Transubstantiation question


I know that transubstantiation takes place at the institution narratives. Bread becomes the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wine becomes His Blood, while both species continue to appear like what they were before consecration. I’m confused about when both species become the “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity” of Jesus Christ. Could someone please explain this to me? Thanks for any help.



It depends upon the liturgy used! The words of institution are not literally present in every valid form, but “integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession”. Certainly by the time the canon or anaphora is completed it has been accomplished.


At the moment of consecration the bread and wine becomes all you say"the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord". Jesus can’t be separated or divided into only his body, only his spirit or only just his ear. He comes to us bringing all that he is.


What we experience as an event in time & space, with the inevitable separation of consecration of the elements is, in fact, a single eternal dynamic that is in the NOW, which transcends all time / space. This is why we receive the crucified & risen Lord, as, in God’s view, they are two parts of a single action, which we experience over time, but He doesn’t.


When the priest says the words, “…this is my body…” and then elevates the sacred host, Jesus is present. Then next when the priest says the words, “…this is my blood…” and then elevates the chalice, Jesus is present.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.



Actually, it’s not that the bread becomes ‘body’ and the wine becomes ‘blood’ and some time later, they each become 'body, blood, soul, and divinity." In fact, each of the species become ‘body, blood, soul, and divinity’ at the moment that they become Eucharist. The theological idea in play here is called ‘concomitance’, and is mentioned here.


Thanks for that. It was very enlightening. I was confused (new on the board, so I’ve read hundreds of threads in the past week), because a respected regular posted:

"…Without getting even more specific, when the priest pronounces the words “this is My Body” the bread becomes the Body of Christ. Before that moment, it is just bread.

Same for the wine/Blood…"

Maybe I’ll just go back to my previous level of comprehension, which was, “I dunno when, but I know it’s Jesus Christ (body, blood, soul, divinity) by the time it’s offered to me.”



When Jesus becomes present under either the bread or the wind, he becomes present wholly in both. So that if a person receives only the consecrated bread, he receives the body & BLOOD, soul & divinity. And if a person receives the consecrated wine, he receives the BODY & blood, soul and divinity. So when receiving the Body, we also are receiving the whole Christ which is also his Blood. And when receiving the Blood, we also are receiving the whole Christ which is also his Body.

In summary, we cannot receive one without the other because we receive the whole Christ under whichever form He is received…mystery…miracle.

And we know that he is present when the priest ellevates the consecrated Body…it truely is his body we adore and acknowledge. And we know that he is present when the priest ellevates the consecrated Blood…it truely is his blood we adore and acknowledge.

When Jesus died on Calvary, his blood from his heart became separated from his body on the altar of the cross, and he was sacrificed for our sins. When both the consecrated Blood and consecrated Body is together on our altar, this is the sacramental sign of separation of his blood from his body, which is the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary presented again before us at Mass. The graces of Calvary are given to those at Mass in proportion as they ready and prepare themselves, believe and love Him.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.


Here are some answers:
CCC 1105:The Epiclesis (“invocation upon”) is the intercession in which the priest begs the Father to send the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, so that the offerings may become the body and blood of Christ and that the faithful by receiving them, may themselves become a living offering to God.
CCC 1353: In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ’s body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all.

Today, the answer can be found in the Catechism, but also by observing the liturgy. The Catechism says that as soon as the Institution Narrative begins, the Lord is present in the elements of bread and wine. That is why the universal law of the church directs the assembly to kneel for this part of the Eucharistic Prayer, even though in the United States we are already kneeling at that point.

The ritual direction in the sacramentary says that after the Insitution Narrative, the “priest holds the consecrated host and shows it to the congregation.” The postures and gestures and texts of the liturgy are clear that the transformation is already complete midway through the Eucharistic Prayer.

All I know is that I get chills at both the epiclesis and the “This is my…Body/Blood”.


I must take issue with what the original author wrote in that article. Specifically this:
“The Catechism says that as soon as the Institution Narrative begins, the Lord is present in the elements of bread and wine.”

The Catechism does not say that. There is no “as soon as [it] begins.”

What the Catechism does say is this:
…In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ’s body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all.
CCC 1353

The Catechism does not define the moment of consecration—neither does it deny that such a moment exists.

In the Mass, before the priest pronounces the words “this is My Body” the bread is just bread–this is true even if the rest of the institution narrative has already begun (contrary to what was written in the article). After that moment, It is the Body of Christ.

The Eastern Divine Liturgies have their own, perfectly valid, theology. I won’t address that but I’ll leave it to the proper forum.


I’m having a hard time understanding your question.

At first, I thought you were asking “how can the Body be the Blood also?” but then it seems you’re asking “when does it happen?” From reading other responses, I think others are also having difficulty understanding the question.

Could you re-phrase your question please?


This is what the Catechism says:

1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.
(emphasis added)

Not “as soon as the Institution Narrative begins” as the author claims. At the moment of the consecration.


Thanks for asking, Fr. David.

My question was confused because my understanding of Eucharistic transformation was (probably still is) confused, I think. My brain is overly linearly time-bound for understanding deep theology.

I have no doubt that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus are simultaneously present in both Eucharist forms by the time I receive communion. I was wondering when that simultaneity happened.

I thought at the respective words of institution, the bread became wholly Jesus’s Body, Soul, and Divinity, and the wine became wholly Jesus’s Blood, Soul, and Divinity (while both retaining their accidents), and at some time past that, each and both species became wholly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. So my question was *when *did that wholeness happen, now *how *or *if *it happened.

Not quite so linear a process as I’d thought, I’m coming to believe.

I’ve always enjoyed understanding process and the intellectual underpinnings of process and procedure. Even the processes that are way above my head.



So if I’m understanding your question correctly, you are asking when the Body and Blood become inseparable?


I left a long post, so I had to shorten the quote of your post to make it fit
Please pardon both my redundancy and my repetitions.

OK. I think I get it.

Allow me to try to explain concomitance, because that’s the key to this whole thing.

To do that, I’ll have to start with what I am sure you already know, so bear with me to the end, please.

Before the crucifixion, Jesus Christ was a living, whole person—body and soul. His body was whole.

At the crucifixion, the blood was separated from his body. Not only was that a historical fact (it didn’t always happen that way at crucifixions, because the victim usually suffocated) but it has important theological significance. He died because the flesh and the blood of his body were separated from each other (I know you know this, bear with me). Neither flesh nor blood can be living on its own–not truly. A body needs both, and when the blood is gone, the body is dead.

At the Resurrection, Christ’s body (his literal body, I don’t mean the Eucharist just yet) was restored and made completely whole again. Think about what that means. We know that his body became a living whole, not just an illusion, not a re-animation, but a true resurrection. That means that his body must be both flesh and blood----because if his body were only flesh without blood, then the resurrection would be a farce.

Also remember that the literal body of Christ must always be comprised of both flesh and blood; because if they were to be separated again, then He would die again. That cannot and will not happen. When He ascended into Heaven, His living body ascended----His flesh and blood together once again whole.

When the bread is consecrated by the priest it becomes the Body of Christ. Since it is the Body of Christ, then we know that it must be both the flesh and blood together. If the bread becomes only the flesh and/or the wine becomes only the blood then we would have before us two dead Christs; since flesh cannot be living unless it is united to blood, and vice versa. But we know better. We know that He can never again be dead. We know that what was once bread is now the Body of Christ. Since it is the Body, it cannot be flesh-alone because the Blood must also be there (again, otherwise it would be dead).

The question of “when does the consecration happen?” was settled by the Church more than 1,000 years ago. We know that it happens when the priest pronounces the words “this is My Body.” (Again, the caveat that I’ll leave the equally valid Eastern theology to the proper forum). Since we say that, at those words, the bread becomes the Body, it necessarily follows that it must be the living Body, and must therefore contain also the living Blood.

That’s why the Blood of Christ is present within the Body of Christ. This is still true even though the consecration over the chalice happens a few seconds later. At that particular moment, even though the wine is still wine, the Blood of Christ is present together with the flesh in the Body, under the accidents of bread.

A moment later, when the priest pronounces the words “this is the chalice of My Blood” the exact same thing happens to the wine. It becomes the living Blood of the living Christ. Since It is living, It cannot be blood-without-flesh (such would be dead), but is instead the whole of Christ, under the accidents of wine.

So, the question of “when are the Flesh and Blood of Christ re-united?” is really answered by saying “that already happened at the Resurrection, and they can never be separated again.” While the question of “when does the bread become the flesh and blood of Christ together and re-united?” is answered by saying “at the very moment when the bread becomes the living Body.” The same for the wine.

Further ramblings:

For liturgical purposes, the priest adds a small piece of the Consecrated Host into the chalice during the Lamb of God; but even before this, the Flesh and Blood are present under both species equally.

I think what causes the confusion here is the vocabulary we use. We (quite rightly) call the ‘bread’ the Body of Christ, and call the ‘wine’ the Blood of Christ—but those are only human words which, all by themselves, don’t convey the entire reality. Of course, we need vocabulary to distinguish between what’s in the ciborium and what’s in the chalice; but a consequence of that is that we sometimes forget that even though the accidents are different, the substance in both is absolutely identical.

It’s an interesting coincidence of language that we say “the Body of Christ.” We’re speaking more truth than we sometimes realize. Yes, it is the Body of Christ, and that means that it is both Flesh and Blood. When I distribute Communion, I don’t say “the Flesh of Christ” but “the Body” because the living Christ is there. Unfortunately, the language doesn’t work for what’s in the chalice. We still say “the Blood of Christ” but what we mean is “the living Blood” so the flesh is there as well.


Wow. Thanks for that. You’re a good teacher, Fr. David.

I never used to care about explanation of such things. They just were. I’ve never had to struggle with a developing faith. Since before I can place time, I’ve always known for a surety (totally undeserved Grace) that God lived and that Jesus was present in the Eucharist.

Now I feel, for some reason, pulled toward an intellectual understanding of many of the things I’d previously accepted because they resonate with me as true.

Thanks for your patience and thorough teaching and explanation as I try to properly combine the intellectual with the spiritual.



This is confusing. So Jesus comes down in the form of bread and wine every time a priest completes the ritual? If that is the case, why is he not invoked for other times? Especially now with everything that is going on in the world?


Not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean ‘in other ways’? The Eucharist is the only way that Christ gave us to make Him Really, Truly, substantially present.

Or, what do you mean by ‘other times’? Do you mean ‘outside the context of the Mass’? The Mass is the only context in which the Eucharist can be confected. No other contexts are possible.


Why is it not possible? Why is it only limited to the Eucharist?


It is possible for a valid priest to confect the Eucharist outside of the Mass, but it is grave matter and against Canon Law to do so.

Can. 927 It is absolutely wrong, even in urgent and extreme necessity, to consecrate one element without the other, or even to consecrate both outside the eucharistic celebration.

It is also possible for Jesus to manifest Himself bodily in any fashion, because, being God, He is not bound by humans or by the Sacraments. But Jesus appearing in a vision or in the Second Coming would not be the same as the Eucharist.

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