Tansubstantiation and Epiclesis

Transubstantiation – This is the inner transformation of the substance. The change from the Bread and wine into the Body and Blood is ontological. Ontological is that aspect of having the inner transformation through faith in God and not in man. Ontological has to do with God while the physical appearance has to do with man.

So, to transubstantiate is the inner transformation from bread to body but the external appearance remains the same.

Epiclesis – The Payer that convokes the Holy Spirit to come down and make the gifts of Bread and Wine into Body and Blood.


Real Presence of Jesus in The Eucharist (Transubstantiation)

The real presence is well understood by the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas who was a great Church Philosopher-Theologian

Through the term transubstantiation, we derive the term ‘trans‘ and ‘substance‘ to mean the ‘change of a substance

Now, let us understand that in Philosophy, there is a Substance and an Accident.

A substance is an underlying reality and an accident becomes the characteristics that control the way a substance appears. For instance, the image of a chair. This chair in its reality, is a substance, but we can modify its appearance by giving it a different colour from the previous one, therefore, we modify its appearance by the accident of colour and its reality as a chair remains the substance.

Now, in the Eucharist, the substance is transformed but the accidents are not transformed, that is, if the Eucharist is placed under the microscope, there will still appear molecules that constitute bread, it will still be the same kind of wheat. Because we are in a physical world, and as human beings, we have the accidents that are fitting to our nature.

So, the underlying reality is Being. St. Thomas Aquinas defines Being as an active existing. The Eucharist before undergoing the trans, it was fundamentally material, and after trans, it is fundamentally spiritual reality/Being.

The accidents are not determinative of the essential nature of the Being, they only modify the appearance of the Eucharist. The essential nature of the Being after consecration is a spiritual Being and this spiritual Being is the Body of Christ. Its non-essential characteristics (accident) which control its appearance physical are still the molecules for bread; they are the part of reality that governs its presence and appearance in the material world as physical Being.

In Essential, its reality has changed from physical to the spiritual that is the very risen Body of Jesus the new reality.

I would love to apply the Doctrine of Transubstantiation to the Gospel of John Chapter 6 in the next article, then after this, you will be able to see the proof of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist

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4 thoughts on “Tansubstantiation and Epiclesis”

  1. I understand, that to transubstantiate is to have inner transformation but the external appearance remains intact. Right?

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