We believe that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. When we recieve Christ in the Eucharist, we believe we are eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ. I have always thought that this meant that we are eating his real flesh and drinking his real blood, under the appearances or bread and wine. I am told, however that this is wrong. I am told that rather that eating his real flesh and drinking his real blood, we are eating and drinking the sacramental Jesus. What exactly does this mean? What is the “sacremental” felsh and blood that we are receiving? In other words, if I tell a non-Catholic “oh no, we don’t really eat the real flesh and drink the real blood of Christ, we only eat and drink the Sacremental Christ.” What am I saying? What does this mean? Thank you.
I just answered a similar question. But you seem to want to go deeper. To go deeper, however, is to enter into a mystery that is divine. All we know is that Jesus insisted in the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. This the Apostles did at the Last Supper. They obviously were not trying to consume His body as He physically sat in their presence. They consumed His flesh and blood under the appearances of bread and wine. When we say that they sacramentally consumed His body and blood, we clearly understand what they were NOT doing. No one was gnawing on any part of His physical person. Yet by His own statement, they were receiving His body and blood.
A sacrament is a sign instituted by Christ that actually makes present the grace that it signifies. Baptism not only symbolizes a washing or cleansing, it actually IS a cleansing (of original sin). The Eucharist not only symbolizes Christ’s body and blood, it actually IS His body and blood. But it is a mystery which defies our present ability to fully understand. We simply take the Lord at His word as His Apostles and early Church did.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.