, then, is prayer? It is a cry of love directed to God our Father, with the will to imitate Jesus our brother. Jesus often went off by himself to pray. Like Jesus, I too can find a calm place to pray where I can quietly stand before a Cross or a holy picture in order to speak to Jesus and to listen to him. I can also use the Gospels. That way, I keep within my heart a passage which has touched me and which will guide me throughout the day. To stay with Jesus like this for a little while lets him fill me with his love, light and life! This love, which I receive in prayer, calls me in turn to give it to my parents, to my friends, to everyone with whom I live, even with those who do not like me, and those whom I do not appreciate enough. Dear young people, Jesus loves you. Ask your parents to pray with you! Sometimes you may even have to push them a little. But do not hesitate to do so. God is that important!

May the Virgin Mary, his Mother, teach you to love more and more through prayer, forgiveness and charity. I entrust you to her, together with your families and teachers. Look! I have this rosary in my pocket. The rosary is like a tool that we can use to pray. It is easy to pray the rosary. Maybe you know how already; if not, ask your parents to help you to learn how. At the end of this meeting, each one of you will receive a rosary. When you hold it in your hands, you can pray for the Pope, for the Church and for every important intention. And now, before I bless you all with great affection, let us pray together a Hail Mary for children throughout the world, especially for those who are sick, who are hungry and in places of war. Let us pray together: Hail Mary,…

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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13 Responses to Benedict XVI to children: “When I receive Communion, …”

  1. HighMass says:

    Please Heavenly Father, Grant this Holy Pope Many More Healthy Years!

    Viva il Papa!

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    This dear, good, holy man!!!!! If only all our children could hear such wise and loving discourse.

    May God bless him abundantly, and may he be spared to us for many years.

  3. benedetta says:

    Agree with what HighMass and AnAmericanMother said. Viva.

  4. gloriainexcelsis says:

    With tears in my eyes, I’m printing this to save and share. God bless our Holy Father.

  5. irishgirl says:

    I love this discourse to the children! How like St. Pius X, when he met with the First Communicants of Rome!
    The photo is sweet, too….
    Viva il Papa–may he reign many more years!

  6. Robert_H says:

    Here’s the Vatican’s full text of the Holy Father’s address.

    And the video. Pope Benedict starts speaking (in French) at the 56:30 mark.

  7. Dr. Sebastianna says:

    I had the good fortune to go to a Wednesday audience in Rome last month – - and I had good seats, so I was about 40 feet away from the Holy Father. I was struck by his deep kindness and goodness. It was a treat just to be near him.

  8. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Wonderful. He has the ability to reach out to everybody.

    And in the picture above, that is the one true way to “do balloons!” A dignified papal way to do balloons.

  9. Hilleyb says:

    If you love this, check out the first chapter of the Holy Father’s book “Questions and Answers.” So beautiful, humble and gentle!
    Also, Fr. Z wrote the footnotes to that book. Just saying.

  10. marthawrites says:

    I am printing this, too, for a daughter and a daughter-in-law– both have children at the First Holy Communion age. Thank you for putting the Holy Father’s fatherly advice on holiness on your blog.

  11. Brad says:

    My hope for this Pope and all men is that they die as St. Pio did, as they hopefully also lived, with the names of Jesus and Mary on their lips. Then I will have very little doubt as to their ultimate happy fate. I love how this Pope usually ends his talks with mentions of and, more so, overt invocations of Mary. That is what’s called in boxing a TKO. Where she is, or is invited, heresy and the serpent are totally demolished — ground down into the dirt!

    O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Especially on this day of yours. The child Mary, ascending the temple steps alone, already demolishing satan’s reign.

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Brad,
    Indeed – what an evocative image!
    Titian: The Presentation

  13. Traductora says:

    How simple and how beautiful! Thank you for finding this for us!