Words Every Catholic Should Know and Meditate on About the Eucharist

04-06-2023From the desk of Fr. Villa

Transubstantiation: The Church makes use of this word in the Catechism to help us understand the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. A substance is what something is. Material substances have an outward appearance: color, weight, size, etc. In the Holy Eucharist bread stops being bread and wine stops being wine. At the Consecration bread becomes Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity; wine becomes Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The appearances (species) of bread and wine remain. Only God can do this. The changing of water into wine by the Lord at the wedding in Cana was a manifestation that Jesus is God who brings things into being through His Word but also it was preparing the disciples for the power of Christ’s word at the Last Supper changing bread and wine into Himself.

Memory: When we use the word “memory” in the Mass it’s not simply about the past but the present. The “Memory” is on the altar in the present tense and He is Jesus Christ Crucified, Risen, Ascended, and Seated at the right hand of God the Father. This “Memory” is brought about by the Holy Spirit. When we say we recall His crucifixion, resurrection and so forth it is not simply something 2000+ years ago but the recollection is now because this Person is on the altar with us now crucified, risen from the dead, ascended, and at the right hand of God the Father offering Himself to the Father for us.

Faith: We know this Presence by faith, that is, we accept the word of Jesus Christ, God and Man, Who cannot deceive or be deceived. It is the highest form of certitude because it is the Word of God. I believe what the Son of God has said; there is nothing more true than this Word of truth. St. Thomas Aquinas

Concomitance: Jesus Christ is present whole and entire, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in either form of the Eucharist. If you receive only the Host you are receiving all of Jesus including His Blood. If you receive under both forms, you are not receiving more of Jesus. If you receive from the chalice only you receive all of Jesus including His Body. The reason for the dual consecration of bread and wine at Mass is to show by the outward appearances, the separation of Jesus’ Blood from His Body on the Cross.

Integrity: Even though there are hundreds of Hosts at Mass and sometimes several chalices Jesus is not broken or divided but the outward appearances of bread and wine are broken and divided. Whether one receives or a million receive all receive Jesus Christ Whole and Entire. Jesus is present Whole and Entire in every drop of the Precious Blood and every particle of the Host.

Effects: The effects of receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist on the lives of each individual differ. A person has to examine himself/herself before receiving Communion that he/she is not in a state of mortal sin. To receive in that state would be a sacrilege a very serious sin against God Himself. This is why St. Thomas says the good receive and the wicked receive but their destiny is different: eternal life for the good and condemnation for the wicked.

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote a prayer in which he prays not just to receive the sacrament, the outward appearances of what looks like bread and wine but the Reality and Power of the sacrament, Jesus Christ, God and Man, and the increase of sanctifying grace which gives us a share in the very life of God the Blessed Trinity, the life of heaven, making us godlike. This means that the one communicating should do so in faith, cooperating actively in their spiritual lives with the Holy Spirit.

This is why the Eucharist does not have the same effect on all the persons, who may receive. The effect depends on their interior dispositions. Hence the more we pray and cooperate with God’s grace in our spiritual lives and renew our faith in the Holy Eucharist the more its healing power is released in our personal spiritual lives.

Mortal Sin: No sacrament of the living, that is, all the sacraments other than Baptism and Confession should be received in mortal sin. Mortal sin is something, which is done, that involves serious matter PLUS deliberation/knowledge that it is serious PLUS full consent of the will. For example deliberately missing Mass on Sunday is mortal sin. Sexual sins involve serious matter. Perjury involves serious matter.

Confession: All Catholics should be men and women of the confessional. All mortal sins must be confessed by number (how many?) and kind (what kind of mortal sin?) The Church encourages frequent confession and the confession of venial sins which is called a confession of devotion. Because in confessing venial sins God’s life is increased in us through sanctifying grace and we come to know ourselves better under the guidance of God’s grace to root out hidden sins and corruption which our consciences are not yet aware of. May I know myself and know You, Lord Jesus. St. Augustine