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Catechism on the Real Presence

On the Doctrine and Worship of the Holy Eucharist

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Mystery of Faith Encyclical Letter by Pope Paul VI
MYSTERIUM FIDEI, September 3, 1965
Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI

On the doctrine and worship of the Holy Eucharist.

1.  The Catholic Church has always devoutly guarded as a most precious treasure the mystery of faith, that is the ineffable gift of the Eucharist which she received from Christ her Spouse as a pledge of His immense love, and during the Second Vatican Council in a new and solemn demonstration she professed her faith and veneration for this mystery. When dealing with the restoration of the sacred liturgy, the Father of the council, by reason of their pastoral concern for the whole Church, considered it of the highest importance to exhort the faithful to participate actively with sound faith and with the utmost devotion in the celebration of this Most Holy Mystery, to offer it with the priest to God as a sacrifice for their own salvation and for that of the whole world, and to find in it spiritual nourishment.

2.  For if the sacred liturgy holds the first place in the life of the Church, the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life by which we are cleansed and strengthened to live not for ourselves but for God, and to be united in love among ourselves .

...Exhortation to Promote the Cult of the Eucharist

...75.  We therefore ask you, venerable brothers, among the people entrusted to your care and vigilance, to preserve this faith in its purity and integrity - ...Tirelessly promote the cult of the Eucharist, the focus where all other forms of piety must ultimately emerge .

...78.  In the course of the day the faithful should not omit to visit the Blessed Sacrament, which according to the liturgical laws must be kept in the churches with great reverence in a most honorable location. Such visits are a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and acknowledgment of the Lord's presence .

...79.  No one can fail to understand that the Divine Eucharist bestows upon the Christian people an incomparable dignity. Not only while the sacrifice is offered and the sacrament is received, but as long as the Eucharist is kept in our churches and oratories, Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, "God with us." Day and night He is in our midst, He dwells with us, full of grace and truth. (68) He restores morality, nourishes, virtues, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak. He proposes His own example to those who come to Him that all may learn to be, like Himself, meek and humble of heart and to seek not their own interests but those of God .

...80.  Anyone who approaches this august Sacrament with devotion and endeavors to return generous love for Christ's own infinite love, will experience and fully understand - not without spiritual joy and fruit - how precious is the life hidden with Christ in God (69) and how great is the value of converse with Christ, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness.

... 81.  Further, you realize, venerable brothers, that the Eucharist is reserved in the churches and oratories as in the spiritual center of a religious community or of a parish, yes, of the universal Church and of all of humanity, since beneath the appearance of the species, Christ is contained, the invisible Head of the Church, The Redeemer of the World, the Center of all hearts, "by whom all things are and by whom we exist." (70)

...82.  From this it follows that the worship paid to the Divine Eucharist strongly impels the soul to cultivate a "social" love, (71) by which the common good is given preference over the good of the individual. Let us consider as our own the interests of the community, or the parish, of the entire Church, extending our charity to the whole world, because we know that everywhere there are members of Christ...

We recommend reading the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, MYSTERIUM FIDEI, September 3, 1965, MYSTERY OF FAITH in its entirety. You may order Catechism on the Real Presence, containing the entire Encyclical with questions and answers.

Catechism on The Real Presence

By Father John A. Hardon, S.J.

Eternal Life
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