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Daniel Nazar wrote:

Hi, guys —

What is the name of the doctrine (if that's the right term) of the timelessness of the Holy Eucharist being the one and same event that was instituted by Christ; the partaking which is not a re-enactment, but the one and very same act, because neither God, nor what He did for us in the Eucharist, is bound by the limits of time.

  • Is there a word for the timelessness or same-time-ness, if you will?
  • Is that word amnesis, or something like that?
  • Or am I on the wrong track, theologically, and lexically?

In either or both cases, please straighten me out — if my question makes any sense.

Dan N.

  { What is the name of the term or doctrine related to the timelessness of the Eucharist at Mass? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Dan —

It is common to speak of the Eucharist being a re-presentation of Calvary. There is not, to my knowledge, a specific term for this; the term you are thinking of, anamnesis, simply means a memorial sacrifice and doesn't imply timelessness to my knowledge.

I wasn't clear if you are referring to the Last Supper or Calvary; in the latter case, you'd be right on target theologically.

Eric

Dan replied:

Thanks Eric,

I know that what you say is right. Jesus, the Christ gave His life, His Body and Blood, for us and for all, at Calvary, but was the Last Supper, then:

  1. an establishment of fellowship
  2. a perpetual fellowship, or
  3. a covenant of fellowship with humankind?
  • If so, then why don't we use the words of that meal with the broken Bread and shared Cup at Mass?
  • Why don't we use the words of "consecration" from Good Friday?
  • Were the words of the Last Supper added or incorporated later by an Evangelist, St. Paul or
    the Magisterium?

And even if so, would it still not have been Christ's intent?; He did institute every sacrament.

  • If it were instituted by His action on the Cross, why weren't the words on the night before his death, during the Last Supper, used?

I believe but it still makes me think, maybe too much, without the basic knowledge or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Also, the word for the timelessness or not being bound by time (and space) still bugs me.

  • Could there be a newly coined word which denotes the "one-and-same-time—ness" of the celebration of Eucharist, rather than anamnesis, which, as you say, is only a memorial, and which to some, could imply not being the Real and Living Sacrifice?

Dan N., another Catholic

Mike replied:

Hi Dan,

Let me follow-up on Eric's reply to you.

You said:
... was the Last Supper, then:

  1. an establishment of fellowship
  2. a perpetual fellowship, or
  3. a covenant of fellowship with humankind?

Yes, Yes, Yes, but to varying degrees, more # 2 and 3, than #1.

You said:

  • If so, then why don't we use the words of that meal with the broken Bread and shared Cup at Mass?
  • Why don't we use the words of "consecration" from Good Friday?
  • Were the words of the Last Supper added or incorporated later by an Evangelist, St. Paul or the Magisterium?

And even if so, would it still not have been Christ's intent?; He did institute every sacrament.

  • If it were instituted by His action on the Cross, why weren't the words on the night before his death, during the Last Supper, used?

I think these set of questions are requiring a literalistic proof, we can't give or know for certain.

First, three of the Gospels accounts recount the Last Supper:

  • Luke 22:19
  • Mark 14:22, and
  • Matthew 26:26

We do use the exact words for the consecration of the bread into Our Lord's Body, as He spoke them on Good Friday. "This is my Body."

Granted, when talking about the Divine Words Our Savior used during the consecration of the wine into His Blood, we don't use, in any of the three passages, the exact words (my colleagues can correct me if I'm wrong), but in all three passages, they are almost saying the exact thing
Our Lord said on Good Friday.

  • How was it decided to use the words we say at Mass as a remembrance of the exact words Our Lord said on Good Friday?

This probably falls into the area or non-binding oral tradition; things Jesus talked to his Apostles about and his Apostles passed on to their successors. I think it's important to trust the Church as much as we would trust the very words of Our Blessed Lord Himself.

  • Why?

Because Our Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and their successors to guide them on issues of faith and morals and the most important issue on faith and morals, is how we worship as Catholics.

For this reason, any Catholic can know with confidence that any Mass the Vatican approves, Jesus has approved. Jesus is working through the Pope to bring the various approved forms of the Mass for the faithful. To this day in the Roman Rite, we have two approved forms, ordinary and extra-ordinary form; also known as the Novus Ordo and Tridentine or Latin Mass.

You said:

  • Were the words of the Last Supper added or incorporated later by an Evangelist, St. Paul or the Magisterium?

I don't believe we have any knowledge of the exact words that the Early Church used during the consecration at Mass but they are certainly words similar to, if not exact to, the words Our Lord used at the Last Supper. This would be approved Church-wide later by the Magisterium, in the form of the first Missal for the Mass.

I hope this answers your questions.

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Dan —

I gave this to a theologian I trust and he said:

I believe what the questioner is looking for is “re-presentation” (with that hyphen being most significant), that is, the Eucharist is the literal making present of the Sacrifice of the Cross. See the Catechism, paragraph 1366 and surrounding numbers.

Fr. Jonathan

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