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Daily Catholic Question

When does Jesus become present?

Over the centuries East and West have argued when, precisely, the body and blood of Christ become present in the Eucharist.

According to Johannes Emminghaus in The Eucharist, a practical question was at the base of the discussion—"What is to be done if, for some reason (for example, the sudden death of the celebrant), the Canon is broken off? When could the bread and wine simply be removed? From what point on is it consecrated?"

The Western Church asserted the Body and Blood are present at the completion of the words of consecration. The Eastern Church supported the view that the real presence takes place through the epiclesis (the prayer for the sending or coming of the Spirit to sanctify the gifts of bread and wine).

According to Richard McBrien in his Encyclopedia of Catholicism, ecumenical theologians avoid attempts to locate a moment of consecration at either the epiclesis or words of institution. They prefer, he says, to consider the entire prayer over the gifts, and not one of its isolated moments, as the consecratory prayer.

Emminghaus observes that the Church has never made a dogmatic pronouncement on the point.

Ludwig Ott, however, in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma it as certain that the form of the Eucharist consists of Christ's words of institution uttered at the consecration. And Ott cites the Council of Trent as teaching, according to the standing belief of the Church, "'immediately after the consecration,' that is, after the uttering of the words of institution, the true body and the true blood of the Lord are present."

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 4/23/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 4/25/2013

Francis of Assisi: Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance. 
<p>Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy." </p><p>From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman. </p><p>He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking. </p><p>But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3). </p><p>Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity. </p><p>He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade. </p><p>During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side. </p><p>On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Gospel is not just any joy. It consists in knowing one is welcomed and loved by God…. And so we are able to open our eyes again, to overcome sadness and mourning to strike up a new song. And this true joy remains even amid trial, even amid suffering, for it is not a superficial joy: it permeates the depths of the person who entrusts himself to the Lord and confides in him.

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