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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

353

sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you

respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it

you assent to it. For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ”

and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of

Christ that your

Amen

may be true.

235

1397

The Eucharist commits us to the poor.

To receive in truth the

Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ

in the poorest, his brethren:

You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not

recognize your brother, . . . You dishonor this table when

you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone

judged worthy to take part in this meal. . . . God freed you

from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not

become more merciful.

236

1398

The Eucharist and the unity of Christians.

Before the greatness

of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, “

O sacrament of devotion! O

sign of unity! O bond of charity!

237

The more painful the experience

of the divisions in the Church which break the common participa-

tion in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the

Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him

may return.

1399

The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the

Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches,

although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all—by

apostolic succession—the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are

still joined to us in closest intimacy.” A certain communion

in sacris,

and

so in the Eucharist, “given suitable circumstances and the approval of

Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged.”

238

1400

Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and sepa-

rated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of

the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of

the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

239

It is for this reason that, for the Catholic

Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not pos-

sible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate

the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it

signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.”

240

1401

When, in the Ordinary’s judgment, a grave necessity arises,

Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and

Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the

Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give

235 St. Augustine,

Sermo

272: PL 38, 1247.

236 St. John Chrysostom,

Hom. in 1 Cor.

27, 4: PG 61, 229-230; cf.

Mt

25:40.

237 St. Augustine,

In Jo. ev.

26, 13: PL 35, 1613; cf.

SC

47.

238

UR

15 § 2; cf. CIC, can. 844 § 3.

239

UR

22 § 3.

240

UR

22 § 3.

2449

817

838

1536

1483