In a world that prides itself on using the scientific method to examine anything worth analyzing, along comes the Catholic belief that the bread and wine used in the Consecration during Mass is, in fact, the true body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “How can this be,” screams our rational mind? How can mere earthly elements become divine? This question causes us to tend to be skeptical and look for proof, however, the only proof that we need should come from the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. That’s a lot to ask a believer to accept, so lets’ take a step back and examine how we exercise faith in our everyday world.
If we were to walk along the rim of the Grand Canyon, we know that if we slip and fall, the Law of Gravity will come in to play and our fall will lead to our demise. As I write this piece, I am sitting in a chair and typing on a laptop. I have faith that the chair will hold me up and not crash to the floor. Well, you say, those examples of faith can be evaluated to be true. We must remember that receiving the Eucharist and believing that it is truly Jesus Christ cannot be tested. We must also remember that we are admonished not to put Our Lord to the test.
So where does this leave us? It leaves us with accepting the fact that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus at consecration. We must accept this on faith. Yes, it is difficult to accept something on faith alone, but we have the proof as stated previously,
Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was buried and then rose again on the third day. How do we know this? Our faith comes to us, down through the ages, from eyewitness testimony and the writings of the Church Fathers inspired by the Holy Spirit. We also note that we profess to believe this through the Apostles Creed said at every Mass. Our faith teaches us that when the elements of bread and wine are consecrated, transubstantiation occurs. The bread and wine might appear unchanged to our senses, however, the change in the elements comes to us on a different plane entirely. Our God reaches across time and space to allow us to share in the one and only passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. This fact must be accepted on faith and faith alone.
The Council of Trent declared: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.” (CCC 1376)
Stephen Scarallo, DGK, St. Scholastica Council K of C