The Eucharist

"Some men accordingly, not paying heed to these things, have contended that Christ's body and blood are not in this Sacrament except as in a sign, a thing to be rejected as heretical, since it is contrary to Christ's words. Hence Berengarius, who had been the first deviser of this heresy, was afterwards forced to withdraw his error, and to acknowledge the truth of the Faith." - St. Thomas Aquinas ("Summa Theologica" 13th century A.D.)


"And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." - Luke 22:19-20

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." - John 6:51-56

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." - 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." - 1 Corinthians 11:23-29


What the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the "Eucharist:"

1106. "Together with the anamnesis, the epiclesis is at the heart of each sacramental celebration, most especially of the Eucharist:  You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine . . . the Blood of Christ I shall tell you: the Holy Spirit comes upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and thought . . . Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself, took flesh. [St. John Damascene, De fide orth 4, 13: PG 94, 1145A.]"

1324. "The Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life.' [LG 11.] 'The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.' [PO 5.]"

1327. "In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: 'Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.' [St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 5: PG 7/l, 1028.]"

1329. "The Lord's Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem. [Cf. 1 Cor 11:20; Rev 19:9.]  The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meat when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, [Gal 3:27 .] above all at the Last Supper. [Cf. Mt 26:26 ; 1 Cor 11:24 .] It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, [Cf. Lk 24:13-35.] and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; [Cf. Acts 2:42, 46 ; Acts 20:7, 11.] by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him. [Cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17.]  The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church. [Cf. 1 Cor 11:17-34 .]"

1336. "The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?' [Jn 6:60 .] The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division.  'Will you also go away?': [Jn 6:67 .] the Lord's question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has 'the words of eternal life' [In 6:68.] and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself."

1340. "By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus' passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom."

1355. "In the communion, preceded by the Lord's prayer and the breaking of the bread, the faithful receive 'the bread of heaven' and 'the cup of salvation,' the body and blood of Christ who offered himself 'for the life of the world': [Jn 6:51.]  Because this bread and wine have been made Eucharist ('eucharisted,' according to an ancient expression), 'we call this food Eucharist, and no one may take part in it unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught.' [St. Justin, Apol. 1, 66,1-2: PG 6, 428.]"

1356. "If from the beginning Christians have celebrated the Eucharist and in a form whose substance has not changed despite the great diversity of times and liturgies, it is because we know ourselves to be bound by the command the Lord gave on the eve of his Passion: 'Do this in remembrance of me.' [1 Cor 11:24-25 .]"

1359. "The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ.  Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity."

1360. "The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all 'thanksgiving.'"

1365. "Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: 'This is my body which is given for you' and 'This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.' [Lk 22:19-20.] In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he 'poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.' [Mt 26:28 .]"

1367. "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: 'The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.' 'In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.' [Council of Trent (1562): DS 1743; cf. Heb 9:14, 27.]"

1368. "The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ's sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.  In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men."

1369. "The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ.  Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church. The bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides; the bishop's name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons. The community intercedes also for all ministers who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice:  Let only that Eucharist be regarded as legitimate, which is celebrated under (the presidency of) the bishop or him to whom he has entrusted it. [St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8:1; SCh 10, 138.]  Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests' hands in the name of the whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord Himself comes. [PO 2 # 4.]"

1374. "The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique.  It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as 'the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.' [St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 73, 3c.] In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist 'the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.' [Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651.] 'This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.' [Paul VI, MF 39.]"

1378. "Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. 'The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.'[Paul VI, MF 56.]"

1384. "The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: 'Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.' [Jn 6:53 .]"

1396. "The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church.  Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ.  Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church.  Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. [Cf. 1 Cor 12:13 .] The Eucharist fulfills this call: 'The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:' [1 Cor 10:16-17.]  If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond 'Amen' ('yes, it is true!') and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, 'the Body of Christ' and respond 'Amen.'  Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true. [St. Augustine, Sermon 272: PL 38, 1247.]"


"Unless we have a passionate love for our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, we shall accomplish nothing." - St. Peter Julian Eymard ("Let Us Love The Most Blessed Sacrament" 19th century A.D.)


"Wherefore, he that eateth not this bread, nor drinketh this blood, hath not this life; for men can have temporal life without that, but they can in no way have eternal life. He then that eateth not His flesh, nor drinketh His blood, hath no life in him; and he that eateth His flesh, and drinketh His blood, hath life. This epithet, 'eternal,' which He used, answers to both. It is not so in the case of that food which we take for the purpose of sustaining this temporal life. For he who will not take it shall not live, nor yet shall he who will take it live. For very many, even who have taken it, die; it may be by old age, or by disease, or by some other casualty. But in this food and drink, that is, in the Body and Blood of the Lord, it is not so. For both he that doth not take it hath no life, and he that doth take it hath life, and that indeed eternal life. This it is, therefore, for a man to eat that meat and to drink that drink, to dwell in Christ, and to have Christ dwelling in him. Consequently, he that dwelleth not in Christ, and in whom Christ dwelleth not, doubtless neither eateth His flesh nor drinketh His blood." - St. Augustine of Hippo ("Tractate 26 on the Gospel of St. John" 4th century A.D.)


COMMENTS

Jesus lost many disciples when He stated that they would have to eat His Body and drink His Blood (John 6:60, 66 ).  Yet He did not "call back" these disciples stating "I was just speaking figuratively."  He let them leave.  Why?  If He had been speaking figuratively, wouldn't He have called them back and "explained" the doctrine?

Here is an example where the Catholic Church rightly takes these passages literally while many non-Catholic Christian denominations take it figuratively because it would be too hard of a doctrine to accept otherwise just as it was for the disciples who left Christ.

--- Chris                                      


CHURCH BELIEFS & ISSUES

Abortion

Baptism

The Bible

 

Celibacy of the Clergy

The Church

Church Attendance

Contraception

Degrees of Sin

Divorce

The Eucharist

Fasting During Lent

Good Works

Homosexuality

Money for the Church

"Once Saved, Always Saved?"

The Papacy

Papal Infallibility

Pre-marital Sex

Purgatory

Quick & Easy Catholic Apologetics

The Reformation

Ritual Prayer

The Sacrament of Penance

The Saints

The Trinity

The Virgin Mary

 

 

 


WHAT THE EARLY CHURCH BELIEVED

BIOGRAPHIES OF THE CHURCH FATHERS QUOTED IN THIS SECTION

Abortion

Against Heresy

Apostolic Succession & Tradition

The Catholic Church

Contraception

Degrees Of Sin

Divorce

The Eucharist

Good Works

Homosexuality

Infant Baptism

The Mass

The Papacy

Old Testament Canon

Purgatory

Unity Of The Church

The Virgin Mary

 

 

 


Links

Reference Materials


Biblical quotations on this web site are either from the King James Version or the Douay-Rheims Version of the Bible.

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