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Christ is really, truly and substantially contained in the Holy Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine.
He is not physically or spiritually present, but rather sacramentally present. Sacramental presence is absolutely as real as physical presence. If His presence were merely physical and historical we would have only His body and blood. If His presence were merely spiritual it could include soul and divinity but not body and blood. His sacramental and substantial presence in each species contains His body, blood, soul and divinity.
Christ is present in every sacrament, but His sacramental presence is substantial only in the Holy Eucharist. Substantial means that that the host we receive is truly Christ. He is not “in the bread.” After the consecration there is no bread.
Christ’s sacramental presence is necessary because Jesus did not rise from the dead in the same way as He raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus resuscitated Lazarus, who was raised to die again, but Jesus Himself was resurrected into a new and eternal existence called “risen life.” The Holy Eucharist is Jesus’ risen life, His glorified body.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1374, says:
The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” This presence is called ’real’ -- by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ’real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes Himself wholly and entirely present.”
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