Catechism of the Catholic Church

346 Part Two 1372 St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that moves us to anevermore completeparticipation inourRedeemer’s sacrifice which we celebrate in the Eucharist: This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the saints, is offered toGod as a universal sacrifice by the high priest who in the form of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us in his Passion, to make us the Body of so great a head. . . . Such is the sacrifice of Christians: “we who are many are one Body in Christ.” The Church continues to reproduce this sacrifice in the sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers wherein it is evident to them that in what she offers she herself is offered. 196 The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit 1373 “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church: 197 in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered inmy name,” 198 in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, 199 in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “he is present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species. ” 200 1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic spe- cies is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” 201 In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” 202 “This presence is called ‘real’—by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” 203 1375 It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares: 196 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 10, 6: PL 41, 283; cf. Rom 12:5. 197 Rom 8:34; cf. LG 48. 198 Mt 18:20. 199 199 Cf. Mt 25:31-46. 200 SC 7. 201 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 73, 3c. 202 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651. 203 Paul VI, MF 39. 1140 1088 1211 1105