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346

Part Two

1372

St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that

moves us to anevermore completeparticipation inourRedeemer’s

sacrifice which we celebrate in the Eucharist:

This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the

saints, is offered toGod as a universal sacrifice by the high priest

who in the form of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us

in his Passion, to make us the Body of so great a head. . . . Such

is the sacrifice of Christians: “we who are many are one Body in

Christ.” The Church continues to reproduce this sacrifice in the

sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers wherein it is

evident to them that in what she offers she herself is offered.

196

The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit

1373

“Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead,

who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is

present in many ways to his Church:

197

in his word, in his Church’s

prayer, “where two or three are gathered inmy name,”

198

in the poor,

the sick, and the imprisoned,

199

in the sacraments of which he is the

author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister.

But “he is present . . . most

especially in the Eucharistic species.

200

1374

The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic spe-

cies is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as

“the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the

sacraments tend.”

201

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist

“the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our

Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore,

the whole Christ is truly, really, and

substantially

contained.”

202

“This presence is called ‘real’—by

which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if

they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest

sense: that is to say, it is a

substantial

presence by which Christ, God

and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

203

1375

It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s

body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The

Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the

efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit

to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:

196 St. Augustine,

De civ. Dei,

10, 6: PL 41, 283; cf.

Rom

12:5.

197

Rom

8:34; cf.

LG

48.

198

Mt

18:20.

199 199 Cf.

Mt

25:31-46.

200

SC

7.

201 St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

III, 73, 3c.

202 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651.

203 Paul VI,

MF

39.

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1088

1211

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