Friday, August 18, 2006

Pope Benedict’s Message to Altar Servers

On August 2, 2006, Pope’s Benedict XVI addressed the delegates of the European Pilgrimage of Altar Servers, boys and girls mostly from Germany. His catechesis for them can apply to all of us who serve weekly and often daily at the Eucharistic table. Read the entire text here.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Dear Altar Servers, you are, in fact, already apostles of Jesus! When you take part in the Liturgy by carrying out your altar service, you offer a witness to all. Your absorption, the devotion that wells up from your heart and is expressed in gestures, in song, in the responses: if you do it correctly and not absent-mindedly, then in a certain way your witness is one that moves people.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the bond of friendship with Jesus. You are very close to Jesus in the Eucharist, and this is the most important sign of his friendship for each one of us. Do not forget it.

This is why I am asking you not to take this gift for granted so that it does not become a sort of habit, knowing how it works and doing it automatically; rather, discover every day anew that something important happens, that the living God is among us and that you can be close to him and help him so that his mystery is celebrated and reaches people.

If you do not give into habit, if you put your innermost self into carrying out your service, then you will truly be his apostles and bear fruits of goodness and service in every context of your life: in the family, at school, in your free time.

Take to one and all that love which you receive in the Liturgy, especially to places where you realize that they lack love, where they do not receive goodness, where they suffer and are lonely.