The Holy Eucharist: The Central Sacrament

by Jayson M. Brunelle

Christ’s institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist was and is the single greatest gift He left to His Church.  For, it is the fulfillment of His promise to truly be always among us, as he states in Matthew 28:20, “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”  While there are, indeed, multiple and varied presences of Christ, such as when two or three are gathered in His name, when the People of God gather to celebrate the Liturgy, when Sacred Scripture – the Word – is proclaimed, or when the priest acts in Persona Christi while administering and/or officiating at anyof the sacraments, etc., the abiding Eucharistic presence of Christ, with the fullness of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is truly singular in its reality, intensity, substance and fullness.  While the accidents of bread and wine remain, the substance is completely transformed into the Second Person of the Trinity.   This process whereby bread and wine are transformed into the true presence, flesh and blood of Christ is referred to as transubstantiation.  This occurs during the second half of the Sacred Liturgy, or the Liturgy of the Eucharist, specifically during the priest’s prayer of consecration and immediately following the Epiclesis.  Regarding the wholly unique presence of Christ contained within the pre-eminent sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Catechism of th Catholic Church has this to say:  “The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all sacraments tend.” 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.” “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.” Continue reading