Weekly Words from The Rock
As we celebrate First Holy Communion at all the Masses this weekend, I thought I would devote this column to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The following reflections are taken from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Copyright 2006.
Question: What happens at the consecration in the Mass? Answer: By the consecration, the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine, Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real and substantial manner: His Body and Blood, with his soul and divinity (page 226).
Question: What are the effects of Holy Communion?
Answer: Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant’s union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ (page 226).
Question: Why is it valuable to visit the Blessed Sacrament? Answer: Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is…a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1418; Pope Paul VI, Mystery of Faith, no. 66) (page 226).
Jesus instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice, the banquet of divine life, at the Last Supper (page 228).
We need to remember that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Why? Because in the Eucharist is found the entire treasure of the Church – Jesus Christ (page 228).
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s saving life, death and Resurrection, made present for our salvation by the action of the liturgy (page 228).
“Only validly ordained priests (and bishops) can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and
wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 1411) (page 228).
The essential signs of the Eucharist for the Latin Church are unleavened wheat bread and grape wine (page 229).
To receive Communion, one should be in the state of grace. A person conscious of mortal sin may not receive Communion until absolved from the sin in the Sacrament of Penance (page 229).
Once Communion has been distributed, the remaining hosts are placed in the tabernacle to provide Communion for the sick and Viaticum for the dying and also to provide opportunity for prayer and worship before Christ in his Real Presence (page 229).
In closing, please remember the beauty of the Eucharist. It is truly Jesus Christ. He gives of himself to help sustain us. People ask, where do we find Jesus Christ? Answer: Jesus is found in the Eucharist.
God’s blessings! Father Schuster