While celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi yesterday in front of the basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Benedict encouraged the faithful to nourish themselves with love of Christ in the Eucharist and warned of secularization within the Church.
In his homily, the Holy Father explained that though we are inadequate due to sin, we need to nourish ourselves “from the love the Lord offers us in the Eucharistic Sacrament.” Noting yesterday's feast, he said, “this evening we renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Such faith must not be taken for granted!”
The Pope went on to warn of the risk “of insidious secularization, even inside the Church” which “could translate into a formal but empty Eucharistic worship, in celebrations lacking that involvement of the heart which finds expression in veneration and respect for the liturgy.”
"There is always a strong temptation to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, allowing ourselves to be overcome by earthly activities and concerns," he cautioned.
However, reminded Benedict XVI, we must remember that in the Eucharist, “heaven comes down to earth, God's tomorrow descends into the present moment and time is, as it were, embraced by divine eternity."
During the Eucharistic procession which traditionally follows the Mass, he prayed, "we will ask the Lord in the name of the entire city: Stay with us, Jesus, make us a gift of Yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life. Free this world from the poison of evil, from the violence and hatred that pollute people's consciences, purify it with the power of Your merciful love."
Following Mass, the Pope participated in the Eucharistic procession that traveled along Rome’s Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major. While the Holy Father knelt in prayer in a covered vehicle before the monstrance, thousands prayed and sang along the route.