Eucharist Makes Christian Testimony Possible, Says Cardinal Arinze

Sees Sacrament as Enabling “Real Fraternal Union”

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 14, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Eucharist is the strength that makes Christians witnesses of Christ to the point of sacrificing their lives, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.

“In the sacred Eucharist is the mysterious path of union with Christ and with our neighbor and it is then that we are ready and sent by Christ to the mission,” the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said Wednesday during a Mass at the International Eucharistic Congress.

“Jesus offers us the opportunity of a wonderful union with him, when we receive him in this sacrament,” the cardinal said, when illustrating the congress’s topic for the day, “The Eucharist, Mystery of Communion and Mission.”

He explained to the thousands present in the Expo Guadalajara hall that “the sacred Eucharist, more than the other sacraments, favors our union with Christ.”

“For good reasons, one of the names by which it is known is holy Communion,” the prelate said.

“Thus, real fraternal union will be able to begin as fruit of our reception of the body and blood of Christ,” he added. He noted the importance of this sacrament for reconciliation, mutual forgiveness and the promotion of justice and peace.

Cardinal Arinze reminded the participants that the Eucharist sends us on a mission, either as lay faithful, consecrated individuals, or clerics.

“It is the Eucharist that makes it possible for the Church to give testimony of Christ; for martyrs to give their lives for Jesus; and for missionaries to go to distant lands to proclaim Christ,” he said.

“It is the Eucharist that strengthens virgins to give witness of a consecrated and sacrificial love for Jesus; that enables priests to spend themselves so that Christ will be known, spouses to live conjugal life in an exemplary way, and lay faithful to take the spirit of Christ to different areas of daily life,” the cardinal emphasized.

In the Eucharist, he added, “we Christians are shown how to wash others’ feet; how to exercise solidarity with the poor and needy, and how to build communities, characterized by mutual forgiveness, the overcoming of divisions, and the promotion of social harmony in love and mutual acceptance.”

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