Cardinal's work aims to foster love, devotion to Eucharist
By Carl Bunderson
Cardinal Raymond Burke.
Cardinal Raymond Burke.

.- In “Divine Love Made Flesh,” Cardinal Raymond Burke presents a commentary on papal writings about the Eucharist showing his “profound love” for the Sacrament, the book's collaborator says.

“The goal was to help people understand – in today's world, with such a waning faith and understanding of the Holy Eucharist – to give some explanation and help break that down for the faithful,” Thomas McKenna, founder of the book's publisher Catholic Action for Faith and Family, told CNA.

The book is a commentary by the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church's highest court, on Blessed John Paul II's 2003 encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” and Benedict XVI's 2007 apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis.”

Cardinal Burke wrote in the book's conclusion that “it is my fervent prayer that the reflections on Ecclesia de Eucharistia and Sacramentum Caritatis contained in these pages will lead the reader to an ever deeper and more ardent knowledge and love of our Eucharistic Lord.”

An interview with Cardinal Burke about his book will air on EWTN on Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. Eastern and on Aug. 16 at 11 p.m.

The book, subtitled “The Holy Eucharist as the Sacrament of Charity,” links the Eucharist to each of the Sacraments and to the daily life of Catholics, showing that it is the center of our whole life.

“Many people today understand the Holy Eucharist as a part of the Mass, and yes it is at Mass, but there's also Holy Hours, devotions, and reflections, in whatever walk of life we're in,” McKenna reflected.

The book is meant for “the person in the pew, the typical Catholic,” in the hopes that it will help expose them to recent Papal teachings on the Eucharist. “When Popes write encyclicals, they write them for the people … it's not just for cardinals or intellectuals.”

Because bishops, including the Pope, write as teachers, “this is an obligation Cardinal Burke felt,” McKenna said, to teach and “help explain (the teaching) to the faithful.”

“He did this as a goal of wanting to be faithful to his mission as a bishop, and now a cardinal, to teach.”

McKenna explained that the book was written at his own request. He approached Cardinal Burke, with whom he is friends, telling him that his writings are “so beautiful, they've been helpful to me and to many others,” and that the cardinal agreed, so as “to help the faithful.”

“Divine Love Made Flesh” grew out of a series of the cardinal's articles, written while he was Archbishop of St. Louis, explaining the different aspects of “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” to his flock when it was released.

“He has a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament,” McKenna said, “and he thought this would be a very good place to start, to publish, to put it into a book now, and he added to” the original article series.

The book “shows his true, profound love” for the Blessed Sacrament, which is the basis for his “concern for abuses of it.”

“That's what the book shares, is a deep, profound faith in his soul.”

McKenna emphasized that the book is “catechetical” rather than being solely “theological” on the one hand or “devotional” on the other.

By being catechetical, Cardinal Burke is able to relate the link between liturgy and the new evangelization, as well as explain the meaning of “active participation” not as “activity” as is commonly thought, but rather as “a spiritual joining with the priest.”

“Many people have commented to me, even older people who have lived their whole lives as Catholics, that this book has brought out thoughts and points about the faith they had never heard about,” McKenna said.

He added that “teaching clarity is what Cardinal Burke is renowned for; taking the concept and explaining it clearly for people to understand.”

In the book's introduction Cardinal Burke, a proponent of the extraordinary form of the Mass, begins by discussing the importance of the new evangelization, writing that “it is through participation in the Holy Eucharist that we best understand what we must do to carry out the new evangelization, namely pour out our lives in union with Christ.”

“Sharing in the thirst of Christ for souls through the Holy Eucharist,” he continues, the work of the new evangelization … becomes possible for man. The reality of divine love makes it possible.”

Tags: Eucharist, Cardinal Burke

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