We at Missio Dei have released our new book, The Eucharistic Revival Project, by En Route Media and Publication. Below is an excerpt from my Chapter on "The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist."
The Eucharistic Revival Project
Edited by Phillip Hadden & Jonathon Fessenden
Foreword by Rev. Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R.
The Eucharist Revival Project is Missio Dei’s response to Pope Francis’ call to rediscover “the real and loving presence of the Lord” in the Eucharist. The Missio Dei Team’s belief in the power of Holy Communion is manifested in this book, inviting everyone who reads it to understand the historical, prophetic, and present-day miracle of Christ in the Eucharist and to seek this Sacrament of Love with a renewed fervor.
Contributing authors include Phillip Hadden, Kaleb Hammond, Chantal LaFortune, Fr. Chris Pietraszko, Dr. Joseph J. Plaud, Fr. Dominic Rankin, Christina M. Sorrentino, Kelly Ann Tallent, John Tuttle, and Joseph Tuttle.
We take part in the heavenly liturgy where our intimate encounter with Christ is mediated to the Church through earthly bread and wine, that which has been revealed to us to be where His Real Presence is found. The liturgical celebration of the Eucharist is a means of “turning around of exitus to reditus, of departure to return, of God’s descent to our assent”.8 It was the climax of the exitus when the Son of God being sent by the Father descended from heaven to take on human flesh at the Incarnation; the revelation of the Second Person of the Trinity, bringing humanity into union with God. Our reditus is when we respond to the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. It is our return to God when we receive and consume the Eucharist, having a sacramental encounter with Christ that purifies, illumines, and perfects us, when our reality ascends to heaven drawing us back to unity and perfect harmony with God.
The Church teaches that the Body and Blood united with the Soul and Divinity of Christ, the whole Person of Jesus Christ, is real, true, and present in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. The human person is formed through the sacrament of Baptism in the “image and likeness” of God, corporeal and spiritual, having a body and soul, therefore the Son of Man has His whole human nature together with His whole Divine nature in the Eucharist. The humanity of Christ is hypostatically united with His Divinity; He is consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As True God and true man He is fully present in the Eucharist as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
It is not optional for Catholics to believe in transubstantiation; it is an article of faith that at the consecration, the substance of the bread and the wine undergo a conversion into the Body and Blood of Christ, and Christ becomes really and truly present in the Eucharist. St. Thomas Aquinas brings attention to the fact that in Sacred Scripture Christ at the Last Supper is not quoted saying the words, “This bread is my body,” but, “This is my body.” The consecration of the Eucharist takes place at the “words of institution” spoken by the priest, in persona Christi Capitis, which effects the Sacrament, and had been declared by the Council of Florence as an official position of the Magisterium.