Second Thoughts for the Day – 15 August – The Memorial of St Tarcisius (Died c 257) Martyr of the Holy Eucharist – Patron of Altar Servers
Pope Benedict XVI – 4 August 2010 – General Audience to the International Pilgrimage of Altar Servers to St Peter’s, Rome
I am addressing those of you who are present here and, through you, all the altar servers of the world!
Serve Jesus present in the Eucharist generously. It is an important task that enables you to be particularly close to the Lord and to grow in true and profound friendship with Him. Guard this friendship in your hearts jealously, like St Tarcisius, ready to commit yourselves, to fight and to give your lives so that Jesus may reach all peoples.
May you too communicate to your peers the gift of this friendship with joy, with enthusiasm, without fear, so that they may feel that you know this Mystery, that is true and that you love it!
Every time that you approach the altar, you have the good fortune to assist in God’s great loving gesture as He continues to want to give Himself to each one of us, to be close to us, to help us, to give us strength to live in the right way. With consecration, as you know, that little piece of bread becomes Christ’s Body, that wine becomes Christ’s Blood. You are lucky to be able to live this indescribable Mystery from close at hand!
Do your task as altar servers with love, devotion and faithfulness, do not enter a church for the celebration with superficiality but rather, prepare yourselves inwardly for Holy Mass! Assisting your priests in service at the altar helps to make Jesus closer, so that people can understand, can realise better – He is here. You collaborate to make Him more present in the world, in everyday life, in the Church and everywhere.
Dear friends! You lend Jesus your hands, your thoughts, your time. He will not fail to reward you, giving you true joy and enabling you to feel where the fullest happiness is. St Tarcisius has shown us that love can even bring us to give our life for an authentic good, for the true good, for the Lord.
Martyrdom will probably not be required of us but Jesus asks of us fidelity in small things, inner recollection, inner participation, our faith and our efforts to keep this treasure present in every day life. He asks of us fidelity in daily tasks, a witness to His love, going to church through inner conviction and for the joy of His presence. Thus we can also make known to our friends that Jesus is alive. May St John Mary Vianney’s intercession help us in this commitment. Today is the liturgical Memorial of this humble French Parish Priest who changed a small community and thus gave the world a new light. May the example of St Tarcisius and St John Mary Vianney impel us every day to love Jesus and to do His will, as did the Virgin Mary, faithful to her Son to the end. Thank you all once again! May God bless you in these days and I wish you a good journey home!