What You Need to Know
First and foremost, the Eucharist is one of the seven sacraments, by which Jesus Christ is made present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in order that we might be joined to Him in Holy Communion. For this reason, the Eucharist can scarcely be discussed without reference to the Mass, at which this sacrament is confected.However, the Mass is treated in this series as a separate item. Here we propose a deeper understanding of the entire Eucharistic mystery.It is difficult to bring all facets of this rich mystery together succinctly in one place, but many aspects were touched on briefly in a 2006 address by the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.Many popes have written extensively on the Eucharist. In 2003, John Paul II issued a fairly brief encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, which emphasized the importance of the Eucharist in the building up of the Church, while also touching on many other aspects of the sacrament.In 2005, the eleventh annual assembly of the world Synod of Bishops was devoted to the topic of the Eucharist. This great work was brought to completion with the promulgation in 2007 of Benedict XVI's comprehensive apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacrament of Love.
If you only have time to look at three things, LOOK AT THESE.
- Eucharistic Mystery Calls for Our Response
- On the Eucharist in its Relationship to the Church
- Sacrament of Love (Sacramentum Caritatis)
And if you've got more time...
A search in CatholicCulture.org's library will bring up innumerable articles on the Eucharist.
There is a corresponding item in this series which focuses specifically on the all-important Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
For a succinct treatment of the Mass, of which the Eucharist is the center, see the corresponding entry in this series on the Mass.