PER IL CONGRESSO EUCARISTICO NAZIONALE DELL'AUSTRALIA*
Domenica, 19 aprile 1953
This is a day of remembrance for you, Our dearly beloved children of Australia, — of blessed memories that stir the soul to songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. Our Venerable Brother, your esteemed Cardinal Archbishop, is with you as Our personal Legate, so that you may know how close We are to you in your jubilee celebration.
One hundred and fifty years ago the first Holy Mass was offered on your shores; and one can well imagine the deeply felt emotions of the sacrament-hungry exiles, when they were at last granted their most prized privilege to bow in adoration before the divine Victim of Golgotha raised aloft in the hands of their priest. Their Eucharistic Lord was with them again. The Holy Mass had forged a link uniting them with their dear ones far over seas, and surely the hills and dales of their native land were heard to echo the joy that filled their hearts.
Twenty-five years ago, beloved children, you commemorated this momentous event in Australian history. Amid a grand concourse of the faithful come from far and near, with colourful pageantry, in learned gatherings of prelates and the laity, and finally under the inspiration of the solemn, soul-uplifting liturgy of the Church, you gave magnificent, public expression of your faith and gratitude to the divine Bounty. And who will count all the graces and blessings, that over the decades since that first Holy Sacrifice have flowed into the souls of men from the altars erected in the four quarters of your continent?
The Mass, your daily Mass, carries the memory back far beyond the brief span of a century and a half. It transports you in spirit to « a large upper room, furnished » of a house in Jerusalem. It is Thursday night almost two thousand years ago. Jesus had eaten the paschal lamb with His Apostles. « Then He took bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them saying, This is My Body, which is to be given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. And so with the cup, when supper was ended, This cup, He said, is the new testament in my blood which is to be shed for you » (Luc. 22, 12 and 19-21).
On that traitorous yet never so triumphant Holy Thursday night the Sacred Heart of Jesus was asking us all, through the Apostles on whom He was to found His Church (cfr. Eph. 2, 20), to remember the sacrifice He so lovingly, so eagerly even, accepted for our salvation; to commemorate it all days, from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, down through the ages and across the five continents of His kingdom on earth.
And how staunchly Australia's priests and people have remembered! There for the world to read and heed is the story of your abiding devotion to Holy Mass through the arduous pioneer years of your national life. Here for the world to see and hear, in this hour of abundant grace and opportunity, is the vast Congress of your sons and daughters, young and old, gathered about the Saviour's Banquet table to offer and share once more that single Eucharistic Sacrifice, to eat this Pasch with their Risen King.
But let the world realize with Us, for its further consolation and assurance, that you are assembled here in prayerful, apostolic readiness to-day for much more than a feast of remembrance. This is a solemn hour of resolution, too! For Australia, as for every nation in the Lord's great family of souls, Jesus Christ can be no mere memory, however tenderly and tenaciously enshrined in the pages of our history.
Remember Me always, He pleads indeed; but remember, above all, that I am with you all days: abide in My love! (cfr. Matth. 28, 20; Io. 15, 9). The Eucharistic Christ is a living, loving reality in our very midst. The unique redemptive sacrifice of Calvary, renewed each day in His Body which is the Church, brings literally alive and keeps alive the charity of Christ for the food of our souls in a wondrously Blessed Sacrament. Really present on our altars, in our tabernacles, present in the hearts and homes of all who are one with Him by grace divine, He offers us personally His love, and pleads for ours. By this shall all men know that you are faithful to Him, that you belong to Him : not only that you remember and celebrate His saving word and work, but that you put Him on (cfr. Rom. 13, 14), that you live His very life of love, that you love one another in Him, as He continues to love us all (cfr. Io. 13, 34).
The impact on human history of this sacrificial, all-embracing love of the Eucharistic Christ, alive in the hearts of His holy priests and lay apostles, has been, as Our beloved Australia knows so well, tremendous. And who shall set bounds to the conquests of that loving Heart for tomorrow?
If only your resolution is strong, if only your hearts fail Him not by disdaining the all-powerful aid of His grace, the charity of Christ will continue, through you and your children, its blessed mission of unity and peace (Canon of the Mass, first Prayer before Communion), unto the final rescue of the world from the powers of darkness that threaten its ruin. It will fortify the precious bonds of your family life, and keep the Christian home the sanctuary of prayer, labour and love that God intended it to be. It will transform your industrial relations, your economic and political planning, by setting at their heart the needs and sacred prerogatives of the human person. It will supply exactly the warmth and power you need for the task of international forbearance, sympathy and conciliation traced for you of late by your devoted Hierarchy.
O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!
For all that Our Lord's Eucharistic charity has meant for you, for all you are resolved to make it mean for the Commonwealth of Australia and a better world to-morrow, may He be eternally adored and thanked and loved.
To quicken those treasured memories and deepen that sturdy resolve, We impart to you now, Venerable Brothers and dearly beloved children, as to all your dear ones near and far, fondly from Our heart the Apostolic Blessing.
*Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII, XV,
Quindicesimo anno di Pontificato, 2 marzo 1953 - 1° marzo 1954, pp. 89 - 91
Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana
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