It's hard to believe that Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, hasn't published a book up until now. Yet, he's a very busy man. If he had to start somewhere, he has chosen the very best place to begin - with Jesus Christ's central and unifying presence in the Holy Eucharist.
I was fortunate to read an advance copy of the book, and what a book it is!
Divine Love Made Flesh: The Holy Eucharist as the Sacrament of Charity provides a profound spiritual reflection on the source and summit of our Catholic faith. It links the rich theology of the Church with both pastoral practice and the spiritual life. The book, in its structure and reflections, borrows from Pope John Paul II's encyclical Eccelsia de Eucharistia and Pope Benedict XVI's Sacramentum Caritatis. Through it, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the Sacrament and its power in their lives.
Aspects of the book reminded me of the Sermons of the Cure of Ars, a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading in Eucharistic adoration many years ago. Like that book, Cardinal Burke's book provides excellent meditations and would be a wonderful aid in Eucharistic adoration.
In his introduction, Cardinal Burke writes, "It is through participation in the Holy Eucharist that we best understand what we must do to carry out the new evangelization, namely pour out our lives in union with Christ."
I have often thought that if we are what we eat, then Catholics, who consume Christ sacramentally present in the Holy Eucharist, are slowly being transformed to be more and more like Jesus Christ.
Cardinal Burke makes this very point in Chapter 20 - "Becoming Whom We Receive in Holy Communion."
"Earthly food is assimilated into our very being; it becomes a part of us," writes Cardinal Burke, borrowing from Pope Benedict and St. Augustine. "The Body of Christ, the Heavenly Food of our earthly pilgrimage, on the contrary, transforms us into the Food we consume, that is, Christ Whom we receive in Holy Communion.The Holy Eucharist gives us the strength to live a totally Christlike life."
"Through our participation in the Eucharistic Sacriﬁce, we come to understand that we cannot compartmentalize any aspect of our life, in order to keep it from the transforming grace of Christ’s Real Presence. The Holy Eucharist, therefore, is always ﬁrst and most important in our daily living and in our whole life. It must never be seen as detached from or unrelated to any part of our life."
The book has already garnered high praise from several notable Catholics.
"It is sad but true that devotion to the Holy Eucharist has greatly diminished among many contemporary Catholics, and with it an understanding of the importance of the Eucharist has diminished as well," said Father Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR. "In Divine Love Made Flesh Cardinal Burke provides the reader with a clear yet profound understanding of the great sacrament that is the “source and summit” of our faith."
“Divine Love Made Flesh...spells out the truth and beauty of the Church’s Eucharistic doctrine in the light and logic of divine love," said Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville. "It truly deserves to be a classic.”
The book is available through Catholic Action for Faith and Family and was published by Thomas McKenna, a longtime friend of Cardinal Burke.