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The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Delving Into The Mystery Of Transubstantiation

April 29, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 26

The more we learn about the Blessed Eucharist, the more there is to be learned. It was the greatest gift Jesus left to us after the redemption. It is a matter to be investigated with piety and devotion, since the more we know, the more we can love, and the more we can be in His service.
The Blessed Eucharist involves the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of God the Son as well as the mystery of Transubstantiation. The Eucharist is often and fittingly called “the mystery of faith,” because it does put our faith in Jesus’ words to the test: it has three aspects; it is the severest test to our faith; it is the greatest triumph of our faith; and it is also the embodiment of the faith.
The Church infallibly teaches that when the priest or bishop pronounces the words of Christ in the Last Supper, it is Christ who speaks, not the priest. When the priest says, “This is my Body,” he is not referring to his own body, but to the Body of Christ, who is speaking through him. The same occurs with the Blood.
Yes, it does take a lot of faith to affirm this belief with conviction. And yet Jesus expects from us to make this act of faith!
Let us investigate it further. The words of the priest, and the appearances of bread and wine, represent Christ as in the state of death. The separate consecration of the bread and wine symbolizes the violent separation of Jesus’ Body and Blood on the cross. We all know that when the blood is taken out of a person’s body, that person is dead, truly dead, good and proper. There no way in which a person can be alive and be without blood at the same time.
That is why Jesus consecrated the bread and the wine separately, to indicate His death, which is mystically represented every time a priest celebrates Mass.
If you ask me, “How does it work?” My reply is simple: I haven’t got a clue. It is a mystery of our faith beyond human understanding. We believe it because Jesus said so and no other reason. Here is where Protestants and all those baptized Christians who are separated from the Catholic Church mess up the works: They say that you must believe in Jesus, accept Him in your heart and your Lord and Savior, but they do not believe in Jesus when He said that unless we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood we will not have life everlasting.
In St. John’s Gospel chapter six He says it over and over again, to impress it into their thick heads that He was speaking literally, and not figuratively. But they refused. And non-Catholics still think they are fully followers of Christ. . . . What happened to consistency?
As a matter of curiosity, when the disciples refused to accept Jesus’ teaching on the Real Presence and left Him in the synagogue, voting with their feet and walking away, thus ceasing to be His disciples; the verse in St. John’s Gospel is 6:66, that is, chapter six, verse sixty-six. Prophetic coincidence? But I digress.
The problem with Protestants is that if they accept the idea of consecration, they will have to accept the reality of the Catholic priesthood, of men who have the power to transubstantiate matter, men who received that power from the Apostolic Tradition. But if they did that, they would become Catholics.
Let us move on. Pope Pius XII explained: “The Sacrifice of our Redeemer is shown forth in an admirable manner by external signs which are symbols of His death. For by Transubstantiation. . . . His Body and Blood are both really present: Now the Eucharistic Species, under which He is present, symbolize the violent separation of His Body and Blood. Thus, the commemorative representation of His death, which actually took place on Calvary, is repeated in every Sacrifice of the altar, seeing that by separate symbols Christ Jesus is symbolically shown in a state of victimhood.”
But the consecrated bread does not contain only the Body, and the consecrated wine does not contain only the Blood. The entire Christ with His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, is present under the appearances of bread and the appearances of wine.
Why is this? Because of the fact that, in the living, glorified Christ, His human nature and His divine nature are indissolubly united: Wherever His Body is, or wherever His Blood is, He is present in the completeness of His Humanity and in the fullness of His Divinity.
So when we receive Holy Communion, we receive Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We do not deserve such a privilege, no, we don’t, but His love for us urges Him to give Himself this way, so that after His return to Heaven, He would not leave us orphans — He stays with un 24/7 in our tabernacles.
People who are rediscovering the marvelous grandeur of this Reality are now receiving Communion on the tongue and often on their knees. They understand the greatness of receiving Jesus Christ in their being, having the soul of Jesus living in their souls, preparing themselves for the Beatific Vision of Heaven.
The consecration of the bread and the wine at Mass, the Transubstantiation of the Bread and Wine into Christ at Mass, is a true sacrifice, the same sacrifice as that of Christ on the cross, but without bloodshed.
And why do we do it? Because He commanded the apostles to do exactly as He did! At the Last Supper, He said to His apostles, “Do this for a commemoration of me.” Thus, He gave them the power to consecrate the Species, He made them priests with the power to do as He had done, and they transmitted that power to others down to our day, just as He gave them also the power to forgive sins after the Resurrection.
Next article: The Mass is a true Sacrifice.

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(Raymond de Souza, KM, is a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta; a delegate for International Missions for Human Life International [HLI]; and an EWTN program host. Website: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

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