Pope Urges Faithful to Fall in Love With Eucharist
Recalls St. Thomas’ Devotion to Sacrament
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Echoing one of his predecessors, Benedict XVI says all faithful children of the Church should be disciples of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Pope said this today during the general audience, which he again dedicated to a reflection on the 13th century saint known as the Angelic Doctor.
The Holy Father cited Pope Paul VI, who in 1974 took a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Thomas. That Pope affirmed in Aquino: “All of us, who are faithful children of the Church can and must, at least in some measure, be his disciples!”
Benedict XVI took today’s audience to offer a summary and explanation of the saint’s masterpiece, the “Summa Theologiae.” He also reflected on some of Thomas’ other works, including a series of sermons given the year before his death.
One of the elements highlighted by the Pontiff was St. Thomas’ devotion to the Eucharist.
“Speaking of the sacraments [in the third part of the Summa], St. Thomas pauses particularly on the mystery of the Eucharist, for which he had a very great devotion, to the point that, according to the ancient biographers, he used to lean his head on the tabernacle, almost as if to hear the beating of the divine and human Heart of Jesus,” the Pope recalled.
He cited one of the saint’s explanations of the Eucharist: “The Eucharist being the sacrament of the passion of our Lord, is also an effect of this sacrament, it not being other than the application in us of the passion of the Lord.”
And in this light, the Pope reflected, “Let us understand well why St. Thomas and other saints celebrated the Holy Mass shedding tears of compassion for the Lord, who offers himself in sacrifice for us, tears of joy and of gratitude.”
He continued: “Dear brothers and sisters, in the school of the saints, let us be enamored of this sacrament! Let us participate in the Holy Mass with recollection to obtain its spiritual fruits, let us nourish ourselves on the Body and Blood of the Lord, to be incessantly nourished by divine grace!
“Let us willingly and frequently converse, face to face, in the company of the Most Blessed Sacrament!”
Benedict XVI also reflected on Thomas’ devotion to the Virgin Mary.
“St. Thomas was, as all the saints, a great devotee of Our Lady,” he said. “He described her with a beautiful appellative: ‘Triclinium totius Trinitatis,’ triclinium, that is, place where the Trinity finds its rest, because, due to the Incarnation, the three divine Persons dwell [in her] and experience delight and joy to live in her soul full of grace as in no other creature.”
“Through her intercession we can obtain all help,” the Pope affirmed. And he concluded with a prayer attributed to St. Thomas: “Obtain for me, oh my most sweet Lady, true charity, with which I will be able to love with all my heart your Most Holy Son and you, after him, above all things, and my neighbor in God and for God.”