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This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me (1 Cor 11,24). Make oneself Eucharist



This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me (1 Cor 11,24)

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1.1 The Eucharist in the recent life of the Church.
1.2 The Eucharist in the present state of the Congregation.
1.3 The Eucharist in the life of the confreres.
2.1 The first defection of the disciples (Gv 6,66-71).
2.2 The abandonment by the Twelve (Mc 14, 17-31).
    2.2.1 Following Jesus does not ensure that we don't betray him.
    2.2.2 Promising Jesus a great deal does not prevent us from denying him.
    2.2.3 The covenant broken almost as soon as it was made needs to be remembered.
2.3 The gesture in Jesus' hour: loving even to the end (Gv 13,1-20).
3.1 Consecrated life, “ucharistic life”.
    3.1.1 Consecrated life, “memorial” through obedience.
    3.1.2 Consecrated life, “sacrifice” through chastity.
    3.1.3 Consecrated life, “shared meal” through poverty.
3.2 The Salesian, man of the Eucharist.
    3.2.1 From celebration to conformity.
    3.2.2 From conformity to adoration.
    3.2.3 From adoration to mission.

Roma, 7 June 2007
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

My Dear Confreres,

I send you my affectionate greetings on my return from Aparecida, Brazil, the site of the Vth Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which was attended by 13 Salesian Bishops and two FMA, in addition to the Rector Major. It was an extraordinary experience of Church that I shall speak about on another occasion. For the present I just express the hope that this great Assembly may be a source of hope and life to the peoples of that continent, through a Church - and us SDB within it - that becomes the loving and faithful disciple of Christ and a convinced and courageous missionary. Now I prefer to speak to you on a subject that is very much in my heart and on which I have been reflecting during the past year, the Eucharist.

I am well aware that some of you may think a new letter on the Eucharist repetitive if not superfluous. You will certainly not have forgotten what Fr Vecchi wrote on the subject in the Jubilee Year of 2000 “to rediscover the eucharistic mystery and its significance in our life and pastoral work” [1] . I can tell you, however, that for some time I have felt the need to take up the question again and to tell you of my concerns. The reasons are indeed quite serious.



Involved as we are in the “return to Don Bosco”, in the creative recovery of his inspired charismatic options, of his inspired pedagogical intuitions, how much I wish that in the Congregation we were to live the Eucharist - always better, always more - celebrated with regularity and gratitude, contemplated in personal and community adoration! How could we better proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes, than by eating this bread and drinking this chalice, and we ourselves becoming “bread broken” for the confreres and the young, and “wine poured out”, so that they may have life to the full? (cf. 1 Cor 11,26). How can we more effectively bring our young people to know God who has loved them first, (cf. 1 Jn 4,8-9.19) and to the end (cf. Jn 13,1)?

1.1 The Eucharist in the recent life of the Church

Fount and summit of the life and mission of the Church, [2] the gift of the Eucharist, “always devoutly guarded as her most precious treasure” [3] , has accompanied and encouraged the process of renewal that the Church has followed from Vatican II until our own days. It would have been very difficult for it to have been otherwise: “the celebration of the eucharist is at the centre of the process of the Church's growth” [4] ; “the Church”, in fact, “draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church.” [5]

The Council was not yet finished and already Paul VI had published the encyclical letter Mysterium Fidei (3 September 1965) on the doctrine and the worship of the Most Holy Eucharist: “the Council Fathers” - wrote the Pope - “regard it as a matter of highest importance to urge the faithful to participate actively, with undivided faith and the utmost devotion, in the celebration of this Most Holy Mystery”. [6]

But it was in the long years of the magisterium of John Paul II during which there was “an extraordinary concentration on the sacrament of the Eucharist.” [7] In the first years of his magisterium he wrote the Apostolic Letter Dominicae Cenae (24 February 1980), in which he indicated “certain aspects of the Eucharistic Mystery and its impact on the lives of those who are the ministers of It:” [8] . Later, “to emphasis the living and saving presence in the Church and in the world” John Paul II wanted, on the occasion of the great Jubilee, an International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Rome; “The Year 2000” he promised, “will be intensely Eucharistic” [9] . Three years later, in 2003, in his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003) he reminded us that “the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love” [10] .  The following year, with the Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine