By Roberta Sciamplicotti
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI exhorted the bishops of Brazil to promote the worship of the Eucharist upon receiving a group of them in audience.
The bishops of the second northern region of the episcopal conference of Brazil met with the Pope today, upon the conclusion of their five-yearly “ad limina” visit.
“Your ad limina visit takes place in the climate of Easter praise and jubilation that envelops the whole Church, adorned by the radiance of the light of the Risen Christ. In him, humanity has overcome death,” the Pontiff said in his address.
“Being alive and risen, Christ can become ‘living bread’ for humanity,” he continued. Because of this, “the center and permanent source of the Petrine ministry are the Eucharist, heart of Christian life, source and summit of the evangelizing mission of the Church.”
From this point of view, one can understand “the preoccupation of the Successor of Peter over all that which can obfuscate the more original aspect of the Catholic faith: Today Jesus Christ is alive and really present in the consecrated host and chalice.”
According to the Holy Father, “a lesser attention paid at times to the worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament is the sign and cause of the obfuscation of the Christian meaning of the mystery, as happens when in the Holy Mass Jesus is no longer preeminent and active, but a community exists busy with many things rather than being absorbed and attracted by the only thing necessary: its Lord.”
“The primary and essential attitude of the Christian faithful who participates in the liturgical celebration is not to do, but to listen, to be open, to receive,” he continued. “It is obvious that in this case to receive does not mean to remain passive or indifferent to what is happening, but to cooperate — because rendered capable of doing so by the grace of God.
“If in the liturgy the figure of Christ, who is its beginning and is really present to render it valid, does not emerge, we will no longer have the Christian liturgy.
“How far are all those who, in the name of inculturation, fall into syncretism introducing rites taken from other religions or cultural particularities in the celebration of the Holy Mass!”
Hard to believe
Benedict XVI reminded the prelates that there is “a mentality incapable of accepting the possibility of a real divine intervention.”
“The confession of a redeeming intervention of God to change this situation of alienation and of sin is seen by all those who share the deist vision as fundamentalist, and the same judgment is true in regard to a sacramental sign that renders present the redeeming sacrifice,” he added.
The Pontiff said worship, “cannot be born from our imagination; it would be a cry in the darkness or a simple self-affirmation.”
The true liturgy, he explained, “presupposes that God responds and shows us how we can adore him.”
<br>As the apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” reminds, “the Church can celebrate and adore the mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist precisely because Christ himself gave himself first to her in the sacrifice of the Cross.”
“The Church lives from this presence, and her reason for being and existing is the fact of extending this presence to the whole world,” stressed the Pontiff.
The bishop of Rome then mentioned the 16th National Eucharistic Congress, which will be held in a month’s time in Brasilia and will be “enriched by the gold of eternity present in time: Jesus Eucharist.”
“May he truly be the heart of Brazil, source of the strength that allows Brazilian women and men to acknowledge one another and help each other as brothers, as members of the total Christ,” he hoped.
“Whoever wants to live, has where to do so and from what to live. Approach, believe, enter to be part of the Body of Christ and you will be vivified!” he concluded.
The 2nd North Ecclesiastical Region covers the territory of Amapa and Para, with a population of at least 7 million inhabitants spread over a territory that is about five times that of Italy. It has an archdiocese, eight dioceses and five territorial prelatures.
Bishop Flavio Giovenale of Abaetetuba said that the challenges of this region are essentially two: that of distance and a shortage of priests. He said on average there is one priest for every 20,000 people, and in many communities the Mass takes place only two or three times a year.