The Power of the Eucharist

From a human point of view, there is no reason why the Catholic Church is still in existence. After all, there aren’t many institutions of any kind, which have lasted for two thousand years while still retaining their original character.

Many other religions have come and gone during that time, or have so adapted and evolved as to no longer be associated with their roots.

Not so the Catholic Church, however: Her teaching is a clear as when it was first taught, and what is more important, is the same teaching as was handed on by the Apostles.

When studying Church history while home-schooling, I was initially scandalised to learn about the immorality of some of the popes, such as those who ruled during the Renaissance. But it soon became clear that this scandal was actually a sign that the Catholic Church is the true Church, since no pope, no matter how immoral or unspiritual in his personal life, has ever changed our doctrine.

What kind of power is this, that allows man to sin, and even sin greatly and publicly, yet preserves a teaching that is so perfect, so comprehensive and in many ways so difficult?

It is the power of the Eucharist.

Fr. Anthony McSweeney,  in writing on the rule of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation, states that,

In the Eucharist, He gave us, on the eve of His death, the sacrament that summed up all the prayers of His own life. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to connect our prayer to His. In the setting of the sacramental Presence of Jesus the Lord, we enter into His paschal mystery in a deeply personal way, asking Him to shape our lives according to the pattern of His own.

Anthony F. McSweeney, SSS. Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving.

Wow! “All the prayers of Jesus’ own life?” Amazing!

The entire mystery of our redemption is caught up in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus.

Creation, the Fall, the establishment of the old covenant and its perfection in the new, are all contained in the mystery of the Eucharist.

It is a symbol of sacrifice and also of triumph: but more than that, it is the reality of Christ’s perfect sacrifice and of our hope in Him.

The Eucharist is the secret of the Church’s ability to persevere through the ages; it is the ‘source and summit of the Christian life.’ (Lumen Gentium 11)

And this perseverance is all the more extraordinary if we consider that the first three hundred years of the Church’s existence were marked by bloody persecution. What could possibly sustain an ideology that promised little more than torture and martyrdom? Why did the early Christians risk their lives to gather together for ‘the breaking of the bread?’ What was worth dying for, when it would have been easier and safer to worship privately?

Of contemporary Catholics, a similar question could be asked: what is worth fasting for, before each Mass? What is worth kneeling for, genuflecting for, keeping silent vigil for? What is worth walking through the streets for, should we be so fortunate as to be able to participate in a Eucharistic procession?

What drives us to confession, should we wish to purify ourselves before approaching It?

It is the power of the Eucharist.

Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity.

More than a symbol.

More than a cultural identifier.

More than a requirement.

More than a legend.

The Church has survived illiteracy and ignorance, heresies and schisms, wars and epidemics, and cultural and technological upheaval. So, what is it that sets the Church apart from the world and from tens of thousands of other denominations?

It is the power of the Eucharist.

Author: genericmum

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