Eucharist is both a reality and a sign

March 26, 2020

The following reflection comes from Saint Meinrad co-worker Dr. Nathaniel Marx, Assistant Professor of Sacramental and Liturgical Theology. My thanks to Nathaniel for allowing me to share his thoughts.
Like many Catholics around the world, we were prevented yesterday from receiving Jesus sacramentally in the Eucharist, but we did our best as a family to celebrate the Lord’s Day and to participate spiritually in the communion of Christ’s Mystical Body. Now, I’m not just saying this as a sacramental theologian, but as a fellow disciple:
I was greatly comforted by the knowledge that Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is both res and sacramentum, a reality but also a sign pointing to the res tantum—the communion in Christ that we still share with all of you despite the “social distance” between us.
I felt that unity powerfully when we prayed the Our Father at the time when we would ordinarily receive communion.
If you still have the opportunity to attend Mass in person, I thank you for remembering us in a special way when you pray the words our Savior taught us and when you join the priest in asking that “we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ.” By the power of the same Holy Spirit, we pray to be with you in the one body and spirit of the Lord.

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