VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2007 (Zenit.org).- In the Eucharist, Jesus transmits his love to us so that we can live the commandment of charity, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today in his address before praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square. He dedicated his reflection to the new postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis,” which was published Tuesday.
The Holy Father emphasized that “in the Eucharist, Christ wanted to give to us his love, which led him to offer his life for us on the cross.”
The Pontiff then pointed out that it is possible to live the commandment of love that Jesus left us during the Last Supper — “Love one another as I have loved you” — only by remaining “united with him, as branches of the vine.”
For this reason Jesus “chose to stay with us in the Eucharist, and this is what makes it possible for us to remain in him,” Benedict XVI said.
He added that when “we nourish ourselves in faith” with the body and blood of Christ, “his love passes into us and renders us able in turn to give our lives for the brethren.”
The Pope continued: “From here flows Christian joy, the joy of love.”
In “every age, the Eucharist nourishes that profound joy in believers that makes us all one with love and with peace. This joy has its origin in our communion with God and with our brothers,” he said.
The Pontiff invoked St. Joseph, whose liturgical feast will be celebrated Monday, “so that believing, celebrating, and living with faith the eucharistic mystery, the people of God will be pervaded by the love of Christ and will spread the fruits of joy and peace through all humanity.”
During the address, the Holy Father announced his intention of returning again to the various themes contained in “Sacramentum Caritatis.”
He called the document “an expression of the faith of the universal Church in the eucharistic mystery … in continuity with the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II.”
The postsynodal apostolic exhortation gathers the conclusions of the 11th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held at the Vatican in October 2005.
Benedict XVI said that the exhortation is linked to his first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” which is why he chose the name “Sacramentum Caritatis” (Sacrament of Charity).