Encyclical Letter Ecclesia De Eucharistia of His Holiness Pope John Paul II
This Encyclical was signed by the Holy Father at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, 17 April 2003, this encyclical replaced his customary Holy Thursday letter to priests, and was addressed to the whole of the Catholic Church. His exposition of the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church is intended to remedy the liturgical abuses and heterodox teachings that are found in some places. "It is my hope that the present Encyclical Letter will effectively help to banish the dark clouds of unacceptable doctrine and practice, so that the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery." (John Paul II)Pope John Paul II is comparing our relationship with Christ as a friendship, stating that we receive him during communion, and that he receives each of us, making it a mutual relationship. As the article states "Eucharistic communion brings about in a sublime way the mutual abiding of Christ and each of his followers: Abide in me, and I in you (Jn 15:4)." The Pope is using this a motivation tool for people in the church stating that is is a sacrament for humanity. The Church is able to drive it's spiritual power to carry out it's mission because of the Christ in the Eucharist.
"Eucharistic communion also confirms the Church in her unity as the body of Christ." He states how once people of the Church receive the bread, we are consuming the body of Christ, and not becoming many, but becoming one body. Christ want's us to consume his body so we can achieve eternal salvation, and we are all mutually joined to one another. "The joint and inseparable activity of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, which is at the origin of the Church, of her consolidation and her continued life, is at work in the Eucharist. " This is a good foritifcation of the Church's followers and believers stating that we are all joined into one.
"The seeds of disunity, which daily experience shows to be so deeply rooted in humanity as a result of sin, are countered by the unifying power of the body of Christ. The Eucharist, precisely by building up the Church, creates human community. " As stated in paragraph 24, the Eucharist is creating and solidifying a community in the Church and under God, having us all stand together, and be closer to the things and people we believe in. A unification that cannot be broken, as we are now hand in hand with the creator.
Paragraph 25 is reinforcing the strength and power people receive from being in the heart of Christ. "How often, dear brother and sisters, have I experienced this, and drawn from it strength, consolation and support!" is stated showing that we all feel the support of life we receive from God. "The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace." This is truly an ultimate form of strength and determination that all Church goer's need and deserve.
"First, she was and remains built on 'the foundation of the Apostles' (Eph 2:20), the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself.51" This states how the Church is built upon the Apostles, and how the Eucharist too is founded by them, Christ entrusted upon his Apostles to carry on what he wanted and it was still origninated in Jesus, but he had to hand it down. Because of the practice of the Apostles the Church has celebrated these activities for centuries.
Lastly, the Church is apostolic in the sense that she continues to be taught, sanctified and guided by the Apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of Bishops assisted by priests, in union with the Successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor.53 Only priests should recite Eucharistic prayer, so people can participate in silence and strengthen their Faith. These several paragraphs stand as a beacon of hope, reinforcing this celebration, to create the unity with our Lord, and to make sure people remember that we are within him, and he is within us. When we need strength, it will be there.
Work cited and quoted from Pope John Paul II http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_17042003_ecclesia-de-eucharistia_en.html