POWER OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST

What is the Holy Eucharist?

The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. In
the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread
and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and
received.

(a) The whole Christ is really, truly, and substantially
present in the Holy Eucharist. We use the words
“really, truly, and substantially” to describe Christ’s
presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to
distinguish Our Lord’s teaching from that of mere
men who falsely teach that the Holy Eucharist is
only a sign or figure of Christ, or that He is present
only by His power.

(b) All Christians, with but few minor exceptions,
held the true doctrine of the Real Presence from the
time of Christ until the Protestant Revolution in the
sixteenth century.

(c) The word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving.”

When did Christ institute the Holy
Eucharist?

Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last
Supper, the night before He died.

(a) About a year before the Last Supper Our Lord
promised to give us the Holy Eucharist. This promise
is related in the sixth chapter of the Gospel
according to Saint John. The fulfillment of this
promise took place at the Last Supper.

Who were present when Our Lord
instituted the Holy Eucharist?

When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist the
apostles were present.

How did Christ institute the Holy
Eucharist?

Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist in this way: He
took bread, blessed and broke it, and giving it to His
apostles, said: “Take and eat; this is My body;” then
He took a cup of wine, blessed it, and giving it to
them, said: “All of you drink of this; for this is My
blood of the new covenant which is being shed for
many unto the forgiveness of sins;” finally, He gave
His apostles the commission: “Do this in
remembrance of Me.”

What happened when Our Lord said: “This
is My body . . . this is My blood”?

When Our Lord
said, “This is My body,” the entire substance of the
bread was changed into His body; and when He
said, “This is My blood,” the entire substance of the
wine was changed into His blood.

(a) Christ could not have used clearer, more explicit
words than “This is My body.” He did not say, “This
is a sign of My body,” or “This represents My body,”
but, “This is My body.” Catholics take Christ at His
word because He is the omnipotent God. On His
word they know that the Holy Eucharist is the body
and blood of Christ.

Did anything of the bread and wine
remain after their substance had been changed
into Our Lord’s body and blood?

After the substance of the bread and wine had been
changed into Our Lord’s body and blood, there
remained only the appearances of bread and wine.

(a) Because the appearances of bread and wine
remain in the Holy Eucharist, we cannot see Christ
with our bodily eyes in this sacrament. We do see
Him, however, with the eyes of faith. Our bodily
eyes, moreover, do not deceive us when they see the
appearances of bread and wine for these
appearances really remain after the Consecration of
the Mass.

What do we mean by the appearances of
bread and wine?

By the appearances of bread and wine we mean
their color, taste, weight, shape, and whatever else
appears to the senses.

What is the change of the entire
substance of the bread and wine into the body
and blood of Christ called?

The change of the entire substance of the bread and
wine into the body and blood of Christ is called
Transubstantiation.

. Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both
under the appearances of bread and under the
appearances of wine?

Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the
appearances of bread and under the appearances of
wine.

(a) We know that Christ is whole and entire under
both appearances because, “Christ having risen
from the dead, dies now no more” (Romans 6:9).
Because Christ cannot die, His blood must remain
united always to His body, and His soul to both. The
divinity of Christ, moreover, always remains united
to His body and blood and soul because He is God
made man.

(b) The whole Christ is present under each part of
the sacred appearances and remains present as long
as the sacred appearances remain.

. How was Our Lord able to change bread
and wine into His body and blood?

Our Lord was able to change bread and wine into
His body and blood by His almighty power.

(a) God, who created all things from nothing, who
fed the five thousand with five loaves, who changed
water into wine instantaneously, who raised the
dead to life, can change bread and wine into the
body and blood of Christ. Although the Holy
Eucharist is a great mystery, and consequently
beyond human understanding, the principles of
sound reason can show that this great gift is not
Impossible by the power of God.

Does this change of bread and wine into
the body and blood of Christ continue to be
made in the Church?

This change of bread and wine into the body and
blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church
by Jesus Christ, through the ministry of His priests.

(a) Only ordained priests have the power of
changing bread and wine into the body and blood of
Christ. When they consecrate, they act in the person
of Christ, through the power received in the
sacrament of Holy Orders.

When did Christ give His priests the
power to change bread and wine into His body
and blood?

Christ gave His priests the power to change bread
and wine into His body and blood when He made the
apostles priests at the Last Supper by saying to
them: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

How do priests exercise their power to
change bread and wine into the body and blood
of Christ?

Priests exercise their power to change bread and
wine into the body and blood of Christ by repeating
at the Consecration of the Mass the words of Christ:
“This is My body . . . this is the Cup of My blood.”

Why does Christ give us His own body and
blood in the Holy Eucharist?

Christ gives us His own body and blood in the Holy
Eucharist: first, to be offered as a sacrifice
commemorating and renewing for all time the
sacrifice of the cross; second, to be received by the
faithful in Holy Communion; third, to remain ever on
our altars as the proof of His love for us, and to be
worshipped by us.

Culled from THE CATHECHISM

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