Skip to:

  • Español Español
  • English English
  • Italiano Italiano
  • Français Français
  • Polski Polski

Be what you receive and receive what you are

John Paul II and the Eucharist

The Eucharist constitutes the culminating moment in which Jesus, in His Body given for us and in His Blood poured out for our salvation, reveals the mystery of His identity and indicates the sense of the vocation of every believer. In fact, the meaning of human life is totally contained in that Body and in that Blood, since from them life and salvation have come to us. In some ways, the very existence of the human person must be identified with them, so that this existence is fulfilled in so far as it can, in its turn, make of itself a gift for others.
In the Eucharist all this is mysteriously signified in the signs of bread and wine, the memorial of the Passover of the Lord: the believer who is nourished by that Body given for him and with that Blood poured out for him, receives the power to transform himself, in turn, into gift. As Saint Augustine says, “Be what you receive and receive what you are.” (Discourse 272, 1: On Pentecost)

In their encounter with the Eucharist, some men discover that they are called to become ministers of the Altar, other people, that they are called to contemplate the beauty and depth of this mystery, others that they are called to pour out again its impelling force of love on the poor and weak, and others again that they are called to grasp its transforming power in the realities and gestures of everyday life. Each believer finds in the Eucharist not only the interpretative key of his or her own existence, but the courage to actualise it, indeed to build up, in the diversity of charisms and vocations, the one Body of Christ in history.