What does it mean to say that the Eucharist is a sacrifice?
I know that The Church teaches that Christ died only once and suffered only once, yet when we call the Eucharist a Sacrifice, for protestants, it’s a stick to beat us with.
What does it mean to say that the Eucharist is a sacrifice?
I’d recommend this video, in particular after 3:25.
Well, what is the action is required for a sacrifice. The passover is the primary sacrificial action in the Old Testament.
What are the steps:
Select a lamb, unblemished, male. … We have the lamb of God
Kill the lamb … We have the crucifixion
Offer it to the Father … We have the mass
Eat the lamb … We have communion
But the sacrifice needs to be present for us to each the lamb. Therefore, we continue to offer the slain lamb to the Father, and receive the lamb to consume in communion, thus making us partakers in the sacrifice.
I think it would be more correct to say that the Eucharist is the sacrifice, rather than a sacrifice. The Eucharist is the sacrifice of Christ, that one and same offered by Him which culminated in His death at Calvary. It is made present to us on the altar of sacrifice at the Mass in the Eucharist. It is made present to us through Christ’s Divine Eternity, and His mystical union with the Church as His Body, through the office of the priesthood that He shares with the ordained ordinaries.
Christ did indeed offer Himself once and for all on the cross, and He no longer dies nor suffers…that being said, Tradition and Scripture tells us that the sacrifice once offered on the cross is made perpetually present before the Father in atonement for our sins. On the cross and through His resurrection, Christ won for us all that is necessary for our salvation, but in the Eucharist that grace, that very sacrifice, is made available to each of us in time and space. The Holy Spirit, who is God and thus not bound by the laws of nature as we understand them, makes the one sacrifice of Christ truly present on the altar. Yet the Church calls this the “unbloody sacrifice” for Christ does not die again…it is the Risen Christ we encounter on the altar…yet His sacrifice and all its power is made present for our benefit. In Revelation, John sees Christ standing before the Father as a “Lamb slain”. Revelation also makes references to the altar in heaven… this refers to the Eucharistic sacrifice, eternally present before the Father, which the Spirit makes present on our altars during Holy Mass. The video linked earlier in this thread gives a lot more helpful Biblical references.
The Eucharist celebration is a Sacrifice, a Memorial, and a Presence. It is first of all a real renewal or re-enactment of the one time sacrafice of Christ on the cross, which he made to his Father and which we now make with Him to the Father. So it is a Sacrafice and a Memorial. It is also a celebration of Christ’s real presence in the bread and wine just as He appeared in his glorified body after His Resurrection. But His glorified Presence is invisible and veiled by the species of the bread and wine.
" Distinction of Sacrament and Sacrifice
They should teach, then, in the first place, that the Eucharist was instituted by Christ for two purposes: one, that it might be the heavenly food of our souls, enabling us to support and preserve spiritual life; and the other, that the Church might have a perpetual Sacrifice, by which our sins might be expiated, and our heavenly Father, oftentimes grievously offended by our crimes, might be turned away from wrath to mercy, from the severity of just chastisement to clemency. Of this thing we may observe a type and resemblance in the Paschal lamb, which was wont to be offered and eaten by the children of Israel as a sacrament and a sacrifice.
Nor could our Saviour, when about to offer Himself to God the Father on the altar of the cross, have given any more illustrious indication of His unbounded love towards us than by bequeathing to us a visible Sacrifice, by which that bloody Sacrifice, which was soon after to be offered once on the cross, would be renewed, and its memory daily celebrated with the greatest utility, unto the consummation of ages by the Church diffused throughout the world.
But (between the Eucharist as a Sacrament and a Sacrifice) the difference is very great; for as a Sacrament it is perfected by consecration; as a Sacrifice, all its force consists in its oblation. When, therefore, kept in a pyx, or borne to the sick, it is a Sacrament, not a Sacrifice. As a Sacrament also, it is to them that receive it a source of merit, and brings with it all those advantages which have been already mentioned; but as a Sacrifice, it is not only a source of merit, but also of satisfaction. For as, in His Passion, Christ the Lord merited and satisfied for us; so also those who offer this Sacrifice, by which they communicate with us, merit the fruit of His Passion, and satisfy.
The Mass Is a True Sacrifice
Proof From The Council Of Trent
With regard to the institution of this Sacrifice, the holy Council of Trent has left no room for doubt, by declaring that it was instituted by our Lord at His Last Supper; while it condemns under anathema all those who assert that in it is not offered to God a true and proper Sacrifice; or that to offer means nothing else than that Christ is given as our spiritual food.
Nor did (the Council) omit carefully to explain that to God alone is offered this Sacrifice. For although the Church sometimes offers Masses in honor and in memory of the Saints, yet she teaches that the Sacrifice is offered, not to them, but to God alone, who has crowned the Saints with immortal glory. Hence the priest never says: I offer Sacrifice to thee Peter, or to thee Paul; but, while he offers Sacrifice to God alone, he renders Him thanks for the signal victory won by the blessed martyrs, and thus implores their patronage, that they, whose memory we celebrate on earth, may vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven." ( pg 157 of the Catechism of the Council of Trent known as the Roman Catechism )
catholicsociety.com/documents/Catechism_of_the_Council%20of_Trent.pdf Read pages 136-152
Also read paragraphs 1356-1381 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, linked below.
Unfortunately, it takes many of us great amounts of time in order to see the Paschal Mystery come alive in the Mass. It took me over 30 years, and I was born and raised Catholic.
When saying the Eucharist is a sacrifice, it literally means, “‘You-CHaRIST’ are sacrificed for our sins.” Here is a video which shows the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the Mass --> youtube.com/watch?v=Xx-k0Ogj4gM
Thanks for sharing the interesting question! May the peace of Christ be with you through all your struggles.
I’m surprised no one recommended Dr. Scott Hahm’s talk on this!
Here, listen to this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1yAvrVoYzo
And afterward, you can read the transcript here: zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m4/4cp.html
He explains it in more detail, but I will give you a (bad) quick summery here: basically, the Last Supper didnt actually end at the Eucharist, because Jesus didn’t drink the fourth cup of a Passover Seder meal (the third cup, which is called the cup of blessings (read 1 Corinthians), was the Eucharist cup). Instead, the fourth cup is not drank until Jesus’s death on the Cross:
A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:29-30)
Furthermore, this idea is also supported by Jesus Himself, as He, in the Garden, prays in great pain, begging to avoid the fourth cup:
Father, he said, if it pleases thee, take away this chalice from before me; only as thy will is, not as mine is
This chalice: the fourth cup to finish the Passover.
Thus, the Cruxifixction is also a part of the Last Supper.
Now, the Last Supper itself was a Seder meal, a meal all Jews were commanded to do each year. Do you know how they view the Passover? When Jews of today participate in a Passover meal, they are not “remembering” or “renacting” the Passover. No, they are actually participating in the SAME Passover as Moses and their ancestors are. In the same way, the Last Supper is the same as the Passover meal in the Old Covenant: when we are at Mass, we are actually there at the same room as the Twelve (one poster here on e commented that the real presence happens both ways ). The Last Supper is the same meal as the Passover, and as I pointed out earlier, the Last Supper didn’t end until Jesus’s Cruxifiction, so therefore, we must be present at Jesus’s Death as well, which makes the Mass a Sacrifice.
This isn’t mystic humbo-jumbo either: this is a direct promise from God Himself, in both the Old and New Testament. We Catholic Christians believe it because the Church Herself is the fulfillment of Judaism: we believe in the Last Supper as truely present to us in the Mass just as Jews believe the Passover as truely present in its celebration. The rejection of this just reveals that those Christians don’t understand Judaism, and how the Church is Judaism itself born again.
Trent Session XXII -
“He instituted a new Passover, namely, Himself, to be **immolated **under visible signs *by *the Church *through *the priests in memory of His own passage from this world to the Father…And inasmuch as in this **divine sacrifice **which is celebrated in the mass is contained and **immolated **in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross… For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits of that bloody sacrifice, it is well understood, are received most abundantly through this unbloody one, so far is the latter from derogating in any way from the former.”
So Christ is immolated again, doing it through the priests
“For although the Church sometimes offers Masses in honour and in memory of the Saints, yet she teaches that the Sacrifice is offered, not to them, but to God alone…
through this unbloody Sacrifice flow to us the most plenteous fruits of that bloody victim.”
It is not saying “that temporal moment of time on Calvary is brought into the church at consecration, applying its fruits to us” nor saying is the bloody sacrifice invisible. It is those things but more. The actions of the mass are part of what happened on Calvary, but there is a distinction between bloody and unbloody sacrifice, although it is a distinction of reason alone.
It is not as if God the Father didn’t get the message when His Son was holding His Body up by nails. He doesn’t need to be reminded by having the Sacrifice put in front of His face again. Did He not grant EVERYTHING possible when it was offered on that sad day? Yes, but Catholics aren’t trying to bring about more saving tears from God. It is all ONE act of salvation, despite Trent seeming to say two
The liturgy says the sacrifice is “offered for our Pontiff” ect, but it must not be speaking of the sacrifice immolation of the Roman soldiers, but of the priest separating the blood from the wine, this new mystery. And the priest does it as Christ! Christ actions get its “fruit” from Calvary. Most Catholics don’t seem to understand that Jesus doesn’t to offer His infinite loving sacrifice to the Father multiple times to the Father for the Pope everyday
I’ve read quotes even from saints that say things like “we need to constantly appease the anger of the Father with Masses”. Such statements cannot truly be Christian. God the Father saw all that happened on Calvary, and to say He saw it without it affecting Him yet all the way is insulting to His holiness.
I think, that the theology goes very deep here, and is not entirely clear for obvious reasons. What we must remember is that, as Aquinas elaborated, time is a law of nature, which God created to apply to this world. It by no means affects him. God is timeless and eternal; the very concept of time does not apply to him. Jesus’s sacrifice, on earth, according to the laws of time, occurred and ended with his death; however, in the timeless spiritual realm, it is a sacrifice once and for all, that will never end.
I’m not a professor of theology, so take my words with a very hefty grain of salt. But that’s my two cents on the issue.