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Posted April 4, 2010

Book: Benedict XVI: Heart of the Christian Life --- Thoughts on Holy Mass
Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Ignatius Press. San Francisco, CA. 2010. pp. 117

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

The celebration of the Eucharist, in which Jesus Christ becomes present, is the center of the Catholic faith. This volume brings together substantive texts of the Holy Father on the many aspects and dimensions of the Mass and the Mystery of the Eucharist, a rich source for every Christian and a spur to reflection and personal prayer. Delivered in addresses and homilies to a wide variety of audiences, these reflections reveal the depth and breath of Pope Benedict XVI’s profound and life-long love for the Holy Eucharist.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Eucharist as the Way to Holiness

Today’s liturgy invites us to contemplate the Eucharist as the source of holiness and spiritual nourishment for our mission in the world: this supreme “gift and mystery” manifests and communicates to us the fullness of God’s love.

The Word of the Lord, just proclaimed in the Gospel, has reminded us that all of divine law is summed up in love. The dual commandment to love God and neighbor contains the two aspects of a single dynamism of the heart and life by adding an unheard-of-commandment, but by realizing in himself and his work of salvation the living synthesis of the two great command of the Old Covenant: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart . . .” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the Eucharist we contemplate the Sacrament of this living synthesis of the law: Christ offers to us, in himself, the complete fulfillment of love for God and love for our brothers and sisters. He communicates his love to us when we are nourished by his Body and Blood.

In this way, Saint Paul’s words to the Thessalonians in today’s Second Reading are brought to completion in us: “You turned to God from idols, to serve him who is the living and true God.” This conversion is the beginning of the walk of holiness that the Christian is called to achieve in his own life.

The saint is the person who is so fascinated by the beauty of God and by his perfect truth as to be progressively transformed by it. Because of this beauty and truth, he is ready to renounce everything, even himself, Love of God is enough for him, experienced in humble and disinterested service to one’s neighbor, especially toward those who cannot give back in return.

Contemplation of the Eucharist must urge all the members of the Church, priests in the first place, ministers of the Eucharist, to revive their commitment of faithfulness. The celibacy that priests have received as a precious gift and the sign of undivided love toward God and neighbor is found upon the mystery of the Eucharist, celebrated and adored.

. . .Like the disciples of Emmaus, whose hearts were kindled by the words of the Risen One and enlightened by his living presence recognized in the breaking of the bread, who hurriedly returned to Jerusalem and became messengers of Christ’s Resurrection, we too must take up the path again, enlivened by the fervent desire to witness to the mystery of this love that gives hope to the world.

Table of Contents:

The Bread of Life

Without Sunday we cannot live

Mary, the Eucharist woman

In the hour of Jesus

The wine of true love

The Eucharist as the way to holiness

Jesus Christ: Incarnate love of God

Friends of Jesus Christ

The hope of the grain of wheat

The Church as Eucharistic community

God is not far from us

Sacrament of the life of God

Eucharist: source and school of love

The passion of Jesus

The gift of self-dedication of Christ

The soul of Sunday

To stand before you and to serve