Eucharist . Photo: Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

This is what the Pope asks of Catholics for the month of July: to put the Eucharist at the center of life

Pope Francis affirms that the Eucharist “gives us the courage to go out of ourselves, and to open ourselves to others with love.” Explaining that “it is Christ who offers Himself” in the Eucharist, Pope Francis asks “that our lives be nourished by Him and nourish the lives of our brothers and sisters.”

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 07.03.2023).- Pope Francis begins this Pope Video saying, “If you are the same at the end of Mass as you were at the beginning, something is wrong.” In his new prayer intention, which he entrusts to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, the Holy Father invites us to place the Eucharist at the centre of our lives. He invites us to see this celebration not as an obligatory ritual, but rather as an encounter with the Risen Jesus, for “the Eucharist is the presence of Jesus,” which is “profoundly transforming.” Along this line, Pope Francis insists in this video that “it is Christ who offers Himself, who gives himself for us,” which leads to “our lives being nourished by Him to nourish the lives of our brothers and sisters.”

Returning love

This is what we see happening to the three protagonists in this month’s video – three members of the faithful who, at the end of Mass, bring the Eucharist to their brothers and sisters in need, outside of the Church, returning that love and the gift of self they themselves received in the Sacrament. The scenes from everyday life are set in the U.S. city of Detroit. In fact, the Pope Video for the month of July was produced thanks to the help of the Archdiocese of Detroit. This collaboration is not accidental, as Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron explains. “We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to support our Holy Father and the Pope Video initiative. In particular, we feel honoured to produce this video on the Eucharist. The timing is providential since our archdiocese, and all of the dioceses, in the United States are engaged in a Eucharistic Revival to restore an awareness and devotion to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. We pray that this video will serve as a convincing invitation to all of us in the universal Church to encounter Jesus and thank Him for the precious gift of Himself in the Eucharist.”

Going out of ourselves, opening ourselves to others

In this Pope Video, Pope Francis explains “the logic of the Eucharist,” which “gives us the courage to encounter others, to go out of ourselves, and to open ourselves to others with love.” He had already indicated this in an Angelus from June 2021 when he pointed out that Jesus, “at the end of his life, does not distribute an abundance of bread to feed the multitudes, but breaks himself apart at the Passover supper with the disciples.” In some way, Pope Francis continued, Jesus showed us “that the aim of life lies in self-giving, that the greatest thing is to serve.” This is why the Pope encourages us to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, because that is where we receive the capacity to love others and to allow ourselves to be transformed by Him.

The Eucharist at the centre

Father Frédéric Fornos S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, commented on this intention: “Once more, Pope Francis reminds us where to focus, and what is truly important in our lives. The Eucharist is an encounter with the Risen Jesus, he tells us. Jesus Christ wants to transform us, to give us his capacity to love, so we can place ourselves at the service of His mission. How many times do we reduce the Mass to a ritual, the priest’s homily, or to receiving communion? Instead, it is a personal and communal encounter with the Risen Lord to which the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM), the youth branch of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, invites us. When we allow ourselves to be transformed by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, we assimilate His way of living and we will want to share in His mission of compassion for the world. Let us accompany the Holy Father this month with this prayer intention so we might draw closer to this transformative experience.”

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