“ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA”
A. What is it?
“Ecclesia de Eucharistia” is an Encyclical by Pope St John Paul II
It was published on April 17, 2003
“Ecclesia de Eucharistia” is a Latin phrase for “The Church from the Eucharist”
B. What does it speak of?
“Ecclesia de Eucharistia” offers a deeper reflection on the mystery of the Eucharist in its relationship with the Church.
The goal of this encyclical was to “rekindle”, at the beginning of the Third Millennium, our “amazement” at the mystery that is the Eucharist
“Ecclesia de Eucharistia” is divided into 5 Chapters:
(i) The Mystery of Faith: It explains the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist which, through the ministry of the priest, makes sacramentally present at each Mass the body “given up” and the blood “poured out” by Christ for the world’s salvation.
The celebration of the Eucharist is not a repetition of Christ’s Passover. It is the one sacrifice of the Cross, which is re-presented until the end of time.
(ii) “The Eucharist Builds the Church”: When the faithful approach the sacred banquet, not only do they receive Christ, but they in turn are received by Him.
The Church is united to Her Lord Who, veiled by the Eucharistic species, dwells within Her and builds Her up.
(iii) “The Apostolicity of the Eucharist and of the Church”: ust as the full reality of Church does not exist without apostolic succession, so there is no true Eucharist without the Bishop. The priest who celebrates the Eucharist acts in the person of Christ the Head.
(iv) “The Eucharist and Ecclesial Communion”: Faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, united in the discipline of the sacraments, she must also manifest in a visible manner her invisible unity.
(v) “The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration”: The celebration of the Holy Mass is marked by outward signs aimed at emphasizing the joy which assembles the community around the Incomparable Gift of the Eucharist.
(vi) “At the School of Mary, ‘Woman of the Eucharist’”: Reflects on the analogy between the Mother of God, who by bearing the Body of Jesus in Her Womb became the first “tabernacle”, and the Church who in Her heart, preserves and offers to the world, Christ’s Body and Blood.
The Eucharist is given to believers so that their life may become a continuous Magnificat in honor of the Most Holy Trinity.
C. Pointers for Reflections
- “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” strongly promotes Eucharistic devotion outside of the Mass as a Source of Grace for deepening our own Faith as well as increasing Communion within the Universal Church
“The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass, we are enabled to make contact with the very Wellspring of Grace.
A Christian community desirous of contemplating the Face of Christ… cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our Communion in the Body and Blood of the Lord
- The Encyclical clarifies and sheds light on the allegation that the Catholic Church is attempting to “re-crucify Jesus” every time Mass is celebrated.
The Mass makes present the Sacrifice of the Cross; it does not add to that sacrifice nor does it multiply it.
What is repeated is its memorial celebration, its “commemorative representation” (memorialis demonstratio), which makes Christ’s One, Definitive Redemptive Sacrifice always present in time.
D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” for this Season of Lent?
- Trying to spend more time in Eucharistic Adoration
- Learning more about the Teaching on the Holy Eucharist, and trying to explain to those who don’t understand/misunderstand the Holy Mass
E. Tips to practice these virtues
- Set apart a fixed day/time (depending on the situation and context of one’s life – either once a day/once a week/once a month)…
… to spend time with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
If possible, do so, along with the entire family/community
- Read at least the First Chapter of “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” (From articles 1-20)…
… in order, to get more clarity on the Church’s understanding of the Holy Eucharist
May this Lent and the familiarity with the Encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”
The Full Text of “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” can be found at:
God Bless! Live Jesus!