In his June 22 homily delivered via satellite to the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Pope Benedict XVI made special mention of two Dominican Doctors of the Church and their particular contributions to the Church’s understanding of the Eucharist.
We must never forget that the Church is built around Christ and that, as St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas and St Albert the Great have all said, following St Paul (cf. 1 Cor 10:17), the Eucharist is the Sacrament of the Church’s unity, because we all form one single body of which the Lord is the head.
Further on, the Holy Father made an explicit connection between the Eucharist and personal holiness. In particular, he explained the centrality of the Eucharist in the holy lives of Canada’s numerous saints.
The Eucharist has a very special place in the life of Saints. Let us thank God for the history of holiness of Quebec and of Canada, which has contributed to the missionary life of the Church. Your Country honours in particular its Canadian martyrs, John Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions who were able to give their lives for Christ, thereby associating themselves with his sacrifice on the Cross. They belong to the generation of men and women who founded and developed the Church in Canada, with Marguerite Bourgeoys, Marguerite of Youville, Marie of the Incarnation, Marie Catherine of St Augustine, Bishop François de Laval, founder of the first diocese in North America, Dina Bélanger and Kateri Tekakwitha. Learn from them and, like them, be fearless; God accompanies and protects you; every day make an offering for the glory of God the Father and play your part in the construction of the world, proudly remembering your religious heritage and its social and cultural outreach, and taking care to spread around you the moral and spiritual values that come to us from the Lord.
Finally, Pope Benedict encouraged all of us today to acquire the mystical vision of the Eucharist enjoyed by the saints.
The Eucharist is not a meal with friends. It is the mystery of a covenant. “The prayers and rites of the Eucharistic sacrifice revive the whole history of salvation continuously before the eyes of our soul, in the course of the liturgical cycle and make us enter its significance ever more deeply” (St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein], Wege zu inneren Stille, Aschaffenburg, 1987, p. 67). We are called to enter into this mystery of a covenant by conforming our lives ever more closely each day to the gift received in the Eucharist. It has a sacred character, as the Second Vatican Council recalls: “every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the Priest and of his Body, which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7). In a certain way, it is a “heavenly liturgy”, an anticipation of the banquet in the eternal Kingdom, announcing the death and Resurrection of Christ “until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).