Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pope to Children on the Holy Eucharist

Pope Benedict would have been a wonderful Grandfather, today he spoke very simply to a group of young children in Benin.
God our Father has gathered us around his Son and our brother, Jesus Christ, who is present in the host consecrated during the Mass. This is a great mystery before which we worship and we believe. Jesus, who loves us very much, is truly present in the tabernacles of all the churches around the world, in the tabernacles of the churches in your neighbourhoods and in your parishes. I ask you to visit him often to tell him of your love for him.
Some of you have already made your First Holy Communion, and others are preparing for it. The day of my First Holy Communion was one of the most beautiful days of my life. It is the same for you, isn’t it? And why is that? It’s not only because of our nice clothes or the gifts we receive, nor even because of the parties! It is above all because, that day, we receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time! When I receive Communion, Jesus comes to live in me. I should welcome him with love and listen closely to him. In the depths of my heart, I can tell him, for example: “Jesus, I know that you love me. Give me your love so that I can love you in return and love others with your love. I give you all my joys, my troubles and my future.” Do not hesitate, dear children, to speak of Jesus to others. He is a treasure whom you should share generously. Throughout the history of the Church, the love of Jesus has filled countless Christians, and even young people like yourselves, with courage and strength. In this way, Saint Kizito, a Ugandan boy, was put to death because he wanted to live according to the baptism which he had just received. Kizito prayed. He realized that God is not only important, but that he is everything.
What, then, is prayer? It is a cry of love directed to God our Father, with the will to imitate Jesus our brother. Jesus often went off by himself to pray. Like Jesus, I too can find a calm place to pray where I can quietly stand before a Cross or a holy picture in order to speak to Jesus and to listen to him. I can also use the Gospels. That way, I keep within my heart a passage which has touched me and which will guide me throughout the day. To stay with Jesus like this for a little while lets him fill me with his love, light and life! This love, which I receive in prayer, calls me in turn to give it to my parents, to my friends, to everyone with whom I live, even with those who do not like me, and those whom I do not appreciate enough. Dear young people, Jesus loves you. Ask your parents to pray with you! Sometimes you may even have to push them a little. But do not hesitate to do so. God is that important!
May the Virgin Mary, his Mother, teach you to love more and more through prayer, forgiveness and charity. I entrust you to her, together with your families and teachers. Look! I have this rosary in my pocket. The rosary is like a tool that we can use to pray. It is easy to pray the rosary. Maybe you know how already; if not, ask your parents to help you to learn how. At the end of this meeting, each one of you will receive a rosary. When you hold it in your hands, you can pray for the Pope, for the Church and for every important intention. And now, before I bless you all with great affection, let us pray together a Hail Mary for children throughout the world, especially for those who are sick, who are hungry and in places of war.
Let us pray together: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Gigi said...

Thank you for posting his words... To use a word which is now usually used in connection with clothes and "celebrities"; just gorgeous. He IS a wonderful grand-father.

John Nolan said...

An eminent theologian, whose native language (German) is more famed for its philosophical subtlety than for its direct utterance, his words are an inspiration. This man is awesome.

Sandy Grounder said...

Simply stated but profound. God Bless Pope Benedict.

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

I love the Holy Father so much!

I feel keenly aware that his remaining time with us is short and every word he speaks to us is a treasure.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful words.

Leo Darroch said...

I have never forgotten the words of my parish priest when I was making my first Holy Communion in 1951. He said that when the priest opened the tabernacle and reached inside he was reaching into heaven because this is where Jesus lived. Every Catholic church, he said, contained a little bit of heaven. That image, implanted in my brain as a seven-year-old, has remained with me all my life.
It was such a contrast to what I heard in a church last year when a group of children were being prepared for their first Holy Communion. The two lady teachers were explaining how the occasion was like a birthday party or barbeque where the family gathered together for a special occasion. How things have changed in sixty years.


Beautiful personal, heartfelt words,it admirably demonstrates how the Faith is not about inventing anything new but faithfully passing on what has been recieved..... Unless of course like me you went through the RICA program in your local parish. I think we would all prefer you didn't pass that on.

FrJ said...

I saw parts of The Holy Father's visit on the internet or international TV. We are very fortunate that we are able to follow Tha Holy Father on his visits. This part of Africa is suffering with HIV, illiteracy and poverty. However, the people hunger for true faith, the Word of God. One in three is a Christian. There are so many opportunities for further evangalisation. Missioneries need our support in prayer and where possible financial support. I know that the Sisters have opened centres where they are taking in abandoned babies and children. They are doing fantastic work. Please spare a prayer for them. Thank you.

Gigi said...

Agree with Clare: I'm also aware that Pope Benedict is not getting any younger; such words of wisdom that are delightful and meaningful to even the youngest ears are precious.
In line with other comments on here, I know that as we approach Advent that quite a few of my Christian friends with families are building up to a "Santa Claus" Christmas rather than a "St Nicholas" one. One of my friends, actually an Irish Catholic (my Mum would have said that was as Catholic as it gets), is undeniable lapsed but her kids have taken Holy Communion. The youngest has just asked me for a mobile 'phone for Christmas. I pointed out that as I'm now unemployed, "bought" presents are a no-go this year. I told her we could spend some time making jewellery and bits and bobs instead. She told me, very witheringly for an eight year old, that Christmas was about presents and God would be angry if I didn't buy presents for them. I tried to persevere by saying that we could make a Nativity scene for Christmas, with angels and animals. She asked me what a Nativity was.
I realise in a couple of parishes here and also outside of Brighton that a lot of First Communicants have disappeared physically and spiritually after their big day; the cake, the little dresses and bow-ties. I appreciate just how heart-breaking that must be for the catechists, priests and the communities who prepare them.
As an outsider looking in to the world of parenthood, I know that raising children is not without strains and struggles, of course. I hate to see every social or ethical fracture blamed on The Home. But seven and eight year olds can't get to Sunday mass on their own. And if parents treat First Holy Communion as a party photo-opportunity with an obligatory little party-piece to be rehearsed....surely that's how very sweet little girls end up pouting the God wants me to buy them a 'phone for Christmas?
Horribly sad.

Pablo the Mexican said...

“Eucharistic devotion such as is noted in the silent visit by the devout in church must not be thought of as a conversation with God. This would assume that God was present there locally and in a confined way. To justify such an assertion shows a lack of understanding of the Christological mysteries of the very concept of God. This is repugnant to the serious thinking of the man who knows about the omnipresence of God. To go to church on the ground that one can visit God who is present there is a senseless act which modern man rightfully rejects.”

Die Sacramentale Begrundung Christliche Existenz by Joseph Ratzinger.

I understand the Holy Father was speaking to children.

His remarks to them to visit Christ crucified by viewing a crucifix is understandable.

However, his remarks concerning Christ brings up this remark about the Blessed Sacrament.

Padre, your considerations on how this plays out to us Faithful, please?


Fr Ray Blake said...

Die Sacramentale Begrundung Christliche Existenz was written pre-1966. I used to pray for Joseph Ratzinger's conversion - it worked!

I think he would say it is an immature work of a young theologian, it is obviously not what he would say now. 1968 was a crucial year in JR's rethinking of his theology.

TJ said...

SMCTOD- The presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is for the faithful the reason why we come to Adoration and Benediction. The Lord Himself is present right before us on the Altar. God The Father is present with His Divine Son and where the Lord is in the Blessed Sacrament so is His Mother - The Blessed Virgin Mary. Where God and Our Blessed Lord is present so is The Holy Spirit.
The very presence of The Lord is so special that we kneel on both knees when entering the Church.
We come to Church to pray to The Lord and receive His Body and Blood. Where Jesus is then so is God.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...