The Eucharist is the consecration of 2 important elements that were taken into account when Jesus made his last supper with his disciples. In the following article we will know everything related to this topic, how it is done and what it means.
What is the Eucharist?
The Eucharist consists of the consecration of the bread in the Body of Christ and also of the wine in his Blood, which is what mystically and sacramentally renews the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. The Eucharist is the same Jesus real and personally who is present in the bread and in the wine that the priest himself is the one who consecrates.
By our own faith we believe that the presence of Jesus in the Host and in the wine is not only something symbolic, but that it is more real than is believed; this is called the mystery of transubstantiation because what changes is the substance of the bread and wine; the accidents of shape, color, flavor, among others, are the ones that remain the same.
The institution of the Eucharist came to take place during the last Passover supper that Jesus celebrated with his 12 disciples and the 4 stories tend to coincide fundamentally, in each of them the consecration of the bread that precedes that of the chalice; despite the fact that it must be remembered that, in historical truth, the celebration of the Eucharist, which is the breaking of the Bread, began in what was the primitive church before the writing of the 4 Gospels.
The main signs of the Eucharistic sacrament tend to be part of the vine wine and wheat bread, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and also the presbyter pronounces the words of the holy consecration that were said by the Lord Jesus himself at the last supper he said:
“This is my Body given for you… This is the chalice of my Blood…”
The Eucharist with the encounter with Christ, is a kind of personal and also intimate experience, and that comes to suppose the full encounter of 2 beings who love each other. That is why it is impossible to generalize about them. Because only God is the one who knows all the hearts of men. However, if it must be revealed in life, the transcendence of the intimate encounter with love.
It is logical to come to think that the one who receives such grace finds himself in a greater capacity to love and serve his brother and that, on the other hand, feeding with the bread of life, which must be much stronger to be able to face the various tests, to face suffering, to spread their faith and in the same way their hope. In short, to be able to bring to a happy conclusion the mission and vocation that God himself grants him.
If you can truly appreciate the true presence of Christ in the tabernacle, you will never find yourself alone, always accompanied by the lighted Eucharistic lamp, the Lord on this day comes to say to all people and to each one of his children, the same thing that he said to the 12 apostles:
“I have longed to eat this Easter with you”
The Lord awaits us with great eagerness to be able to give Himself to us as food; So we should ask ourselves:
- Are we truly aware of this, that the Lord awaits us in the Tabernacle, with the heavenly table laid?
- Why do we always keep him waiting?
Or is it by chance:
- When someone comes to visit your home, do you leave them alone in the living room and go about their other things?
That is the same thing we do in our apostolate, when people are filled with various activities and neglect to pray before the Lord, who always waits for his children in the Tabernacle, imprisoned because he “loved us to the extreme” and it turns out that, for whom the world was made and everything in it (including us) is there, hidden from view, yet incredibly luminous and also powerful enough to satisfy all our needs.
The Eucharist as Sacrament
Under the species of wine and bread, the Lord Jesus comes to find himself really, truly, and substantially present, with his blood, body, soul, and divinity.
Sense of the Eucharist as Sacrament
The Eucharist as a sacrament comes to have many meanings in some religions, both in Catholicism and in Christianity, however, in both religions it is known by different terms and meanings.
In the case of Catholicism, it is known as we detail in this article the Eucharist, the holy sacrament the performance of a mass, where bread and wine are partaken as a symbol of the delivery of the body and blood of Christ for us. However, in the Christian sphere it has another approach to this issue.
In the case of Evangelical Christians, what Catholics call Protestants, they also have the tradition of carrying out this activity once a month, especially on the first days of the month. This activity is called otherwise by Christians and is known as:
- the holy sacrament
- The Holy Supper of the Lord
- The Lord’s Supper
The Eucharist tends to be the sacrament in which under the 2 species that are used, which are bread and wine, Jesus is truly, really and substantially present, with his own body, his blood, his soul and also his divinity. .
It is called the “sacrament par excellence”, because Christ is present in it, who becomes the source of all graces. On the other hand, all the other sacraments tend to or have the Eucharist as their purpose, helping the soul to receive it much better and in most cases, they take place within the Eucharist.
This so-called sacrament is called in various ways given its infinite richness. The word Eucharist means thanksgiving, which tends to be one of the oldest and most correct terms because in said celebration thanks are given to the Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Spirit and to remember the Jewish blessings that are those that refer to creation, redemption and also sanctification.
- It is the Banquet of the Lord because it is the Supper that Christ came to celebrate with his 12 apostles just before beginning the passion. You can get this from the book of 1 Colossians 11:20.
- Breaking of the bread because this rite became the one used by Jesus when he was blessing and distributing the bread, especially at the Last Supper. The disciples of Emmaus came to recognize him after the resurrection by this same gesture and the first Christians named their Eucharistic assemblies in this way. This may be based on the books of Matthew 26:25; Luke 24:13-35 and Acts 2:42-46.
- In the same way, it is called a Eucharistic assembly because it is celebrated in the assembly or meeting of the faithful believers.
- Also known as the Holy Sacrifice, because it comes to actualize the sacrifice of Christ. It is a memorial of the passion, death and resurrection.
- The Communion is called in this way because it is the intimate union with the Lord Jesus Christ himself that makes us part of his Body and also of his Blood.
- Didache, this becomes the first meaning of the “communion of saints” that tends to be mentioned in the symbol of the Apostles.
- The Mass, this is the one that has a sense of mission, which consists of bringing to others what has been received from God in the sacrament. This comes to be used from the sixth century, which is taken from the last words “ite missa est”.
Theology of the Eucharist
Some 5 main classes of theories can be considered that have become objects of reflection at the theological level regarding the Eucharist. These 5 theories become the following:
- The Institution of the Sacrament
- The Eucharist as a Bloodless Sacrifice
- The Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ
- The Eucharist as Communion
- The Eucharist as a Pledge of Future Glory.
Institution of the Sacrament
The Greek term of Eucharist, comes to appear about 15 times in the New Testament. Catholic theology is the one that comes to consider the Eucharist as a sacrament instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. The Catholic Church goes so far as to affirm that the institution of the Eucharist by our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, just as the Synoptic Gospels tell it, was carried out at the moment when he took the bread in his hands, broke it and gave it to him. to each of his disciples, saying in the same way:
“Take and eat, this is my body, which will be given up for you. Similarly, he took the cup and gave it to the disciples from him saying:
“Take and drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”
Biblical quotes that support this information:
- Matthew 26:26-29
- Mark 14:22-25
- Luke 22:19-20
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Now, this came to pass, according to the Gospel accounts in an extensive context:
According to the Synoptic Gospels, the institution takes place during the Passover meal according to the biblical citations of the book:
- Matthew 26:17-25
- Mark 14:12-21
- Luke 22:7-18
The Catholic Church comes to understand that the Eucharist came to be prefigured because in the Old Testament, especially in the Passover meal, which came to be celebrated by the Jews, where they used to consume unleavened bread, lamb meat roasted over the fire and also the bitter herbs.
The fundamental and main elements of the Jewish Passover celebration can be found in the following biblical texts:
- Exodus 12:1-8
- Deuteronomy 16
- Leviticus 23:5-8
- Numbers 28:16-25
Saint Paul came to consider the death of Jesus on the cross in the form of a Paschal key: “Christ our Paschal has been slain” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The same is done in Saint John the Evangelist when applying to Christ the phrase referring to the Paschal Lamb: “no bone shall be broken” (Exodus 12:46) in John 19:36.
In the account of the institution of the Eucharist, Jesus himself is the one who announces his own violent death: he speaks of “my body, which will be delivered”, “the chalice of my blood, which will be shed”.
According to the story of the evangelist John, before the dinner Jesus washed the feet of each of the 12 disciples and commanded each and every one of them to follow that same example of helpfulness book of John 13:1- 20, loving each other as he came to them and continues to love, John 15:12.
In the Old Testament, various prefigurations of this great sacrament can be found, such as:
- The manna, with which the people of Israel were fed during their pilgrimage through the desert. You can verify this in the book of Exodus 16.
- The sacrifice of Mechizedek, the priest who gave thanks to God for the victory of Abraham, who offers bread and wine. This quote is found in the book of Genesis 14:18.
- Abraham’s own sacrifice, that he was willing to offer the life of his son Isaac to God. The Biblical citation is found in the book of Genesis 22:10.
- In the same way as the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, which came to liberate the people of Israel from death in Egypt. The quote is in the book of Exodus 12.
In the same way, the Eucharist came to be mentioned in the form of prophecies, in the Old Testament by King Solomon in the book of Proverbs, where he orders all his servants to go to eat and drink the wine that he gives them. had come to prepare. Book of Proverbs 9:1. Furthermore, the prophet Zechariah had come to speak of the wheat of the elect and also of the wine that he purifies.
Our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, after the multiplication of the loaves, he prophesies his real presence, as well as bodily and substantial, in the regions of Capernaum, when he usually says:
“I am the bread of life… If one eats this bread, he will live forever, because the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world”.
John 6:32-34 and 51.
Jesus, knowing that the time of the main purpose was already coming, after having washed the feet of his 12 apostles and having given them the commandment of love, institutes this great sacrament on Holy Thursday, at the Last Supper the biblical citations are found in the following passages:
- Matthew 26:26 – 28
- Mark 14:22-25
- Luke 22:19 – 20.
With all this in order to stay among men, to never have to separate from his own and to be able to make them sharers in his Passion. The sacrament of the Eucharist tends to spring from the infinite love of Jesus Christ for man.
The Council of Trent came to declare as a truth of faith that the Eucharist tends to be the true and proper sacrament because the most essential elements of the sacraments are present in it:
- The Outer Sign
- Matter (Bread and Wine)
For what grace confers; and it came to be instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Our beloved Lord leaves the mandate of having to celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist and insists, as can be seen in the Gospel, on the need to have to receive it. He says that you have to eat and drink his blood so that people can be saved. (Jn. 6:54).
The Church at all times has become faithful to the order of Our beloved Lord. The first Christians came to meet in the synagogues, where they proceeded to read some Readings from the Old Testament and then gave rise to what they called “fraction of the bread”, when they were expelled from the synagogues, they continued to meet in certain places once a week to be able to distribute the bread, thus being able to fulfill the mandate that Christ left to the Apostles.
Little by little, new readings, prayers, among other things, were added to it, until in the year 1570 Saint Pius V came to determine how the rite of the Mass should be, the same one that was maintained until the Second Vatican Council.
Eucharist as Sacrifice
The Catholic Church believes that in the Eucharist, the same and unique sacrifice that Christ himself made on the cross once and for all for ever and ever is made present, “re-presenting” it, perpetuating its greatest memory through the centuries and its fruit is applied.
The Eucharist tends to be the memorial of Christ’s Passover, something like the actualization and sacramental offering of his most unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church that tends to be his Body… It is about the memorial, it is not simply the memory of the events of the past… These events become, in some way, present and also current.
Because it becomes a memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is usually a sacrifice in the same way. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the institution’s own words that say:
“This is my Body that will be given for you” and “This cup is the new Covenant in my blood, which will be poured out for you”.
In the Eucharist, Christ tends to give the same body that he came to deliver for all of us on the cross of Calvary, and the same blood that was “shed for many […] for the remission of sins” Matthew 26:28.
The sacrifice of the cross and also the sacrifice of the Eucharist tend to be a single sacrifice, since in both the one and the other, Christ himself becomes the priest who offers the sacrifice and the victim who becomes offered. Both only differ in the way in which the sacrifice is offered. On the cross Christ offered it in a bloody way, and by himself, without being forced or imposed and in the Mass in a bloodless way and by ministry of the priests.
In the Church Fathers
The Didache, which is the most important writing of the Apostolic Fathers, is the one that makes the following warning:
“Assemble on the Lord’s Day and break bread and give thanks after you have confessed your sins, so that your sacrifice (thusia) may be pure.”
Saint Ignatius of Antioch in the year 107 comes to indicate the sacrificial character of the so-called Eucharist, therefore, treating, in the same text, of the Eucharist and the altar; and the altar as a place where the sacrifice “thusiastérion” is usually offered:
“Be careful, then, not to celebrate more than just one Eucharist, because only one is the flesh of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, and only 1 is the chalice for the reunion of his blood, and only 1 is the altar, and in the same way there is only 1 bishop with the presbyters and deacons”.
St. Justin Martyr in the year 165, comes to consider as a figure of the Eucharist all that sacrifice of fine flour that those who were healed of the most common disease of that time, leprosy, had to offer. The pure sacrifice that is prophesied by Malachi, which comes to be offered everywhere, tends to be none other according to the saint than “the bread and the chalice of the Eucharist.”
Saint Irenaeus of Lyon around the year 202 comes to teach that the flesh and also the blood of Christ tend to be “the new sacrifice of the New Covenant”, “that the Church received from the apostles and that it offers to God throughout the world ”. He comes to regard it as the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy.
Another of the great men called Tertullian after the year 220, comes to designate participation in the Eucharistic solemnity as “being next to the altar of God”, and also communion as “participating in the sacrifice”.
The renowned Saint Cyprian in the year 258, comes to teach that our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, as a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, “offered a sacrifice to God the Father, and by the way the same one that Melchizedek had offered, that is, consisting of bread and wine, that is, he offered his body and his blood.
“The priest, who imitates what Christ did, truly takes the place of Christ, and then offers a true and perfect sacrifice to God in the church if he begins to offer in the same way that he saw that Christ had offered it.”
Saint Ambrose in the year 397, comes to teach that in the mass sacrifice of Christ it is usually at the same moment of the offering and the priest: “Although now Christ is not seen to sacrifice himself, nevertheless, He sacrifices himself on earth whenever the body of Christ is offered; moreover, it is manifest that He even offers a sacrifice in all of us, since it is his word that sanctifies the sacrifice that is offered”.
In the middle Ages
A man named Pedro Lombardo is the one who affirms in the book of Sentences:
“what is offered and consecrated by the priest is called sacrifice and oblation because it is memory and representation of the true sacrifice and of the holy immolation made on the altar of the cross. Only once did Christ die and in it he immolated himself; but he is immolated every day in the sacrament, because in the sacrament the memory of what has been done only once is fulfilled”.
Saint Thomas Aquinas manages to resolve various kinds of objections to the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, following the doctrine of the Fathers and also affirming the identity of the Eucharistic sacrifice with that which is performed by Christ himself on the cross.
In the Protestant Reformation
Until the Protestant Reformation itself, in some 16 centuries of Christianity, there had never been a direct attack on the doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
A recognized man named Martin Luther is the one who affirms that, since man can only be justified by God through faith and not through works, the mass tends to be one of the most human works without any kind of efficacy that that of increasing faith.
The sacrifice of Christ tends to be 1 only and the mass becomes 1 gift obtained, not a sacrificial offering that can be given to God. For this, the Roman canon and private masses were abolished, leaving only the memory of the Supper.
Ulrich Zwingli, starting in the same way from the fact that the sacrifice of Christ is something unique, used to affirm that the mass is only a memory of the sacrifice, a kind of guarantee of the redemption that the Lord obtained for us.
John Calvin went so far as to affirm not only the uniqueness of the sacrifice, but in the same way of the priest who comes to exclude any kind of successor or vicar. The latest editions of his book entitled “Institution” of the Christian religion is the one that admits that the mass is a sacrifice, however, of praise and thanksgiving, never of propitiation.
Recently certain types of reformers have reconsidered the kind of theology of the Eucharistic sacrifice and in the various theological documents that were elaborated among the Catholics, the Lutherans or the Anglicans there are many kinds of positions more or less close, despite the fact that they still don’t tend to be very common.
In the Catholic Reformation
The Catholic Church came to address, at the Council of Trent, the controversy with the Protestants regarding the sacrificial character of the Mass. The definitions were approved in the XXII session dated September 17, 1562.
The Council even mentioned that they are based on “this ancient faith, founded on the sacred Gospel, on the traditions of the Apostles and on the doctrine of the Holy Fathers.”
Some of its definitions became:
the Mass is a true and also a proper sacrifice that is offered to God; said sacrifice is a representation and memorial of the sacrifice made on the cross of Calvary by Christ himself, by which its salutary efficacy is applied for the remission of all sins.
The offerer and the one offered both in what is the mass and on the cross tend to be Jesus Christ himself. The difference is found because on the cross the offering became bloody and in the mass unbloody and because on the cross Christ made the offering for himself, and in the mass, by the ministry of the priests.
It is a type of visible sacrifice, as human nature requires according to the Council.
Its institution came to be carried out by Christ himself, when he came to say: “do this in memory of me” book of Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24.
In the recent teaching
Pius XII in the encyclical Mediator Dei, comes to resume the Tridentine doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice which is:
- Your Institution
- His Character of True Renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
In this type of respect you will remember that:
- The Identity of the Priest and the Victim (Jesus Christ Himself)
- The Difference in the Mode of its Offering (Bloody and Bloodless).
The following is mentioned on this point:
divine wisdom has come to find a very admirable way to be able to make manifest the sacrifice of its Redeemer with the external signs, which tend to be the symbols of death, because, thanks to the very transubstantiation of the bread in the body and also of the wine in the blood of Christ, in that way his body is truly very present, in the same way his own blood is.
And in this way the Eucharistic species, under which it is found present, tend to symbolize the bloody separation of the body and also of the blood. In this way, the commemoration of his death, which truly took place on Calvary, is repeated again in each of the sacrifices on the altar, because, through the different signs, it is meant and shown to Jesus Christ in the state of victim.
Reference given by Mediator Dei, n. 89
The identity of the ends of the sacrifice of the cross and also of the Eucharist: the glorification of God, thanksgiving, propitiation for all our sins and finally those of the entire human race, both the living and the deceased and the entreaty of God’s grace and blessing. The value of divine sacrifice is infinite.
The need for the collaboration of all the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. However, regarding this type of point, the difference between what is the common priesthood of the faithful, having received in Baptism, and the ministerial priesthood, which is conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, was emphasized. The Second Vatican Council, in what is the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, was very punctual and precise in what it pointed out the following:
Our beloved Savior, at the Last Supper, the night they came to betray him, instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood, with which he would endure for the rest of the centuries, until his return, the Sacrifice of the Cross and entrusting to his Wife, the Church, the Memorial of his Holy Death and his victory obtained in the Resurrection:
- Sacrament of Piety
- sign of unity
- Charity Bond
- Easter Banquet
In which Christ is eaten, the soul is satiated with all his grace and given a pledge of the glory to come.
Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 47
Saint Paul VI in the encyclical Mysterium fidei, tends to underline the offering of the Church as a part of the sacrifice, for which he describes the following:
“The Church, coming to play the role of priest and victim together with Christ, comes to offer every kind and entire sacrifice of the mass, and the whole comes to be offered in it. […]
Because every kind of mass, even if it is celebrated privately by a priest, tends not to be a kind of private action, but rather an action of Christ and also of the Church, which, in the sacrifice that is offers, one learns to offer oneself as a great universal sacrifice, and applies to the salvation of the entire world the one great infinite redemptive virtue of the sacrifice of the Cross.
For each of the masses that are celebrated tends to be offered not only for the salvation of certain individuals, but also for the same salvation of the entire world.
Mysterium fidei, b. 4
Eucharist as Real Presence
Many kinds of churches such as the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church tend to claim that the bread and wine upon becoming consecrated proceed to become the body and blood of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, respectively, despite that the 2 elements, that is, the bread and the wine, manage to preserve their natural accidents:
- Texture, among others.
This kind of conversion is called in the Catholic Church as “transubstantiation.” The Church comes to believe that all of Christ, himself alive and whole, with all his body, his blood, his soul and his great divinity, is present in these elements, in a real, true and substantial way.
This is why, believing that the Eucharist tends to be Christ himself, the Church comes to adore Christ in this sacrament. By virtue of this, it is understood that the Eucharist comes to stand out from the rest of the sacraments since, meanwhile, they have the great mission of sanctifying, in the Eucharist is the very author of holiness.
The Church believes that this kind of presence remains as long as the appearances of bread and wine are maintained, and that Christ is truly present in all his splendor and body in each of his parts, so that the breaking of the bread it does not divide Christ.
The Anglican Communion Churches are the ones that come to maintain that the bread and wine, once consecrated, consist of the Body and Blood of Christ, without having to analyze what happens to the primary substances, only in the words of the Lord Jesus:
“This bread is my Body”, “this wine is my blood”
For this reason, Jesus Christ in the Sacrament is considered the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar.
The Lutheran church, on the other hand, even confesses that in the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ subsists together with the 2 elements of bread and wine, calling this kind of theory “consubstantiation”. The vast majority of Reformed churches such as the
- Pentecostals etc.
They tend to believe that the bread and wine do not usually change and the Eucharist is only used as a kind of remembrance of the Lord’s Last Supper.
In the Church Fathers
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Fathers of the Church came to strongly affirm the faith of the Church in what is the efficacy of the Word of Christ and also of the action of the Holy Spirit to be able to work in the conversion of the bread in the body and wine in the blood of Christ. Here are some of the examples:
Saint Ignatius of Antioch between the years 98 and 117, comes to express his faith in various letters that were written to the Christian communities towards his martyrdom:
“They (reference is made to the Docets) do not tend to recognize the Eucharist as the flesh of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who has come to suffer for sins and for the Father who has graciously risen.”
“Therefore try to benefit yourselves from the only Eucharist: which 1 is, in fact, the flesh of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ and one the chalice for the unity of his blood .
Saint Justin between the years 162 and 168, in his First Apology writes the following:
“This food tends to be called by the Eucharist, and no one tends to be lawful to participate, if not those who truly believe that its teachings tend to be true, and have received the bath for the remission of all sins and also for the regeneration, and live as Christ has come to teach.
To tell the truth, all people get to take it not as a simple common bread and a common drink; but like Jesus Christ, our great Savior who became incarnate by the word of God who took flesh and blood for the salvation of humanity, in this way it has also been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer that comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nurtured through transformation, it is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.
Indeed, the 12 Apostles in their self-composed memoirs, which tend to be called Gospels, thus conveyed what they were commanded to do: that Jesus, taking bread and having given thanks, said: “Do this in remembrance mine, this is my body”; and in the same way taking the cup and having given thanks, he said: “This is my blood”; and he gave it only to them.”
Saint Irenaeus of Lyon in the year 200, came to describe the following:
“Just as the earthly bread, having received the invocation of God, is no longer the usual and accustomed bread, but rather the Eucharist is made up of two elements, which are earthly and heavenly, in the same way our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are not they tend to be already corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection.”
In the middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, reflection became much richer in nuances due to the influence of scholasticism. There was a tendency of exaggerated realism of the physical type: the flesh of Jesus in the Eucharist would be absolutely the same as it came to be after the incarnation and the mass would become a case of anthropophagy that is wanted by God himself.
All the followers of this kind of line were called “Cafarnais”. In the same way, the passage of the theology of the sacramental symbol was opened, which came to distinguish between the presence of the body and of Christ’s own blood after his incarnation and the manner of his sacramental presence.
Berengar of Tours went even further, emphasizing symbolism to the extreme. The Catholic Church in the various synods came to condemn Berengar’s position and forced him to subscribe to certain professions of faith from which they went to the other extreme.
One must wait for the thirteenth century for a theological reflection to become more balanced. Mainly from the hands of St. Thomas Aquinas, the affirmation of the real and sacramental presence is made possible. With the help of Aristotelian philosophy, especially what is the distinction between substance and accidents, the theology of “transubstantiation” is elaborated.
Saint Thomas Aquinas deals with this theologically in the 3rd part of the Summa Theologiae, questions 75 to 77; and in a spiritual way and with lyricism in the hymns that it is quite probable that he had come to compose for the mass of Corpus Christi, the solemnity instituted by Pope Urban IV himself after the miracle of Bolsena.
In the Fourth Lateran Council, the scholastic terminology was consecrated, for which the following was reported:
“Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine, after being transubstantiated, by divine virtue, the bread in the body and the wine in the blood…”.
In the same way in the Second Council of Lyon the following was written:
“The sacrament of the Eucharist is consecrated as unleavened bread by the Roman Church itself, maintaining and teaching that in said sacrament the bread is truly transubstantiated in the body and the wine in the blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
A well-known man named John Wyclif was the one who rejects Saint Thomas Aquinas’s theory of transubstantiation. He could not accept the disappearance of the substance of the bread and neither of the wine nor even the permanence of the accidents without any kind of subject of inhesion.
For him, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist tends to be sacramental or in sign, in a virtual way. These kinds of propositions came to be condemned by the local Councils of Oxford, Canterbury, and also those of London in the year 1382. These condemnations came to be ratified at the Ecumenical Council of Constance in the same year.
in the reformation
All the reformers came to agree on a single thing in that Christ does not get to remain in the consecrated bread and wine once the Mass is over, that they should not be adored in them, and that therefore they should not arrive to be saved. However, they managed to maintain some significant differences between them, which are:
Martin Luther always came to affirm the real presence of Christ, despite the fact that he completely discarded the dogma of transubstantiation, considering it as a “sophisticated speculation” In his position, bread and also wine do not stop be what they are, but the Body and Blood of the same Christ meet together with both.
This kind of theory has been called “consubstantiation” or “impanation” even though he has never mentioned it by these terms.
Other characters such as: Zwingli, Karlstadt and Ecolampadio were the ones who affirmed about a class of merely symbolic presence.
Calvin is the man who admits a kind of “virtus spiritualis” presence in the course of the supper celebration, yet it is associated with faith.
The so-called Anabaptists were those who considered that the reality of the body and also of the blood of Christ in what was the celebration of the Supper is not determined by a kind of transubstantiation, but rather because the Christian community tends to be the body of Christ.
That effectively is the one who shares the same type of food; and it is his blood because each one of the members of the Christian community equally loves the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart as he himself loved us, to the point of reaching lay down his life for all of humanity.
In this way, the wine and the bread that are broken at the Supper tend to be the communal union with the blood of Christ and with the participation of his body, in such a way that those who share the same food become 1 only body with Christ, of which only Christ is head, we can read this in the book of Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:18.
In the Counter
The issue was addressed in the XIII session of the Council of Trent in 1551, where the Decree on the Holy Eucharist was approved. The objective of the council became to present the Catholic doctrine, refuting the proportions of the reformers themselves. According to the definitions, the presence of Jesus in the sacrament does not become a sign or a figure, nor is it virtual, but it became fixed in this way:
“In the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole of Christ, are truly, really and substantially contained.”
He came to distinguish between the “sacramental” and the “natural” presence, according to the council as true as the first one:
“For they do not become things that are repugnant to each other than our Savior himself who is found at all times seated at the right hand of God the Father, according to the natural way of existing, and who in various other places is found for all people sacramentally present in its substance, for that way of existence, which, although it is barely possible to express it with a few simple words, also:
- by thought
- Illustrated by Faith
For what can be achieved to reach the possible being to God and that we must constantly believe it. Indeed, in this way all the ancestors, how many became in the true Church of Christ who spoke about this most holy sacrament, in a very open way, who professed that the Redeemer instituted this great admirable sacrament at the Last Supper, at the time, of the blessing of the bread and wine, with some express and clear words he testified that he gave all his Apostles his own body and his own blood.
With this, the super-realism called Capernaites and the spiritualist symbolism of Berengar, Zwingli and Ecolampadius were avoided. On the other hand, he came to define the presence of each of the 2 species, against all the reformers, who came to defend communion under the 2 species.
The permanent character of said presence, against those who came to deny it outside communion. In addition, he confirmed the validity of the term “Transubstantiation”, against all those reformers, who came to deny the validity of the term and also its meaning. Finally, the practical consequences of the above are drawn:
- The Eucharistic Adoration Service
- Distribution of the Eucharist to the Sick Outside of Mass
- The Reserve of the Eucharist Finished the Celebration.
In the recent teaching
Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Mediator Dei came to reaffirm what is the real and true presence and the Eucharistic cult and in the encyclical Humani Generis the theological positions that came to speak of the symbolic presence were condemned.
The Second Vatican Council, according to what José Aldazábal comments, did not dedicate any kind of document to it, only 1 chapter of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, meanwhile the Council of Trent dedicated no less than 3 sessions to be able to treat the theme of the Eucharist.
However, according to what this author points out, the most interesting thing about this type of Council tends to be that all of it is full of allusions to the Eucharist as it is the center of the ecclesial mystery. In the same way, it follows, as the fruit of the Council’s teachings, that a kind of joint vision of all kinds of aspects of the sacrament has been recovered.
Like, for example, what is the real presence and the cult, which are accentuated as a central point, for what they had made the celebration and communion of all the faithful pass into the background.
Similarly, a kind of idea of sacrifice that is detached from the category of memorial, was the one that had come to accentuate what is the separation between the 2 dimensions of “sacrifice” and “sacrament”.
Paul VI in the encyclical entitled Mysterium Fidei re-proposed the main and fundamental lines of Tridentine theology and at the same time affirmed the different ways of the presence of Christ in his Church, coming to privilege the Eucharistic.
Similarly, in what is the Creed of the People of God, the following was stated:
“Any kind of interpretation on the part of the theologians who come to seek some kind of intelligence about this mystery, so that it can agree with the Catholic faith, must make sure that, in the very nature of all things, regardless of the spirit of the person, the bread and also the wine.
Once the consecration has been carried out, they have come to cease to exist, in such a way that the adorable body and blood of Christ, after it, are truly present before people under the sacramental species of what is bread and of wine, as the Lord himself wanted, so that he could give himself to us as food and unite everyone in the unity of his mystical Body”.
In the case of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, after having enumerated the different presences of Christ in his Church, the singularity of such a presence in the Eucharistic species is recalled and it becomes clear that it is called real not because the others become unreal but because they themselves tend to be par excellence. He further states:
“The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of consecration and lasts as long as the Eucharistic species subsist”
Eucharist as Communion
From the Latin language “communĭo”, the most general term is the one that refers to participating in the common. According to what Joan M. Canals comments,
“The liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council has restored the active participation of the faithful in the celebration”, “Prayer before the holy presence is a prayer of communion with Christ and with the brothers expressed in solidarity and charity”.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tends to express that “The Church” is “the communion of saints”: this kind of expression is the one that mainly designates the “holy things” (sancta), and above all the Eucharist, “which has as its meaning and at the same time it is the one that realizes the unity of believers, that way of a single body in Christ”.
In the Acts of the Apostles, the kind of experience of the first Christian community is recounted, which comes to unite the celebration of the breaking of bread with all its commitments of communion up to the sharing of goods. kind of church describes the following:
“Everyone met regularly to be able to listen to the teaching of the Apostles and to be able to participate in common life, in the breaking of bread and in prayers (…) All the believers came to stick together and put what was theirs in common:
They sold all their properties and all their goods, and at the same time they distributed the money among each one of them, according to the needs of each one. Intimately united, they frequented the Temple daily, broke bread in their homes, and ate together with joy and simplicity of heart; they praised God and were loved by all the people. And every day, the Lord increased the community with those who had to be saved.”
In the patristic era, in the same way, you can find signs of the relationship between what the Eucharist is and the union of the Christian community. As far as we can remember this quote from Saint Ignatius of Antioch that says:
“Try to serve yourselves with the fruit of the only Eucharist; one is, in fact, the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one the chalice by the unity of his blood, one the altar as one the bishop with the priests and deacons, my brothers, so that everything you do, you do according to God”.
Saint Thomas Aquinas goes so far as to emphasize that the grace of the Eucharist tends to be the “unity of the Mystical Body”, the communion with Christ and also among us, the unity of the Christian people. Therefore, in this regard, the Catechism of the Catholic Church goes so far as to affirm the following fruits or effects of communion:
- Communion Increases One’s Union with Christ.
The Unity of the Mystical Body:
The Eucharist makes the Church. Those who come to receive the Eucharist become much more closely united with Christ. For this very reason, Christ unites all or each one of the faithful in a single body: Denominated The Church of Christ.
- Communion Entails a Commitment in Favor of the Poor.
In Liberation Theology
Liberation theology is the one that emphasizes in the context of the persecution and imminent death that Jesus came to celebrate with his disciples at the Last Supper. You can see the joy for the new alliance and for the salvation and the sadness for the reality of his death. This type of conflict is not what prevents the celebration but rather overcomes it with the love of communion.
Dinner tends to be the sharing of all those who have come to reconcile and are giving their lives for what is the reconciliation of all people and in this way, all with the same God. This is why the Eucharist does not have to continue to manipulate or be manipulated in order to express a kind of reconciliation that does not exist.
As occurs in the book of Acts 2:37-47, the breaking of bread must be mixed with the communion of material goods and the union of hearts, prayer and spirit.
Eucharist as Pledge of Future Glory
According to the Gospel of Saint John, Christ has come to promise eternal life to all who receive him in this sacrament:
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
In an old prayer the following is said:
O sacred banquet, in which Christ tends to be our food; the memorial of his passion is celebrated; the soul becomes filled with his grace, and we tend to be given the pledge of future glory!
From the Office of Corpus Christi
In the aforementioned sentence, an order of time is mentioned, about 3 perspectives:
- First: Present “The Soul is Filled with Grace”
- Second : Past “Memorial of his Passion”
- Third: Future “Garment of Future Glory”
That tends to be the main subject of this section. According to Josep M. Rovira Belloso comments, “The strength of the Eucharist comes to consist in participating in the presence of Christ, the final term of the entire history of humanity.
Even more, it impels us towards what is the end that will come only with the collaboration of the responsible freedom of all human beings. In order to be of anticipation, the sacrament is rooted in the Lord Jesus himself:
From this absolute future, which can be found “at the right hand of the Father”, Christ is the Lord of all times.
The Eucharist tends to be, therefore, the anticipation of divine fullness, which is what has been promised to us and which we come to expect with great faith. It is about the inchoate advent of that same fullness. The Lord wanted to anticipate among all his friends his presence and also his grace.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
“The Church knows that, already now, the Lord comes in his full Eucharist and that they are there in the midst of all of us. However, this kind of presence is very well veiled. That is why we celebrate the Eucharist (…) While we wait for the glorious coming of Our Beloved Savior Jesus Christ”.
“Of this great hope, that of the new heavens and the new earth in which justice will dwell, we have no surer pledge, a more manifest sign than the Eucharist. Indeed, every time this great mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is usually carried out” and at the same time “we break the same bread that is the remedy for immortality, the antidote to not dying, but than to live in Jesus Christ forever.”
Elements of the Eucharist
The material used, the way in which it is carried out, the minister who executes it and also the participants in it can be mentioned.
The materials or matter consist of the use of wheat bread and vine wine. In the so-called general instruction of the Roman Missal, the use of unleavened bread is confirmed for this Latin rite, which is an unfermented bread, which must in fact be made recently. The Orientals have come to use and use fermented bread, which is also accepted as valid by the Roman headquarters.
For devout people who are suffering from celiac disease, the church has come to regulate the preparation of hosts:
“With the minimum amount of gluten required to be able to bake without having to add foreign substances or resort to procedures that denature the bread.”
Similarly, it has been established that:
“The faithful celiac who cannot receive communion under the species of Bread, including bread with a small amount of gluten, can receive communion under the sole species of Wine”.
Therefore, if a priest who suffers from said disease, and cannot truly tolerate even the smallest amount of gluten, cannot celebrate individually, however, with the permission of the Bishop, he can concelebrate with other priests and all of them can communicate as much as he like the others only under the species of wine, even though he cannot preside over the concelebration.
The wine used for the Eucharistic celebration must be “from the product of the vine”, natural and pure, this means that it must not be a wine mixed with foreign substances.
It is mixed with a little water, according to an ancient custom that according to certain types of documents dates back to Jesus Christ himself. The water alludes to the water and the blood that came out of the side of Christ after the spear and to the union of the Christian people with Christ himself.
In the case of priests who, for some health reason, cannot get to drink wine even in the smallest quantities, it is foreseen that, with the permission of the Bishop, they can use must, this means, “Fresh or preserved grape juice, whose fermentation has been suspended through procedures that do not alter its nature, such as freezing it.
The Catholic Church tends to believe that the bread becomes the body and the wine becomes the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in the most solemn moment of the mass called consecration. In it, the priest tends to recount the scene of the institution of the sacrament and at the same time repeats the words that were used by Jesus, which were:
“This is my Body”, “This is my Blood”, “Do this in Remembrance of Me”
Which were mentioned above. The Church goes so far as to teach that “the force of the words and also of the action of Christ and of the power of the Holy Spirit are what are made sacramentally present under the species of bread and also of wine, which is his Body and Blood, his sacrifice which is offered on the cross once for all.
Only the priest and the Bishop tend to validate the celebration of the Eucharist in an orderly manner. According to the general instruction of the Roman Missal, various ministers are the ones who can celebrate the Eucharist together.
This type of act is called a concelebration, and according to this document, in it “the unity of the priesthood and also of the sacrifice is beneficially manifested, as in the same way of all the people of God.” It is sent:
- In the ordination of the Bishop and that of priests
- In the blessing of an Abbot
- At the Chrism Mass (This is the Mass in which the Bishop blesses the oil paintings on Holy Thursday)
Likewise, at all times in the same document it is usually recommended for:
- Holy Thursday Mass
- The Mass Celebrated at Councils, at all Bishops’ Meetings, and at Synods
- The Conventual Mass
- The Main Mass Celebrated in Churches and Oratories.
- The Masses that tend to be celebrated in any type of meetings of the priests, both secular and religious
- Also in the Ordination of the Deacon
Although only the priest who has become validly ordained is the one who can carry out the consecration, the Church comes to teach that the Eucharist tends to be the “source and summit of all Christian life”, “summary and sum of our faith”, canon No. 230 of Canon Law in its 3rd paragraph has come to establish that where the need of the Church advises it and there are no ministers, the laity can come to supply them in certain of their functions, this means:
- Getting to Exercise the Ministry of the Word
- Preside at Liturgical Prayers
- Administer the Baptism
- Give Holy Communion according to the prescription of law.
According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is a type of sacrilege and only those people who are in a state of grace, that is, without any mortal sin, can receive them. Relying on the book of 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, he states the following:
“Whoever is aware of being in serious sin (mortal sin) should not receive communion in the Body of the Lord without first going to sacramental confession .
The Catholic Church is the one that urges all its believers to be able to participate in the same way every Sunday and all the holy days of obligation, and to receive the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and the days when there are holy days, or with more constancy, even for each day of the week, however, in a state of grace.
The Eucharistic celebration takes place in the context of a meeting. The church comes to believe that at the head of it is our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, who is the main guest. As his representative, the bishop or priest comes to preside over the assembly “in persona Christi capitis” which means “in the person of Christ the Head”.
All faithful believers have an active part in the celebration, each in their own way: the readers, those who come to present the offerings, those who tend to give communion, and the entire people whose “Amen” comes to manifest your participation.
In the same way, it must be remembered again that “The Church, when performing a function of Priest and Victim together with our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, offers the whole sacrifice of the Mass, and all the whole is offered in himself”; “Because every Mass, even if it is celebrated privately by a priest, is not a private action, but rather an action of Christ and the Church.”
Development of the Rite
In the First Apology of Justin in the LXV-LXVII century, the Eucharistic celebration is described with the following parts:
- liturgy of the word
- Embrace of Peace
- Presentation of the Gifts
- Eucharistic Prayer
- Eucharistic Communion
- Communion of Goods.
“Then, to the one who presides over the brothers, bread and a glass of wine are offered to him, and taking them he pays praise and also glory to the Father of the universe by the name of his Son and by the Holy Spirit and comes to pronounce an extensive prayer of thanks, for having granted them those gifts that come from Him…
And once the president has come to give thanks and having acclaimed all the people, those who among us are called “ministers” or “deacons” give each of the attendees a part of the bread and wine and also the water over which thanksgiving was said and they take it to those who are absent”.
And this type of food is called among us the “Eucharist”, in which no one is lawful to participate, but the one who believes the teachings to be true and has come to wash in the bath that gives the remission of all sins and also regeneration, and live according to what Christ taught them…
When Jesus, having taken the bread and giving thanks, said: “Do this in memory of me, this is my body”. And likewise taking the chalice and giving thanks, he said: “This is my blood”, and that only to them he gave part.
Immediately, all the people get up together and offer their prayers, and these having been finished, as already said, the bread and the wine and also the water are offered, and the president, according to his strength, makes Likewise, raise all your prayers and your thanksgiving to God and all the people come to exclaim saying “Amen”.
Now is when comes the distribution and participation, which is made to each one, of the food that is consecrated by thanksgiving and is sent through the deacons to the absent ones”.
As of the third century, the various testimonies on the celebration of the Eucharist tend to be clearer at each moment, either in relation to what the celebratory scheme that tends to remain substantially the one proposed by Justin, or by the innumerable texts Eucharistic prayers for its celebration.
These texts are those that contain a true theological catechesis and a great faith regarding the Eucharist. In the book of the Apostolic Constitutions, the order of the celebration is indicated:
- liturgy of the word
- Prayer of the Catechumens
- Embrace of Peace
- Presentation of the Gifts
- Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer
- Prayer After Communion
- Prayer of Blessing and Farewell.
The Eucharistic prayer is the one that tends to consist of the following elements:
- Thanksgiving that is expressed in the preface.
- The Acclamation of the praise of the people with the sanctus.
- The epiclesis to be able to request the intervention of the Holy Spirit himself in which he will transform the bread into the body and the wine into the blood of the Lord.
- The narration of the institution with the consecrating words.
- The memorial or anamnesis of the paschal mystery of Christ.
- The offering of the Church through and together with the sacred victim.
- Petitions and intercessions for the living and also for the dead.
- to final doxology that is the one that glorifies God.
In certain Protestant or Evangelical churches, food is blessed, elements are taken from the hands of the elders or deacons, the passages where it tends to be instituted are read, one participates and ends with prayers of adoration and thanksgiving to God and Jesus.
Many of the evangelical Christian churches tend to carry out this sacred act on the first day of the current month, so first of all that day a service of worship and praise to God is carried out, where the maximum gratitude to God and Jesus is expressed for all the things they have done in our lives.
Then when the pastor has finished his preaching he will begin with the realization of the Holy Supper or Lord’s Supper, which they have prepared for this, unleavened bread and wine or unfermented grape juice. These are the 2 elements that symbolize the body and blood of Christ that was given to each one of those who participate in this event of great impact on a spiritual level.
The pastor begins with the presentation and consecration of the 2 elements to God, the anointed of God presents the bread and juice or wine to God so that he himself consecrates these elements. Then it is distributed by all the people of God so that each one can participate in the Lord’s Supper, before participating it is always recommended that each person have an intimacy with God and Jesus at that moment, that they present their life before him .
If you are a person who is going through a mild, moderate or serious illness, present it to God so that through his Holy Supper, the person can receive the miracle of healing in his body, since these 2 elements have great meaning for Christians.
It represents the body of Christ that was taken to the cross of Calvary by each and every one of us, the person who eats the bread, is eating the body of Christ, which will bring us the unification of our body with the yours through this sublime act.
The person becomes one with Christ, so his body was given by each one of us to suffer curse and disease so that we may live in blessing and healing.
The wine comes to represent the blood of Christ that came to be shed for each one of us on the cross of Calvary. When a person partakes of wine he is partaking of his blood which is God’s covenant with us. When the person who suffers from a disease takes the holy supper, the Lord can perform a powerful miracle and eradicate said disease from his body.
The wine we drink is his blood that cleanses us from all sin, from all sickness, from all curses and from everything that is not from God. His powerful blood is the one that brings redemption, and eternal life for the believers who take it.
It has always been known that this must be done with great seriousness on a spiritual and emotional level, since it cannot be taken in an undignified manner because the person who does it can bring a curse to his life. So we can say that this is something really serious for evangelical Christians.