Pope Benedict XVI turned once again to the Middle Ages for a model of faith in his address at today's General Audience. On this occasion he chose to look at the role of Rupert of Deutz in Christian history, particularly as a theologian who “defended the reality of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.”
In the 12th century, great struggles came about between the Roman Empire and the Church. The Pope lauded Rupert for distinguishing himself with his “honest moral integrity” and his “strong attachment to the Holy See” in that age of great moral and physical battles.
The Holy Father said that we can learn from his life about how to react to controversies within the Church. When “controversies emerge in the Church, the reference to the Petrine ministry guarantees fidelity to healthy doctrine and gives serenity and interior freedom,” he explained.
Rupert contemplated and wrote on many of the important themes affecting the Church in his time. Among these theological works, which the Pope deemed “still of great interest today,” is a document called “De divinis officiis” which supports the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
This, said Benedict XVI, is “a point we must also think about in our time; there also exists today the danger of reducing Eucharistic realism, to consider, that is, the Eucharist almost as just a rite of communion, of socialization, forgetting too easily that in the Eucharist is really present the risen Christ – with His risen body – and puts Himself in our hands to incorporate us into His own immortal Body and lead us to a new life.”
“This great mystery that the Lord is present in all of his reality in the Eucharistic species is a mystery to adore and love always and again!” declared the Pontiff.
Pope Benedict XVI also noted Rupert’s contribution to theological discussion on the omnipotence of God, man’s mistaken use of freedom as the origin of evil, and the vision of Christ standing at the center of history.
The Holy Father concluded by praising the monk for his ability to “unite the rational study of the mysteries of the faith with prayer and contemplation.” All Catholics, the Pope advised, should do the same by making an effort to make time for the Lord Jesus, who “makes himself present in the Eucharistic Bread and in his Word for our salvation.”