On-Going Instruction in the Principles of Christianity
2020 Jubilee 2021
YEAR OF THE EUCHARIST - 10/4
("MYSTERY OF FAITH",
ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF
POPE PAUL VI)
The same we read in St. Cyprian, writing in defense of the Church against schism: “Finally, the sacrifices of the Lord proclaim the unity of Christians, bound together by the bond of a firm and inviolable charity. For when the Lord, in speaking of bread which is produced by the compacting of many grains of wheat, refers to it as His Body, He is describing our people whose unity He has sustained, and when He refers to wine pressed from many grapes and berries, as His Blood, He is speaking of our flock, formed by the fusing of many united together.”
But before all of these, St. Paul had written to the Corinthians: the one bread make us one body, though we are many in number the same bread is shared by all.
While the eucharistic symbolism brings us to an understanding of the effect proper to this Sacrament, which is the unity of the Mystical Body, it does not indicate or explain what it is that makes this Sacrament different from all others. The constant teaching which the Catholic Church passes on to her catechumens, the understanding of the Christian people, the doctrine defined by the Council of Trent, the very words used by Christ when He instituted the Most Holy Eucharist, compel us to acknowledge that “the Eucharist is that flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ who suffered for our sins and whom the Father in His loving-kindness raised again.” To these words of St. Ignatius of Antioch, we may add those which Theodore of Mopsueta, a faithful witness to the faith of the Church on this point, addressed the to the faithful: “The Lord did not say: This is a symbol of My Body, and this is a symbol of My Blood but: This is My Body and My Blood. He teaches us not to look to the nature of those things which lie before us and are perceived by our senses, for by the prayer of thanksgiving and the words spoken over them, they have changed into Flesh and Blood.”
The Council of Trent, basing itself on this faith of the Church, “openly and sincerely professes that within the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, after the Consecration of the bread and wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is really, truly and substantially contained under those outward appearances.” In this way, the Savior in His Humanity is present not only at the right hand of the Father according to the natural manner of existence, but also in the Sacrament of the Eucharist...