Friday, May 23, 2008

History's "Deepest Revolution"

B16, from yesterday's traditional Corpus Christi rites at his cathedral, St John Lateran:
The “deepest revolution of human history [. . .] is experienced precisely gathered around the Eucharist. Here people of different ages, sex, social condition and political ideas gather. [. . .] We open ourselves to each other to become one in him,” said Benedict XVI....

During the course of the service the Pontiff stressed the meaning of the three moments of the celebration, namely the gathering, the procession and the adoration.

After explaining that there is nothing “esoteric” or “exclusive’ about the Eucharist, shying away from the “temptations of particularism”, he focused on the meaning of the procession, i.e. “walking with the Lord.”

“As he gives himself in the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus frees us from our ‘paralyses,’ makes us get up and go forward, take one step, then another, so that we can be on our way,” said the Pope.

In doing so he warned us against a frame of mind that idolises progress as simply “going forward” without any knowledge about “where we are going.”
“Progress is not enough if there are no points of reference,” the Pontiff said. “Indeed, if we go off the road we might fall off a cliff, or at least move away more quickly from the destination. God created us to be free but he did not leave us alone. He has become the ‘Way’ in order that our freedom may have a basis from which to choose and follow the right path.”

“Kneeling in worship before the Lord” is the third element of the feast to take place during the Eucharistic blessing.

“Worshipping the God of Jesus Christ, who became bread broken for love, is the best and most radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and today,” the Pope said. “Kneeling before the Eucharist is a profession of liberty. He who bows to Jesus cannot and must not bow to any earthly power, however strong it may be. We Christians bow only before the Holiest Sacrament because in it we know and believe there is the one true God who created the world and loved it so much that he gave his only Son (cf Jn, 3:16).”

Likewise “we prostrate ourselves before a God who, like a Good Samaritan, was first to bow to mankind as a way to rescue and give him new life, who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet. Worshiping the Body of Christ means believing that in that piece of bread there really is Christ, who gives meaning to life, the immense universe and the whole of human history as well as the shortest existence.”

“Worshipping is a prayer that extends the celebration and the Eucharistic communion. In it the soul continues to feed on love, truth and peace as well as hope because the One to whom we prostrate ourselves does not judge or crush, but liberates and transforms us.”
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the "Flight of the Earls" -- Rome's reception of Irish nobleman Hugh O'Neill and others seeking refuge from the British encroachment on the Isle -- seminarians from the Irish College were given a special role in the Mass and procession.

Shortly after being welcomed by Pope Paul V, O'Neill and his ilk were invited to carry the canopy for the pontiff's Corpus Christi procession in 1608.

PHOTOS: AFP/Getty(1); Reuters(2,3)