is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the
New Covenant in my blood.”
In the Eucharist Christ gives us the
very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood
which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it
(makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its
and because it
[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer
himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the
cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But
because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the
Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he
wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible
sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the
bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on
the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated
until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied
to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.
The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are
one single sacrifice:
“The victim is one and the same: the same now
offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on
the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in
this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in theMass, the same Christ
who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the
cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner . . . this
sacrifice is truly propitiatory.”
The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church.
which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head.
With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself
to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the
sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his
Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and
work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and
so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it
possible for all generations of Christians to be unitedwith his offering.
In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in
prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who
stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him,
she offers herself and intercedes for all men.
189 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740; cf.
190 Council of Trent (1562):
Doctrina de ss. Missae sacrificio,
c. 2: DS 1743;