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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery


It is not man that causes the things offered to become the

Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us,

Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces

these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my

body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.


And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:

Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what

the blessinghas consecrated. The power of the blessingprevails

over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is

changed. . . . Could not Christ’s word, which can make from

nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what

they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their

original nature than to change their nature.



The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by

declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his

body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always

been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council

now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine

there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into

the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole

substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change

the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transub­




The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment

of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species

subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and

whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the

breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.



Worship of the Eucharist.

In the liturgy of theMass we express

our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and

wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign

of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered

and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration,

not onlyduringMass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated

hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration

of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”


204 St. John Chrysostom,

prod. Jud.

1:6: PG 49, 380.

205 St. Ambrose,

De myst.

9, 50; 52: PL 16, 405-407.

206 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1642; cf.


26:26 ff.;


14:22 ff.;


22:19 ff.;

1 Cor

11:24 ff.

207 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1641.

208 Paul VI,