The Belief in the Eucharist as the Real Prescence of Christ

The Free essays given on our site were donated by anonymous users and should not be viewed as samples of our custom writing service. You are welcome to use them to inspire yourself for writing your own term paper. If you need a custom term paper related to the subject of Theology or The Belief in the Eucharist as the Real Prescence of Christ, you can hire a professional writer here in just a few clicks.
"My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink" (John 6:55) These were the words spoken by Christ himself, during the initial institution of the Eucharistic sacrament. Such phraseology, a primary article of Catholic belief was intended to be perceived in its literal sense, as opposed to metaphorical interpretation. The Eucharist is a sacrament of the Lord's supper, consisting of consecrated elements which have undergone transubstantiation - a change in essence. Such transformation results in what is referred to as 'Real Presence' - the complete "body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our lord Jesus Christ" (Catechism,1374). Despite variations throughout history in understanding of Eucharistic presence, the actual dogma of transubstantiation has remained unchanged since the Catholic Church's first recorded teachings of such a notion in 33A.D. The concept of 'Real Presence' was undoubtedly accepted in its literal sense throughout the first millennium AD, questions remaining unposed until the reformation of the 1500s, when the church was exposed to much disunity. The division within the church preceded the formation of an Ecumenical council in Trent, where Episcopal powers aimed to re-enforce belief in Real Presence - to restore, through the Eucharist, a unity of the 'one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church'. Despite periodical variation, the second Vatican council of 1962, boasting a multiple presence of Christ in Eucharistic worship, was built upon similar motives to that of Trent. This essay will focus on displaying the unrelenting belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ through summations of Eucharistic dogma provided by both the Council of Trent and Vatican II. There will also be an inclusion of excerpts from scripture written by Early Church Fathers surrounding belief in Real presence, and a primary focus on Transubstantiation as proof of the consistency of the belief in the Eucharist as the complete "Body and Blood, together with the Soul and divinity, of our lord Jesus Christ."(Catechism,1374) Eucharistic dogma involves the complex concept of Transubstantiation - literally a change in essence. Such a notion involves the presence of the Holy Eucharist, as the real body and blood of Jesus, initiated at the moment of consecration. Despite arguments opposing literal interpretation of Real Presence, there is no evidence implicating an existent element of doubt within Catholic documentation in relation to the historical belief in Transubstantiation. There are however, many evident writings by Early Church Fathers to support literal interpretation of the belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ, as opposed to symbolical perception theorised by fundamentalists. A clearly outlined belief in Real Presence is offered in Ignatius of Antioch's words of wisdom - "Strive then to make use of one form of thanksgiving, for the flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one and one is the Chalice in the union of His Blood, one alter, one bishop". In relation to the concept of transubstantiation, Saint Ambrose (340-397) the Bishop of Milan, wrote: "Let us be assured that this is not what nature formed, but what the blessing consecrated, and the greater efficacy resides in the blessing than in nature, for by the blessing nature is changed". Saint Augustine, an influential figure in the history of Christianity, professed his belief in Real Presence through this literary contribution - "It was in His flesh that Christ walked among us and it is his flesh that he has given us to eat for our salvation". It is such excerpts from scripture as these that convey a historically profound belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ, and evident comprehension by the Early Church of whom attested to the belief in Transubstantiation. Despite historical variations in interpretation regarding the substance of the Eucharist, Christian beliefs have remained consistent. The 1500s witnessed the initiation of the Protestant reformation where 'consubstantiation' took precedence over transubstantiation in many reformed believers perception of the Eucharist. Consubstantiation refers to an understanding of Jesus as 'in' the Eucharist, as opposed to Christ as the entire flesh, blood and divinity of the Eucharist, - in its literal sense it is a 'sharing of substances'. Under the initiative of primarily Martin Luther, the Catholic Church formed a basis for three offspring divisions - Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican, the first two of whom expressed a dissatisfaction with Catholic doctrine. Thus, new forms of worship were devised which resulted in a separation in the Catholic Liturgy. This Protestant Reformation preceded the formation of an Ecumenical council in Trent whose primary intention was to define Catholic doctrine, reinforcing beliefs and teachings in an attempt to resolve problematic occurrences within the church. Of the twenty-five meetings which were scheduled, much time was allocated to discussion regarding the liturgy and the Eucharist. The council succeeded in reaffirming a historically profound Catholic belief in Real Presence and Transubstantiation - Eucharistic meaning was defined, declaring assuredly that "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 in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist". The Council also came to the conclusion that "He (Christ) gave the command to offer the Sacrifice as the Church has understood and taught". Regarding the professions of the Ecumenical Council, at the moment of consecration the whole substance of bread and wine becomes that of Jesus Christ - whole and entire. "Jesus is really now on Earth in the Eucharist" - it is this statement that has led the Catholic Church to reaffirm belief in transubstantiation and profess the reality of Real Presence so passionately. "Do this in memory of me" - a primary article of Catholic belief spoken by Christ himself, is thus literally embraced and alive in the Eucharistic sacrament, and confirms the belief in Real Presence in the Eucharist. "At the Last Supper, on the night He was handed over, Our Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood to perpetuate the sacrifice on the Cross throughout the ages until He should come, and thus entrust to the church, His beloved Spouse, the memorial of his death and resurrection: A sacrament of devotion, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is received, the soul is filled with Grace and there is given to us the pledge of future glory."(Vatican Council II). This statement was put forth by Vatican II, another excerpt from Catholic documentation attesting to a belief in the Eucharist as Real Presence. Vatican II initiated on October 11 1962, was a conglomeration of Catholic Church hierarchical members, constructed upon the same lines to that of the Council of Trent. During this period, the church was confronted with a collective change in consciousness, a mass breaking away from conformitism and dogma. The people demanded freedom, freedom in belief and expression, they fought for 'love not war'. Unlike the period surrounding the reformation, the 'rebels' of this particular era did not migrate towards beliefs in similar religious ideas, but strived to completely separate themselves from all dictatorship and authoritarianism. Due to the pressure exhibited by this new generation, the Catholic Church felt pressured to revise and update its current practices, "to let some fresh air come into the church" (Pope John XXIII). The Council focused initially on Liturgy, in which participation became the primary element, a drastic transgression from the previously conducted mass which basically excluded the parishioner from partaking in the proceedings. The council came to the conclusion that the liturgy is "an action of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church". Vatican II re-enforcement of Eucharistic Real Presence is the same belief beheld by the Ecumenical Council of Trent, and that of Ignatius of Antioch, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine who all attributed to scriptured writings of the Early Church. A belief held relentlessly throughout the history of Catholicism - the first millennium, the reformation and post-1500s. The belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ is perhaps the most important article of Catholic doctrine, it is a binding belief which wi

Our inspirational collection of essays and research papers is available for free to our registered users

Related Essays on Theology

Lover and Mother

This paper received an A in Berkeley Graduate Theological Union's PLTS History of Christianity course. Lover and Mother Julian of Norwich, in Revelations of Divine Love paints a distinctive por...

Gospel, A Matter of Definition

Gospel, A Matter of Definition Reasonable God-talk presupposes that we agree on the meanings of the terms we use. A foundational term for Christian theology is 'gospel'. This term, however, has had ...

Ten Thousand Names

Ten Thousand Names A second issue... is concerned with the question of the na-ture of the categories or concepts fundamental to or appro-priate for Christian speech about God. Should these be "person...

The Canonical gospels in Asian Faces of Jesus

The Canonical gospels in Asian Faces of Jesus This paper examines the usage of the canonical gospels in four segments of Asian Faces of Jesus, edited by R. S. Sugirtharajah: "Christ and Buddha", by S...

Leviticus 19:1,2, 15â€"18

Leviticus 19:1,2, 15-18 Scope, Selection and Content of Pericope Leviticus 19:1,2, 15-18 is the Old Testament pericope appointed for 23 Pentecost A in the LBW. Verses 15-18 are a thematically relate...

Deuteronomy 8: 7-18

Deuteronomy 8: 7-18 Scope, Selection and Content of Pericope Deuteronomy 8, an independent exhortation within the second speech of Moses (4:44-28:68), has the motif of remembrance/forgetting (verses...