São Paulo (AsiaNews) – The Eucharist is at the core of Benedict XVI’s teaching. The Holy Father has in fact already written on this most central issue, this “ineffable manifestation of God’s love for humanity”. In today’s mass canonising Antônio de Sant'Ana Galvão, the first saint born in Brazil, he reiterated this point.
In speaking about the Franciscan friar who lived in the 18th and early 19th century—a man who was well-regarded as a confessor, an extraordinary preacher who created an institute for women religious and spiritual retreats, a man who was a writer—, the Pope said that the unity with divine love that manifests itself in the Eucharist, which the new saint witnessed as an “ardent adorer” and which makes Catholics “bearers of that peace which the world cannot give”, gives orientation and content to social pastoral initiatives, and offers the world “transparent lives, clear souls, pure minds that refuse to be perceived as mere objects of pleasure,” because “only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world.”
There are more than a million people in the open-air esplanade as São Paulo’s skyscrapers fill the skyline. They have come to listen to the Pope and witness an event that is unprecedented in their country’s history.
In a beautifully sunny morning, crowds welcomed Benedict XVI singing the “Papal March” written just for him, waving Brazilian flags, hats and multicolour handkerchiefs. People shouted when the Pope announced that Father Galvão was among the saints, giving the “Glory” a Brazilian twist, waving hands flags and hats.
On the third day of his trip to Brazil, Benedict XVI appears happy but a little bit tired. The Eucharist, he said, “contains all the spiritual wealth of the Church.” It “occupies a privileged place in the heart of Christians. They must come to know the faith of the Church through her ordained ministers, through the exemplary manner in which they carry out the prescribed rites that always point to the Eucharistic liturgy as the centre of the entire task of evangelization. The faithful, in [. . .] turn, must seek to receive and to venerate the Most Holy Sacrament with piety and devotion, eager to welcome the Lord Jesus with faith, and having recourse, whenever necessary, to the sacrament of reconciliation so as to purify the soul from every grave sin.”
“United with the Lord in the supreme communion of the Eucharist and reconciled with him and our neighbour, we will thus become bearers of that peace which the world cannot give. Will the men and women of this world be able to find peace if they are not aware of the need to be reconciled with God, with their neighbour and with themselves?”
The new saint was a “man of peace and charity” and behaved in an exemplary manner. “The renown of his immense charity knew no bounds. People from all over the country went to Frei Galvão, who offered a fatherly welcome to everyone. Among those who came to implore his help were the poor and the sick in body and spirit.”
The example is that of Jesus, who “loved even to the extent of giving his life for us on the Cross. The action of the Church and of Christians in society must have this same inspiration. Pastoral initiatives for the building up of society, if directed towards the good of the poor and the sick, bear within themselves this divine seal. The Lord counts on us and calls us his friends, because it is only to those we love in this way that we are capable of giving the life offered by Jesus through his grace.”
Again using the new saint as an example, Benedict XVI spoke about marriage as he did last night in his meeting with young people. “There is a phrase,” the Pope said, “in the formula of his consecration which sounds remarkably contemporary to us, who live in an age so full of hedonism: ‘Take away my life before I offend your blessed Son, my Lord!’ They are strong words, the words of an impassioned soul, words that should be part of the normal life of every Christian, whether consecrated or not, and they enkindle a desire for fidelity to God in married couples as well as in the unmarried. The world needs transparent lives, clear souls, pure minds that refuse to be perceived as mere objects of pleasure. It is necessary to oppose those elements of the media that ridicule the sanctity of marriage and virginity before marriage.”