In his Sunday Angelus address to 15,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, as a manifestation of God and proof that God is love.
Benedict XVI began by explaining the “cosmic dimension” of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
“It evokes firstly, at least in our hemisphere, this beautiful and fragrant season in which spring gives way to summer, the sun is strong in the sky and in the fields the crops mature,” he said. “The feast days of the Church, as in the Hebrew tradition, are intertwined with the rhythm of the solar year, of sowing and reaping.”
“This is particularly true of today’s solemnity, at the center of which is the bread, fruit of the earth and the heavens. This is why the Eucharistic bread is a visible sign of Him in whom heaven and earth, and God and man, have become one.”
“And this shows that the bond between the seasons and the liturgical year in not merely exterior.”
“Corpus Domini is a manifestation of God, proof that God is love,” the Holy Father explained, using the Latin for “Body of the Lord.”
“In a unique and peculiar way, this feast speaks to us of divine love, what it is and what it does.”
“It tells us for example that it is regenerated in the giving of oneself to another, that in giving we receive, it is never lacking, it never runs out. As the hymn of St Thomas Aquinas intones: ‘nec sumptus consumitur.’”
Pope Benedict was alluding to the Angelic Doctor’s hymn “Lauda Sion.” The line he quoted roughly translates to “Not even being consumed is it used up.”
“Love,” the Holy Father continued, “transforms all things, and therefore it is understood that at the very heart of today’s feast of Corpus Domini there is the mystery of transubstantiation, the sign of Christ --Caritas that transforms the world. Looking at Him and adoring Him we say: yes love exists, and because it exists things can change for the better and we can hope.”
“It is the hope that comes from the Christ’s love that gives us the strength to live and to face difficulties. This is why we sing as we carry the Blessed Sacrament in procession, we sing and we praise God who revealed himself to us by hiding himself in the symbol of broken bread.”
The Pontiff concluded, “We all need this bread, because the path to freedom, justice and peace is long and tiring.”
After the Marian prayer, Pope Benedict recalled that from June 24-26 a United Nations conference on the global economic crisis will be held in New York. He invoked the spirit of wisdom and of human solidarity upon the conference participants so that the crisis may become an opportunity “capable of favoring greater attention to the dignity of every human being and the promotion of an equal distribution of decisional power and resources, with particular attention to the unfortunately ever growing number of poor.”
Benedict XVI also recalled the beginning of the Year for Priests, on June 19, with the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The year, called by the Pope to support vocations to the priesthood, takes place on the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, known as the Curé d’Ars.
“I entrust to your prayers,” the Pope explained, “this new spiritual initiative, which follows the Pauline Year that is near to its conclusion. May this new jubilee year be a propitious occasion for deepening the value and the importance of the priestly mission and for asking the Lord to gift his Church with numerous and holy priests.”