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,
1:6: PG 49, 380.
205 St. Ambrose,
9, 50; 52: PL 16, 405-407.
206 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1642; cf.
207 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1641.
208 Paul VI,