Thoughts from a young theologian

The Eucharist–not the “real” body and blood of Jesus?

I mentioned a few days ago how I was so surprised by the guys who, despite the freezing cold, still managed to play hockey. With the wind too, they had to chase the ball all around as it moved on its own… It was actually pretty hilarious to see, although I immediately went back inside to stay warm… Heheheheheh

Well, for the first time this week, something happened that actually prevented the others from their precious hockey…

It was actually pretty hilarious!! It’s been snowing like crazy here at the abbey, pretty much the whole day so while I’m explaining my little heretical (or is it?) statement up above, I’ll kind of sprinkle in some pictures of the snow here.

So this actually came up during my philosophy class… We were discussing substances and accidents… For those who don’t know philosophy, a substance is something that has existence in itself, like a man, or a tree. An accident is something that we predicate off of substances and don’t exist on their own. There are 9 kinds of accidents for Aristotle, including quantity (like 1, 2, 3), quality (red, big), relation (double, half), etc… None of these exist without substances… You always say a red something, one something… they need something in order to exist. Basically, everything is either a substance or an accident.

Aristotle also calls some things artifacts–these are things like houses and boats that are made by man. They exist kind of like substances, but in reality they’re not because artifacts have their identity and purpose outside of it (in the mind of the person who built it). That’s all a weird way of getting started on the Eucharist. A question came up during the class about the eucharist. Bread is an artifact, being made by man and made up of different substances, like wheat, etc…

Well in answering it, Father Peter said something that made our heads all turn. He said that once the bread is transubstantiated in the Eucharist, it has one identity. It becomes the sacramental body and blood of Jesus, not the real body and blood of Jesus. The key thing is a sacrament always has a sign value–it always has an inner reality that is signified. It’s a symbol but it’s not just a symbol… it’s a symbol that makes the reality present.

There’s basically 3 kinds of realities according to St. Thomas Aquinas… There’s the earthly reality, the heavenly reality and … the sacramental reality. They’re all real and have very different ways of existing. The sacramental reality is its own separate ontology–it’s its own kind of being.

Suppose Father Peter is celebrating mass and at the moment of consecration, the bread disappears and the heavenly Jesus appears in front of everyone surrounded by his angels and standing on the altar, then it would be a heavenly real presence, on longer a sacramental real presence. There’s no sign anymore, it’s only the reality of what the sign signifies.

An exception also happens when we have the eucharistic miracles where the bread is turned to real flesh or the blood turned into real blood. Those are no longer sacraments either. It’s pointing again to the reality of what the sign signifies… Any sacrament, but most especially the Eucharist always needs to be a sign as well as the reality it signifies.

How’s that for some food for thought… If this kind of interested you, you can check out the book “The Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist” by Ansgar Vonier. He’s highly recommended by Fr. Peter and the monks here. I’m going to definitely start reading up on that one too… There’s something else I want to say about the Eucharist but I don’t want this post to be too long so I’ll leave it for a little later on… God bless!!!


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