Eucharist Helps Purify Our Love, John Paul II Says

Calls It the Greatest Gift Left by Christ

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2001 ( The Eucharist is the antidote that keeps love from being tainted by egoism, John Paul II says.

The Blessed Sacrament is also the greatest gift Christ left us, the Pope told pilgrims gathered today for the praying of the midday Angelus at St. Peter´s Square.

He noted that many countries celebrated the solemnity of Corpus Christi today for pastoral reasons. The Holy Father presided over a Corpus Domini Mass last Thursday.

John Paul II said that it is a solemnity in which the «ecclesial community gathers around in adoration of the most precious treasure that Christ the Lord left it in heritage: the sacrament of the Eucharist, perpetual memorial of his redemptive sacrifice.»

The Pope added that «Corpus Domini is a feast of moving popular resonance, linked especially to the very eloquent tradition of accompanying the Blessed Sacrament in procession through the streets of cities and nations. It is a joyful celebration, for the marvelous gift of the Bread to which Christ has linked his promise of eternal life: Bread that is really his flesh, namely, his humanity, through which God sanctifies hearts, people, communities, nations and the whole cosmos.»

Because of this, the Bishop of Rome said that «the Eucharist is above all the sacrament of love, understood as gift of self.»

«Without the spiritual nourishment that comes from the Body and Blood of Christ, human love always remains contaminated by egoism,» the Pope continued. «However, communion with the Bread of heaven converts hearts and infuses in them the capacity to love as Jesus has loved us.»

The Holy Father summarized this mystery with the effective formula: «God in man, man in God.»

Before bidding the pilgrims farewell, the Holy Father entrusted to Mary his June 23-27 pilgrimage to Ukraine.

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