The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
We receive the very body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. In partaking of this sacrament we honor Our Lord's sacrifice, join with his sanctity, and receive his grace. In the Eucharist, Christ gives us his person not just for our salvation but for the purpose of living a sanctified life according to God's will.
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us'" (Catechism 1322).
In his great mercy the Father has given us the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is therefore, really and mysteriously made present in the Eucharist. So in receiving Holy Communion, we must consider the Eucharist as:
- thanksgiving and praise to the Father;
- the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body;
- the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.
Participation in the Holy Sacrifice:
- identifies us with his Heart,
- sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life,
- makes us long for eternal life, and
- unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.
All of this Christ offered to us for our sanctification and salvation - that we may live a life according to God's will, lived in holiness and with purpose, and come to rest in his glory at the end of our days on earth (Catechism 1419).
"What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation." - St. Francis of Assisi