On-Going Instruction in the Principles of Christianity

2020 Jubilee 2021


In the Sacrifice of the Mass Christ is Made Sacramentally Present (continued)

No one is unaware that the Sacraments are the actions of Christ, who administers them through men. Therefore, the Sacraments are holy in themselves, and by the power of Christ they pour grace into the soul when they touch the body. The mind boggles at these different ways in which Christ is present; they confront the Church with a mystery ever to be pondered.

But there is yet another manner in which Christ is present in His Church, a manner which surpasses all the others; it is His Presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is for this reason “a more consoling source of devotion, a more lovely object of contemplation, a more effective means of sanctification than all the other Sacraments.” The reason is clear; it contains Christ Himself and it is “a kind of perfection of the spiritual life, in a way, it is the goal of all the Sacraments.” 

This Presence is called “Real”—by which it is not intended to exclude all 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, the God-Man, is wholly and entirely present. It would therefore be wrong to explain this Presence by having recourse to the “spiritual” nature, as it is called, of the glorified Body of Christ, which is present everywhere, or by reducing it to a kind of symbolism, as if this most august Sacrament consisted of nothing else than an efficacious sign, “of the spiritual presence of Christ and of His intimate union with the faithful members of His Mystical Body.”

It is true that much can be found in the Fathers and in the Scholastics with regard to symbolism in the Eucharist, especially with reference to the unity of the Church. The Council of Trent, restating their doctrine, taught that the Savior bequeathed the blessed Eucharist to His Church “as a symbol...of that unity and charity with which He wished all Christians to be most intimately united among themselves,” and hence “as a symbol of that One Body of which He is the Head.”

When Christian literature was still in its infancy, the unknown author of that work we know as the “Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” wrote as follows on this subject: “In regard to the Eucharist, give thanks in this manner...just as this bread was scattered and dispersed over the hills, but when harvested was made one, so may Your Church be gathered into Your Kingdom from the ends of the earth.” 

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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