Sunday, March 30, 2003

Recently I purchased Co-Workers of the Truth, an anthology of daily meditations by Cardinal Ratzinger, much of it derived from German texts and unpublished homilies from the 1970's-80's.

Powerful reading to begin the morning with. Here is an excerpt that has stuck with me for a while now:

I am always moved by those reports fron concentration camps and Russian prisons, where men were without the Eucharist for weeks and months at a time and did not look to themselves to provide it, but celebrated a Eucharist of desire. In such a Eucharist of desire, they were made ready in a new way for the Lord's gift and received it anew whenever a priest was able to find somewhere a piece of bread and a little wine. It is in this frame of mind and with appropriate humility and patience that we should approach the question of intercommunion. Where unity does not exist, it is not for us to act as though it does exist. The Eucharist is never a means at our disposal; it is the gift of the Lord, the central mystery of the Church herself, which we cannot use as we will. Intercommunion is not a gesture of personal friendship, but of insisting on the unity of the one Church and of waiting humbly until God himself confers it. Instead of experimenting and robbing the mystery of its greatness and demeaning it to the status of a means in our hands, we, too, should learn to celebrate the Eucharist of desire, and, united in prayer and hope, to find unity with the Lord in a new way.

-- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger [Eucharistie - Mitt der Kirche, pp. 30ff.]

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