Features > The people’s sacrament

05 September 2018 | by David Grumett

The people’s sacrament

The people’s sacrament

Pope Francis holds a monstrance in the parish of Nostra Signora di Bonaria, in Ostia, on the outskirts of Rome

National Eucharistic Congress


Nowhere is the truth that we live in a consumer society clearer than in the Eucharist. In several Christian denominations, frequent reception of the consecrated host is far more common now than 50 years ago. At Mass, often only the priest received it, while the laity remained in their places in prayerful contemplation. This now seems strange.

Reception of Communion has become the focal point of the Mass for most Catholics. Even among Anglicans, Sunday parish Communion rather than morning prayer is now normal. Lutheranism has also undergone a eucharistic renaissance.

Eucharistic consumption inverts normal consumption. The ordinary food I eat is taken into my mortal body and broken down by the digestive process. However, as Gregory of Nyssa observed, when I receive the consecrated bread, I am assimilated into Christ’s immortal body and in so doing am myself transformed.


Subscribe to The Tablet from just £19.99 quarterly
3 options available

Share this story

Article List

Post a Comment

You can post as a subscriber user...

User Comments (0)


Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up

Latest Issue
Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here