Transubstanuation and excharist Explained


Transubstanuation and the Eucharist Explained

If you will permit me I’m pretty sure I can convince you about Transubstanuation.

“Thank you for the very warm welcome Pat! Anything you would like to share with me is very welcomed. I have read multiple threads and scripture about this topic but certainly welcome anything you have to share. I will say, while I understand the Catholic point of view/interpretation of the scripture relating to the body and blood of Christ in the literal sense I also understand the symbolic point of view (which I have). I have nothing against someone believing one way or the other. I have been taught that salvation through faith and then attempting to live our lives as Christ did through our actions as best we can (knowing that we all are sinners and will fail and must always seek God’s grace) “.[And forgiveness through the sacrament of Confession.. Another separate conversation.. John 20:19-23] [END of your post]

All though a separate conversation I must point out that “Faith” in but ONE of many conditions needed to acquire ones personal salvation. Salvation is a process, not any one single act no matter how sincerely intended. Grace, Baptism, Obedience to the Commandments,, and hope as well as what the CC teaches, and charity are some of the other necessary factors. And Yes; what I am sharing is biblical. Even this list is incomplete.

Before getting started on today’s topic of Transubstanuation [the Eucharist] which is my personal favorite topic to discuss and share; I would like to point out that the CC is not only “a bible church;” we are THEE BIBLE Church. It is the CC that gave birth to the Bible and the entire NT is written by men known today to have been early Fathers of the CC. This explains why then ONLY the CC is guided, qualified, and guarded by God Himself in her [Mother Churches teachings], and why ONLY the CC has Jesus Himself as the real-time-warranty on ALL matters of ‘faith-beliefs and Morals.” [John 15:17-19].

As this is our first personal discussion; please know that prior to retirement, I spent my life in retail marketing and sales; so I’m very comfortable with challenges and questions. Please don’t be bashful. Your not going to hurt my feeling; and God willing I will not hurt your either.

I tend to use the Bible as my primary evidence, but can go beyond it. I do this because I have found the KJB to be the primary tool of instruction for most non-catholic-Christians. Here are some passages that support what I have just shared.

Rom.10: 17 “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” [meaning: TEACHING from others chosen by God, trained and guided by the Holy Spirit].

Eph.3: 9 to 12 “And to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church …[Singular: meaning THE CATHOLIC Church… one can know this from secular history. No other churches existed at the time of this writing] the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him”

2nd. Peter 1: 16-21 “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Matt.13:9-12 “He who has ears, let him hear.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. “

2nd. Tim. 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work

I have taken your points and broken them out for a [I hope] clearer discussion of your concerns. Specific answers to the points you raise will be, rest assured, addressed.

The term “transubstantiation” is a rather recent theological explanation of the “process” that takes place. While physical evidence exist of its truth [Eucharistic- miracles]. Being a miracle, it was never meant by God to be accepted and believed on the basis of human understanding alone.. Indeed, I am of the opinion that only through the looking-glass of extreme LOVE, and unimagined sacrifice can this gift be grasped and accepted.

Having taught for MANY years, at many different levels including RCIA [“the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults, required by the CC”], I remain puzzled by what seems to be a lack of discussion and understanding of God’s very Divine Nature; within the Protestant communion. Without which, the challenge of grasping the Divine Wants behind God’s action, make the process of understanding this complex issue all the more difficult. This is evident [IMO] in comparing the catholic Crucifix; complete with the corpus of Christ; to “just a” wooden cross in Protestant practice. Even knowing that “your” cross signifies the now Risen Christ; I remain convinced that it not giving as is necessary, proper credit and emphasis to the Suffering Christ.

This is a critical point to our discussion in that it is the very evidence of Christ Passion and death, that both lead us to the Eucharist and explain it. Simply put, it is through the perspective of this incomprehensible suffering that one is able to at least glimpse the depth, of God’s commitment to humanity; and God’s most evident love for us and desire to be in a CLOSE PERSONAL union with us. A desire that far exceeds humanities own. … Having experienced humanity in -person; God simply desired to do more to aid us in our salvation effort. But what form could/ should this “more” take; or be?

Isaiah 43 Verses 7and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”

Lets attempt to address the “WHY” of the Eucharist before getting into the “How.”

We humans are the only issue of God’s Creation that stems from Gods own Want. This is born out in the manner in which we are created “like God” [Gen. 1:26-27]. Like God Himself and the Angels, humanity is endowed with a mind, intellect, freewill and soul. These gifts are Spiritual in there nature; and cannot die or be killed. And it is through these very traits that man is able to know God, and if we permit it; Gods truth. In fact this is the “right use” and application of these powerful gifts.

From this understanding, one can discern, at least vaguely, how much God desires to be in a personal and loving relationship with ALL of us. Without accepting this point; further evidenced by God’s total abasement in becoming a mortal-man, precisely so that he could suffer and could die for us, made [Lower than the angels,] then being born in a stable, and laid in a manger [a feeding trough] and living as a poor-peasant, followed by three years of ministry, neglect, abuse, and hardship. And finally CHOOSING not simply to die, and not simply to die by crucifixion; but by being scorched, crowned with thorns, raped [all his clothes were forcibly taken from Him,] and then being nailed to the Cross. This was not the norm. It was saved for the most notorious criminals, and caused more pain, more suffering, and more humiliation. [Luke chapter 23] . This point hints at God’s desire to do more. But what “more” can even God do beyond becoming man, and suffering and dying for His humanity? The very fact that these acts were God’s desire and Will, provide further evidence of Gods desire to do more.

In John’s account of the passion [keeping in mind John alone of the Apostles was with Mary at the foot of the Cross.. Jn.19: 26-27]. ….“After this Jesus, knowing that “all” was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.” John.19: 28

“I thirst” certainly references a physical desire; a physical want. But this is the very Son of God., mere seconds before death. And a simple drink would do nothing to extend His life, or for that matter, to ease His suffering. It meant and means a GREAT deal more. It is a message, not a request. Jesus here tells us that He desires to do even more to aid humanity in accepting there own crosses; in doing the difficult things He would require from us to merit [does not in the strict sense mean to earn], our own salvation. What more could this dying God do?

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me
Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple”

As a side note: This admonition; [take up your cross], just like the bibles teaching on the Eucharist; appears five times. The more often a teaching is expressed; the more significance and relevance to our own salvation efforts it holds.

Christ COMMAND to do this in memory of Me, issued during a Pascal meal. Jesus choose the time, place and the setting for a reason. Passover is a Tradition founded by God himself. [The original story begins in Exodus Chapter 12], and this setting was clearly chosen by a Perfect and all-knowing God, for a precise reason. That reason dear friend was to expressly confer the direct relationship of the first- Passover [a physical salvation], and this carefully chosen setting of a Passover Meal; to institute the greatest possible aid to a [Spiritual salvation.], with the sacrifice of the blood of a ”male unblemished lamb.” The fact that this male, unblemished lamb was to be eaten was the underlying intent of God in choosing the Passover meal. This New Covenant lamb is the “lamb of God,” Jesus Himself.

John the Baptist; the cousin of Jesus and the last of the Old Testament Prophets exclamation upon seeing Christ at the Jordon; shortly before our Lords baptism [which He didn’t need], are neither accidental or coincidence. They in fact are the final Old Testament Prophesy. John.1: 29 & 36 “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!.. and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

Even the choice of the form of the Eucharist, was predestined and predetermined, thousands of years before; when Abraham made an offering of a “tithe” of his bounty of war in the defense of his family and salves: Genesis 14: 17-20 After his return from the defeat of Ched-or-lao’mer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Mel-chiz’edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram [Abraham later] by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

So again ones sees another “salvation connection.” Heb.6:20 “where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz’edek.” The simple brilliance in planting these evidences throughout the bible, speaks volumes of God’s love and concern for our spiritual wellbeing. Take for example where Christ choose to be born. In Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means HOUSE OF BREAD. Then to be sure that we don’t miss this point; it is specified that Christ is laid in a manger. [A place for food.]. Luke 2:11-14.

Exod.12[excerpts from] .. “ In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’S Passover. Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, “Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the passover lamb. [ Exo. 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; Defines and foretells Christ as the sacrifice] you shall say, `It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he slew the Egyptians but spared our houses.'” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, [BOTH ARE PRIEST] “This is the ordinance of the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it; And when a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it… [today this would mean non-Catholic… PJM]

Deut.16: [excerpts from] “And you shall offer the passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place which the LORD will choose, to make his name dwell there. You may not offer the passover sacrifice within any of your towns which the LORD your God gives you; but at the place which the LORD your God will choose, to make his name and dwell in it, there you shall offer the passover sacrifice, ….”

Matthew 26: 26-28
And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.

MARK 14: 22-24
And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.

Luke 22: 19-21
And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.

Paul 1 Cor.11: 23-29
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 giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: [to be worthy of the privilege] and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself

John from Chapter 6: 47-57
Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. 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, 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 to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him.” …

A question: Could even God be more precise or more specific than this? Where is Faith in God; in His Words, in His promise; in His own Command? Where is OUR Hope and our love?

This then sets up the eternal-debate, for what we Catholics Hold as The Singular truth [2 Tim. 3:16; John 17:15-19] and what is the most common Protestant belief of “only a sign or a symbol”, BUT certainly NOT the actual; NOT the Real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity [the entire Jesus]. As a clarification; we Catholics make reference to the NOW Risen and GLORIFIED Christ. NOT the corpus of the “crucified Christ.”

From a biblical standpoint this is how I [and we Catholics] see the debate formulated:

Protestants hold to a single verse: John 6:63
Catholics use the totality of the Bible: quoting Matthew . Mark. Luke. Join., Paul and Jesus Himself. For the sake of brevity we will just reference John 6:

To further define our position I shall highlight the verses we will discuss.

John.6: 50 to 69 [RSV BIBLE]
[50] This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” [52] The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” [53] So Jesus said to them, “Truly, 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; [54] he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. [This is an exact description of what takes place in Catholic Holy Communion worthily received] [57] As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. [58] This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever [60] Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” [61] But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? [62] Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? [SEE ACTS 1:9]

[63] It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

[64] But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. [65] And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” [66] After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. [67] Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” [68] Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; [69] and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Protestant Position:
As I understand the protestant position it is the words that Christ used that “Flesh” is useless and that it is spirit and life” that matter. SO: If flesh does not matter; than Jesus cannot be speaking of His own flesh. Right?

The Catholic Response
1. The basis of our beliefs can be summed up in the following points. 1. Jesus is God 2. God is perfect and therefore had to know both what he was saying and what he was doing. 3. Also one is always at great risk of misunderstanding by referencing Only a single verse; a single passage. There are times when this is prudent: this in our opinion is NOT one of those times. 4. We understand that God can do any GOOD thing. In that this is, THIS IS, the Real; Glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus; it is the GREATEST possible of all good things: Christ Himself! 5. God can neither deceive or be deceived.

2. It is highly significant that Jesus himself attempts to short-circuit this incorrect understanding In verse 52 “The Jews” [unbelievers] state their disbelief and in verse 60 and 66, many desert and abandon Him> WHAT is the response to this from Jesus? Jesus does NOT call them back; does not apologize, does NOT say He erred in what he said: NO! He turned to His Apostles and asked: DO YOU WANT TO ABANDON ME TOO?

3. WHY this response from Jesus? Here is the answer: Jesus Himself explains it earlier in John chapter four: John. 4:23 -24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” AND
1Cor.15: 45 “Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit”

4. So then:” its not our Lords Body?” NO; that is NOT what is being shared here. Jesus is cleverly sharing that this points to Him, it is He HIMSELF that Christ is referring to. The SAME Jesus speaking to them, BUT in His soon to be GLORIFIED and RISEN Body. Jesus alone in the Trinity possesses two complete and perfect Natures. One as God and WITH IT and at the same time; one an man. God can neither deceive or be deceived. God cannot lie, or be lied too. Christ here is speaking about His soon to be Glorified Body, NOT his present corporal body… that is the meaning of “the flesh is of no avail.” The avocation is NOT to cannibalism, and anyone who recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, ought to be able to discern this evident fact. A Perfect God is incapable of such an act.

5. Take note of Peters reply on his own and on behalf of all of the Apostles, when Jesi=us ask if they wish to abandon Him too. verses [68] Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; [69] and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” They are able to accept Jesus at His Word ONLY BECAUSE they are able AND DO, accept Jesus as the very Son of God.

Here then is a summation of the “Why’s” that permit and command belief that It REALLY Is Jesus Himself.

1.Jesus IS God and God can do any good thing. In that this IS God in person it then is the greatest possible of all good things.

2. God can’t lie; nor can God deceive. God can however speak in a manner that ONLY those that God selects and approves of are able to understand what he is actually saying. [Mt. 13:9-12] These then are Gods New “Chosen people,” participants in the New Covenant in Christ own Blood. [SEE VERSE 65]

3. The testimony of Five authors of the NT and Jesus Himself, is too much to simply gloss over or ignore. Four of which gave there very lives in defense of this truth [They tried to kill John too; but failed]. PLUS the immediate acceptance and putting into practice of this belief. Early on the Eucharist was referred to as “the Breaking of the Bread.” Luke 24:35, Acts 2: 42, 46, and the precise teachings referencing this Eucharist, of Paul in 1st. Cor. 11. … These testimonies are refuted by a single incorrectly understood verse. Logic alone affirms the Catholic Position, just on this fact by itself.

4. Jesus Himself address the very foundation of the unbelievers. Explaining, in concealed, but evident to ALL TRUE BELIEVERS language, that it is His Glorified Body [not his corporal body as assumed in verse 63] that he speaks of.

5. The language chosen by Christ can not possibly be more clear, concise or precise. And this is understood and taught using a paraphrase of Jesus’ Own WORDS, by men who actually knew Christ or knew others who did.

6. It is TRUE because God is [and can ONLY BE] Good. Because God’s greatest want is humanities salvation and because, even after His Passion; Christ desired to do more; to be of both, greater and constant assistance. Mt. 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Means In Person; not just in Spirit.

So that my friend concludes our explanation of the “Why.” So we now move on to the “HOW.”

The Bible uses a tool that we call “typology.” The terms means to tie together passages that lead to and affirm in some manner other; usually future biblical events. Here then are some typologies that are significant to the “How” of the Most Holy Eucharist. Not in any particular order; but as they occur to me.

1. Genesis 1:26-27 which tells us that we are created in the very image of God. This is important because it implies that we are in a manner only God can comprehend; somehow worthy of God.

2. The Exodus story is a story of Physical salvation with an aim; a goal of a far more important spiritual salvation. It attempts to form and to inform the chosen race. It is a clear precursor of the Most Holy Eucharist in all of the following ways:

1. It deals with salvation; it involves the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love [all necessary for spiritual salvation]

2. it is God supplying BOTH Bread [manna] and a response to pleas to give us flesh to eat. [ Exodus. 16:1] “I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel; say to them, `At twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'” and verse “[4] Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”

3. This is done for hundreds of thousands of Jews for forty years, without fail. 3. The exodus trek itself is to teach them to TRUST in Gods Words and promises.

4. The “Bread of Presence” also called “Holy Bread” Exod.25: 30 “And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.” … Num.4: 7 “And over the table of the bread
of the Presence they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put upon it the plates, the dishes for incense, the bowls, and the flagons [of WINE] for the drink offering; the continual bread also shall be on it;

5. In time of Abram we have the Priestly Offering of Bread and Wine. [Gen. 14:17-20]

6. The use of priest to offer Godly sacrifice [throughout the books of Exodus and Leviticus]

7. 1St. Kings 17, and 2nd. Kings 4 BOTH speak of the Prophet Eli’jha’s ability to multiply oil and bread.

8. The prophesy of Christ THE SAVIOR being born in Bethlehem [Mica 5:2], the home town of the great King David, and in Hebrew “House of bread.” [about 800 years before the birth of Christ].

9. The First miracle of Christ Ministry; changing ordinary water into “choice wine.” Is an indication of Gods ability to alter the very substance of something; AND a clear indication of what he would do in the Passover transformation of ordinary bread and Wine. [John 4:46]

10. The twice repeated miracle of the multiplication of the loafs [to become Christ Body] and the fish [an early sign for Christ Himself and Christianity]. Mark chapter 6

11. Walking on water and allowing Peter to do the same to show mastery over all of nature. [Mt. 14:29]

12. One of the final WORDS of Christ on the Cross: “I Thirst,” clearing meaning a POWERFUL, yet unfulfilled desire to do even more for us. [John 19:28]. Made even more significant by John who was there in person; and who is the author of the “Sacramental Gospel.”

Some of the WORDS used at every Mass during the Transubstanuation-prayer are “In Him; with Him and Through Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.” The Eucharist is From God [the Father] of God [Jesus the Son] and by God [The Holy Spirit.] Further the Eucharist, similar to the Trinity itself, has a triune sacramental understanding. AT one and the same time: The Most Holy Eucharist is 1. A Sacrifice sacrament 2. A Communion [to be consumed] sacrament and 3. A Worship sacrament. NOTHING and no-one is more worthy of Divine Worship than Jesus Himself in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is BOTH the sum [totality of] and the summit [the peak] of our Catholic Faith [and SHOULD BE ALL Christian] belief as it is; IT IS God Himself.

This miracle is actually TWO consecutive miracles. And of course ONLY God himself, even when choosing to work through others is the author; the one who actually accomplishes all miracles.

The first miracle happens to the priest saying the Mass. He is transformed for the brief instants of the transformation of the bread into Christ body [part {a } of the second miracle]; and then again of the wine into Christ Blood; [Part { b} of the second miracle] into “another Christ.” ..“Alter-Christi.“ Even then it is the Holy Spirit working with and THROUGH the priest that causes the actual changes to take place. What remains visible to sight, smell and touch are termed the “accidents”, which continue to look, smell and taste like bread and wine; but through the Divine Will and unlimited Love and Powers of God are changed into the REAL Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Living and Glorified Christ Himself.

The petition on the Lords prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread” FIRST is a petition request for Holy Communion, and only after that; does it pertain to our physical needs. God always cares first for our souls; then our bodies.

Point 1. “In regards to the belief in transubstantiation I have a difficulty understanding why this act is so central to the life of a Catholic as Jesus should be part of our life everywhere we go…if we truly have this in our heart, then the Holy Spirit resides there always.”

The clearest understanding stems from the FACT that it is REALLY God in His Glorified flesh IN PERSON, far exceeding dare I say, “just His Spirit?“ It is Because Jesus only founded His one set of faith-beliefs within the boundary of the ONLY Church that He desires, that He Himself founded, and that He Himself protects IN PERSON: His CC. [Mt. 16;18;19, John 15:16-17; John 20:19-22; and Mt. 28:19-20]. It is highly significant that it is precisely and nearly exclusively that the RCC was solely chosen for this task; [Mt. 16:18-19] that the Holy Spirit reveals the singular truth of Gods own Faith to her, and through her. One God; One faith, One church and ONE TEACHER. That way the message stays clear and is fully warranted by Jesus Himself as well as the Holy Spirit.

Point 2. “Partaking in the Eucharist is obviously a very reverent thing for a Catholic but, I do not understand what the purpose would be when Jesus is already in our heart. Why would someone need to believe they are consuming his flesh and blood? I believe that Jesus was extremely wise and his teaching to us always had logic behind it. This is why I cannot believe in transubstantiation because, to me, it is too simple to take such a thing literally.”

I hear what your saying but can’t agree that this dual miracle is simple. Like the Trinity itself; it can never be fully explained or understood by human understanding alone. However through Faith, with Hope driven by Love one can accept and believe And yes as Paul so clearly articulates; receiving without believing FULLY, is effectively denying God Himself; because it is God Himself and it is God who claims that it is God Himself and it is God who makes it all possible. Only God, and only a Good God. And only a God who is Love; could and can do such an amazing thing. The fact that God can do any good thing is not debatable. It’s perhaps the most basic tenet of Christian and certainly Catholic Faith and belief. To actually and REALLY transform bread and wine into His very own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity: The ENTIRE JESUS; is profoundly complex and . incomprehensible to human logic alone, I can explain it, even understand the WHYS and our limited understanding of the “How.” But can we actually know how God does it? NO! Impossible. And yet I hold no belief more firmly than this. Gods Love is too evident, to abundant, to freely shared not to believe.

Point 3. “Everything I have ever learned and read about Jesus’ teachings has real life application behind it that is timeless and logical. Believing that one will have eternal life by actually eating his flesh and drinking his blood is too mystical to make sense to me“.

Seems quite logical from a human-logic point of view. It is in the WHY [not the How] that Faith alone can be, and ought to be over-ridden by just understanding better and more fully HOW very much God loves us. The EXTREMES that God eagerly accepts, the abasement, the attacks upon His humility, the willingness in doing everything possible; suffer every pain, and every indignity, even for God; to permit as many souls as are truly humble enough, to allow God to be in charge of how we live; what we are to believe and be open to all of the graces that God offers to us. …. ALSO highly significant is the manner of our creation in the very image of God and the FACT that our salvations REST squarely and solely with our own actions and decisions, AND, in conjunction with this; permits us; me and you; if we believe; to control the flow of sacramental grace to our souls. Simply put God gives humanity ALONE the ability to rationalize and to love. Then steps back and permits us to PROVE to Him, how much we LOVE Him in return not by simple proclamation; BUT by our humility, or willingness to take direction, and correction. Our Faith in what the Church He Himself choose, that He guides, and that He protects and knows what is best for our Souls.

Point 4. “Nobody should have to go through a ritual to follow Christ or have the chance to live eternally with him. Rituals can be nice and bring us closer to him but our faith and opportunity to live eternally with Jesus cannot depend on them.”

It is because you lack right and fuller understanding that you look at the Mass as a ritual. It’s so very much more than that! It is the miracle of Miracles, the very Sacrifice of the Cross made really present, time and time again. Re-presenting NOT representing. Making Christ sacrifice REAL is paramount to making Jesus REALLY present physically in the Eucharist. It is the actual and timeless Sacrifice of Jesus Himself in person; accomplished For His Father; and accomplished by the Holy Spirit through His chosen priest. It is BOTH the most God can do and the desire of God Triune Will to do it, and ONLY Gods intervention can and does make it possible.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me! I am very uncomfortable bringing these questions up in the public forum as some people can be quite harsh or demeaning to others who do not believe the same way. Thank you for your Christ-like charity!

FRIEND! We can discuss ANYTHING. Never a need to be embarrassed and PLEASE feel free to request further clarifications, that why God placed me into your life.

SUMMATION
The Eucharist is a reality of Divine Will and God’s unlimited Love and desire to save as many souls as will PERMIT His intervention. The weight of evidence is abundant in total, and even clear enough to be logically understood from Gods Want perspective.

God does not force believe and prohibits us from doing so. That leaves it up to you and God; to Faith, Hope, and Love. To trust God sufficiently to understand that everything God does, everything God offers is for our good from HIS VAST SUPPLY of Goodness. God is already perfect. Nothing God does or offers us benefits HIM in anyway beyond satisfying His Will for us.

It is my prayerful hope that you will find in here some insights and truths you were not yet aware of. Below is a article of merit, on the topic of Transubstanuation. Enjoy!

PLEASE get back to me with any lingering questions and tell me if you found this helpful?

Love and prayers,
Pat

I have added some highlighting to this article to hopefully make easier to read. I also added the Biblical text of 1st. Cor. 11, regards the Eucharist. PJM

TRANSUBSTANTIATION FOR BEGINNERS
By CANON [an order of the Catholic priesthood … a bit like Monks] FRANCIS J. RIPLEY

THE earliest text concerning the Real Presence is found in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, written probably about A.D. 57, or 27 years after Christ’s death. Modern scholars believe Jesus died in the year 30 and that Saul was converted early in 37. Some are convinced his conversion was as early as 34. It seems certain that 1 Corinthians was written after the Passover of 57. This means the newly converted Saul, now Paul, was plunged into the infant Church as early as four and not later than seven years after the death of Christ. He was an eyewitness of the earliest Eucharistic celebrations or liturgical practices. Consider this in light of what Vatican I taught about Revelation: “After the Ascension of the Lord the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had said and done. They did this with a clear understanding, which they enjoyed after they had been instructed by the events of Christ’s risen life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth” (Decree on Revelation, 19).

Paul’s Eucharistic teaching in 1 Corinthians 11: leaves us in no doubt. “For this is what I received from the Lord and in turn passed on to you: That on the same night as he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it, and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper and said, ‘This cup is a new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death. And so anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily toward the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup, because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body is eating and drinking his own condemnation” (1 Cor. 11:23-29).

[ADDED BY PJM] …. 1St. Cor. 11:16 -30 If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God. But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. [20] When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” [’Died” here references Spiritual death: Hell…PJM]

In the previous chapter the apostle wrote, “The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is communion with the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:16). His words are clear. The only possible meaning is that the bread and wine at the consecration become Christ’s actual body and blood. Evidently Paul believed that the words Christ had said at the Last Supper, “This is my Body,” meant that really and physically the bread is his body. In fact Christ was not merely saying that the bread was his body; he was decreeing that it should be so and that it is so.

Paul and Christians of the first generation understood the doctrine in this thoroughly realistic way. They knew how our Lord demanded faith, as wE read in John 6. Belief in the Eucharist presupposes faith. The body that is present in the Eucharist is that of Christ now reigning in heaven, the same body which Christ received from Adam, the same body which was made to die on the cross, but different in the sense that it has been transformed. In the words of Paul, “It is the same with the resurrection of the dead; the thing that is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible, but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit” (1 Cor. 15:42-44). This spiritualized body was a physical reality, as Thomas discovered. “Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand and put it into my side” (John 20:27). It is this glorious body which is now, under the appearance of bread, communicated to us.

We know that Paul writes that he is handing on a tradition which he received from the Lord. He tells the Galations, “The good news I preach is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learned only through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12). Likewise to the Philippians: “Keep doing all the things that you have learned from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do” (Phil. 4:9). To the Colossians he writes, “You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received–Jesus the Lord” (Col. 2:6).

If Paul is handing on a tradition, we ask where it comes from. Clearly it stems from Christ. Paul stresses this over and over. “Through the good news that we brought he called you to this so that you should share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:14-15). In the same way he said to Timothy, “Keep as your pattern the sound teaching you have heard from me” (2 Tim. 1:13). The apostle is not referring to just any kind of tradition. His is a tradition that must be believed because Christ himself proclaimed it with his own authority. Christ is the fountainhead of all God’s wonderful work. He is the Master, and we must submit to his teaching. “You call me Master and Lord and rightly so: So I am” (John 13:14).

One of the commonest errors of religious people in our day is to think that Christ was mainly a preacher, a holy man who went about organizing public meetings and urging people to repentance. The truth is that the most important thing Christ did was not to preach or to work miracles, but to perpetuate his work by gathering disciples around him. He sent his twelve apostles out to preach. “He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness . . . These twelve Jesus sent out instructing them as follows . . . ” (Matt. 10:1-4). The apostles he trained specially for this work. The teaching he gave them became sacred Tradition.

We discover more about the beginnings and development of Christian Tradition from what is now known about the roles of Master and pupil in the Hebrew world. Our Lord was Master, and his followers were his pupils. They were being trained to hand on the living word which was to save the world. The disciples not only listened but followed. “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the holy one of God” (John 6:68). They did not just come and listen and go away, resolving to amend their lives. They became the personal disciples of Christ, being trained to carry more than his words to the world, as we shall see.

One of the characteristics of Hebrew schools was that the pupil or disciple would do anything possible in order to retain fully and exactly his master’s teaching. The ideal of every pupil was to be able to reproduce this teaching word for word. That ideal often was attained. This must have been the attitude of the first Christians. They were lovers of Christ, believers in his Godhead. They passionately wanted to retain all that God wished them to remember of the saving word. They had the privilege of receiving personal instruction from the greatest of all teachers, God himself. They had been told that what they were being taught was a treasure they had to pass on to succeeding generations. Theirs was no ordinary schooling. They were filled, absorbed with love. Above all, the Spirit of God was with them, teaching, guiding, and inspiring them.

Three of the Gospels–Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22–tell us what happened at the Last Supper. Each has its own character, mode of writing, and variants. We do not expect in this type of writing photographic, meticulous, verbal identity. It is the essential truth that matters.

We shall never understand the New Testament unless we remember that these written accounts are simply versions of the verbal tradition. Paul and the evangelists knew what the Christians were doing. The words of consecration were being said at the Eucharistic meals. It was easy enough to write them down. There could have been no distortion, at the most only a simplification. Suppose we had been present with the apostles in those days between Christ’s Resurrection and his Ascension. We should have heard Christ teaching them. Indeed this was a most important time of their training. Can we imagine that he would omit to tell them in detail how they were to carry on doing what he told them to do at his Last Supper? Christ knew and they knew that this was to be the very heart of the worship of the Church he founded.

So there is not the slightest doubt that the formulas given us by the evangelists and Paul were those that were being used by the Christians as they celebrated the Eucharist. The Gospels faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while still living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day he was taken up to heaven. Could anything at all be more important than what he did and said about his body and blood? Our Lord’s last meal was a Paschal feast, or at least a meal in the atmosphere of a Paschal feast, as he said. We know from Jewish writers how this can easily be fitted in to the full Jewish rite. The ancient commemorative meal of the Hebrews in which they recalled how God had freed his people from Egypt, was now to give place to a commemoration and reenactment of a new and final reality issuing from the mind and will of the risen Christ.

In the eleventh century Berengarius fell into heresy by failing to realize this point. His motto was, “I wish to understand all things by reason.” The Eucharist is one of those things which cannot be understood by reason. Human arguments can never explain Christ’s Real Presence.

John Chrysostom is known as “the Doctor of the Eucharist.” In 398 he became Patriarch of Constantinople. He wrote, “We must reverence God everywhere. We must not contradict him, when what he says seems contrary to our reason and intelligence. His words must be preferred to our reason and intelligence. This ought to be our behavior to the Eucharistic mysteries too. We must not confine our attention to what the senses can experience, but hold fast to his words. His word cannot deceive.” Writing of the words of institution he said, “You may not doubt the truth of this; you must rather accept the Savior’s words in faith; since he is truth, he does not tell lies.”

Centuries later Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the scholastic theologians, taught the same. He said that the existence in the Eucharist of Christ’s real body and blood “cannot be gasped by the experience of the senses, but only by the faith which has divine authority and its support.” He put it into his famous verse: “Sight, touch, and taste in thee are each deceived; the ear alone most safely is believed; I believe all the Son of God has spoken, than through his own word there is no truer token.”

When Christ himself promised his Real Presence in the Eucharist, many of his disciples could not accept it. “This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?” (John 6:68). But Peter had the right mentality. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the holy one of God” (John 6:69).

Here is a grave admonition of Pope Paul: “In the investigation of this mystery we follow the Magisterium of the Church like a star. The redeemer has entrusted the word of God, in writing and in tradition, to the Church’s Magisterium to keep and to explain. We must have this conviction: ‘what has since ancient times been preached and received with true Catholic faith throughout the Church is still true, even if it is not susceptible of a rational investigation or verbal explanation’ (Augustine).”

But the Pope goes on to say something that is vitally important. He says that it is not enough merely to believe the truth. We must also accept the way the Church has devised to express that truth exactly. Here is what he says: “When the integrity of faith has been preserved, a suitable manner of expression has to be preserved as well. Otherwise our usual careless language may . . . give rise to false opinions in belief in very deep matters.”

Pope Paul does not hesitate to declare that the language the Church has used to describe and explain its teaching has been adopted “with the protection of the Holy Spirit.”[John 14:16-17, John 17:15-19…PJM] It has been confirmed with the authority of the councils. More than once it has become the token and standard of the orthodox faith. You have only to read the history of theology in the fourth and fifth centuries to understand how important the use of words was in indicating the true nature of Christ in those times. Then orthodoxy turned upon slight variations in a Greek word. The Holy Father says that this traditional language must be observed religiously. “Nobody may presume to alter it at will or on the pretext of new knowledge. It would be intolerable if the dogmatic formulae which ecumenical councils have employed in dealing with the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity were to be accused of being badly attuned to the men of our day and other formulae were rashly introduced to replace them. It is equally intolerable that anyone on his own initiative should want to modify the formulae with which the Council of Trent has proposed the Eucharistic mystery for belief.”

This is a most important point. We must believe that the Council of Trent had the assistance of the Holy Spirit, as any general council has. The Pope then goes on to say that the Eucharistic formulae of the Council of Trent express ideas which are not tied to any specified cultural system. Presumably he is refuting the notion that the distinction we are going to discuss between substance and accidents is peculiar to scholastic philosophy and would be rejected by other thinkers. The Pope says, “They are not restricted to any fixed development of the sciences, nor to one or other of the theological schools. They present the perception which the human mind acquires from its universal essential experience of reality and expresses their use of appropriate and certain terms borrowed from colloquial or literary language. They are, therefore, within the reach of everyone at all times and in all places.”

It would be hard to overemphasize this point. In particular we might say that right thought always distinguishes between what a thing is and what it has. You do not need to be a scholastic philosopher to make a simple distinction of that sort. The Pope goes on to say that most things are capable of being explained more clearly, but explanation must not take away their original meaning. Vatican I defined that “that meaning must always be retained which Holy Mother Church has once declared. There must never be any retreat from that meaning on the pretext and title of higher understanding.”

There is particular significance in the fact that the dogmas of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist remained unmolested down to the ninth century. Even then the molestation was comparatively slight. There were three great Eucharistic controversies which helped to clarify the ideas of theologians.

The first was begun by Paschasius Radbertus in the ninth century. The trouble he caused hardly extended beyond the limits of his audience and concerned itself only with the philosophical question whether the Eucharistic body of Christ is identical with the natural body he had in Palestine and now has glorified in heaven.

The next controversy arose over the teaching of Berengarius, to whom we have already referred. He denied transubstantiation but repaired the public scandal he had given and died reconciled to the Church.

The third big controversy was at the Reformation. Luther was the only one among the Reformers who still clung to the old Catholic tradition. Though he subjected it to much misrepresentation, he defended it most tenaciously. He was diametrically opposed by Zwingli, who reduced the Eucharist to an empty symbol. Calvin tried to reconcile Luther and Zwingli by teaching that at the moment of reception the efficacy of Christ’s body and blood is communicated from heaven to the souls of the predestined and spiritually nourishes them.

When Photius started the Greek Schism in 869, he still believed in the Real Presence. The Greeks always believed in it. They repeated it at the reunion councils in 1274 at Lyons and 1439 at Florence. Therefore it is evident that the Catholic doctrine must be older than the Eastern Schism of Photius.

In the fifth century the Nestorians and Monophysithes broke away from Rome. In their literature and liturgical books they preserved their faith in the Eucharist and the Real Presence, but they had difficulty because of their denial that in Christ there are two natures and one Person. Thus the Catholic dogma is at least as old as the Council of Ephesus in 431. To establish that the truth goes back beyond that time one need only examine the oldest liturgies of the Mass and the evidence of the Roman catacombs. In that way we find ourselves back in the days of the apostles themselves.

The three controversies just mentioned helped considerably to formulate the dogma of transubstantiation. The term itself, transubstantiation, seems to have been first used by Hildebert of Tours about 1079. Other theologians, such as Stephen of Autun (d. 1139), Gaufred (d. 1188), and Peter of Blois (d. 1200), also used it. Lateran IV in 1215 and the Council of Lyons in 1274 adopted the same expression, the latter being in the Profession Faith proposed to the Greek Emperor, Michael Palaeologus.

Trent was, of course, the council which was summoned specially to refute the errors of the Reformation. After affirming the Real Presence of Christ, the reason for it, and the preeminence of the Eucharist over other sacraments, the council defined the following on October 11, 1551: “Because Christ our Redeemer said it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church, and this holy council now declares that, by the consecration of the bread and wine a change takes place in which the whole substance of bread is changed into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the Holy Catholic Church fittingly and properly names transubstantiation.”

The following canon also was promulgated by the Council: “If anyone says that the substance of bread and wine remain in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and extraordinary change of the whole substance of the bread into Christ’s body and the whole substance of the wine into his blood while only the species of bread and wine remain, a change which the Catholic Church has most fittingly called transubstantiation, let him be anathema.”

Let us try to analyze this idea. We speak of the conversion of bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood. What do we mean by conversion? We mean the transition of one thing into another in some.aspect of being. It is more than mere change. In mere change one of the two extremes may be expressed negatively, as for example the change of day and night. Night is simply the absence of the light of day. The starting point is positive, while the target, so to speak, is negative. It can be the other way about when we talk of the change of night into day.

Conversion is more than this. It requires two positive extremes. They must be related to each other as thing to thing. For true conversion one thing must run into another thing. It is not just a question of water, for example, changing into steam. Moreover, these two things must be so intimately connected with each other that the last extreme, let us call it the target of the conversion, begins to be only as the first, the starting point, ceases to be. An example of this is the conversion of water into wine at Cana. This is far more radical than the change of water into steam.

A third element is required. There must be something which unites the starting point to the target, one extreme to the other, the thing which is changed to that into which it is changed. At Cana, what was formerly water is now wine. Conversion must not be a kind of sleight of hand, a conjuring trick, an illusion. The target, the element into which the change takes place, must newly exist in some way just as a starting point. The thing which is changed must in some manner really cease to exist. Thus at Cana wine did not exist before in those containers, but it came to exist. Water did exist, but it ceased to exist. But the water was not annihilated. If the water had been annihilated, there would not have been a change but a new creation. We have conversion when a thing which really existed in substance acquires an altogether new and previously non-existing mode of being.

Transubstantiation is unique. It is not a simple conversion. It is a substantial conversion. One thing is substantially or essentially converted into another thing. There is no question here of a merely accidental conversion, like water into steam. Nor is it something like the metamorphosis of insects or the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. There is no other change exactly like transubstantiation. In transubstantiation only the substance is converted into another substance, while the accidents remain the same. At Cana substance was changed into substance, but the accidents of water were changed also into the accidents of wine.

The doctrine of the Real Presence is necessarily contained in the doctrine of transubstantiation, but the doctrine of transubstantiation is not necessarily contained in the Real Presence. Christ could become really present without transubstantiation taking place, but we know that this is not what happened because of Christ’s own words at the Last Supper. He did not say, “This bread is my body,” but simply, “This is my body.” Those words indicated a complete change of the entire substance of bread into the entire substance of Christ. The word “this” indicated the whole of what Christ held in his hand. His words were so phrased as to indicate that the subject of the sentence, “this,” and the predicate, “my body,” are identical. As soon as the sentence was complete, the substance of the bread was no longer present. Christ’s body was present under the outward appearances of bread. The words of institution at the Last Supper were at the same time the words of transubstantiation. If Christ had wished the bread to be a kind of sacramental receptacle of his body, he would surely have used other words, for example, “This bread is my body” or “This contains my body.”

The revealed doctrine expressed by the term transubstantiation is in no way conditioned by the scholastic system of philosophy. Any philosophy that distinguishes adequately between the appearances of a thing and the thing itself may be harmonized with the doctrine of transubstantiation. Right thinking demands that one makes a distinction between what a thing is and what it has. That is part of ordinary common speaking. we say, for example, that this is iron, but it maybe cold, hot, black, red, white, solid, liquid, or vapor. The qualities, actions, and reactions do not exist in themselves; they are in something. We call that something the substance. It makes a thing what it is. When we talk about transubstantiation we are using the word substance in that sense. It is unfair for people who do not want to accept this doctrine to invent their own definition of substance and then to tell us we are wrong.

All that substance sustains, the things which inhere in it, we call by the technical name of accidents. We cannot touch, see, taste, feel, measure, analyze, smell, or otherwise directly experience substance. Only by knowing the accidents do we know it. So we sometimes call the accidents the appearances.

At Mass the priest does exactly what Christ told him to do at the Last Supper. He does not say, “This is Christ’s body,” but “This is my body.” These words produce the whole substance of Christ’s body. In the same way the words of consecration produce the whole substance of Christ’s blood. They are Christ’s body and blood, as they are now living in heaven. There, in heaven, his body and blood are united with his soul and Godhead. The accidents or appearances of his human body are in heaven too. They are present, therefore, in the Holy Eucharist. For want of a better term we speak of them as following the substance. By the words of consecration the substance is immediately and directly produced. The personal accidents of Christ, his appearances, are there by what the theologians call “natural concomitance.”

Every raindrop that falls contains the whole substance of water. That same entire substance is present in the tiniest particle of steam which comes from the kettle on the hob. The entire substance of Christ is present in each consecrated host, in a chalice of consecrated wine, in each crumb that falls off the host, and in each drop that is detached from the wine.

But we must not imagine that Christ is compressed into the dimensions of the tiny, circular wafer or a grape. No, the whole Christ is present in the way proper to substance. He can be neither touched nor seen. His shape and his dimensions are there, but they are there in the same way as substance is there, beyond the reach of our senses.

When the priest at Mass, obeying Christ, speaks the words of consecration, a change takes place. The substance of bread and the substance of wine are changed by God’s power into the substance of Christ’s body and the substance of his blood. The change is entire. Nothing of the substance of bread remains, nothing of the substance of wine. Neither is annihilated; both are simply changed.

The appearances of bread and wine remain. We know that by our senses. We can see, touch, and taste them. We digest them when we receive Communion. After the consecration they exist by God’s power. Nothing in the natural order supports them because their own proper substance is gone. It has been changed into Christ’s substance. They do not inhere in the substance of Christ, which is now really present. It is not strictly true to say that Christ in the Eucharist looks like bread and wine. It is the appearances of bread and wine that look like bread and wine. The same God who originally gave the substance of bread power to support its appearance keeps those appearances in being by supporting them himself.

Christ is present as substance. That is the key to a right understanding of this mystery. He does not have to leave heaven to come to us in Communion. There is no question of his hopping from host to host or rushing from church to church to be present in each for a little while. When we receive Communion we are not given a particle of Christ’s body of the same dimension as the small wafer the priest puts on our tongue. Those who imagine otherwise have failed to g.asp the meaning of substantial presence.

Many of the Fathers of the Church warned the faithful not to be satisfied with the senses which announce the properties of bread and wine.

Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) said, “Now that you have had this teaching and are imbued with surest belief that what seems to be bread is not bread, though it has the taste, but Christ’s body, and what seems to be wine is not wine, even if it appears so to the taste, but Christ’s blood.”

John Chrystostom (d. 407) said, “It is not the man who is responsible for the offerings becoming Christ’s body and blood, it is Christ himself, who is crucified for us. The standing figure [at Mass] belongs to the priest who speaks these words, the power and the grace belong to God. ‘This is my body,’ he says. This sentence transforms the offerings.”

Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) wrote, “He used a demonstrative mode of speech, `This is my body’ and ‘This is my blood,’ to prevent your thinking that what is seen is a figure; on the contrary what has truly been offered is transformed in a hidden way by the all-powerful God into Christ’s body and blood. When we have become partakers of Christ’s body and blood, we receive the living giving, sanctifying power of Christ.”

Berengarius, recanting from his error, made on oath a profession of faith to Pope Gregory VII:

“With my heart I believe, with my mouth I acknowledge, that the mystery of the sacred prayer and our Redeemer’s words are responsible for a substantial change in the bread and wine, which are put on the altar, into Jesus Christ our Lord’s own, true, life-giving flesh and blood. I acknowledge, too, that they are, after consecration, Christ’s true body which was born of the Virgin, which hung on the cross as an offering for the salvation of the world and which is seated at the right hand of the Father, and Christ’s true blood which flowed out of his side: they are not such simply because of the sacrament’s symbolism and power, but as constituted by nature and as true substances.”

It may be as well to quote here the explanation of a leading modern theologian. Louis Bouyer, a priest who was formerly a Lutheran minister and has for many years been one of the leading Catholic lecturers and writers, says, “Transubstantiation is a name given in the Church . . . Although Tertullian had already used the word, Christian antiquity preferred the Greek expression metabole, translated into Latin by conversio.

“The word transubstantiation came to be used by preference during the Middle Ages, both as a reaction against certain theologians like Ratramus, who tended to see in the Eucharist only a virtual and not a real presence of the body and blood of the Lord, and against others like Paschasius Radbertus, who expressed his presence as if it were a question of a material and sensible one.

“To speak of transubstantiation comes down then to stating that it is indeed the very reality of the body of Christ that we have on the altar after the consecration, yet in a way inaccessible to the senses and in such a manner that it is neither multiplied by the multiplicity of the species, nor divided in anyway by their division, nor passible [subject to suffering] in anyway whatsoever.

In conclusion we cannot do better than quote the words of the Imitation of Christ: “You must beware of curious and useless searching into this most profound sacrament. He who is a scrutineer of majesty will be overwhelmed by its glory.”

Canon Francis J. Ripley has been a priest for more than half a century and is a well-respected apologist for the faith. He resides in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

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