Eucharist; Real Presence; Multi-location

One obstacle of faith in the Real Presence for me has always been the conundrum of multi-location: how can Christ be fully, physically present in multiple Hosts at the same time? This defies all our understanding of the natural world at its most basic level. God must act at least logically, if not plausibly, and Transubstantiation just seemed too fantastic to chalk up as ‘mystery’.

I brought this concern to my Priest, who admitted that this point was a common difficulty in accepting the reality of the Real Presence, for himself as well as many others. He explained to me that Christ is not merely physically human any more, but that He is glorified, and in a glorified state, the spiritual dominates the physical. Since this has not been fully revealed to us, but Christ demonstrated an ability to suddenly appear, and walk through walls and such, the possibility of multi-location exists, especially when one considers that the heavenly dimension is outside of time. For a while this satiated my understanding.

The intellect always comes up with new problems for faith. It suddenly occured to me that at the Last Supper, Christ was not yet in a glorified state, but He stated quite plainly “This *is *my body” at the Institution of the Eucharist. How are we meant to understand this? Was His Body present in the bread in a glorified state, previous to His Resurrection? How could He be *fully *physically present, sitting there in plain human flesh, and also *fully *physically present in the Host… simultaneously?

Any help much appreciated! (please don’t answer with ‘it’s a mystery, just accept it and stop thinking’–the purpose here is not to question the validity of established dogma, but to examine it in detail for the greater glory of God).

[font=Arial]When Christ appeared in his glorified body form, he was able to walk through doors, appear in one place, disappear and appear in another place far away in short order. He did all this and it’s this is just what was explicitly written in the Bible.

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nothing is impossible with GOD! GOD is everywhere and in us catholics we are given the grace to give the eucharist as the body blood and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Please visit this Eucharist miracle.

www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html

In Christ,
selvaraj

Neithan,

Boy, that is a good question – especially during this “Year of the Eucharist”.

Lets take a look at the catechism:
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1340 By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom.

At first this looks to me that Our Lord’s death and resurrection (hence his glorified body) is present in an anticipatory way at the Last Supper. Just as every mass reaches back in time to the one sacrfice of Calvary and the Resurrection, so the Last Supper reaches forward in time to Calvary and the Resurrection. A question and answer on ewtn seems to echo this: ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?Pgnu=3&Pg=Forum13&recnu=57&number=438619

But then I started to wonder if the catechism is speaking only to the nature of the SACRFICE of Calvary, and did not refer to communion at the Last Supper.

Fr. Hardon seems to indicate that post-Calvary communion differs from pre-Calvary:

At the Last Supper, when Christ pronounced the words, “This is my Body” this is the chalice of my Blood,” the Body and Blood that were to be nailed to the Cross and shed on Calvary. As some of the Church’s earliest commentators explain, on Easter Sunday night when Jesus sat down with the disciples at Emmaus, they recognized Him in the “breaking of bread,” which was the Eucharist.

Since the Resurrection of Christ, the Holy Eucharist is indeed the true, living Body and Blood of Christ. But it is now the Risen Christ in His glorified humanity. . .Christ in the Eucharist is now the Risen Savior who is seated at the right hand of His heavenly Father and will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead. (cfpeople.org/Apologetics/page51a088.html)

And then I started to find other indications from other theologians that the disciples received Christ in his MORTAL body (i.e. his then present state, before the Resurrection – but this includes and MUST INCLUDE Body,Blood, Soul and Divinity. . .the Body, however is not yet glorified). We also receive Christ in his present state (i.e. post-Resurrection, glorified Body,glorified Blood, Soul and Divinity).

Some of these theologians were Dominicans, so naturally, I wanted to see what St. Thomas Aquinas had to say.

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And St. Thomas says in Part III, Q. 81, Art. 3 of the Summa:

Whether Christ received and gave to the disciples His impassible body?

Objection 1**. **It seems that Christ both received and gave to the disciples His impassible body. Because on Mt. 17:2, “He was transfigured before them,” the gloss says: “He gave to the disciples at the supper that body which He had through nature, but neither mortal nor passible.” And again, on Lev. 2:5, “if thy oblation be from the frying-pan,” the gloss says: “The Cross mightier than all things made Christ’s flesh fit for being eaten, which before the Passion did not seem so suited.” But Christ gave His body as suited for eating. Therefore He gave it just as it was after the Passion, that is, impassible and immortal.

Objection 2**.** Further, every passible body suffers by contact and by being eaten. Consequently, if Christ’s body was passible, it would have suffered both from contact and from being eaten by the disciples.

Objection 3**.** Further, the sacramental words now spoken by the priest in the person of Christ are not more powerful than when uttered by Christ Himself. But now by virtue of the sacramental words it is Christ’s impassible and immortal body which is consecrated upon the altar. Therefore, much more so was it then.

On the contrary, As Innocent III says (De Sacr. Alt. Myst. iv), “He bestowed on the disciples His body such as it was.” But then He had a passible and a mortal body. Therefore, He gave a passible and mortal body to the disciples.

I answer that, Hugh of Saint Victor (Innocent III, De Sacr. Alt. Myst. iv), maintained, that before the Passion, Christ assumed at various times the four properties of a glorified body --namely, subtlety in His birth, when He came forth from the closed womb of the Virgin; agility, when He walked dryshod upon the sea; clarity, in the Transfiguration; and impassibility at the Last Supper, when He gave His body to the disciples to be eaten. And according to this He gave His body in an impassible and immortal condition to His disciples.

But whatever may be the case touching the other qualities, concerning which we have already stated what should be held (28, 2, ad 3; 45, 2), nevertheless the above opinion regarding impassibility is inadmissible. For it is manifest that the same body of Christ which was then seen by the disciples in its own species, was received by them under the sacramental species. But as seen in its own species it was not impassible; nay more, it was ready for the Passion. Therefore, neither was Christ’s body impassible when given under the sacramental species.

**Yet there was present in the sacrament, in an impassible manner, that which was passible of itself; just as that was there invisibly which of itself was visible. For as sight requires that the body seen be in contact with the adjacent medium of sight, so does passion require contact of the suffering body with the active agents. But Christ’s body, according as it is under the sacrament, as stated above (1, ad 2; 76, 5), is not compared with its surroundings through the intermediary of its own dimensions, whereby bodies touch each other, but through the dimensions of the bread and wine; consequently, it is those species which are acted upon and are seen, but not Christ’s own body. **

Reply to Objection 1**.** Christ is said not to have given His mortal and passible body at the supper, because He did not give it in mortal and passible fashion. But the Cross made His flesh adapted for eating, inasmuch as this sacrament represents Christ’s Passion.

Reply to Objection 2**.** This argument would hold, if Christ’s body, as it was passible, were also present in a passible manner in this sacrament.

Reply to Objection 3. As stated above (76, 4), the accidents of Christ’s body are in this sacrament by real concomitance, but not by the power of the sacrament, whereby the substance of Christ’s body comes to be there. And therefore the power of the sacramental words extends to this, that the body, i.e. Christ’s, is under this sacrament, whatever accidents really exist in it.** **
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You have to read this carefully, and I am quite sure that I do not grasp the whole of it. But it seems to me that Thomas is saying that Christ gave the disciples His MORTAL (passible) body at the last supper (however he GAVE IT sacramental in a NON-mortal and NON-passible FASHION).

We are in deep mysterious territory here. It seems that more study (and prayer and adoration!) are required. We certainly have to approach this topic with as much humility of heart and docility of mind that we can muster.

All of the preceeding may help us grapple with your question. If it is true that the Last Supper communion is indeed Christ in his mortal body, BUT IN A SACRAMENTAL WAY, then that presence is the same as Christ in the Eucharist, who is present in His Glorified Body but in the SAME sacramental way. Sacramentally, through the miracle and mystery of transubstantiation, Christ is present in SUBSTANCE but not in quantity (which is an accident). Extension is space is an accident. Therefore when the eucharist is fractured Christ’s body is not fractured or divided in any way.

Just as Christ was present in multiple places (substantially present!) BY POWER OF THE SACRAMENT during the Last Supper, so too is Christ present in multiple places by power of the sacrament today. Perhaps it is not, after all, the property of his glorified body that allows this after all, but rather the property of the sacrament.

Please, other more knowledgeable board members that can develop this more help us out!

Adoro te Devote
VC

He is both Physically Present, and Sacramentally Present (His Real Presence) Body, Blood, Soul AND Divinity. He is not bound to this physical world, He is Supernatural, Both Human and Divine. He can be everywhere at once.

Allhers,

That seems like a good way to think about it, because you seem to be saying that it is Christ in HIS DIVINITY that makes it possible for Him to be in many places at once. This would coincide with what I was getting at above, that Christ is present in many places due to the SACRAMENTAL nature of the Eucharist (since the sacraments derive their power from the Divine Nature).

The point is, then, that the “multiplicity” of places is not a function of Christ’s Glorified Body, but rather of His Sacramental Presence – because Christ didn’t have a Glorified Body at the first Eucharist.

But – I have often heard, as Niethan the orginal poster was pointing out, that the reason that Christ can be present in so many places is because He has a Glorified Body. But is that precise? What about the Last Supper then?

Look at what the Balitmore Catechism III said:
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Q. 883. Is Jesus Christ present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist, under the form of either bread or wine?

A. Jesus Christ is present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist under the form of either bread or wine; for His body in the Eucharist is in a glorified state, and as it partakes of the character of a spiritual substance, it requires no definite size or shape.

Huh? That could explain the Real Presence now, but not at the last supper (unless, Christ gave the disciples his resurrected body at the Last Supper – and there are indications, see above posts quoting Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Hardon, etc, that this is not the case.)

See Pope Paul VI , The Credo of the People of God

We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross

, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence.

Now THIS seems to confirm St. Thomas, Fr. Hardon, etc that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ at the last supper was the mortal body, whereas the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity that WE receive at mass is the Glorified Body.

If this is the case, then we run into a problem when we say that Christ is able to be present in the tabernacles throughout the world because He has a glorified body. That would be an imprecise thing to say. It is true that He is present in all the tabernacles of the world IN His Glorfied state . . . but not because of it.

**

[quote=Neithan]One obstacle of faith in the Real Presence for me has always been the conundrum of multi-location: how can Christ be fully, physically present in multiple Hosts at the same time? This defies all our understanding of the natural world at its most basic level. ).
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of course it does, God created the natural world and its laws, and can use it to His own purposes, and did use in order to reveal Himself in the Incarnation. The Incarnation itself defies our understanding of the natural world, and Transubstantiation is part of the mystery of the Incarnation. That is why this is a mystery, because it cannot be understood on purely natural terms and explained in terms of the laws of nature. It can only be known through Divine Revelation.

I don’t understand why you think God has such limitations.

The real answer is a simple one:

LOCATION IS AN ACCIDENT.

That is the correct answer.

Christ is not in multiple locations, only the accidents of bread and wine are…but that is fine, because obviously different pieces of bread can be in different places when they are consecrated.

The Nine broad Aristotilean categories of accident (what something Subjectively is as opposed to Objectively) are:

Quantity
Quality
Relation
Action
Passion
Location
Posture
Temporality
State

The accidents do not change in the Eucharist. Subjectively, relative to how they effect and relate to the rest of the world, the bread and wine remain the same. This is the Accidents.

But OBJECTIVELY, they have become absolutely, in and of themselves in their reality, the Christ Jesus.

Substance does not exist in a place, because place is an accident which inheres in a substance due to it being relative to other things.

Christ “only” present SUBSTANTIALLY in the Eucharist. Not accidently. And place is an accident.

Christ is present in many places only through the accidents of DIFFERENT pieces of bread and wine. But only one substance is “linked to” all those different accidents, as it were.

This should provide NO worry for people.

You don’t even need to say “oh, its a mystery of God, don’t question it.”

It IS a mystery. But as the Church is always telling us, a Mystery is NOT something we can know nothing about.

There are philosophical and theological explanations for all of this. It posed NO problems for the scholastic theologians.

And the fact that your priest says that it is a point of hard faith for him, makes me think he wasn’t educated theologically very well.

That’s where we get the term…
“We walk by faith and not by sight.”

Pray on it always…I still can’t figure out how a FAX works…but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen

As for the Eucharist at the last supper, most of the great theologians believed that it was Christ’s present, mortal, unglorified body which the Apostles recieved.

But again, location is an accident, and transubstantiation is in NO way dependent on the substance being glorified, so this poses no problem.

Christ has one substance. Its intrinsic accidents appear as a body etc. But in the last supper, bread and wine became his substance as well, so he took on the accidents (including place) of the bread and wine too. Christ in his visible body was both objectively and subjectively Christ. In the bread and wine, he was only objectively Christ, not subjectively.

Of course, being chewed, digested, etc is a function of the ACCIDENTS of something (because it has to do with how it interacts relative to other things) so under the form of the sacrament…Christ is not hurt at all by being eaten…or seen…because it is accidents which are seen, or effected by their surroundings…

As Aquinas said:

“Yet there was present in the sacrament, in an impassible manner, that which was passible of itself; just as that was there invisibly which of itself was visible. For as sight requires that the body seen be in contact with the adjacent medium of sight, so does passion require contact of the suffering body with the active agents. But Christ’s body, according as it is under the sacrament, as stated above (1, ad 2; 76, 5), is not compared with its surroundings through the intermediary of its own dimensions, whereby bodies touch each other, but through the dimensions of the bread and wine; consequently, it is those species which are acted upon and are seen, but not Christ’s own body.”

This is very enlightening, thank you all! It’s amazing how deep the faith is… there really is no bottom to it. Even a genius with 200 IQ (Aquinas) never reached the limits. Yet it is at its heart so simple to grasp.

[quote=Verbum Caro]Just as Christ was present in multiple places (substantially present!) BY POWER OF THE SACRAMENT during the Last Supper, so too is Christ present in multiple places by power of the sacrament today. Perhaps it is not, after all, the property of his glorified body that allows this after all, but rather the property of the sacrament.

This is a real epiphany for me, thank you! My focus was all wrong. Would it be correct to say, that Christ, by His Divinity, takes on the accidents of bread and wine as His body and blood, but that there is no actual human flesh and blood involved?
I don’t mean that He is physically Incarnating Himself anew, but that His Incarnation takes on bread and wine as its actual body and blood in substance? Is that right? This would allow for both the pre-cavalry and post-cavalry Eucharistic Presence without any logical difficulties–although it would eliminate the point of any debate between a glorified or mortal body… since the bread and wine become His very Body and Blood. Maybe I’m simplifying it too much.

I’m concerned about that quote from the Baltimore Catechism… that seems to be incorrect if we are shifting the basis of the change in substance from Christ’s glorified state to His Divinity. Is that quote dogmatic in itself?

LOCATION IS AN ACCIDENT…

Christ in his visible body was both objectively and subjectively Christ. In the bread and wine, he was only objectively Christ, not subjectively.
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I’m getting it now! Tell me if I understand properly based on this analogy:

‘Christ’ in His Body and Blood is a physical substance like, say, rock or tree. The accidents of rocks and trees are, among other things: their location; stone (for rocks); or wood (for trees). There are billions of trees on the planet, but the substance ‘Tree’ is one, and present in each one fully.

So, hypothetically, a ‘transubstantiated’ Tree is one where the substance of ‘Tree’ objectively inheres in something which does not possess its subjective accidents. It would be as if ‘Tree’ existed substantially in the accidents of rock (was made of stone etc. etc.) Is this along the right thinking?

And the fact that your priest says that it is a point of hard faith for him, makes me think he wasn’t educated theologically very well.

Well, he did study in Rome. He’s getting on in years though, and that was a long time ago. So perhaps he wasn’t the best student and has forgotten a lot. I’ll bring this discussion up with him and see what he says.

‘Christ’ in His Body and Blood is a physical substance like, say, rock or tree. The accidents of rocks and trees are, among other things: their location; stone (for rocks); or wood (for trees). There are billions of trees on the planet, but the substance ‘Tree’ is one, and present in each one fully.

Well, the universal nature “tree” is in each one…but there is also a specific substance for THAT tree at THAT specific time.

So, hypothetically, a ‘transubstantiated’ Tree is one where the substance of ‘Tree’ objectively inheres in something which does not possess its subjective accidents. It would be as if ‘Tree’ existed substantially in the accidents of rock (was made of stone etc. etc.) Is this along the right thinking?

Well, not exactly. The tree would not be made of stone. But it would LOOK as if it were a stone. And it would effect everything as if it were a stone. But in reality it is a tree.

Accidents are how something effects everything else, relative to them. How they interact with things.

But imagine if something was relative to nothing else. If it was the only thing in the universe. It would not have color, because there would be no photons to bounce off it, nor eyes to see them. It would not have a location relative to anything else because it would take up the whole universe. But it would still objectively exist as whatever it was.

Things are NOT merely the sum of their effects on other things. They have a substantial reality that is objective and self-contained.

[quote=batteddy]Well, the universal nature “tree” is in each one…but there is also a specific substance for THAT tree at THAT specific time.
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What is present in the Eucharist, then: Christ’s Body in its ‘universal nature’ or as a specific substance at a specific time? How would the latter be possible, as that would seem to make many Bodies of Christ rather than one indivisible, present fully in each and every consecrated Host.
What is the difference between a ‘universal nature’ and an objective substance?
For the analogy to Christ’s Body and Blood, is it really necessary to differentiate the two? There is only One Incarnation, therefore His Body is a ‘universal nature’ unto itself, yes?

Christ is specifically present.

There are not many bodies, however. Many different pieces of bread transubstantiate in many different places. As such, Christ takes on many different sets of accidents…including different places. But it is the one substance of Christ which is taking on all the different accidents.

Christ is specifically present in the Eucharist.

But there aren’t many bodies. Many different pieces of bread are transubstantiated. Therefore, Christ takes on many different sets of accidents, including place. But it is one substance taking on the different sets of accidents.

But now we’re back at square one. If we are equating the specific substance of Christ’s Body and Blood with the analogy of a specific tree in a specific time… then how can Christ’s specific spacial/temporal substance exist in many different spaces at the same time? Obviously it can not be specific to both space and time (same time, different spaces), and since we are now discussing substance objectively we can’t dismiss the difficulty with recourse to the accident. You mentioned that location is an accident, but then you state that substance is specific to space and time; isn’t that a contradiction?

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