The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith.
The unique beliefs Catholics hold to about the Eucharist sets us apart from other Christians.
Take this fun quiz to find out how much you know about the Eucharist!
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PLAY CATHOLIC TRIVIA: The Eucharist!
When you’re done, remember to scroll aaaaall the way down, for complete answers and explanations – and to dive a little deeper into the Catholic Faith!
1. The Eucharist is a…
This is the central truth of the Catholic Faith, and what distinguishes is from other Christian faiths. The Eucharist is not a symbol or a metaphor.
It’s the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Christ is fully present in the Eucharist (CCC 1377).
When Jesus consecrated the first loaves of bread and chalice of wine at the Last Supper, he said, “This is my Body, this is my blood.” (Luke 22:19-20). We have to take Jesus at his word. He’s not speaking metaphorically or symbolically. There’s no hidden meaning. Jesus is simply speaking the Truth.
And then there’s the fact that Jesus actually preached to the crowds that they have to “Eat my Body and drink my blood.” The Jewish people didn’t like that! This sounded like crazy talk to them!
So what did they do? They began to leave him in droves. They walked away, and Jesus let them.
He even turned to his apostles and asked, “Will you leave me, too?” (John 6:60-68).
Why would he do this, if he was just speaking metaphorically about the Eucharist being his body and blood? Why didn’t he clarify his theology?
It’s because it’s plain and clear: Jesus wasn’t speaking metaphorically or symbolically. He was speaking literally.
So then, how do we get that the Eucharist is a “sacrifice?”
Look again at his words at the Consecration: “My body, given up for you… My blood, shed for you.” Jesus gave his entire self for us at the Crucifixion. He gave every last drop of his blood, and every last inch of his body. He submitted himself to suffering, torture, and even death. He did so willingly, as a sacrifice to save us from our sins. (CCC 1365).
The Eucharist is the same sacrifice. It’s every drop of his blood, every inch of his body. It’s entirely him. And it’s given for us, to us. A sacrifice. THE Sacrifice. Any time the Mass is celebrated, the Sacrifice at Calvary is made present again to us. (CCC 1366)
Isn’t that incredible?!
2. The Eucharist is a sacrament of…
The Sacraments of Initiation are: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist. (CCC 121@)These three Sacraments bring us into full Communion with the Catholic Church.
Baptism is the Sacrament by which we enter God’s family. (CCC 1213)
Confirmation is the Sacrament by which we are confirmed, or sealed in the Holy Spirit, strengthening our Baptism and increasing the gifts of the Spirit within us. (CCC 1303).
The Eucharist is the Sacrament by which we express our full communion with Christ and his Church. (CCC 1391, 1396)
The Eucharist also has healing powers, but it’s primarily a Sacrament of communion, or unity.
3. Which Mysteries of the Rosary contain the Institution of the Eucharist?
Answer: The Luminous Mysteries.
As a kid, I always thought it was interesting that the Rosary didn’t contain the CENTRAL mystery of our Catholic Faith: The Eucharist! So I was in the excited camp when the luminous mysteries were released, and the Institution of the Eucharist was included.
It made the Rosary feel more complete to me. I love using the Rosary to meditate on the mysteries of Jesus public ministry, as well as the traditional mysteries found in the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries.
The Luminous Mysteries Include:
- The Baptism of Jesus
- The Wedding at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
4. The Bread of Life Discourse can be found in the Gospel of…
It’s very interesting that the Gospel of John doesn’t include a narrative of the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper – but at the same time is chock full of discussion about the spiritual and theological truths of the Eucharist.
The Bread of Life Discourse is a lengthy discussion in which Jesus lays down the hard truth about himself being the “Bread of Life” – at which claim, many of his followers walk away, and Jesus lets them.
It also discusses the importance of worthy reception of the Eucharist, reveals the superabundance of the Eucharist, and ties the Eucharist to our eternal salvation.
You can read the Bread of Life Discourse in John Chapter 6, and maybe spend sometime meditating about it!
5. The “form” of the Eucharist is…
Answer: “This is my body; this is my blood.”
The Sacraments have what we refer to as “form” and “matter.”
The matter of the sacrament is the “physical stuff” necessary for the Sacrament. For example, the matter of Baptism is water. Baptism cannot be performed without water. The matter of the Eucharist is the bread and wine: the physical things we need for this sacrament.
The form of the sacrament is the words we pray. So, the form of Baptism is, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” There was some debate in the early Christian Church whether it’s valid to baptize “In the name of John” or “In the name of Paul.” And the answer is no. These are not valid baptisms, because they’re not done in the proper form.
Likewise, the form of the Eucharist is the words of consecration: “Take this, all of you and eat of it… This is my Body… This is my blood… Do this in memory of me.” Priests may absolutely not altar or mess with or altar these words in any way, for any reason. These words are the form of the Sacrament, and must be proclaimed in this way to have a valid consecration.
This may not be what you think of when you hear the word “form” in lay terms. But there’s a whole dictionary’s worth of Catholic theological terms out there we could learn!
6. Reception of the Eucharist forgives…
Answer: Venial Sin.
Let’s go through the other options first.
Why doesn’t the Eucharist forgive original sin? Original sin (and in fact, ALL sin) is washed away by the Sacrament of Baptism. A person must be baptized, welcomed into the Church, before that person is allowed to receive the Eucharist and express their full communion with the Church.
In Baptism, Original sin is washed away. And it doesn’t come back. It’s not a sin we can commit over and over. It’s more of a condition of the soul that we’re born with, that we need to be healed from once and for all. (CCC 1236, 1272)
Well, why doesn’t the Eucharist forgive mortal sin? To understand this, we first need to know what mortal sin is. Mortal sin is a sin in a grave matter, that a person commits with full knowledge and full freedom of the will. By committing mortal sin, a person gravely rejects God and his commandments in a way that totally separates him from God’s grace. A person turns his back on God through mortal sin, and loses the state of grace in his soul. Can a person who so fully rejects God receive the Eucharist – a sign of communion with Christ and his Church? No, that’s not allowed, because that person has chosen to live apart from God’s grace. Thus, to express communion with God while living apart from his grace is a lie. So, far from forgiving the mortal sin, reception of the Eucharist in the state of mortal sin adds further mortal sin to the soul. For this reason, if you’re in the state of mortal sin, you must seek confession before receiving the Eucharist. (CCC 1385)
However, if you have mortal sins on your soul, you’re not entirely cut off from God’s grace, though your relationship with him is stained and weakened. The Eucharist has healing and restorative power. If you have venial sins on your soul, you are still in communion with God and his Church, and may receive the Eucharist to help strengthen and restore your relationship with him. Your venial sins are forgiven when you receive the Eucharist! (CCC 1394)
7. What is it called when a priest gives a special blessing with the Eucharist displayed in a monstrance?
Exposition is when the priest “exposes” Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in the monstrance. It’s the beginning of the time of Eucharistic Adoration.
Adoration is the time of quiet prayer in which the Eucharist remains exposed in the monstrance. Sometimes, Adoration is accompanied by vocal prayer or meditative music. The word “Adoration” itself refers to the act of adoring and worshiping God.
Benediction is the blessing with the Eucharist exposed in the Monstrance. This is usually done at the end of a period of Adoration. The priest wears a special cape called a “humeral veil.” With the cape covering his hands the priest holds up the monstrance and blesses the faithful with the Sign of the Cross. There are special prayers and hymns that are typically associated with both Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.
Benediction is a most beautiful and special blessing. If you’ve never been to Benediction, I strongly encourage you to go sometime!
8. The mystery of the bread and wine changing into the body and blood of Christ is called…
Let’s start with the big no-go first. Consubstantiation is a term for the belief that after the consecration, Christ’s body and blood are present, but that the bread and wine remain present alongside the body and blood of Christ. This belief is a heresy – so don’t believe it!!
Next up, consecration vs transubstantiation. Consecration is the moment at Mass when the priest says the words “This is my body… This is my blood” over the bread and wine, holding them in his hands. It’s a part of the Mass.
During this part of the Mass, a mystery occurs. The bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine cease to exist, even though the appearances of bread and wine remain. The entire substance of the host is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. It’s okay if this doesn’t totally make sense to you – it’s one of those mysteries that we will never fully understand in this life!
For more on Transubstantiation, see: CCC 1373-1377.
9. The Principal Fruit of Worthy Reception of the Eucharist is…
Answer: Union with Christ.
The Eucharist has many fruits.
Among these fruits: the forgiveness of (venial) sins, which we discusses in question six. Another important fruit: unity with the Church – the Body of Christ here on earth. As we mentioned in questions one and six, when we receive the Eucharist, we express our communion with the Church, her members, and all she teaches.
But among these and other fruits of the Eucharist, the primary (or most important fruit) is union with Christ. When we receive the Eucharist, we receive him, body, blood, soul, and divinity – sacrificed for us. He gives himself in love for us. He unites himself to us in love. He comes into our bodies and remains with us physically. And he draws us up into him to share in his love, and to partake in his divinity. (CCC 1391)
What a beautiful and miraculous Sacrament!
We must remember the great blessing and gift the Eucharist is, so that we don’t receive it lightly, irreverently, or out of mere habit.
10. Will we receive the Eucharist in heaven?
This is something I struggle with. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. How is it possible that we will we not have it in heaven?
The Eucharist is food for the journey. It strengthens us, and forgives our sins. It draws us closer to Christ.
But in heaven, the journey is over. In heaven, faith passes away and we live in possession of the Beatific Vision. We no longer need food for the journey, because the journey is complete. We no longer need to be strengthened for the road, because we have arrived at our destination. We no longer need forgiveness of sins, because we are perfected in sanctity. We no longer need to be drawn closer to Christ, because we will be fully united to him in love.
The union with Christ we experience in heaven will be the fulfillment of the Eucharistic union we experience here on earth. What we receive a foreshadowing of on earth, by our reception of the Eucharist, we will receive fully in heaven.
So, not having the Eucharist will not be a loss. Because we won’t be losing something. We’ll be gaining the fullness of something – fullness of union with Christ.
So, whenever you receive the Eucharist here on earth, strive to do so with your heart as close to Christ as possible, striving for union with him, and with great longing for heaven.
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