21. THE MATTER, FORM, AND MINISTER OF THE EUCHARIST (TODAY)

The Church has designated that each of the seven sacraments has a matter, form, and minister needed to bring about the full effects of the sacrament. The matter are the things (usually physical) needed for the sacrament to be present. The form are the verbatim words that need to be said to bring about the sacrament. The minister is the person who confers the sacrament to the recipient. Usually, the minister has received Holy Orders that transferred the power of the Spirit necessary for the sacrament from the time of Pentecost to present day through Apostolic succession. 

For the Eucharist to be validly celebrated, the Church has stated that the matter of the Eucharist is wheat bread and grape wine. The bread must have no other ingredients besides wheat, water, and flour. It may be very low in gluten (just enough gluten to affect the confection of bread). However, it cannot be gluten free, for it would then cease to be wheat bread. The wine must have specific alcoholic content with exceptions can be made for priests who are recovering alcoholics through bishop dispensation. The wine must be mixed with water at consecration, but the amount of water in the mixture cannot be greater than the amount of wine.

The form of the Eucharist is: Take this all of you and eat of it for this My Body which will be given up for you. Do this in memory of Me. . . Take this, all of you, and drink from it for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me. Because the minister is using the words of Jesus and standing in his person, the minister of the Eucharist must be a bishop or priest. They have to say the exact words stated by the Church and have the same intention that the Church has for the sacrament to be present. They can only confect the Eucharist by virtue of their ordination, not their worthiness. Even if the soul of the minister is in the state of mortal sin, they can still confect the Eucharist. The Minister is the only one at mass required to receive both the Body and the Blood, they must give out communion to everyone else. In cases of need, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are permitted to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ, but they must have received the Eucharist from the minister first. 

There are also some requirements for those who receive the Eucharist. First, we must be baptized Catholics who truly believe in the presence of Jesus. It is acceptable to have doubts as long as we are struggling through them and are not in a place of denial. Next, we must be faithful Catholics in the state of grace. This means that we must not have committed a mortal sin since our last sincere repentance in confession. Finally, the Church asks for us to fast one hour from all food and drink except water and medicine before receiving Jesus.

Originally published in Prime Soil Magazine | Vol. 1 No. 2

Originally presented at The 10th National Eucharistic Congress in July 2024

THE EUCHARISTIC TIMELINE

THE EUCHARISTIC TIMELINE

At the National Eucharistic Congress, Decided Excellence Catholic Media - with the help of Bishop William Waltersheid - will be presenting "Beautiful Revelation: The Eucharistic Timeline". Throughout human history, God has left repeated proof of His presence in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Salvation. God has given us the wisdom. Have you taken the time to understand? Read this spiritual journey through time to examine critical moments that God uses to reveal the truth of the Body of Christ.

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