CANON IV.- If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification; -though all (the sacraments) are not necessary for every individual; let him be Anathema.



My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love Thee above all Things, and I desire to receive Thee into my soul. Since I cannot receive Thee Sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee. Never permit me to be separated from Thee. Amen  PAUSE HERE FOR THANKGIVING


O Sacrament Most Holy,

O Jesus, we adore Thee Who, in Thy love divine,
Conceal Thy mighty Godhead in forms of bread and wine.

(Refrain): O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving Be every moment thine

O Jesus, we adore Thee, our victim and our priest,
Whose precious blood and body Become our Sacred feast. (Ref.)

O Jesus, we adore Thee, Our Savior and Our King,
And with the saints and angels
Our humble homage bring. (Ref.)

O Jesus, we adore Thee; Come, live in us we pray,
That all our thoughts, words and actions Be Thine alone today.

O come, all thee who labor In sorrow and in pain;
Come, eat this bread from heaven; thy peace and strength regain.

(Refrain): O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving Be every moment thine


For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblatigation for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of host. (Mal.1,11;11)     

54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.(John 6:54-55)





Eucharist is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Jesus Christ which under the consecrated species of bread and wine, contains the body and blood of Christ for the spiritual nourishment of man. The rest of this chapter be devoted to a detailed consideration of the elements.




 This is this Mystery of Faith–the most august sacrament of the altar, the sacred sign of Christ which contains not his power only but Christ Himself, in His body and blood truly and substantially present under the veil of the outward appearances of bread and wine. It is a wonder of divine wisdom and divine love, and the heart the center of the worship of Christ the perpetuation of his sacrifice and the preeminent source of the graces of His sanctification. God, having given us all good things, gave us, His enemies, yet more than all else, His Son become man to save us from our sins by the sacrificial gift of Himself to God, and by His sacrifice won God’s gift of Himself to us through grace; and His Son, the Godman, daily and super substantial bread for the constant nourishment of our souls in grace, our daily and super abundant sacrifice of praise and propitiation and petition, of thanks.

This is The Thanksgiving, the Eucharist:

When he who presides has celebrated the Eucharist …the deacons permit those present to partake of the Eucharist bread and wine; and they carry it also to those absent. We call this food the Eucharist, of which He alone can partake who has received the truth of our teachings, who has been cleansed by Baptism for the remission of his sins for regeneration, and whose life is lived according to the principals laid down by Christ. Not as ordinary bread nor as ordinary drink do we partake of them; But just as Jesus Christ our savior became incarnate through the word of God and took flesh and blood for our salvation, so (as we have been taught) this food, become our thanksgiving by the prayer of His word and by assimilation the nourishment of our flesh and blood, is both the flesh and the blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles in their memoirs (called gospels) have handed down what Jesus commanded them to do: he took bread and, after giving thanks, said, “Do this in commemoration of me; this is my body”; in like manner he took the chalice, and, having given thanks, he Said, “This is my Blood.” {1}

Of the many descriptive names by which men have sought to express the tremendous reality of this sacrament of Christ’s body and blood, the term “Eucharist,” first used so long ago, remains still, perhaps, the best. Yet so various are the aspects under which it may be considered, so full divine mystery is the reality itself, that no name can be regarded as exclusively proper; in the pages which follow these synonyms will be multiplied, as on or another facet is explored. But always it should be remembered that it is one and the same reality which is described, the sacred symbol which is the sacrament of sacraments.Said

For similar reasons it is hardly surprising that the Old Testament should foreshadow this promised sign of sanctification under various figures. Melchizedek’s sacrifice of bread and wine {2} foretells the matter to be used in the sacramental rite, as do the twelve loaves of fine flour (Le. 24:5). All of the sacrifices of the Old Law–particularly the sacrifice of expiation (Le. 23:27)-are figures of the rec ET sacrament um of the Eucharist, Christ Himself as sacrificed. And the res tantrum or effect of this sacrament is clearly foreshadowed by manna showered upon the Israelite in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13), for, like the sacramental grace which refreshes the soul in all things, it possessed “all that is delicious and the sweetness of every taste” {3}

{1} Saint Justin Martyr, The First Apology, n 66, see also The doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, Chapter.9, n. 1 Chapter 10, n. 1;etc                                    

{2} Cf. General. 14;18.           

{3} Wisdom 16:20 

But the paschal lamb prefigures the great, sanctifying sign of the future best of all. It represents the sacrament um tantrum of the Eucharist, the external rite, for it was eaten with unleavened bread; it represents the res ET sacrament um, Christ crucified, for it was immolated by the Jewish people at the time of the Passover; it represents the res, the ultimate effect of the Eucharist, for by the blood of the paschal lamb the children of Israel were preserved from the destroying angel, and delivered from slavery.

Its name, its figures suggest the supernatural reality we shall now consider, and it inexhaustible spiritual richness of meaning. Theology –“faith seeking understanding”– shall lead us to fuller appreciation of this mystery of faith , and we shall have Saint Thomas, the poet of the Eucharist and its greatest theologian, as our teacher and guide. We consider the Eucharist under these heading:

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The several aspects of the Eucharist which may be considered can be expressed in the following definition: the Eucharist is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Jesus Christ which under the consecrated species of bread and wine, contains the body and blood of Christ for the spiritual nourishment of man. The rest of this chapter be devoted to a detailed consideration of the elements of this definition. For the present, however, the points which follow will suffice to emphasize the uniqueness and sublimity of this sacrament.                      

1.  The Eucharist is a sacrament of the New Law. This dogma of faith is so clearly taught by Scared Scripture, so constantly held sacred by the Church, both in the East and in the west, that not for centuries was it necessary to make a solemn and definitive pronouncement of the revealed truth. {4} It is a senseperceptible sign (the physical appearances of bread and wine and the words of consecration) of a sacred thing ( the accidents of bread and wine do not signify the substance of bread and wine but the body and blood of the crucified Christ and the sanctification and ultimate glory thus brought to man) precisely as that sacred thing here and now sanctifies man (if anyone eat this bread he shall live forever (John 6:52), instituted by Christ as a permanent thing (Do this in remembrance of me“–               (Luke 22:19).

2. The Eucharist is one sacrament, not several. Although there is a double matte rand form of the sacrament, they ultimately signify only one thing, the end to which the sacrament is ordained, namely, spiritual nourishment of man. Formally, therefore, (precisely as a sign) there is only one sensible sign (man’s physical nourishment through food and drink, indicated by the out ward appearance of bread and wine, precisely as specified by the words of the consecration), and hence on sacrament.          

   3. The Eucharist is a permanent sacrament. that is, unlike the other sacraments which do not have the power of sanctifying until someone makes use of them, the Eucharist is constituted by the very consecration of the matter, for at that moment Christ’s body is present under the appearances of bread and his blood under the appearances of wine. So long as these species remain the sacrament continues in existence, since the formthe words of consecrationperjures as determining and specifying the matter.              

4) The Eucharist in necessary for salvation. Union with Christ and His Mystical Body through sanctifying grace is of absolute necessity for one to be saved. But this union is exactly that which is signified and effected by this sacrament, the end to which all the sacraments are ordained as their consummation and perfection. Hence at least an implicit desire of receiving the Eucharist is necessary for salvation, although its actual reception is not. Baptized children have this desire, not of themselves, but through the intention of the Church; for by their very Baptism they are ordered to its actual reception in due course.                                          

5) The Eucharist was instituted by Christ at the last Supper. This fact is explicitly taught by the Scriptures {6} and by the Church. {7} It is singularly appropriate that Christ should institute this commemorative banquet of love, the Eucharist, as he takes his last meal with his Disciples. {8}

{4} C.F. The Fourth Lateran Council, 1215 (Denzinger.) 430); the Council of Florence, Decree for the Arenians, 1439 (Denzinger, 698); The council of Trent, Session. Vii,Can 1, 1547 (Denzinger 844), Session XIII (the whole of which is concerned with the sacrament of Eucharist), 1551 (Denzinger 873a-893).

{5} The Eucharist is one kind of sacrament, but there will be as many numerically different sacraments of the Eucharist as there are spiritual nourishment signified and caused: two masses, two sacrament; five persons receiving Communion five sacraments,

{6} Cf. Matthew 26: 20 26; Mark 14: 17-22, Luke. 22:14; I Corinthians 11:23

{7} It is proclaimed in the Cannon of the Mass and defined by the Council of Trent, Session. XIII Chapter 1 (Denzinger. 874).

{8} Cf. Saint Thomas’ beautiful commentary on this fact, Summa, III, q. 73, a. 5.

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Under the heading we must study some of the most profound doctrinal truths which concern the Eucharistsome of the deepest truths and mysteries of Christianity, in fact. Our inquiry will be undertaken according to four main subjects :  

a)the material used,   b)the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ; c) the manner in which Christ’s body and blood exist in this sacrament; d) the accidents of bread and wine which remain after the change.                             

A The Material Elements of This Sacrament

Anyone familiar with Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper knows that he took common bread and wine separately consecrated them after offering thanks to God, and commanded His disciples to perpetuate this religious ceremony in His memory. In consequence of Christ’s determination, therefore, bread and wine are the proper matter of this sacrament. That they are eminently suited to be the outward sign of the Eucharist is clear on three counts:

1) So for as the use of the sacrament (which contains in eating) is concerned. As water is used in Baptism for the purpose of spiritual cleansing (since the cleansing of the body is usually done with water) so bread and wine–the common fare of the generality of menare employed for the use of spiritual eating.

2) In relation of Christ’s passion, wherein the blood was separated from the body. In this memorial of the Passion, the wine as the sacrament of blood.

3) Considering the sacrament’s effect, the union of the faithful with Christ and with one another in the unity of the Mystical Body. As the bread is composed of many grains and the wine flows from many grapes, so the Church is constituted by many members.

From the fact that common bread and wine are to be used it follows that:                                

1.The bread should be made from a mixture of wheaten flour, mixed water, and baked, and not from substantially corrupted. Bread from any other grain or fruit is not common bread, nor is that mixed with and other fluid except water, nor is an uncooked mixture; none of these would be valid matter. It is customary in the Latin rite to use unleavened bread; the Church also prescribes that the host be cleaned, whole, recently made in a round shape.                   

2.The wine must be true wine made from grapes. Liquors from any other grain or fruit are invalid. The Church prescribes that a small amount of water be added to the wine.  

This mixture:

a) symbolizes the union of the faithful with Christ; b) represents His Passion, for water flowed with the blood from his side; c) imitates Christ’s institution, for in keeping Jewish custom he probably mixed a little water with the wine he used. But this addition of water and wine is not essential to the sacrament.                 

The matter to be consecrated should be physically present to the priest and determined as the matter to be consecrated by his intention. Since he will use the demonstrative pronoun “this” to designate the matter, it must be clear by the physical presence of the matter that is this bread and wine he is talking about. Moreover, “this” refers to some specific thing, and hence he must intend to consecrate some specific matter.                                                                           B The Change of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.

In this mystery of faith which is the Eucharist, the material elements of bread and wine are, through the consecratory power of the sacramental formals, so changed in their very substance that, although their accidental qualities persist, the bread becomes His Blood. In this defined doctrine of the Church of Christ’s, {9} three marvels of divine power and wisdom and love need to be further explained:

(1) The Real Presence of Christ under the Species

Not until the eleventh century did any Christian cast the slightest doubt on the revealed truth the Church had always taught and which Christ Himself had made so plain: that His true physical body was contained in this sacrament under the outward appearances of bread and His true physical blood under the outward appearances of wine. But from the time of Gregarious there have been men calling themselves Christians who, paying little heed of Christ’s words or to His Church, contend that Christ’s body and blood are not in this sacrament except as in a sign. This heresy was most vigorously proposed by Luther’s successors and followers, and is found today among many Protestant sects. Against such as these the Church solemnly proclaimed, in the Council of Trent, the true faith: in the sacrament of the Eucharist Christ is present truly (not only as represented in sign), really (not only figuratively or symbolically or as the object apprehended by faith), and substantially (not only through His effects or by His action or power.) {10} His presence under the sacred species is as true, as real, as substantial as your presence in this room while you read these words.

The truth of this tremendous fact is manifest; both from Sacred Scripture and from Tradition. A brief examination of each of these sources of God’s revelation to man will suffice to indicate the solidity of the Catholic position. 

1.Sacred Scripture.The revealed written word of God expressly teaches that Christ is truly, really and substantially present in the Eucharist contained under the perceptible appearances of bread and wine.

{9} Cf. The Sixth Council of Rome, the profession of faith prescribed for the heretic, Berengarius, 1079 (Denzinger. 355) the Fourth Lateran Council Chapter 1, 1215 (Denzinger. 430); the Second Council of Lyons, the profession of faith prescribed for the Greek schismatic, Michael Palaeologus, 1274 (Denzinger. 465); the Council of Florence , Decree for the Armenians, 1439 (Denzinger. 698); the Council of Trent Session. XIII Chapter 4, 1551 (Denzinger. 877).

{10} Session. XIII, Chapter 1 Denzinger 874

1) From Christ’s words promising this sacrament to men: In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John, the promise of this sensible sign composed of bread and wine containing His true body and His true blood is given by our Savior. After the multiplication of the loaves, evidence of His divine power and a figure of the future Sacrament (vb. 1-15), He performs a miracle for His disciples by walking on the waters (vb. 16-21). On the following day, Christ discloses to the multitude the true spiritual nature of His messiah ship.

In this instructive discourse (vb.27-51) he uses the symbol of bread to explain the sublime and lofty doctrine He has come to reveal to mankind: He is the spiritual bread come down from heaven, and whosoever eats of this bread through the impulse and light of faith which the Father give, he shall never die. And them Christ states, not in figurative language but in literal truth (vb.52-590):

I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will live is my flesh for the life of the world Amen. Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life ever lasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him. As the living father has sent me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me. This is the bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever.

This is no allegory, no parable, no extended figure of speech; the stylistic difference between this passage and the figurative discourse which precedes it is as evident to any unbiased critic as it was to the startled Jews who heard it. It announces a mystery, to be sure, beyond human understanding, an impossibility and a scandal for all who measure things in human terms. Many in His audience doubted, his disciples murmured, but Christ let them go: they had heard aright, they have taken His words literally, they were under no false impression. And Christ in no way softens this hard saying by explaining it away as a symbolic manner of speaking. His body will be man’s food, His blood man’s drink for the spiritual nourishment of those who believe His words of everlasting life.

2) From Christ’s words instituting the Eucharist: The Synoptic and Saint Paul and in complete agreement in appointing in reporting Christ’s institution of the sacrament of His body and blood: he takes bread and declares, “This is my body”; he takes the cup of wine and declares, This is my blood.” And He commands His followers to eat and to drink, and to perpetuate as the memorial of His coming Passion the sacred ceremony he has thus instituted. {11}

To attribute a metaphorical meaning to these were straightforward statements does violence to the words themselves and to the context in which they were uttered; it is a simple subterfuge for those whose faith is so weak that they cannot accept anything exceeding their human grasp. Either Christ spoke the literal truth, or he was deceiving His apostles.   

Apostolic Tradition The constant faith of Christ’s Church attest to the fact Christ’s real presence in; the Eucharist. Saint Ignatius of Antioch (+ 107) reprimands the Docetist heretics because they do not believe that the Eucharist is “the flesh of the Savior which suffered for us.” {12} The most ancient liturgies-Saint Hippolytus, of Egypt, of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, of the Apostolic Constitutions–are in universal agreement; with the perpetual testimony of the Fathers to the fact of Christ’s true presence under the sacramental species. Not until eleven hundred years after the fact was revealed did anyone directly call it into question; until the time of Berengarius the universal Church possessed this fundamental Christian truth in immemorial and tranquil belief, assured and unchallenged.

{11} Cf. Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20k; I Corinthians 10:16-21

{12} Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, VII,1.

(2) The Mystery of Transubstantiation

Because Christ our Redeemer. declared that what he offered under the species of bread was truly His body, it has always been the faith for the Church of God (and this Holy Synod now again states it) that by the consecration of the bread and wine a change takes place in which the entire substance of bread is changed into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and the entire substance of wine into the substance of His blood. This change the Holy Catholic Church fittingly and properly entitles “TransubstantiationIf anyone says the substance of bread and wine remains in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies the wonderful and unique change of the entire substance of the bread into Christ’s body and the entire substance of the wine into His Blood–only the appearances of bread and wine remaining change which the Catholic Church most appropriately calls “Transubstantiation” let him be anathema. {12a}

The marvel which is the Eucharist conversion can never be grasped by the human intellect; we can only assent to it through the supernatural light of faith. But we may make more explicit this mystery of love revealed to us by God and definitively proposed by the Church by considering the elements of which it is composed, and by separately restating and examining them.

{12a} Council of Trent, session XII, Chapter 4 and Cannon 2; Denzinger. 877 and 884                   

1.In the Eucharist nothing remains of the substance of the bread and wine. It is a matter of common – sense experience that the appearance of things changes while the thing itself remains substantially the same. The fertilized ovum in the womb of the mother will one day be president of the United States; but regardless of the vast difference between the embryo and the future president , he is one and the same human being. You yourself are conscious of the fact, if you reflect on it, that it is the same fundamental which underlies and unifies all the various changes, physical, moral, spiritual, which you have experienced. The leopard may change his spots; he is a leopard still. Appearances may come and go, but there is a substratum of things which is so basic that it survives all these changes.

In scholastic terminology, the word substance describes the reality underlying all the surface qualities of a being, the basic foundation which preserves the thing’s identity through and number of transitory changes. Substance requires no extrinsic substratum to sustain its existence, it sustains itself (more accurately, it is sustained in being in itself); it is a reality which of its nature possesses independence in being, requiring no subject in which it inheres in order to exist. A man is a substance, so is a tree, a stone; each has independent existence, no other subject sustains its being.

Accidents, on the other hand, are realities of a much different stampof their nature they call for support, for a subject in which to inhere, for a foundation to sustain their being. Colors, for example, do not go around existing by themselves ; they find their being by modifying some subject, some substance. A white horse is a substance (horse) supporting an accidental modification of color (white). The case is similar with a wise man , a tall tree, running water, leaping frogs, studious students: a substance plus an accident, a being competent of independent existence in something else as its subject of inherence. And the accident may change–the white horse become black by dirt or dye or physical alteration–while the substance remains the same. You yourself suffer innumerable such changes throughout your life; the fundamental the same. Material substances (stone, stick man) are, unlike purely spiritual substances (the human soul, the angels), composed realities: matter enters essentially into their make-up, but so does form (spiritual substances are pure forms, without any matter). Thus man is composed of body and soul; take one of the other away, and you do away with man–without the soul this body ceases to be human, it is a cadaver; without the body, man’s spiritual form, the soul, continues to exist, but not as a human being. All other material things–bread and wine, (example) –also are composed of matter and of form as their intrinsic principles; if you change one on these elements, even while retaining the other, the transformation will be a substantial one, not merely and accidental modification. These ashes may once have been a fine piece of brocade; fire has so changed the cloth that it becomes a new substance the matter remaining but the form of ashes succeeding the form of cloth.

With these preliminary notions in mind, we may restate our defined truth thus:

1) The change is not an accidental one but a substantial one. The accidents of bread and wine are not transmutated, but their very substances, the underlying realities which supported those accidents in being.

2) The change is a total one. It involves the whole substance, the entire substance, not just a part of the substance; since bread and wine are material substances, composed of both matter and form, this means that both the matter and the form of the original is changed. There is no parallel to such a wholehearted transformation in all of nature, for in all the substantial changes with which we are familiar at least the matter of the original substance persists through the transforming activity to receive the new form which makes it a new thing. This points up the uniqueness of the Eucharistic conversion; it cannot, however, alter the fact.

The truths so far enunciate (as well as those soon to be considered) are implicit in the words of Christ’s institution of the Eucharist which constitute the formula of consecration: “This is my body, this is my blood”. “This”, Christ equivalently declares (and the priest acting for Him), “this substance which I hold in my hand and is directly contained under these sensible appearances of bread, this is substantially identical with my true physical body.” To affirm such a substantial identity between bread and His body would be patently falsesubstantial identity means one substance, not two. If there is any truth to God’s words, therefore, the entire substance of the bread and the wine must have ceased to exit under their outward appearances.

In what manner is this accomplished

2. The entire substance of bread is converted into Christ’s body and the entire substance of wine into Christ’s blood. Bread becomes the body of Christ, wine is made His bloodthis, as the consecratory words imply, is a true change, not annihilation (where nothing remains of the previous substances), nor creation), nor creation (where no previous substance existed at all), but a mutation of the total substance of bread and wine, a transubstantiation, of which  Christ’s body and blood is the term.


1) Transubstantiation is a converting action by which God, the infinitely powerful cause of all being, changes whatever there is of being in the substance of bread into whatever there is of being in the substance of Christ’s body, form into form and matter into matter; the same is analogously true of the conversion of wine into Christ’s blood. So total a change is impossible for finite, created agents; limited, determined, specified by their forms, their activity cannot extend to the entire being of a thing. Hence every substantial change effected by a nature agent is a partial one: requiring a subject on which to work the change, a creatures effects only a change form, but the matter of the substance changed remains to receive the form of the new substance. But God who is infinite being and infinite act possesses unlimited power, infinite activity. He is the source of all being and His action extends and penetrates to the whole nature of being and to all its elements. His ability to effect this change, transubstantiation, is unquestionable.

2) The substance of bread and wine is totally changed into Christ’s body and blood, without the latter undergoing any intrinsic change. Through the power of the words of consecration , the substance of bread and wine ceases to be in order that it may become the substance of Christ’s body and blood which is preexistence to the change: Christ becomes present under the species of bread and wine not through a change of His body and blood but through the change of bread and wine.

This implies:       

a) Transubstantiation is not an action which produces (nor even, properly speaking which produces) the body and blood of Christ.

b) It does not merely substitute Christ’s substance for the substance of the bread and wine which has ceased to be. Nor can it be a simple change of place on the part of Christ’s body and blood through local movement. On the contrary, by one and the same action of God’s omnipotence Christ’s substance becomes present and the substance of bread and wine. 

c) As a result of this divine action, Christ’s body and blood acquire a new manner of being: they are truly present now under the sacramental species, where before they did not so exist.            

d) This change is necessarily instantaneous, no single instant intervening between the cessation of the substance of bread and wine and the real presence of the body and blood; in one and the same instant both things happens.

(3) The Accidents of the Eucharist

Despite the total change of substance, the accidents of bread and wine continue to exit in objective reality. Although this truth is not directly defined by the Church, it is nonetheless presupposed by the counciliar definitions concerning the nature of the Eucharistic change, which become unintelligible with our it; it is at least theologically certain, it would be rash to question, doubt, or deny it.

In other words, what we see with our eyes, touch with our hands, taste and smellthese are truly present in the Eucharist. The outward appearances (species or sense or sense-perceptible accidents) of bread and wine continue to exist, they are real, they are bread-accidents and wineaccidents even though bread and wine have ceased to exist. They are not mere subjective impressions conjured up by our senses which fool us into thinking that there is whiteness and shape and taste and the rest. Our senses do not deceive us; their object is not the inner reality, the substance of things, but rather the extrinsic qualities. In the Eucharist the extrinsic qualities of bread and wine manifest themselves to the to the sense faculties and hence constitute the external sense perceptible sign which is the sacrament.

To be sure, only God’s miraculous intervention could sustain these accidents without their proper substratum or subject. But, as Saint Thomas points out, it is entirely fitting that he should so intervene:

1) Because it is not customary but horrible for men to eat human flesh and drink human blood; hence Christ’s flesh and blood are given to us under the species of those things more commonly consumed by men, bread and wine.

2) Lest this sacrament might be derided by unbelievers, were we to eat our Lord under His own species.

3) that while we receive our Lord’s body and blood invisibly, this may rebound to the merit of faith.

C The Way in Which Christ is Present

Faith teaches us that the entire substance of bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ. But the body and blood are not the entire Christ. Are the other integral parts of His body contained in this sacrament ? Is the whole Christ contained therein, soul as well as body, divinity as well as humanity ? Is the whole Christ under the species of bread or only His body ? Is only His blood under the species of wine, or is His body there likewise, and His soul, and His divinity ? And if the whole and integral Christ is present under each species, how is this so ?

The Council of Trent the Church answers these and similar question in an illuminating of Catholic faith:

This has always been the faith of the Church of God: that immediately after the consecration the true body and the true blood of our Lord, together with His soul and divinity, exist under the species of bread and wine. But by the power of the words the body exists under the species of bread, the blood under species of wine. However, by the power of their natural connection and concomitance (by which parts of Christ the Lord, who has already risen from the dead to die no more, are joined together), His body exist under the species of bread and wine, His blood under the species of bread, and His soul under both species. Moreover, because of that admirable hypostatic union with body and soul, His divinity is present. It is therefore perfectly true that just as much is contained under either species as is contained under both. For Christ, whole and entire, exists under the species of bread and under any part of that species, and the whole Christ likewise exists under the species of wine and under His parts. {13}

Distinct statement of the several truths here proposed by the Church will make them easier to understand, although we should remember that no full human grasp of this mystery of faith can be expected; God asks us for our assent to what he has revealed.                                                     

1) In the Eucharist the whole Christ is present under each species. Christ Himself declared: “He who eats me, he also shall live because of me”(John 6:58). It is not only His body we eat or His blood we drink, but Christ Himself. For Christ is not divided; body and blood, soul and divinity are intimately linked together; in the state of glory they are united in natural indissolubility.

2) By the power of the sacrament ( by the power of the words of consecration) Christ’s body alone is present under the species of bread and wine alone is present under the species of wine, by concomitance, however, the rest are contained. The words of the sacrament effect what they signify: by their power, therefore, there is contained only that at which the conversion effected by them is

terminated. That which is signified as being contained under the species of bread by the words, “This is my body,” is the substance of Christ’s body, and it alone–not its accidents, nor His blood, soul and divinity. And the same analogously true for the species of wine.

{13} Session XIII, Denzinger. 876

On the other hand ,what ever is naturally or supernaturally united with Christ’s body or blood will be concomitantly present (not by the power of the words) wherever the body and blood are present(by the power of the words). The body is naturally united with the blood, the blood with the body, and body are united with the soul and the accidents proper to them; Christ divinity is hypostatically united with His body, blood and soul. {13a}

{13a} So true is this principle, that if Mass had been celebrated while Christ was in the tomb, only His body would have been present under the species of bread, only His blood under the species of wine; His soul would not have been present at all, but His divinity would have been present under both species, since it remained hypostaetically united to both the body and the blood 

3) The whole Christ is present under each and every part of the sacred species, whether they are divided or not. Just as before the consecration, bread was truly present in every part of the piece of bread and wine in every drop of the cup of wine, so after the conversion into Christ’s body and blood, each and every drop of wine Christ’s whole body, each and every drop of wine Christ’s entire blood. Thus a priest may break a large host into pieces and distribute the pieces and distribute the pieces to several communicants; each would receive Christ’s whole body (and by concomitance its accidents, His blood, soul and divinity). So, too, Christ distributed the consecrated chalice to His apostles, which clearly shows that under each part of the species of wine the entire Christ was consumed. The reason for this is that Christ’s body and blood are present (by the power of the words) as substance, not by reason of quantitative dimensions. This is a point to be separately developed

4. In the Eucharist, Christ is not present in a quantitative manner under the species but after the manner of a substance. Every corporeal substance possesses dimensions (length, depth, width) and distinct parts, on of which is not the other and is beyond or part from the other; dimensions, parts, extension belong to corporeal substances in virtue of their quantity. The entire glass is water will be on top, another on the bottom; one will touch the side of the glass, another will be in the middle; its quantity, moreover, contacting the glass’s resistance, will make the water assume the shape and position determined by its container.

Only the substance of Christ’s body is present through the power of the words. By reason of its nature connecting with the body, however, the entire quantitative dimensions of His body will be present; but since quantity is there not according to its proper manner (part corresponding to some part of space, part to another) but in every part, and in the whole as well.

Several important corollaries flow from this theological conclusion:

1) Christ is sacramental present in the Eucharist. He is not present as in a place (by the extension of his parts to the various parts of space); nor is he circumscribed and measured by the limits of the species containing His body and blood (as if he were somehow squeezed into the confines of a small host); nor is His presence limited to the one place; nor is he present after the manner of spirits, by operating on bodies. Because He is contained under the species (being present there after the manner of a substance), and these species are themselves quantified, and thus located where the accidents of bread or wine are present, there also certain place by reason of the species: where the accidents of bread or wine are present, there also is Christ (without ceasing to be elsewhere).

2) Since extension in space through dimensive quantity is a necessary condition for all bodily changes. Christ in the Eucharist neither undergoes any such intrinsic changes Himself nor produces any in other things.

3) Christ’s body cannot directly undergo local movement in the sacrament, but only by reason of the species. When the sacramental species are moved, then he ceases to be where they were and begins to be where they now exist; His body does not itself under go any movement.

4) Because He is not present in the Eucharist according to bodily extension, Christ cannot be seen by the eyes, nor can He see or hear (although through the beatific vision and His infused knowledge he knows all that occurs with respect to His sacrament and His sacramental presence). Nor can any created intellect by its natural power know of His presence: it is a supernatural reality, knowable only by faith or by the beatific vision.                                     

D The Accidents Which remain in This Sacrament

Our senses attest to the fact enunciated by the Council of Trent: that the accidents (species or outward appearance –size, shape, color, taste, odor, etc.–which affect the senses) of the bread and wine remain after the consecration of the Eucharist. Since the substance of bread and wine which was their natural subject and necessary support has been totally converted (we are taught by faith), we are faced with some apparent problems which, as theologians, we must consider.

I By divine power the Eucharist species remain without any subjects in which they inhere. Two truths are contained in this statement which demand explanation:

(1) There is no subject of inherence of the accidents of bread and wine which remain after the consecration.

Their proper subject, the substance of bread and wine, has ceased to be, being converted into Christ’s body and blood. Christ Himself cannot be the subject of these accidents, for His glorious state prohibits any change or alteration of His body and blood, and these accidents do not belong to a man in any case. Nor can the surrounding air or any other thing be assigned as a subject: accidents do not pass from one subject to another, and much less can accidents of one kind of being become those of an entirely other class of being.

(2) The permanence of the Eucharistic accidents is accomplished by God.

Of their nature accidents cannot exist of themselves; it belongs to them to exist in another as in a subject. If however, some superior cause could supply the power of sustaining them which their nature demands, then they could actually exist without inhering in their natural subjects ( a substance); this would happen not in virtue of their own power to exist by themselves, but in virtue of this superior power which sustains them. But God, who gives to substances the power of sustaining and supporting accidents, can certainly supply that power without the intermediary of a substance. Such is the case here: God by His own omnipotence produces this effect, that accidents exists beyond the ordinary laws of nature, of course; it is a result of God’s miraculous intervention.

II In consequence of their miraculous conservation, the accidents of bread and wine can produce any action or undergo any change possible to them while their substance remained. Since activity flows from a thing’s nature and existence, and the sacramental species are divinely preserved in their (accidental) nature and existence, they cab in virtue of this circle, like wise act on other things (e.g., truly nourish those who eat or drink) and be acted of by them (they can change shape or color, etc.) even be totally corrupted by the power of natural agents). This fact, testified to by experience, implies that anything which could normally happen to accidents of bread and wine may likewise happen to the Eucharistic species.

IV The Form of the Eucharist
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The form of a sacrament of the New Law is the determining and specifying element of the sacred sign, that which makes most explicit the meaning the symbol is to convey. For human words (or the signs which are their equivalent) most perfectly express for us the ideas that can only be communicated to one another through the use of sense-perceptible realities. Consequently we must now ask: what are the words which constitute the form or sacred formula, of the Eucharist ?

To answer this questionwhich is obviously a viral one if we are to gain a theological appreciation of this sacrament of sacraments-two important facts about the Eucharist must be recalled and insisted upon;

(1) Unlike all the other sacraments, the Eucharist is not perfected or accomplished in its actual use of application,but in the very consecration of the material elements. Thus consecration is not a blessing of the material but the transubstantiation of bread and wine the miraculous conversion of their substance into Christ’s body and blood.

(2) Unlike the forms of all the other sacraments, the Eucharistic form is not expressed in the person of the minister (whether by way of command: ” I baptize . . .” or by way of prayer: “May this holy anointing…”) but in the person of Christ Himself speaking the words. From these fact we may reach these important conclusion:

I The form of the Eucharist is the words of Christ which first perfected the sacrament. Hence the words hoc est corpus meum, hic est calix sanguinis (“This is my body, this is the chalice of my blood”) {14} are absolutely to the form of the Eucharist; no one of them may be omitted. It is probable, however, that the words which follow in the consecration of the chalice (“of the new and eternal covenant , the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins”) are not essential. Since the words effect what they signify, the conconsecratory conversion would take place as soon as the word “blood” has been pronounced. These last words certainly pertain to the full meaning of the consecration, nonetheless, bringing the sacramental signification to its perfection

{14} By a common and familiar figure of speech (technically know as metonymy), Christ uses the containing uses the containing things (chalice) to signify the thing contained (his blood). The expression is the precise equivalent of: “This in my blood.”

II The words of the consecration are eminently suitable, for they express precisely what they accomplish. Transubstantiation implies three things:                                               

1) the substantial change. 2) the cessation of the substances of bread and wine; 3) the resulting presence of the substance of Christ’s body and blood. These essential elements are clearly indicated in the formula’s, “This is my body, this is chalice of my blood.”

1) The substantial conversion. Since this change is instantaneous, it must be expressed not as happening, but as having taken place. It would be right to say “This becoming my body”; the correct expression is “This is my body.”

2) Since the substances of bread and wine cease to exist, only their accidents remaining, it is false to say “This bread is my body. “The use of the pronoun, however, with out any reference to the substance of bread and wine, preserves the miraculous truth of the sacrament: “Thisi.e, what is before me, that which is contained under these accidentsis my blood.”

3) The last words of the form also convey the truth: ;that it is Christ’s whole body and entire blood and entire blood into which the bread and wine are converted by the efficacious power of these words, the substance of His body and His blood.

4) The additional words in the consecration of the chalice are also most appropriate.

For they express the three-fold purpose of the shedding of Christ’s blood: that ours may be the reward of His promises and contract with man; that faith may be ours, and the reward of faith; that our sins may be forgiven us.

III  These words are not only significative but causative. In this respect the sacramental formula of the Eucharist is like that of all the other sacraments: it is an instrument, a tool which Christ, the God-man uses through His minister to accomplish the effect which it signifies. While being pronounced by the minister, these sacred words possess a true created power, physical and onto logically real, participated and transient, which enables them to accomplish this miraculous effect, entirely beyond the natural power of words. This is true, not of the individual words, of course, but rather of the whole statement; like any grammatical sentence, the formula has meaning only when the essential parts of the statement have all been uttered. Hence if the words of the consecration of the bread alone were said, Christ would be truly present under the appearance of bread, even though the wine were never consecrated.

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Since the Eucharist is the fountainhead and the end of all the other sacraments, all Christians are led by their Baptism to the consummation and perfection of their union with Christ through grace (begun in the sacrament of initiation) which is obtained through this sacrament. For adults, this necessity is supplied by the desire, at least implicit, of receiving the Eucharist; for children it is fulfilled in virtue of the intention supplied by the Church. All men are bound spiritually to eat the Eucharist, i.e., to be united with Christ, for without such union there is no salvation; and this includes the desire, at least implicit, of receiving the Eucharist sacramentally. Hence by divine precept adults are obliged, given the opportunity, to receive this sacrament: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you” (John 6:54)

Three points should be noted :

1) This divine precept is binding on all adults, the faithful and infidels as well (in virtue of Baptism, which they are obliged to receive); it is of grave obligation, because the Eucharist is necessary to preserve as a Christian.

2) It obliges one to receive several times during His life. As spiritual food, it should be received whenever the powers of the spirit need refreshment and nourishment. Christ, however, lets His Church determine how often and when the Eucharist should be received.

3) It obliges especially when there is proximate danger of death. at no other time is the conservation of one’s spiritual life so necessary as when approaching death.

The Church has prescribed that Holy Communion should be received at least once a year by all the faithful without exception who have reached the use of reason, during Paschal season. {15} This ecclesiastical precept (Cannon 859) is likewise of grave obligation.

{15} Usually Palm Sunday To Whitsunday, but the Local Ordinary may extend the period for a just cause

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First of all and principally, the effect of this sacrament should be considered from what is contained in this sacrament, which is Christ. Just as when he came visibly into the world he bestowed upon the world the life of grace (according to (John 1:17); “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”), so also, coming sacramentally into man, he produces the life of grace in man (He who eats me, he also shall live because of me“(John 6:58). Hence Cyril says: “God’s life-given Word by uniting Himself with His own flesh made it life-giving also. For it was becoming that in some way He be united with our bodies through His sacred flesh and His precious blood, which we receive in vivifying blessing in the bread and the wine.” {16}

Secondly, the effect of this sacrament is to be considered from what it represents, the Passion of Christ. And therefore the effect which Christ’s Passion wrought in the world is produced in man this sacrament. Therefore Chrysostom comments on the words, “immediately there came out blood and water” (John 19:34); “Since the sacred mysteries derive their origin from this, when you draw near to the awe-inspiring chalice so approach as if you were going to drink from the side of Christ.” {17} For this reason also our Lord Himself said (Matthew 28:28): “This is my blood which shall be shed for you unto the remission of sins.”

Thirdly, the effect of this sacrament is to be considered from the way in which the sacrament is given, for it is given by way of food and drink. And therefore every effect which material food and drink produce with respect to the life of the body-sustaining life, giving increase, renewing, giving delight -all of these this sacrament produces with respect to the life of the spirit. According, Ambrose says: “This is the bread of eternal life, which support the substance of our soul.” {18} And Chrysostom remarks: ” To us who long for Him does he give Himself, to be touched, to be eaten, to be embraced.” And thus our Lord Himself also states (John 6:56): My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

{15}Usually Palm Sunday to Whitsunday, but the local Ordinary may extend the period for a just cause.

{16} Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Luke, Chapter 22:19-20

{17} Eighty-fifth Holy on the Gospel according to Saint John..

Fourthly, the effect of this sacrament is to be considered from the species under which it is given. Hence Augustine says: Our Lord committed His body and blood to those things which are a certain unity of many parts: for one thing (bread) is made out of many grains, and the other (wine) flows from many grapes.” {19} And for this reason he elsewhere observes {20} “O sacrament of piety, O sign of unity, O bond of Charity ! “{20a}

Unquestionably the sacrament which contains our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, which is the renewal and re-presentation of that fountainhead of all grace, His Passion, will work marvelous spiritual effects in the souls of those who receive it. The Saints and doctors of the Church have vied with one another in extolling the wonders of grace which this sacred symbol effects in those who are properly disposed. To set them down, as we must, in the dry language of principles and conclusions is not enough; they must be pondered, meditated upon, brought constantly back to mind if we are truly to attain any understanding of this divine reality and its importance for our lives as Christians.

Consider these things:

I The Eucharist immediately effects man’s union with Christ’s, through charity transforming Him into Christ.

While all the sacraments give or increase the divine life of our souls, the Eucharist directly nourishes friendship with God, the supernatural love by which God and we become as one, The fervor of love-love springing into action activity -is aroused by this bread of angels, and egoism, the inordinate love of self, is there by diminished, suppressed, expelled. The soul is refreshed spiritually by this union through charity with Christ. For whereas natural food is changed into our own substance, this super substantial food so transforms us that we may say: “It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Thus the life of God is made fuller and fuller within us, not only at the moment when we receive Christ’s body as food but for the future as well. For the sacrament entitles us to receive constantly the graces which will intensify and increase God’s friendship by acts of love.

II Since the Eucharist transforms us into Christ, assimilating us to Him through the union of charity, it:

(1) Sustain the divine life within us. Sanctifying grace is given to preserve the supernatural life of our spirit from future sins. This it accomplishes by arousing the fervor of love to the performance of acts of charity toward God and toward our neighbor (are we not made one with Him in Christ Jesus ? ), by diminishing our self-love, and by bestowing the actual graces necessary for our perseverance:

(2) Increase our sharing of God’s own life through its supernatural nourishment;

(3) Restores the spiritual vigor weakened by passion and wasted by daily carelessness, and repairs the damage done by venial sin;

(4) Fills the soul with supernatural delight. This spiritual rejoicing, which is and effect of love, may not be sensibly felt by the recipient; but the soul is filled with Christ, nonetheless, and he is the soul’s delight.

{18} Concerning the Sacraments, Book V, Chapter 4.

{19} Tract XXVI on the Gospel According to John, n. 1.

{20} Ibed., n. 13.

{20a} Saint Thomas, Summa, III q. 79, a.1.

III The Eucharist is a special way causes us to attain heavenly glory; it is the earnest of our celestial heritage and of our glorious resurrection. Through Christ,whom this sacrament contains, and His Passion, of which it is the memorial, this sacrament bestows on us the power of coming to our eternal happiness. The refreshment of this spiritual food unites us to Christ in a union which is the necessary prelude to the perfect and consummate union with God in heaven. The Eucharist is already the beginning of that happiness which is eternal life both and for body.

IV The Eucharist remits venial sin directly, preserves us from mortal sin, and lessens the drive of our flesh to evil. The flood of divine love poured out on the Christian by this sacrament that moves him to charity so fervent and active that he despises (at least implicitly and virtually) all offends the one he loves, including His own past defections, the affection for which is destroyed. This Eucharistic fervor strengthens the spirit, for by notably increasing one’s appetite for the things of God, it correspondingly deceases the desire and affection (rooted in concupiscence) for the things contrary and offensive to God. Furthermore, the sacrament is the sign of Christ’s Passion, His victory over Satan: thus it wards off all the attacks of the devil.

V But the Eucharist is spiritual food (and hence also medicine), and food is of use only for the living. By Christ’s own determination, no one spiritually dead by reason of mortal sin may be nourished by this angelic banquet; on the contrary, to receive the Eucharist in this state would be a desecration of sacred food, a sacrilegious mockery of the sacred sign which proclaims one’s intimate union with Christ. Since, however, the sacrament contains Christ Himself, the source of the remission of all sin, it will restore to divine life the moral sinner who is not conscious of his sins and retains no affection for it. Infallibly the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood produces grace in the souls of those who place no obstacle to its reception; grace perfects his contrition and causes the remission of his sins.                                   

V The Eucharist as a sacrament does not directly remit the temporal punishment due to sin.

This sacrament was not divinely instituted to satisfy for sin, but to nourish the soul spiritually through union with Christ and with His members. This union is realized in charity, however, and there fervent acts of love to which it inspires the Christian may by their very fervor satisfy for the penalties due to the past offenses. According to the measure on one’s devotion and fervor , then. satisfaction may be paid and temporal punishment remitted. As sacrifice (insofar as the sacrament is offered to God as the memorial of Christ’s Passion), the Eucharist of itself satisfies for all sins; but it becomes satisfactory value for those who offer it or for whom it is offered according to their devotion.


VI The Eucharist as sacrament confers grace only on those who partake of it,

Holy Communion is food which can only nourish those who receive it: it is to be enjoyed and cannot be offered to others. Yet this nourishment so increases our union with God that we may more properly and successfully beseech our divine friend for our other friends; and since receiving Communion is an act of divine worship, and thus of satisfactory value before God (ex opera operantis), the act of itself may be offered to others. {21}

{21} It is in this sense, and only in this sense, that “offering up a “Communion” (e.g., in “spiritual bouquets”) is to be understood: it is a promise to plead for others during the sacred moments of our sacramental union with Christ.

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As the Council of Trent, following Saint Thomas points our, {22} one may participate in this banquet in three ways:

(1) Only sacramentally — when one truly and validly receives the sacred species (i.e. truly performs the natural functions of eating or drinking) but because of some obstacle, does not receive the fruit of the sacrament, sanctifying and sacramental grace.

(2) Only spiritually–when one in the state of grace partakes of the sacrament through desire and affection, and thus on virtue of his own acts is united with Christ through faith and charity (“special communion”).

(3) Both sacramentally and spiritually–when the sacramental species are truly consumed and fruitfully received, so that the sacrament produces its effect ex opera operato.

The use of the Eucharist is most perfectly realized in this last reception. We shall consider under four heading the matters which pertain to its uses: the requisite dispositions, both of soul and of body, frequent Communion; the necessity of receiving Holy Communion.

A Disposition of Souls

As we have seen (Chapter Nine, Section 4), for the fruitful reception of the sacraments, the recipient “must open his soul to the grace offered by the sacraments.” Any baptized man living in the world is capable of receiving Christ under the sacramental species (but only men in this life: angels do not have bodies; the bless are already most perfectly united with Christ through the beatific vision and perfect charity). For adults, the intention of receiving the sacrament is required for its valid use. {23} But for fruitful reception further conditions must be fulfilled, and in the measure of their fulfillment will the sacrament work its wonders of grace to the recipient.

One must be in the state of grace. The Eucharist is a “sacrament of the living”: food is not given to those who have died, and sanctifying grace is the supernatural life of the soul while mortal sin is the death of divine life in man. Moreover, he who receives the Eucharist there by professes his union with Christ and His members; if he does not have charity, the principle of this union, he falsifies the sacred sign and thus commits a great sacrilege, a serious abuse of a sacred thing. “Whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup; for he who eats and drinks unworthily, without distinguishing the body, eats and drinks judgment to himself. (Corinthians 11:27-29).

Anyone conscious of serious sin must , therefore, receive the sacrament of Penance before he receives Holy Communion. No matter how contrite he judge himself, or what sorrow he has for his mortal sin, confession before Communion is prescribed, a matter of grave precept (Cf. Cannon 856). In the extraordinary case where, at the same time, one is obliged to receive (e.g. in danger of death,

{22} To receive Viaticum—Holy Communion when on is in danger in death—an habitual and implicit intention suffices; he who wishes to live as a Christian certainly wishes implicitly not to die without the Sacraments.

profanation of the sacrament, serious scandal, fulfillment of a public office) and also confessors were unavailable (either physical unavailable or morally so, insofar as confession would be gravely disadvantageous to another party) the precept would no longer bind; one would be obliged, however, to make an act of contrition as perfect as possible.

II One must be sufficiently instructed as to the nature of this sacrament is particular, and for the truths of the Faith and the duties of Christians, and possess the use of reason. Although anyone who is baptized, whatever his age or mental condition, may be nourished by the Eucharist, the Church out of reverence for the sacrament insist that one be able to distinguish the Eucharist from common material bread and approach the sacred table with becoming devotion. {24} Thus it is necessary that even children should, according to their capacity, understand those mysteries of faith which are necessary for salvation (cf. Cannon 854). A perfect knowledge of the articles of faith is not, of course, necessary, although the fervent Christian will see in this fuller knowledge a more perfect preparation for receiving the sacrament more fruitfully

(1) Serious preparation by acts of faith, of hope, of desire, of divine worship proceeding so far as possible from intense love for God and accompanied by humility and true sorrow for sins.

(2) Suitable thanksgiving according to each one,s strength, circumstances and duties. Christ remains physically present in the soul until the sacred species are digested, a process ordinarily taking about fifteen minutes, for all that period our God is in a most special manner our guest.

(3) Freedom, so far as possible, from venial sins (especially from such as are fully deliberate) and from many affection to them. (It is sufficient, of course, if one is free of mortal sin and has the intention of never sinning mortally again; Holy Communion may then help whose who communicate frequently to emancipate themselves from venial sins and from affection for them.)

(4) The right intention. He who approaches this holy table should do so, not out of routine, or vainglory, or human respect; his motive should be one of pleasing God, or of being more closely united with him by charity, of seeking this strengthening food for his weaknesses and defects.

These disposition are not required to receive Viaticum, although the sacrament may never be given to those who have never attained the use of reason. {24}     

B. Dispositions of Body

So sacred is the banquet to which the Christian is called, that his whole being should be fittingly prepared to receive the Savior. Not more than a king’s quest would dishonor his host by disgraceful venture or physical appearance should the christian, by his manner of dress or bodily cleanliness, evidence irreverence for Christ. Certain garments may not be out of place on the dance floor or the bathing beach, or for hauling rubbish; excessive make-up may accentuate the effect a circus clown or stage actress may wish to obtain—are the signs of one’s attitude toward the Most Blessed Sacrament ? Surely the King deserves above all others the small respect that can be given by men by proper dress and appearance; surely is love merits a little effort on our part to prepare ourselves for the banquet to which we are invited.

Similar reasons are at he basis of the Church’s legislation for the Eucharist fast. This small mortification–to fast entirely from solid food and alcoholic beverages for at least three hours, and from all other liquids (except water) at least one hour before receiving Communion–not only safeguards us from dishonoring the sacrament through excess in food and drink, it also manifests our reverence for the bread and wine: it signifies that our food is Christ, the bread of life who is eternal life, and that our hunger is for Him.

This Law of fasting is, however only a prohibition that the Church enforces to encourage proper preparation for the sacrament. Wise with two thousands years of experience, she may change her legislation to fit special need of particular times, and her modern regulations take full cognizance of the circumstances of our times, while they seek to promote the more frequent reception of Christ’s body and blood by the faithful through less stringent prohibitions. Today, in virtue of the ruling of the Holy Father water does not break the fast, and it is sufficient to abstain from solid food and from alcoholic beverages for three hours, and for one hour from non-alcoholic for three hours, and for one hour from non-alcoholic beverages. But one is exhorted to observe the complete fast, through devotion or a spirit of mortification, as it formerly prevailed. {25} Moreover, the law ceases to oblige when there is probable danger of death ( one need not be fasting to receive Viaticum ), or reverence for the sacrament demands it consumption, or there is danger of grave scandal or infamy.

C. Frequent Communion

The sacred Council of Trent, having in view the ineffable treasures of grace which are offered to the faithful who receive the Most Holy Eucharist, makes the following declaration : “The Holy Synod would desire that at every Mass the faithful who are present should communicate not only spiritual, by way of interior affection, but sacramentally, by the actual reception of the Eucharist. ” {26} These words with sufficient clarity state the wish of the Church that all Christians should be daily nourished by this heavenly banquet, and should derive there-from abundant fruit for their sanctification. . . . The desire of Jesus Christ and of the Church that all the faithful should daily approach the sacred banquet is directed chiefly to this end, that the faithful, being united to God by means of the sacrament, may thence derive strength to resist their sensual passions, to cleanse themselves from the stains of daily faults, and to avoid those graver sin to which human frailty is liable…  {27}

Daily to increase in God’s love of friendship, daily to intensify the divine life of our souls, daily to become more closely, intimately united with Christ and His members–this must be the burning desire of every Christian worthy of the name he bears. He has but to have a right and devout intention and to be in the state of grace, and then this may be that daily bread for which we beseech the Father, that super substantial food, come down from heaven, “having in it all; that is delicious, and the sweetness of every taste” (Wisdom 16:20): Christ Jesus our Lord.

{25} Cf. The montu Proprio Sacram Communiononem, January 18, 1957

{26} Session. Session, XXII, Chapter 6; Denzinger 944.

{27} Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council, Sacra Tridentina Synodur, December 20, 1905

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Such is the dignity of this sacrament that is performed only as in the person of Christ. Now whoever performs any act in another ‘s stead must do in virtue of the power given him by person.

But just power of receiving this sacrament is conceded by Christ to the baptized person, so likewise the power of consecration this sacrament on Christ’s behalf is bestowed upon the priest at his ordination. Through ordination the priest is place in the rank of those to whom Christ said (Luke 22;19) “Do this in remembrance of me.” And therefore it must be said that it is prerogative of priests to perfect this sacrament. {27a}

While in certain circumstances a deacon may distribute Holy Communion (in case of necessity even layman may administer Viaticum, consecration of the sacred species-the liturgical action which is at once both sacrifice and the perfecting of the sacrament–requires a special instrumental power. Without that power, which is the indelible character conferred by ordination to the priesthood, no consecration can take place, no sacrifice can be performed, no sacrament can be perfected. Given that power, a man not matter how unworthy he might be of his lofty office, can always validly consecrate; in spite of the spiritual damage the unworthy priest might do himself through his illegitimate use this power, the sacrament-sacrifice is as objectively valid and intrinsically as priceless as the Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas.

This is the great office of the priest, and the source of his transcendent dignity: through his Mass he offers God the acceptable sacrifice of Christ and his members and brings to men the gift of God. Christ himself under the sacramental species, His graces, and His love. This is a privilege of which the priest will avail himself as often as he can, but (except in certain circumstances) it is not a matter of obligation–there is no need for him to be forced to share in the great action of Christ which is the world’s salvation.

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The most colossal stumbling block which has confounded millions of non-Catholics throughout the centuries is the same block which the Catholic Church is build–the sacrament of the Eucharist. Christ really presents upon the altar, called down by the words of consecration, is the sacrament par excellence of the Christian faith.

For Christ instituted this sign of His own sacred body and blood so that many, here and now, might be made Holy by being united to Him. The truth of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist is attested to both His own words as found in Sacred Scripture, and the firm and constant tradition of faith. In this tremendous mystery the bread and wine are placed upon the altar, offered to God, and then consecrated by the words of the priest. So the instant of consecration, the bread is no longer bread and the wine no longer wine, but the substance of the bread becomes the substance of the body of Christ and the substance of wine becomes the substance of the blood of Christ. That which was bread is now the body of Christ, and that which was wine in now the blood of Christ, with only the accidental qualities of bread and wine remaining. The converting action by which this change takes place is called T-R-A-N-S-U-B-S-T-A-N-T-I-A-T-I-O-N, an action which brings forth the whole Christ to man: body, blood, and, concomitantly, soul and divinity.

{27a} Saint Thomas, Summa, III, q. 82, a. 1.

The eating of the body and blood of Christ is not only foreshadowing of the joys of eternal life, rather it is the real beginning of eternal life. For the power of being united o Christ is bestowed upon us in this sacrament as the prelude to perfect union with God in heaven.

Our Share in the fruits of Calvary, however, depends upon our fitness to receive them. It depends upon the fullness of our participation in this sacred banquet. When we worthily receive , our status as children of God makes us also brothers of Christ and the true heirs of heaven.

The Following conclusions have been derived from the doctrinal summary just presented.

I “The Lord is with you, brethren ! Brethren are you with me ?

“It is not only the paten, not only the chalice and the wine, “It is you, my little flock, I want to hold up in my hands.” {28}

II Sometimes Catholics deplore their lack of spiritual fervor, which they feel should be the consequence of their reception of the Eucharist. Although it is true that God at times does give us the sense of inner happiness when we receive Him, spiritual joy should not be the thermometer by which we measure our progress in the spiritual life. The real gauge of the benefits of Communion is holiness of life itself. Do we fall into sin less frequently ? Are we more charitable to our neighbor ? Is God’s will supreme in our lives ?

III Nations of the world will never live at peace until they sit side by side at the banquet table of Christ, the Prince of Peace

IV O sacred banquet in which Christ is received ! In which the memory of His passion is recalled the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.                         

V. Thou has furnished us bread from heaven                                  R. Possessing in itself every delight

Let us pray

O God who didst bequeath us in this marvelous sacrament a memory of thy passion, grant we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy body and blood that He may continually experience in us the fruit of Hi redemption: who liveth and reigneth forever and ever. Amen

{28} From a poem “The Offertory” by Paul Claudel



The process by which a person or persons acquire the social and psychological characteristics of a group.

(I) Concomitance Theology:

The doctrine that the body and blood of Christ are each present in both the bread and the wine of the Eucharist.

(II) Doceist: A teacher or lecturer at some universities who is not a regular faculty member.

(III) Hypostatically:

The essential person of Jesus in which His human and divine natures are united.

(IV) Metonymy:

A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated,

(V) Inherence: the state or fact of inhering or being inherent.

(VI) Conseratory:

To sanctify (bread and wine) for Eucharistic use through a ritual

(VII)Transmuted: to change from one former state into another, transform

Viaticum: (Ellesiastical Terms) Holy Communion as administered to persons who are in the danger of death.

Consecratory: To sanctify (bread and wine) for Eucharistic use through a ritual regarded by some Christian churches as

Intro Bapt Conf Pena HolComm HolOrd ExtUnc Matr Confs Sacr Misc TraSit



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