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Reflections: Sacraments Sctn. (Holy Eucharist/Misc.)

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Traditional Latin 'Tridentine' Mass)

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Holy Eucharist / Mass (Basics / Misc.)


Holy Eucharist / Mass (Basics / Misc.)

Also See: Holy Eucharist (Topic Page) | Mass (Topic Page)

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"Jesus said to them, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.'" (Jn. 6:53-58) [Note: As Scripture makes clear, reception of the Holy Eucharist is one essential condition for salvation. To be saved, one must also live according to God's laws.]

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, And giving thanks, broke and said [to the Apostles]: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you: and many sleep [that is, die]." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:23-30)

"In Mass, we are in the midst of angels"

"When you hear Mass, do you come in the same frame of mind as the Blessed Virgin at Calvary? Because it is the same God, and the same Sacrifice." (St. John Vianney)

"He [has given] his people for their nourishment the Bread of his own Body; and thus his Church will be for ever a Bethlehem, that is, a House of Bread." (Dom Gueranger)

"In the humble signs of bread and wine, changed into his Body and Blood, Christ walks beside us as our strength and our food for the journey" (Pope John Paul II, 2003 A.D.)

"There is indeed nothing which is more contrary to, or bad for, church discipline, than negligently and disrespectfully to carry out liturgical worship." (Pope Benedict XIV)

"And He wishes all of us to be saved through Him and receive Him with our heart pure and our body chaste." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"Can. 820 The Sacrifice of the Mass can be celebrated on any day, except on those that are excluded by the priest's own rite." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[O]nly wine from the grape [mixed with a little water, along with wheaten bread] is the proper matter of this sacrament." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[In] the Most Holy Sacrament...a God becomes the food of a worm." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church) [Note: Of course, this is not a literal statement, but a relative comparison between God the Creator and his created human beings.]

Error CONDEMNED by Pope St. X in "Lamentabili": "Not all that Paul says about the institution of the Eucharist [1 Cor. 11:23-25] is to be taken historically." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.) 

"When Mass is being celebrated, the Sanctuary is filled with countless angels, who adore the Divine Victim [Christ] immolated on the altar." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"If any one saith, that the canon of the Mass contains errors, and is therefore to be abrogated; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"The intention of consecrating is required…[There] is no consecration...when a priest does not intend to consecrate but only to make a pretense..." (De Defectibus)

"Can. 923 Christ's faithful may participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and receive Holy Communion in any [approved] Catholic rite, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 844." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 926 In the eucharistic celebration [Mass], in accordance with the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, the priest is to use unleavened bread wherever he celebrates Mass." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, either that the principal fruit of the most holy Eucharist is the remission of sins, or, that other effects do not result therefrom; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"The Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep, that He might convert His Body and Blood in our sacrament, and satisfy the sheep Whom He had redeemed with the nourishment of His own flesh." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"May all Christians have great and strong faith in the sacred mystery of his Body and Blood; may they worship it with great devotion and pious veneration, so that they can frequently receive their daily bread" (Council of Trent)

"Go to Jesus. He loves you and is waiting for you to give you many graces. He is on the altar surrounded by angels adoring and praying. Let them make some room for you and join them in doing what they do." (St. Mary Joseph Rossello)

"And let all take care that no unbaptized person taste of the Eucharist... For it is the body of Christ to be eaten by them that believe and not to be lightly thought of." (St. Hippolytus, 3rd century A.D.)

"Can. 927 It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one element without the other, or even to consecrate both outside the Eucharistic celebration [Mass]." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Let everything be done with due order and dignity, and let no one, not even a priest, make use of the sacred edifices according to his whim to try out experiments." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"There is no exercise which is more pleasing to God, or more meritorious or which has greater influence in infusing solid piety into the soul, than the assisting at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass." (Dom Gueranger)

"If the bread is not made of wheat flour, or if so much other grain is mixed with the wheat that it is no longer wheat bread, or if it is adulterated in some other way, there is no Sacrament." (De Defectibus)

"[In regards to matter for Mass,] What is required is this: bread made from wheat flour, wine from grapes, and the presence of these materials before the priest at the time of the Consecration." (De Defectibus)

"If any one saith that it is a deception for masses to be celebrated in honor of the saints and to obtain their intercession with God, as the Church intends: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

"If any one saith, that, by the sacrifice of the mass, a blasphemy is cast upon the most holy sacrifice of Christ consummated on the cross; or, that it is thereby derogated from; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1265 § 3 It is not permitted to anyone to retain on his person or to carry on a trip the most Holy Eucharist." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Of course, this does not apply to priests distributing holy Viaticum.]

"Can. 935 It is not lawful for anyone to keep the blessed Eucharist in personal custody or to carry it around, unless there is an urgent pastoral need and the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop are observed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If the wine has become mere vinegar, or is completely bad, or if it has been made from sour or unripe grapes, or if so much water has been mixed with it that the wine is adulterated, there is no Sacrament." (De Defectibus)

"It has pleased the Holy Ghost that, out of honor for this great sacrament, the Lord's body should enter the mouth of a Christian [Catholic] before other foods." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"By means of the Eucharistic Sacrifice Christ our Lord willed to give the faithful a striking manifestation of our union among ourselves and with our divine Head, wonderful as it is and beyond all praise." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi")

"Can. 858 § 1 Whoever has not observed a natural fast from midnight cannot be admitted to the most holy Eucharist, unless danger of death urges, or it is necessary to avoid irreverence toward the Sacrament." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: The Church has since relaxed this law, permitting a shorter fast.]

"Take care, then to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"The Eucharist also has a unique mark of distinction. The other sacraments do not have the power of sanctifying until someone makes use of them, but in the Eucharist the very author of sanctity is present before the sacrament is used" (Council of Trent)

"Transmission of the sacred rites by radio and television, especially in the case of Mass, shall be done with delicacy and dignity. A suitable person, appointed by the bishops, should direct it and have the responsibility for it." (Second Vatican Council)

"There is no Sacrament [of the Mass] if any of these is missing: the proper matter, the form, including the intention, and the priestly ordination of the celebrant. If these things are present, the Sacrament is valid, no matter what else is lacking." (De Defectibus)

"Do not neglect, O holy man of God, to pray and to intercede for me, when by your words you cause the divine Word to come down, and when by a bloodless cutting you separate the Body and Blood of the Lord, your words serving as a knife." (St. Gregory of Nazianzen, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"Can. 1248 On feast days of precept, Mass is to be heard; there is an abstinence from servile work, legal acts, and likewise, unless there is a special indult or legitimate customs provide otherwise, from public trade, shopping, and other public buying and selling." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop... Therefore, no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." (Second Vatican Council)

"And from this the mass derives its name [missa]; because the priest sends [mittit] his prayers up to God through the angel, as the people do through the priest, or else because Christ is the victim sent [missa] to us" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"All those are damned who see the Sacrament of the Body of Christ on the altar in the form of bread and wine by the words of our Lord in the hands of the priest, yet do not see or believe in spirit and in God that this is really the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"The holy council teaches that this Sacrifice [of the Mass] is truly propitiatory, so that if we draw near to God with an upright heart and true faith, with fear and reverence, with sorrow and repentance, through the Mass we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (see Heb. 4:16). For by this oblation the Lord is appeased" ( Council of Trent)

"Can. 2320 Whoever throws away the consecrated species or who takes or retains them for an evil purpose is suspected of heresy; such a one incurs automatic excommunication reserved most specially to the Apostolic See; such a one is by that fact infamous, and a cleric, moreover, is to be deposed." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1367 One who throws away the consecrated species or, for a sacrilegious purpose, takes them away or keeps them, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished with some other penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 924 §1 The most holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed. §2 The bread must be wheaten only and recently made so that there is no danger of corruption. §3 The wine must be natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If the wine has begun to turn to vinegar or to become corrupt, or if it is souring, or if it is unfermented, being made from newly pressed grapes, or if it has not been mixed with water, or if it has been mixed with rose-water or some other distillation, the Sacrament is valid, but the celebrant is guilty of grave sin." (De Defectibus)

"[T]he offering of fine wheat flower which was prescribed to be offered on behalf of those cleansed from leprosy was a type of the Bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed in memory of the passion He suffered on behalf of those men who are cleaned in their souls of every evil." (St. Justin the Martyr, c. 155 A.D.)

"Sympathize with Jesus Who is betrayed, insulted, mocked, and crucified far more ignominiously in His Sacrament of Love than He was in the Garden of Olives, in Jerusalem, and on Calvary. Those whom He has the most honored, loved, and enriched with His gifts and graces are the very ones who offend Him the most by their indifference." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)

"The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church)

"When you see [Christ's body] lying on the altar, say to yourself, 'Because of this Body I am no longer earth and ash, no longer a prisoner, but free. Because of this Body I hope for heaven, and I hope to receive the good things that are in heaven, immortal life, the lot of the angels, familiar conversation with Christ.'" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 392 A.D.)

"On Holy Thursday, at the Last Supper, our Savior offered this [Eucharistic] sacrifice in anticipation. He also consecrated His Apostles as bishops, and commanded them to offer this selfsame sacrifice as His commemoration in order that, as the Council of Trent teaches is, 'He might leave to his own beloved Spouse the Church a visible sacrifice such as the nature of man requires.'" (Davies)

"It is an unquestionable fact that the work of our redemption is continued, and that its fruits are imparted to us, during the celebration of the liturgy, notably the august sacrifice of the altar [Mass]. Christ acts each day to save us, in the sacraments and in His holy sacrifice [of the Mass]. By means of them He is constantly atoning for the sins of mankind, consecrating it to God." (Pope Pius XII)

"Eusebius says: 'Since He was going to withdraw His assumed body from their eyes, and bear it away to the stars, it was needful that on the day of the supper He should consecrate the sacrament of His body and blood for our sakes, in order that what was once offered up for our ransom should be fittingly worshiped in a mystery.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"We are nourished from the same things of which we are made, but they do not come to us in the same way; for those out of which we are made come to us through generation, while the same, as nourishing us, come to us through being eaten. Hence, as we are new-born in Christ through Baptism, so through the Eucharist we eat Christ." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If any one saith, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue [that is, language of the people] only; or, that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice, for that it is contrary to the institution of Christ; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"We are moved to write that your children, who are also Ours, may more fully understand and appreciate the most precious treasures which are contained in the sacred liturgy: namely, the Eucharistic Sacrifice, representing and renewing the Sacrifice of the Cross, the sacraments which are the streams of divine grace and of divine life, and the hymn of praise, which heaven and earth daily offer to God." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"For if in truth the Word has been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that He abides in us naturally, Who, born as a man has assumed that nature of our flesh now inseparable from Himself, and has conjoined the nature of His own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which His Flesh is communicated to us?" (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"Can. 823 § 1 It is not permitted to celebrate Mass in the temples of heretics or schismatics, even if at one time [they were] duly consecrated or blessed. § 2 In the absence of an altar of his own rite, it is fundamental that a priest can celebrate his own rite on an altar consecrated in another [approved] Catholic rite, but not on the antimensiis [altar cloths] of the Greeks. § No one shall celebrate on papal altars without Apostolic indult." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"From His birth to His death Jesus Christ burned with zeal for the divine glory; and the offering of His blood upon the cross rose to heaven in an odor of sweetness. To perpetuate this praise, the members of the Mystical Body are united with their divine Head in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and with Him, together with the Angels and Archangels, they sing immortal praise to God and give all honor and glory to the Father Almighty." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"If then Death was the supreme moment for which Christ lived, it was therefore the one thing He wished to have remembered. He did not ask that men should write down His Words into a Scripture; He did not ask that His kindness to the poor should be recorded in history; but He did ask that men remember His Death. And in order that its memory might not be any haphazard narrative on the part of men, He Himself instituted the precise way it should be recalled." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"[T]he fact that our Lord gave this sacrament after taking food is no reason why the brethren should assemble after dinner or supper in order to partake of it, or receive it at meal-time, as did those whom the Apostle reproves and corrects. For our Savior, in order the more strongly to commend the depth of this mystery, wished to fix it closely in the hearts and memories of the disciples. And on that account He gave no command for it to be received in that order, leaving this to the apostles, to whom He was about to entrust the government of the churches." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 898 Christ's faithful are to hold the blessed Eucharist in the highest honor. They should take an active part in the celebration of the most august Sacrifice of the Mass; they should receive the sacrament with great devotion and frequently, and should reverence it with the greatest adoration. In explaining the doctrine of this sacrament, pastors of souls are assiduously to instruct the faithful about their obligation in this regard." (1983 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Traditionally, 'active' participation has referred, chiefly, to active internal  participation.]

"They, therefore, err from the path of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive Holy Communion as well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here there is a question not of a sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union, and consider the general communion of all present as the culminating point of the whole celebration." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"The Sacrament of the Eucharist is itself a striking and wonderful figure of the unity of the Church, if we consider how in the bread to be consecrated many grains go to form one whole, and that in it the very Author of supernatural grace is given to us, so that through Him we may receive the spirit of charity in which we are bidden to live now no longer our own life but the life of Christ, and to love the Redeemer Himself in all the members of His social Body." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"And though the Church has been accustomed to celebrate some Masses now and then in honor and in memory of the saints, yet she does not teach that the sacrifice [of the Mass] is offered to them, but to God alone, who has crowned them. Thence the priest is not accustomed to say: 'I offer sacrifice to you, Peter and Paul,' but giving thanks to God for their victories, he implores their patronage, so that 'they themselves may deign to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate on earth'." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

"Very truly, the sacraments and the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice of the Altar, being Christ's own actions, must be held to be capable in themselves of conveying and dispensing grace from the divine Head to the members of the Mystical Body. But if they are to produce their proper effect, it is absolutely necessary that our hearts be properly disposed to receive them. Hence the warning of Paul the Apostle with reference to Holy Communion, 'But let a man first prove himself; and then let him eat of this bread and drink of the chalice.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"We have become one body, and 'limbs of His flesh and of His bones.' Let those who are initiated understand what I am saying. So that we may become this not by love only but even in every need, let us be blended into that flesh. This blending is effected by the Food which He has given, in His desire to demonstrate to us the fond love that He has for us. That is why He has commingled Himself with us, and has kneaded up His body into us, so that we might subsist as a kind of unit, like a body joined to a head." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 391 A.D.)

"[S]elect carefully good and upright young boys from all classes of citizens who will come generously and spontaneously to serve at the altar with careful zeal and exactness. Parents of higher social standing and culture should greatly esteem this office for their children. If these youths, under the watchful guidance of the priests, are properly trained and encouraged to fulfill the task committed to them punctually, reverently and constantly, then from their number will readily come fresh candidates for the priesthood." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)  

"As then in the sad and anxious times through which we are passing there are many who cling so firmly to Christ the Lord hidden beneath the Eucharistic veils that neither tribulation, nor distress, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor danger, nor persecution, nor the sword can separate them from His love, surely no doubt can remain that Holy Communion which once again in God's providence is much more frequented even from early childhood, may become a source of that fortitude which not infrequently makes Christians into heroes." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"And how can we not feel intimately moved at the thought that that 'offering of his own body' for us is not a long-ago act, committed to the cold pages of historical chronicles, but it is an event that is still alive even now, although in an unbloody way, in the Sacrament of the Body and Blood, placed on the table of the altar? Christ returns to offer his Body and his Blood for us now, so that the purifying wave of divine mercy may spread once more over the misery of our condition as sinners, and that the seed of immortal life may be placed in the frailty of our mortal flesh." (Pope John Paul II)

"Defects on the part of the form may arise if anything is missing from the complete wording required for the act of consecrating...the words of the Consecration...are the form of this Sacrament... If the priest were to shorten or change the form of the consecration of the Body and the Blood, so that in the change of wording the words did not mean the same thing, he would not be achieving a valid Sacrament. If, on the other hand, he were to add or take away anything which did not change the meaning, the Sacrament would be valid, but he would be committing a grave sin." (De Defectibus)

"It will also be useful to consider attentively the nature of bread and wine, which are the symbols of this Sacrament. For what bread and wine are to the body, the Eucharist is to the health and delight of the soul, but in a higher and better way. This Sacrament is not, like bread and wine, changed into our substance; but we are, in some wise, changed into its nature, so that we may well apply here the words of St. Augustine: I am the food of the grown. Grow and thou shalt eat Me; nor shalt thou change Me into thee, as thy bodily food, but that shalt be changed into Me." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Hymn for Holy Communion: O food of life eternal! O bread of choirs supernal! O manna from on high! Fill all that hunger for thee; To seekers, who adore thee, Thy sweetness ne'er deny. We seek thy holy dwelling, O fount of love, outwelling, From Jesus' tender heart; Lord, bring thy cup of healing, To all before thee kneeling; Our hope, our life thou art. O Jesus, Savior tender, To thee, the Bread, we render all reverence and all love; Lord, lead our lives before thee, To see thee and adore thee in vision clear above." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is, therefore, desirable, Venerable Brethren, that all the faithful should be aware that to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice is their chief duty and supreme dignity, and that not in an inert and negligent fashion, giving way to distractions and day-dreaming, but with such earnestness and concentration that they may be united as closely as possible with the High Priest, according to the Apostle, 'Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.' And together with Him and through Him let them make their oblation, and in union with Him let them offer up themselves." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Greater devotion is required in this sacrament than in the others, for the reason that the entire Christ is contained therein. Moreover, this sacrament requires a more general devotion, i.e. on the part of the whole people, since for them it is offered; and not merely on the part of the recipients, as in the other sacraments. Hence Cyprian observes (De Oratione Dominica 31), 'The priest, in saying the Preface, disposes the souls of the brethren by saying, Lift up your hearts, and when the people answer - We have lifted them up to the Lord, let them remember that they are to think of nothing else but God.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For it is His Body that is there taken, His Flesh that is divided for the salvation of the people, His Blood that is poured not as before into the hands of unbelievers, but into the mouths of the faithful. Hence let us estimate the importance of this sacrifice [of the Mass] for us, which for our absolution ever imitates the Passion of the only-begotten Son. For what Christian can doubt that at the very hour of the offering, at the words of the priest, the heavens are opened, the choirs of angels are present in that mystery of Jesus Christ, the lowest things are knit with the highest, the earthly things are united with the heavenly, the visible and the invisible are made one?" (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved, in which the priest himself is the sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose Body and Blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine; the bread (changed) into His Body by the divine power of transubstantiation, and the wine into the Blood, so that to accomplish the mystery of unity we ourselves receive from His (nature) what He Himself received from ours. And surely no one can accomplish this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained according to the keys of the Church which Jesus Christ Himself conceded to the Apostles and to their successors." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration, and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and Blood of that incarnated Jesus." (St. Justin the Martyr, c. 148-161 A.D.)

"Certainly, no one was better fitted to make satisfaction to Almighty God for all the sins of men than was Christ. Therefore, He desired to be immolated upon the cross 'as a propitiation for our sins, not for ours only but also for those of the whole world' and likewise He daily offers Himself upon our altars for our redemption, that we may be rescued from eternal damnation and admitted into the company of the elect. This He does, not for us only who are in this mortal life, but also 'for all who rest in Christ, who have gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace;' for whether we live, or whether we die 'still we are not separated from the one and only Christ.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"The Church was born of the paschal mystery. For this very reason the Eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands at the center of the Church's life. This is already clear from the earliest images of the Church found in the Acts of the Apostles: 'They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers' (2:42). The 'breaking of the bread' refers to the Eucharist. Two thousand years later, we continue to relive that primordial image of the Church. At every celebration of the Eucharist [Mass], we are spiritually brought back to the paschal Triduum: to the events of the evening of Holy Thursday, to the Last Supper and to what followed it." (Pope John Paul II)

"Finally, this same holy Synod teaches, that little children, who have not attained to the use of reason, are not by any necessity obliged to the sacramental communion of the Eucharist: forasmuch as, having been regenerated by the laver of baptism, and being incorporated with Christ, they cannot, at that age, lose the grace which they have already acquired of being the sons of God. Not therefore, however, is antiquity to be condemned, if, in some places, it, at one time, observed that custom; for as those most holy Fathers had a probable cause for what they did in respect of their times, so, assuredly, is it to be believed without controversy, that they did this without any necessity thereof unto salvation." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

"[It is asserted that since] it is written (John 6:55): 'He that eateth My body and drinketh My blood hath eternal life.'..., all Christians will be saved at length. [Response:] The saying of our Lord refers not to those who partake only sacramentally, and who sometimes by receiving unworthily 'eat and drink judgment' to themselves (1 Corinthians 11:29), but to those who eat spiritually and are incorporated with Him by charity, which incorporation is the effect of the sacramental eating, in those who approach worthily. Wherefore, so far as the power of the sacrament is concerned, it brings us to eternal life, although sin may deprive us of that fruit, even after we have received worthily." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"So varied and diverse are men's talents and characters that it is impossible for all to be moved and attracted to the same extent by community prayers, hymns and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians [Catholics] cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"May God grant that all accept these invitations of the Church freely and with spontaneity. May He grant that they participate even every day, if possible, in the divine [Eucharistic] Sacrifice, not only in a spiritual manner, but also by reception of the august Sacrament, receiving the Body of Jesus Christ which has been offered for all to the eternal Father. Arouse Venerable Brethren, in the hearts of those committed to your care, a great and insatiable hunger for Jesus Christ. Under your guidance let the children and youth crowd to the altar rails to offer themselves, their innocence and their works of zeal to the divine Redeemer. Let husbands and wives approach the holy table so that nourished on this food they may learn to make the children entrusted to them conformed to the mind and heart of Jesus Christ." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"See, then, dear Christians! Bread and wine are about to be offered to God, as being the noblest of inanimate creatures, since they are made for the nourishment of man; and even that is only a poor material image of what they are destined to become in our Christian sacrifice [of the Mass]. Their substance will soon give place to God Himself, and of themselves nothing will remain but the appearances. Happy creatures thus to yield up their own being, that God may take its place! We, too, are to undergo a like transformation, when, as the apostle expresses it, that which in us is mortal shall put on immortality. Until that happy change shall be realized, let us offer ourselves to God as often as we see the bread and wine presented to Him in the holy Sacrifice [of the Mass]; and let us prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, who will transform us, by making us partakers of the divine nature." (Dom Gueranger)

"[L]ast words, chiefly such as are spoken by departing friends, are committed most deeply to memory; since then especially affection for friends is more enkindled, and the things which affect us most are impressed the deepest in the soul. Consequently, since, as Pope Alexander I says, 'among sacrifices there can be none greater than the Body and Blood of Christ, nor any more powerful oblation'; our Lord instituted this sacrament at His last parting with His disciples, in order that it might be held in the greater veneration. And this is what Augustine says (Responsionum ad Januarius i): 'In order to commend more earnestly the depth of this mystery, our Savior willed this last act to be fixed in the hearts and memories of the disciples whom He was about to quit for the Passion.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us ... This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels ... This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean ... This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church... This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]t is of importance to consider that in the Eucharist, seeing that it was instituted by Christ as 'a perpetual memorial of His Passion' ... is proclaimed to the Christian the necessity of a salutary self-chastisement. For Jesus said to those first priests of His: 'Do this in memory of Me' (Luke xxii, 18); that is to say, do this for the commemoration of My pains, My sorrows, My grievous afflictions, My death upon the Cross. Wherefore this Sacrament is at the same time a Sacrifice, seasonable throughout the entire period of our penance; and it is likewise a standing exhortation to all manner of toil, and a solemn and severe rebuke to those carnal pleasures which some are not ashamed so highly to praise and extol: 'As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, ye shall announce the death of the Lord, until He come' (1 Cor. xi., 26)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"For the Communion of Saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial fire, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity. For faith teaches us, that although the venerable [Eucharistic] Sacrifice may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honor of the saints reigning in heaven with God Who has crowned them, in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered - in accordance with an apostolic tradition - for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions [that is, the souls in Purgatory]." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"Two things may be considered in this sacrament, to wit, the sacrament itself, and the reality of the sacrament: and it appears from both that this sacrament has the power of forgiving venial sins. For this sacrament is received under the form of nourishing food. Now nourishment from food is requisite for the body to make good the daily waste caused by the action of natural heat. But something is also lost daily of our spirituality from the heat of concupiscence through venial sins, which lessen the fervor of charity... And therefore it belongs to this sacrament to forgive venial sins. Hence Ambrose says (De Sacramentis v) that this daily bread is taken 'as a remedy against daily infirmity.' The reality of this sacrament is charity, not only as to its habit, but also as to its act, which is kindled in this sacrament; and by this means venial sins are forgiven. Consequently, it is manifest that venial sins are forgiven by the power of this sacrament." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Various statutes have emanated according to the various ages of the Church. In the primitive Church, when the devotion of the Christian faith was more flourishing, it was enacted that the faithful should communicate daily: hence Pope Anaclete says (Ep. 1): 'When the consecration is finished, let all communicate who do not wish to cut themselves off from the Church; for so the apostles have ordained, and the holy Roman Church holds.' Later on, when the fervor of faith relaxed, Pope Fabian (Third Council of Tours, Canon 1) gave permission 'that all should communicate, if not more frequently, at least three times in the year, namely, at Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas.' Pope Soter likewise (Second Council of Chalon, Canon 47) declares that Communion should be received 'on Holy Thursday,' as is set forth in the Decretals (De Consecratione, distinction 2). Later on, when 'iniquity abounded and charity grew cold' (Matthew 24:12), Pope Innocent III commanded that the faithful should communicate 'at least once a year,' namely, 'at Easter.' However, in De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus xxiii, the faithful are counseled 'to communicate on all Sundays.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is true that in each Season of the Liturgical Year, this twofold effect is produced in those who worthily receive Communion, namely immolation and resurrection; but as, during the days consecrated to the Passion, the application of the mystery of [Christ's] immolation and sacrifice is more direct and more in accordance with the sentiments of the communicant, so also, during Paschal Time, the divine contact of the Body of our risen Jesus makes us feel, and in a way that Easter alone can do, that to the holy Eucharist we owe the future resurrection of our bodies. Our Savior Himself teaches us this, where He says: 'Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, if any man eat of it, he may not die... He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, hath everlasting life and I will raise him up in the last day.' (Jn. vi. 49, 50, 55) We shall all resume these bodies of ours on the Last Day, either for glory or punishment eternal; but he that worthily unites himself, by holy Communion, with the glorious and risen Body of the Man-God, contracts an alliance and intimacy with Him, which forbid this divine Guest to leave in corruption these members made His own by the sublime Mystery." (Dom Gueranger)

"Moreover there is another twofold fruit which we may and must derive from this great [Eucharistic] Sacrifice. The heart is saddened when it considers what a flood of wickedness, the result - as We have said - of forgetfulness and contempt of the divine Majesty, has inundated the world. It is not too much to say that a great part of the human race seems to be calling down upon itself the anger of heaven; though indeed the crop of evils which has grown up here on earth is already ripening to a just judgment. Here then is a motive whereby the faithful may be stirred to a devout and earnest endeavor to appease God the avenger of sin, and to win from Him the help which is so needful in these calamitous times. And they should see that such blessings are to be sought principally by means of this [Eucharistic] Sacrifice. For it is only in virtue of the death which Christ suffered that men can satisfy, and that most abundantly, the demands of God's justice, and can obtain the plenteous gifts of His clemency. And Christ has willed that the whole virtue of His death, alike for expiation and impetration, should abide in the Eucharist, which is no mere empty commemoration thereof, but a true and wonderful though bloodless and mystical renewal of it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902)

"Water ought to be mingled with the wine which is offered in this sacrament. First of all on account of its institution: for it is believed with probability that our Lord instituted this sacrament in wine tempered with water according to the custom of that country: hence it is written (Proverbs 9:5): 'Drink the wine which I have mixed for you.' Secondly, because it harmonizes with the re-presentation of our Lord's Passion: hence Pope Alexander I says (Epistolum 1 ad omnes orthodoxos): 'In the Lord's chalice neither wine only nor water only ought to be offered, but both mixed because we read that both flowed from His side in the Passion.' Thirdly, because this is adapted for signifying the effect of this sacrament, since as Pope Julius says (Concil. Bracarens iii, Canon 1): 'We see that the people are signified by the water, but Christ's blood by the wine. Therefore when water is mixed with the wine in the chalice, the people is made one with Christ.' Fourthly, because this is appropriate to the fourth effect of this sacrament, which is the entering into everlasting life: hence Ambrose says (De Sacramentis v): 'The water flows into the chalice, and springs forth unto everlasting life.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It was in the year 1215, in the fourth General Council of Lateran, that the Church, seeing the ever-growing indifference of her children, decreed with regret that Christians should be strictly bound to Communion only once in the year, and that the Communion of obligation should be made at Easter. In order to show the faithful that this is the uttermost limit of her condescension to lukewarmness, she declares, in the same council, that he that shall presume to break this law may be forbidden to enter a church during life, and be deprived of Christian burial after death, as he would be if he had, of his own accord, separated himself from the exterior link of Catholic unity. These regulations of a General Council show how important is the duty of the Easter Communion; but at the same time, they make us shudder at the thought of the millions, throughout the Catholic world, who brave each year the threats of the Church, by refusing to comply with a duty, which would both bring life to their souls, and serve as a profession of their faith. And when we again reflect upon how many even of those who make their Easter Communion have paid no more attention to the Lenten penance than if there were no such obligation in existence, we cannot help feeling sad, and we wonder within ourselves how long God will bear with such infringements of the Christian Law." (Dom Gueranger)

"A thing may prevent the receiving of this sacrament in two ways: first of all in itself, like mortal sin, which is repugnant to what is signified by this sacrament...secondly, on account of the Church's prohibition; and thus a man is prevented from taking this sacrament after receiving food or drink, for three reasons. First, as Augustine says (Responsionum ad Januarius, Ep. 54), 'out of respect for this sacrament,' so that it may enter into a mouth not yet contaminated by any food or drink. Secondly, because of its signification. i.e. to give us to understand that Christ, Who is the reality of this sacrament, and His charity, ought to be first of all established in our hearts, according to Matthew 6:33: 'Seek first the kingdom of God.' Thirdly, on account of the danger of vomiting and intemperance, which sometimes arise from over-indulging in food, as the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 11:21): 'One, indeed, is hungry, and another is drunk.' Nevertheless the sick are exempted from this general rule, for they should be given Communion at once, even after food, should there be any doubt as to their danger, lest they die without Communion, because necessity has no law. Hence it is said in the Canon de Consecratione: 'Let the priest at once take Communion to the sick person, lest he die without Communion.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Hence, the liturgical year, devotedly fostered and accompanied by the Church, is not a cold and lifeless representation of the events of the past, or a simple and bare record of a former age. It is rather Christ Himself who is ever living in His Church. Here He continues that journey of immense mercy which He lovingly began in His mortal life, going about doing good, with the design of bringing men to know His mysteries and in a way live by them. These mysteries are ever present and active not in a vague and uncertain way as some modern writers hold, but in the way that Catholic doctrine teaches us. According to the Doctors of the Church, they are shining examples of Christian perfection, as well as sources of divine grace, due to the merit and prayers of Christ; they still influence us because each mystery brings its own special grace for our salvation. Moreover, our holy Mother the Church, while proposing for our contemplation the mysteries of our Redeemer, asks in her prayers for those gifts which would give her children the greatest possible share in the spirit of these mysteries through the merits of Christ. By means of His inspiration and help and through the cooperation of our wills we can receive from Him living vitality as branches do from the tree and members from the head; thus slowly and laboriously we can transform ourselves 'unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"No sooner had the rumor spread of the miracle which He had wrought on the shores of the lake of Tiberias, when with the multiplied loaves He fed the multitude, than many forthwith flocked to Him in the hope that they, too, perchance, might be the recipients of like favor. And, just as He had taken occasion from the water which she had drawn from the well to stir up in the Samaritan woman a thirst for that 'water which springeth up unto life everlasting' (St. John iv., 14), so now Jesus availed Himself of this opportunity to excite in the minds of the multitude a keen hunger for the bread 'which endureth unto life everlasting' (St. John vi., 27). [Nor], as He was careful to explain to them, was the bread which He promised the same as that heavenly manna which had been given to their fathers during their wanderings in the desert, or again the same as that which, to their amazement, they had recently received from Him; but He was Himself that bread: 'I,' said He, 'am the bread of life' (St. John vi., 48). And He urges this still further upon them all both by invitation and by precept: 'if any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world' (St. John vi., 52). And in these other words He brings home to them the gravity of the precept: 'Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you shall eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you' (St. John vi., 54)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"Nothing contributes more to the spiritual joy and advantage of pious persons than the contemplation of the exalted dignity of this most august Sacrament [of the Holy Eucharist]. In the first place they learn how great is the perfection of the Gospel Dispensation, under which we enjoy the reality of that which under the Mosaic Law was only shadowed forth by types and figures. Hence St. Denis divinely says that our Church is midway between the Synagogue and the heavenly Jerusalem, and consequently participates of the nature of both. Certainly, then, the faithful can never sufficiently admire the perfection of the holy Church and her exalted glory which seems to be removed only by one degree from the bliss of heaven. In common with the inhabitants of heaven, we too possess Christ, God and man, present with us. They are raised a degree of us, inasmuch as they are present with Christ and enjoy the Beatific Vision; while we, with a firm and unwavering faith, adore the Divine Majesty present with us, not it is true, in a manner visible to mortal eye, but hidden in a miracle of power under the veil of the sacred mysteries. Furthermore the faithful experience in this Sacrament the most perfect love of Christ our Savior. It became the goodness of the Savior not to withdraw from us that nature which He assumed from us, but to desire, as far as possible, to remain among us so that at all times He might be seen to verify the words: My delight is to be with the children of men. (Prov. viii. 31)." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"In no age has the spirit of contumacy and an attitude of defiance towards God been more prevalent than in our own; an age in which that unholy cry of the enemies of Christ: 'We will not have this man to rule over us' (Luke xix., 14), makes itself more and more loudly heard, together with the utterance of that wicked purpose: 'let us make away with Him' (Jer. xi., II); nor is there any motive by which many are hurried on with more passionate fury, than the desire utterly to banish God not only from the civil government, but from every form of human society. And although men do not everywhere proceed to this extremity of criminal madness, it is a lamentable thing that so many are sunk in oblivion of the divine Majesty and of His favors, and in particular of the salvation wrought for us by Christ. Now a remedy must be found for this wickedness on the one hand, and this sloth on the other, in a general increase among the faithful of fervent devotion towards the Eucharistic Sacrifice, than which nothing can give greater honor, nothing be more pleasing, to God. For it is a divine Victim [that is, Christ] which is here immolated; and accordingly through this Victim we offer to the most blessed Trinity all that honor which the infinite dignity of the Godhead demands; infinite in value and infinitely acceptable is the gift which we present to the Father in His only-begotten Son; so that for His benefits to us we not only signify our gratitude, but actually make an adequate return." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"We must, however, deeply deplore certain exaggerations and over-statements which are not in agreement with the true teaching of the Church. Some in fact disapprove altogether of those Masses which are offered privately and without any congregation, on the ground that they are a departure from the ancient way of offering the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice; moreover, there are some who assert that priests cannot offer Mass at different altars at the same time, because, by doing so, they separate the community of the faithful and imperil its unity; while some go so far as to hold that the people must confirm and ratify the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice if it is to have its proper force and value. They are mistaken in appealing in this matter to the social character of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, for as often as a priest repeats what the divine Redeemer did at the Last Supper, the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice is really completed. Moreover, this [Eucharistic] Sacrifice, necessarily and of its very nature, has always and everywhere the character of a public and social act, inasmuch as he who offers it acts in the name of Christ and of the faithful, whose Head is the divine Redeemer, and he offers it to God for the holy Catholic Church, and for the living and the dead. This is undoubtedly so, whether the faithful are present - as we desire and commend them to be in great numbers and with devotion - or are not present, since it is in no wise required that the people ratify what the sacred minister has done." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully a assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same legates and nuncios of the Apostolic See presiding therein, although it has convened for this purpose not without the special guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, namely to publish the true and ancient doctrine concerning faith and the sacraments, and to provide a remedy for all the heresies and other very serious troubles by which the Church of God is at present wretchedly agitated and torn into many different factions, yet from the beginning has had this especially among its desires, to uproot the 'cockles' of execrable errors and schisms, which the enemy in these troubled times of our has 'sown' [Matt. 13:25ff.], in the doctrine of the faith, in the use and worship of the sacred Eucharist, which our Savior, moreover, left in His Church as a symbol of that unity and charity with which He wished all Christians to be mutually bound and united. Therefore, this same sacred and holy synod, transmitting that sound and genuine doctrine of this venerable and divine sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Catholic Church, instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ himself and by his Apostles, and taught by the 'Holy Spirit who day by day brings to her all truth' [John 14:26], has always held and will preserve even to the end of time, forbids all the faithful of Christ hereafter to venture to believe, teach, or preach concerning the Most Holy Eucharist otherwise than is explained and defined in this present decree." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

"For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on Masses celebrated in private or on the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved. To give an example of what We are talking about, it is not permissible to extol the so-called community Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism - which no one will deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist - fully expressed and exhausted the manner of Christ's presence in this Sacrament; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than transignification, or transfinalization as they call it; or, finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed. Everyone can see that the spread of these and similar opinions [errors] does great harm to belief in and devotion to the Eucharist." (Pope Paul VI, 1965 A.D.)

"According to the mystical meaning, by the women coming early in the morning to the sepulcher, we have an example given us, that having cast away the darkness of our vices, we should come to the Body of the Lord. For that sepulcher also bore the figure of the Altar of the Lord, wherein herein the mysteries of Christ's Body, not in silk or purple cloth, but in pure white linen, like that in which Joseph wrapped it, ought to be consecrated, that as He offered up to death for us the true substance of His earthly nature, so we also in commemoration of Him should place on the Altar the flax, pure from the plant of the earth, and white, and in many ways refined by a kind of crushing to death. But the spices which the women bring, signify the odor of virtue, and the sweetness of prayers by which we ought to approach the Altar. The rolling back of the stone alludes to the unclosing of the Sacraments which were concealed by the veil of the letter of the law which was written on stone, the covering of which being taken away, the dead body of the Lord is not found, but the living body is preached; for although we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. But as when the Body of our Lord lay in the sepulcher, Angels are said to have stood by, so also at the time of consecration are they to be believed to stand by the mysteries of Christ. Let us then after the example of the devout women, whenever we approach the heavenly mysteries because of the presence of the Angels, or from reverence to the Sacred Offering, with all humility, bow our faces to the earth, recollecting that we are but dust and ashes." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"I answer that, There are two things to be considered in the mass, namely, the sacrament itself, which is the chief thing; and the prayers which are offered up in the mass for the quick and the dead. So far as the mass itself is concerned, the mass of a wicked priest is not of less value than that of a good priest, because the same sacrifice is offered by both. Again, the prayer put up in the mass can be considered in two respects: first of all, in so far as it has its efficacy from the devotion of the priest interceding, and in this respect there is no doubt but that the mass of the better priest is the more fruitful. In another respect, inasmuch as the prayer is said by the priest in the mass in the place of the entire Church, of which the priest is the minister; and this ministry remains even in sinful regard to Christ's ministry. Hence, in this respect the prayer even of the sinful priest is fruitful, not only that which he utters in the mass, but likewise all those he recites in the ecclesiastical offices, wherein he takes the place of the Church. On the other hand, his private prayers are not fruitful, according to Proverbs 28:9: 'He that turneth away his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be an abomination.'... By reason of the power of the Holy Ghost, Who communicates to each one the blessings of Christ's members on account of their being united in charity, the private blessing in the mass of a good priest is fruitful to others. But the private evil of one man cannot hurt another, except the latter, in some way, consent, as Augustine says (Contra epistolum Parmeniani ii)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Church which Christ founded has not only preserved the word He spoke, and the wonders He wrought; it has also taken Him seriously when He said: 'Do this for a commemoration of me.' And that action whereby we re-enact His Death on the Cross is the Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we do as a memorial what He did at the Last Supper as a prefiguration of His Passion. Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and it is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the altar, and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of all worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us in Him, the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"Now the adding of water to the wine is for the purpose of signifying the sharing of this sacrament by the faithful, in this respect that by the mixing of the water with the wine is signified the union of the people with Christ... Moreover, the flowing of water from the side of Christ hanging on the cross refers to the same, because by the water is denoted the cleansing from sins, which was the effect of Christ's Passion. Now it was observed...that this sacrament is completed in the consecration of the matter: while the usage of the faithful is not essential to the sacrament, but only a consequence thereof. Consequently, then, the adding of water is not essential to the sacrament... The shedding of the blood belonged directly to Christ's Passion: for it is natural for blood to flow from a wounded human body. But the flowing of the water was not necessary for the Passion; but merely to show its effect, which is to wash away sins, and to refresh us from the heat of concupiscence. And therefore the water is not offered apart from the wine in this sacrament, as the wine is offered apart from the bread; but the water is offered mixed with the wine to show that the wine belongs of itself to this sacrament, as of its very essence; but the water as something added to the wine... Since the mixing of water with the wine is not necessary for the sacrament, it does not matter, as to the essence of the sacrament, what kind of water is added to the wine, whether natural water, or artificial, as rose-water, although, as to the propriety of the sacrament, he would sin who mixes any other than natural and true water, because true water flowed from the side of Christ hanging on the cross" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"This sacrament is both a sacrifice and a sacrament. It has the nature of a sacrifice inasmuch as it is offered up; and it has the nature of a sacrament inasmuch as it is received. And therefore it has the effect of a sacrament in the recipient, and the effect of a sacrifice in the offerer, or in them for whom it is offered. If, then, it be considered as a sacrament, it produces its effect in two ways: first of all directly through the power of the sacrament; secondly as by a kind of concomitance... Through the power of the sacrament it produces directly that effect for which it was instituted. Now it was instituted not for satisfaction, but for nourishing spiritually through union between Christ and His members, as nourishment is united with the person nourished. But because this union is the effect of charity, from the fervor of which man obtains forgiveness, not only of guilt but also of punishment, hence it is that as a consequence, and by concomitance with the chief effect, man obtains forgiveness of the punishment, not indeed of the entire punishment, but according to the measure of his devotion and fervor. But in so far as it is a sacrifice, it has a satisfactory power. Yet in satisfaction, the affection of the offerer is weighed rather than the quantity of the offering. Hence our Lord says (Mark 12:43; Luke 21:4) of the widow who offered 'two mites' that she 'cast in more than all.' Therefore, although this offering suffices of its own quantity to satisfy for all punishment, yet it becomes satisfactory for them for whom it is offered, or even for the offerers, according to the measure of their devotion, and not for the whole punishment." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church") 

"In the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass, celebrated by priests, the same life-giving victim [Christ] is offered up. This entreaty reconciles us to God the Father. It 'renews in a mysterious way the death of Christ, who having risen from the dead dies no longer. Death no longer has domination over Him. Still, He is sacrificed for us in the mystery of this sacred oblation.' No unworthiness or wickedness on the part of those offering it can ever defile this oblation. The Lord predicted through Malachy that it would be great and would be cleanly offered from sunrise to sunset in all places to His name. This oblation abounding with an unspeakable richness of fruit embraces the present and future life. For by this oblation God is pleased and, granting the grace and gift of repentance, remits even great crimes and sins. Although grievously offended by our sins, He is moved from anger to mercy, from the severity of just chastisement to clemency; by it the title and obligation of temporal punishment is dissolved; by it the souls of the departed in Christ who have not yet been fully purged are aided; by it temporal goods also are obtained, if they do not stand in the way of greater benefits; by it singular honor and cult are procured for the saints and especially for the Immaculate and most holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. Wherefore, from the apostolic tradition, we offer the divine Sacrifice of the Mass 'for the universal peace of the [Church in all places]; for the right disposition of the world; for rulers, soldiers, allies; those laboring with infirmity; those oppressed by afflictions; for all who are in need; for those detained in purgatory; with the belief that it will be a help to those souls for whom prayer is offered before the holy and most awesome Victim [that is, Christ] lying before us.'" (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimi Redemptoris", 1858 A.D.)

"In a word this Sacrament is, as it were, the very soul of the Church; and to it the grace of the priesthood is ordered and directed in all its fullness and in each of its successive grades. From the same source the Church draws and has all her strength, all her glory, her every supernatural endowment and adornment, every good thing that is hers; wherefore she makes it the chiefest of all her cares to prepare the hearts of the faithful for an intimate union with Christ through the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and to draw them thereto. And to this end she strives to promote the veneration of the august mystery by surrounding it with holy ceremonies. To this ceaseless and ever watchful care of the Church, our Mother, our attention is drawn by that exhortation which was uttered by the holy Council of Trent, and which is so much to the purpose that for the benefit of the Christian people We here reproduce it in its entirety. 'The Holy Synod admonishes, exhorts, asks and implores by the tender mercy of our God, that all and each of those who bear the name of Christian should at last unite and find peace in this sign of unity, in this bond of charity, in this symbol of concord; and that, mindful of the great majesty and singular love of Jesus Christ our Lord, Who gave His precious life as the price of our salvation, and His flesh for our food, they should believe and revere these sacred mysteries of His Body and Blood with such constancy of unwavering faith, with such interior devotion and worshipful piety, that they may be in condition to receive frequently that supersubstantial bread, and that it may be to them the life of their souls and keep their mind in soundness of faith; so that strengthened with its strength they may be enabled after the journey of this sorrowful pilgrimage to reach the heavenly country, there to see and feed upon that bread of angels which here they eat under the sacramental veils' (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXII, c. vi)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.) 

"Now as to the use of this holy sacrament, our Fathers have rightly and wisely distinguished three ways of receiving it. For they have taught that some receive it sacramentally only, to wit sinners: others spiritually only, those to wit who eating in desire that heavenly bread which is set before them, are, by a lively faith which worketh by charity, made sensible of the fruit and usefulness thereof: whereas the third (class) receive it both sacramentally and spiritually, and these are they who so prove and prepare themselves beforehand, as to approach to this divine table clothed with the wedding garment. Now as to the reception of the sacrament, it was always the custom in the Church of God, that laymen should receive the communion from priests; but that priests when celebrating should communicate themselves; which custom, as coming down from an apostolical tradition, ought with justice and reason to be retained. And finally this holy Synod with true fatherly affection admonishes, exhorts, begs, and beseeches, through the bowels of the mercy of our God, that all and each of those who bear the Christian name would now at length agree and be of one mind in this sign of unity, in this bond of charity, in this symbol of concord; and that mindful of the so great majesty, and the so exceeding love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His own beloved soul as the price of our salvation, and gave us His own flesh to eat, they would believe and venerate these sacred mysteries of His body and blood with such constancy and firmness of faith, with such devotion of soul, with such piety and worship as to be able frequently to receive that supersubstantial bread, and that it may be to them truly the life of the soul, and the perpetual health of their mind; that being invigorated by the strength thereof, they may, after the journeying of this miserable pilgrimage, be able to arrive at their heavenly country, there to eat, without any veil, that same bread of angels which they now eat under the sacred veils." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

"In the course of the liturgical year, besides the mysteries of Jesus Christ, the feasts of the saints are celebrated. Even though these feasts are of a lower and subordinate order, the Church always strives to put before the faithful examples of sanctity in order to move them to cultivate in themselves the virtues of the divine Redeemer. We should imitate the virtues of the saints just as they imitated Christ, for in their virtues there shines forth under different aspects the splendor of Jesus Christ. Among some of these saints the zeal of the apostolate stood out, in others courage prevailed even to the shedding of blood, constant vigilance marked others out as they kept watch for the divine Redeemer, while in others the virginal purity of soul was resplendent and their modesty revealed the beauty of Christian humility; there burned in all of them the fire of charity towards God and their neighbor. The sacred liturgy puts all these gems of sanctity before us so that we may consider them for our salvation, and 'rejoicing at their merits, we may be inflamed by their example.' It is necessary, then, to practice 'in simplicity innocence, in charity concord, in humility modesty, diligence in government, readiness in helping those who labor, mercy in serving the poor, in defending truth constancy, in the strict maintenance of discipline justice, so that nothing may be wanting in us of the virtues which have been proposed for our imitation. These are the footprints left by the saints in their journey homeward, that guided by them we might follow them into glory.' In order that we may be helped by our senses, also, the Church wishes that images of the saints be displayed in our churches, always, however, with the same intention 'that we imitate the virtues of those whose images we venerate.' But there is another reason why the Christian people should honor the saints in heaven, namely, to implore their help and 'that we be aided by the pleadings of those whose praise is our delight.' Hence, it is easy to understand why the sacred liturgy provides us with many different prayers to invoke the intercession of the saints." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"The august [Eucharistic] Sacrifice of the Altar is concluded with communion or the partaking of the divine feast. But, as all know, the integrity of the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice only requires that the priest partake of the heavenly food. Although it is most desirable that the people should also approach the holy table, this is not required for the integrity of the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice. We wish in this matter to repeat the remarks which Our predecessor Benedict XIV makes with regard to the definitions of the Council of Trent: 'First We must state that none of the faithful can hold that private Masses, in which the priest alone receives Holy Communion, are therefore unlawful and do not fulfill the idea of the true, perfect and complete unbloody sacrifice instituted by Christ our Lord. For the faithful know quite well, or at least can easily be taught, that the Council of Trent, supported by the doctrine which the uninterrupted tradition of the Church has preserved, condemned the new and false opinion of Luther as opposed to this tradition.' 'If anyone shall say that Masses in which the priest only receives communion, are unlawful, and therefore should be abolished, let him be anathema.' They, therefore, err from the path of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive Holy Communion as well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here there is question not of a [Eucharistic] sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union, and consider the general communion of all present as the culminating point of the whole celebration. Now it cannot be over-emphasized that the Eucharistic Sacrifice of its very nature is the unbloody immolation of the divine Victim [Christ], which is made manifest in a mystical manner by the separation of the sacred species and by their oblation to the eternal Father. Holy Communion pertains to the integrity of the Mass and to the partaking of the august Sacrament; but while it is obligatory for the priest who says the Mass, it is only something earnestly recommended to the faithful." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Now nothing can be better adapted to promote a renewal of the strength and fervor of faith in the human mind than the mystery of the Eucharist, the 'mystery of faith,' as it has been most appropriately called. For in this one mystery the entire supernatural order, with all its wealth and variety of wonders, is in a manner summed up and contained: 'He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, a merciful and gracious Lord; He hath given food to them that fear Him' (Psalm cx, 4-5). For whereas God has subordinated the whole supernatural order to the Incarnation of His Word, in virtue whereof salvation has been restored to the human race, according to those words of the Apostle; 'He hath re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in Him' (Eph. i., 9-10), the Eucharist, according to the testimony of the holy Fathers, should be regarded as in a manner a continuation and extension of the Incarnation. For in and by it the substance of the incarnate Word is united with individual men, and the supreme Sacrifice offered on Calvary is in a wondrous manner renewed, as was signified beforehand by Malachy in the words: 'In every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a pure oblation' (Mal. i., II). And this miracle, itself the very greatest of its kind, is accompanied by innumerable other miracles; for here all the laws of nature are suspended; the whole substance of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and the Blood [of Christ]; the species of bread and wine are sustained by the divine power without the support of any underlying substance; the Body of Christ is present in many places at the same time, that is to say, wherever the Sacrament is consecrated. And in order that human reason may the more willingly pay its homage to this great mystery, there have not been wanting, as an aid to faith, certain prodigies wrought in His honor, both in ancient times and in our own, of which in more than one place there exist public and notable records and memorials. It is plain that by this Sacrament faith is fed, in it the mind finds its nourishment, the objections of rationalists are brought to naught, and abundant light is thrown on the supernatural order." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"Christ the Lord, 'Eternal Priest according to the order of Melchisedech,' 'loving His own who were of the world,' 'at the last supper, on the night He was betrayed, wishing to leave His beloved Spouse, the Church, a visible sacrifice such as the nature of men requires, that would re-present the bloody sacrifice offered once on the cross, and perpetuate its memory to the end of time, and whose salutary virtue might be applied in remitting those sins which we daily commit,...offered His body and blood under the species of bread and wine to God the Father, and under the same species allowed the apostles, whom he at that time constituted the priests of the New Testament, to partake thereof; commanding them and their successors in the priesthood to make the same offering.' The august Sacrifice of the Altar, then, is no mere empty commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, but a true and proper act of sacrifice, whereby the High Priest [Christ] by an unbloody immolation offers Himself a most acceptable victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the cross. 'It is one and the same victim; the same person now offers it by the ministry of His priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner of offering alone being different.' The priest is the same, Jesus Christ, whose sacred Person His minister represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is made like to the High Priest and possesses the power of performing actions in virtue of Christ's very person. Wherefore in his priestly activity he in a certain manner 'lends his tongue, and gives his hand' to Christ. Likewise the victim is the same, namely, our divine Redeemer in His human nature with His true body and blood. The manner, however, in which Christ is offered is different. On the cross He completely offered Himself and all His sufferings to God, and the immolation [of himself] was brought about by the bloody death, which He underwent of His free will. But on the altar, by reason of the glorified state of His human nature, 'death shall have no more dominion over Him,' and so the shedding of His blood is impossible; still, according to the plan of divine wisdom, the sacrifice of our Redeemer is shown forth in an admirable manner by external signs which are the symbols of His death. For by the 'transubstantiation' of bread into the Body of Christ and of wine into His Blood, His Body and Blood are both really present: now the Eucharistic species under which He is present symbolize the actual separation of His Body and Blood. Thus the commemorative representation of His death, which actually took place on Calvary, is repeated in every Sacrifice of the Altar [Mass], seeing that Jesus Christ [who is truly present] is symbolically shown by separate symbols to be in a state of victimhood." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Forasmuch as, under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, there was no perfection, because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood; there was need, God, the Father of mercies, so ordaining, that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchisedech, our Lord Jesus Christ, who might consummate, and lead to what is perfect, as many as were to be sanctified. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of his death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on the night in which He was betrayed - that He might leave, to His own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit - declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught. For, having celebrated the ancient Passover... [Christ] instituted the new Passover, (to wit) Himself to be immolated, under visible signs, by the Church through (the ministry of) priests, in memory of His own passage from this world unto the Father, when by the effusion of His own blood He redeemed us, and delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into his kingdom. And this is indeed that clean oblation, which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness, or malice of those that offer (it); which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to be offered in every place, which was to be great amongst the Gentiles; and which the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, has not obscurely indicated, when he says, that they who are defiled by the participation of the table of devils, cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord; by the table, meaning in both places the altar. This, in fine, is that oblation which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, during the period of nature, and of the law; in as much as it comprises all the good things signified by those sacrifices, as being the consummation and perfection of them all." (Council of Trent, 1562 A.D.)

"This we are also taught by those exhortations which the Bishop, in the Church's name, addresses to priests on the day of their ordination, 'Understand what you do, imitate what you handle, and since you celebrate the mystery of the Lord's death, take good care to mortify your members with their vices and concupiscences.' In almost the same manner the sacred books of the liturgy advise Christians who come to Mass to participate in the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice: 'At this...altar let innocence be in honor, let pride be sacrificed, anger slain, impurity and every evil desire laid low, let the sacrifice of chastity be offered...' While we stand before the altar, then, it is our duty so to transform our hearts, that every trace of sin may be completely blotted out, while whatever promotes supernatural life through Christ may be zealously fostered and strengthened even to the extent that, in union with the immaculate Victim [Christ], we become a victim acceptable to the eternal Father. The prescriptions in fact of the sacred liturgy aim, by every means at their disposal, at helping the Church to bring about this most holy purpose in the most suitable manner possible. This is the object not only of readings, homilies and other sermons given by priests, as also the whole cycle of mysteries which are proposed for our commemoration in the course of the year, but it is also the purpose of vestments, of sacred rites and their external splendor. All these things aim at 'enhancing the majesty of this great [Eucharistic] Sacrifice, and raising the minds of the faithful by means of these visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of the sublime truths contained in this [Eucharistic] Sacrifice.' All the elements of the liturgy, then, would have us reproduce in our hearts the likeness of the divine Redeemer through the mystery of the cross, according to the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, 'With Christ I am nailed to the cross. I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.' Thus we become a victim, as it were, along with Christ to increase the glory of the eternal Father. Let this, then, be the intention and aspiration of the faithful, when they offer up the divine Victim [Christ] in the Mass. For if, as St. Augustine writes, our mystery is enacted on the Lord's table, that is Christ our Lord Himself, who is the Head and symbol of that union through which we are the body of Christ and members of His Body; if St. Robert Bellarmine teaches, according to the mind of the Doctor of Hippo, that in the [Eucharistic] Sacrifice of the Altar there is signified the general sacrifice by which the whole Mystical Body of Christ, that is, all the city of redeemed, is offered up to God through Christ, the High Priest: nothing can be conceived more just or fitting than that all of us in union with our Head, who suffered for our sake, should also sacrifice ourselves [as it were] to the eternal Father. For in the Sacrament of the Altar, as the same St. Augustine has it, the Church is made to see that in what she offers she herself is offered." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"The third is the sacrament of the Eucharist, its matter is wheat bread and wine of grape, with which before consecration a very slight amount of water should be mixed. Now it is mixed with water because according to the testimonies of the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church in a disputation made public long ago, it is the opinion that the Lord Himself instituted this sacrament in wine mixed with water; and, moreover, this befits the re-presentation of the Lord's passion. For blessed Alexander, the fifth Pope after blessed Peter, says: 'In the offerings of the sacraments which are offered to the Lord within the solemnities of Masses, let only bread and wine mixed with water be offered as a sacrifice. For either wine alone or water alone must not be offered in the chalice of the Lord, but both mixed, because it is read that both, that is, blood and water, flowed from the side of Christ.' Then also, because it is fitting to signify the effect of this sacrament, which is the union of the Christian [Catholic] people with Christ. For water signifies the people, according to the passage in the Apocalypse: 'the many waters ...are many people' [cf. Rev. 17:15]. And Julius, the second Pope after blessed Sylvester, says: 'The chalice of the Lord according to the precept of the canons, mixed with wine and water, ought to be offered, because we see that in water the people are understood' but in wine the blood of Christ is shown. Therefore, when wine and water are mixed in the chalice the people are made one with Christ, and the multitude of the faithful is joined and connected with Him in whom it believes.' Since, therefore, the holy Roman Church taught by the most blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, as well as all the rest of the [Catholic] churches of the Latins and the Greeks, in which the lights of all sanctity and doctrine have shown, have so preserved this from the beginning of the nascent church and are now preserving it, it seems very unfitting that any other region differ from this universal and reasonable observance... The words of the Savior, by which He instituted this sacrament, are the form of this sacrament; for the priest speaking in the person of Christ effects this sacrament. For by the power of the very words the substance of the bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the substance of the wine into the blood; yet in such a way that Christ is contained entire under the species of bread, and entire under the species of wine. Under any part also of the consecrated host and consecrated wine, although a separation has taken place, Christ is entire. The effect of this sacrament which He operates in the soul of him who takes it worthily is the union of man with Christ. And since through grace man is incorporated with Christ and is united with His members, it follows that through this sacrament grace is increased among those who receive it worthily; and every effect that material food and drink accomplish as they carry on corporal life, by sustaining, increasing, restoring, and delighting, this the sacrament does as it carries on spiritual life, in which, as Pope Urban says, we renew the happy memory of our Savior, are withdrawn from evil, are greatly strengthened in good, and proceed to an increase of the virtues and the graces." (Pope Eugenius IV, "Exultate Deo", 1439 A.D.)

"Nor is it possible that there should be any lack of charity among men, or rather it must needs be enkindled and flourish, if men would but ponder well the charity which Christ has shown in this Sacrament. For in it He has not only given a splendid manifestation of His power and wisdom, but 'has in a manner poured out the riches of His divine love towards men' (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euch. c. ii.). Having before our eyes this noble example set us by Christ, Who bestows [on us His very self]... assuredly we ought to love and help one another to the utmost, being daily more closely united by the strong bond of brotherhood. Add to this that the outward and visible elements of this Sacrament supply a singularly appropriate stimulus to union. On this topic St. Cyprian writes: 'In a word the Lord's sacrifice symbolizes the oneness of heart, guaranteed by a persevering and inviolable charity, which should prevail among Christians. For when our Lord calls His Body bread, a substance which is kneaded together out of many grains, He indicates that we His people, whom He sustains, are bound together in close union; and when He speaks of His Blood as wine, in which the juice pressed from many clusters of grapes is mingled in one fluid, He likewise indicates that we His flock are by the commingling of a multitude of persons made one' (Ep. 96 ad Magnum n. 5 (a1.6)). In like manner the angelic Doctor, adopting the sentiments of St. Augustine (Tract. xxxvi., in Joan. nn. 13, 17), writes: 'Our Lord has bequeathed to us His Body and Blood under the form of substances in which a multitude of things have been reduced to unity, for one of them, namely bread, consisting as it does of many grains is yet one, and the other, that is to say wine, has its unity of being from the confluent juice of many grapes; and therefore St. Augustine elsewhere says: 'O Sacrament of mercy, O sign of unity, O bond of charity!' (Summ. Theol. P. IIL, q. lxxix., a.l.). All of which is confirmed by the declaration of the Council of Trent that Christ left the Eucharist in His Church 'as a symbol of that unity and charity whereby He would have all Christians mutually joined and united ...a symbol of that one body of which He is Himself the head, and to which He would have us, as members attached by the closest bonds of faith, hope, and charity' (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euchar., c. ii.). The same idea had been expressed by St. Paul when he wrote: 'For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all we who partake of the one bread' (I Cor. x., 17). Very beautiful and joyful too is the spectacle of Christian brotherhood and social equality which is afforded when men of all conditions, gentle and simple, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, gather round the holy altar, all sharing alike in this heavenly banquet. And if in the records of the Church it is deservedly reckoned to the special credit of its first ages that 'the multitude of the believers had but one heart and one soul' (Acts iv., 32), there can be no shadow of doubt that this immense blessing was due to their frequent meetings at the Divine table; for we find it recorded of them: 'They were persevering in the doctrine of the Apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread' (Acts ii., 42)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

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Eucharistic Adoration / The Eucharist Reserved in the Tabernacle

Forty Hours Devotion

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