Summary of Mane Nobiscum Domine by Pope St. John Paul II

Mane Nobiscum Domine (“Stay With Us Lord”) was an Apostolic Letter to begin the year of the Eucharist on October 2004 – October 2005.

Here are 3 key themes of the letter, with some accompanying quotes.

1. The Eucharist is a mystery of light

He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lk 24:27)

The Eucharist is light above all because at every Mass the liturgy of the Word of God precedes the liturgy of the Eucharist in the unity of the two “tables”, the table of the Word and the table of the Bread. 12

They recognized him in the breaking of bread” (cf. Lk 24:35)

It is significant that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, duly prepared by our Lord’s words, recognized him at table through the simple gesture of the “breaking of bread”. When minds are enlightened and hearts are enkindled, signs begin to “speak”. The Eucharist unfolds in a dynamic context of signs containing a rich and luminous message. Through these signs the mystery in some way opens up before the eyes of the believer. 14

2. The Eucharist is a source and manifestation of communion

When the disciples on the way to Emmaus asked Jesus to stay “with” them, he responded by giving them a much greater gift: through the Sacrament of the Eucharist he found a way to stay “in” them. Receiving the Eucharist means entering into a profound communion with Jesus. “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jn 15:4). This relationship of profound and mutual “abiding” enables us to have a certain foretaste of heaven on earth. Is this not the greatest of human yearnings? Is this not what God had in mind when he brought about in history his plan of salvation? God has placed in human hearts a “hunger” for his word (cf. Am 8:11), a hunger which will be satisfied only by full union with him. Eucharistic communion was given so that we might be “sated” with God here on earth, in expectation of our complete fulfilment in heaven. 19

The Eucharist is both the source of ecclesial unity and its greatest manifestation. The Eucharist is an epiphany of communion. For this reason the Church sets conditions for full participation in the celebration of the Eucharist. These various limitations ought to make us ever more conscious of the demands made by the communion which Jesus asks of us. It is a hierarchical communion, based on the awareness of a variety of roles and ministries, as is seen by the reference to the Pope and the Diocesan Bishop in the Eucharistic Prayer. It is a fraternal communion, cultivated by a “spirituality of communion” which fosters reciprocal openness, affection, understanding and forgiveness. 21

3. The Eucharist is the principle and plan of “mission”

The two disciples of Emmaus, upon recognizing the Lord, “set out immediately” (cf. Lk 24:33), in order to report what they had seen and heard. Once we have truly met the Risen One by partaking of his body and blood, we cannot keep to ourselves the joy we have experienced. The encounter with Christ, constantly intensified and deepened in the Eucharist, issues in the Church and in every Christian an urgent summons to testimony and evangelization… The dismissal at the end of each Mass is a charge given to Christians, inviting them to work for the spread of the Gospel and the imbuing of society with Christian values. 24

For the Eucharist is a mode of being, which passes from Jesus into each Christian, through whose testimony it is meant to spread throughout society and culture. For this to happen, each member of the faithful must assimilate, through personal and communal meditation, the values which the Eucharist expresses, the attitudes it inspires, the resolutions to which it gives rise. 25

One fundamental element of this plan is found in the very meaning of the word “Eucharist”: thanksgiving. In Jesus, in his sacrifice, in his unconditional “yes” to the will of the Father, is contained the “yes”, the “thank you” and the “amen” of all humanity. The Church is called to remind men and women of this great truth. This is especially urgent in the context of our secularized culture, characterized as it is by a forgetfulness of God and a vain pursuit of human self-sufficiency. Incarnating the Eucharistic “plan” in daily life, wherever people live and work—in families, schools, the workplace, in all of life’s settings—means bearing witness that human reality cannot be justified without reference to the Creator: “Without the Creator the creature would disappear”. This transcendent point of reference, which commits us constantly to give thanks for all that we have and are—in other words, to a “Eucharistic” attitude—in no way detracts from the legitimate autonomy of earthly realities, but grounds that autonomy more firmly by setting it within its proper limits… One who learns to say “thank you” in the manner of the crucified Christ might end up as a martyr, but never as a persecutor. 26

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