The following comes from Archbishop Burke at the Catholic Exchange:
On this August 25, we celebrated the feast day of Saint Louis of France, principal patron saint of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. The feast day of Saint Louis is celebrated as a solemnity in the City of Saint Louis and as a feast in the rest of the Archdiocese.
In my homily for the Pontifical Mass for the Solemnity of Saint Louis in the Cathedral Basilica, I reflected on the source of the heroic sanctity of our principal patron who was a husband and father of eleven children, ruler of a great nation, and Crusader for the safeguarding of the Christian life in the holy places of our Lord’s Redemptive Incarnation. Wanting to share my reflection with all of the faithful of the Archdiocese, I have edited the homily for this week’s column.
Becoming Whom We Receive in Holy Communion
In his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, “On the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission,” Pope Benedict XVI recalls a passage from the Confessions of Saint Augustine, regarding the Holy Eucharist. Saint Augustine writes about the different effect of consuming the Heavenly Bread of the Holy Eucharist in comparison with the effect of eating earthly food. Earthly food is assimilated into our very being; it becomes a part of us. The Body of Christ, the Heavenly Food of our earthly pilgrimage, on the contrary, transforms us into the Food we consume, that is, Christ Whom we receive in Holy Communion.
Through the Eucharistic Sacrifice, our Lord Jesus Christ unites us to Himself, draws our hearts into His glorious Sacred Heart. By so doing, He heals and purifies our poor, fearful and doubting hearts. He gives rest and strength to our hearts. In short, He gives us the grace to live in Him always, to reflect His likeness in every moment of our lives, in everything that we think and say and do. In the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, we receive the strength to “remove from [our] midst oppression,” to “bestow bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted,” trusting that “the Lord will guide [us] always and give [us] plenty even on the parched land” (Is 58:10-11). In the Heart of Jesus, we find the refreshment and fortitude to become for our neighbor “a spring whose water never fails” (Is 58:11). In the words of Saint Paul, our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the grace to offer our bodies “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1) (Pope Benedict XVI, Post-synodal Apostolic ExhortationSacramentum caritatis, “On the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission,” 22 February 2007, n. 70).
The Intrinsically Eucharistic Nature of Christian Life
Pope Benedict XVI comments on the reflection of Saint Augustine with these words:
Christianity’s new worship includes and transfigures every aspect of life: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Christians, in all their actions, are called to offer true worship to God. Here the intrinsically Eucharistic nature of Christian life begins to take shape. The Eucharist, since it embraces the concrete, everyday existence of the believer, makes possible, day by day, the progressive transfiguration of all those called by grace to reflect the image of the Son of God (cf. Rom 8:29ff). There is nothing authentically human — our thoughts and affections, our words and deeds — that does not find in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the form it needs to be lived to the full (Sacramentum caritatis, n. 71).
The Holy Eucharist is truly the fount and highest expression of the life of the Church. It is, therefore, the fount and highest expression of our personal life in Christ. Having communion with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we are called and given the grace to live in pure and selfless love of God and neighbor, observing always and everywhere the great commandment of love (Mt 22:37-40).