I once heard a priest say in a homily, “I don’t command Christ to come down into the bread and wine. That’s ridiculous.” I agree, but I don’t understand exactly why the words of institution are effecacious. Certainly priests have no authority over Christ. I know they act in persona Christi, but does that mean it is Christ acting through them to consecrate the gifts, or that they have been given some measure of authority by Christ (through apostolic succession) to perform consecration?
Said another way, how would you finish this sentence? If none of those options work, please tell me how it ought to be finished.
During the consecration…
…Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity enters the gifts, wholly replacing their substance.
…Christ joins the accidents of the gifts to the substance of his body, blood, soul and divinity.
…transubstantiation occurs as the inevitable result of an ordained priest praying the words of institution.
…Christ effects consecration of the gifts through the priest. The priest is not the principal actor.