Q. What happens at Mass when the priest bends over and repeats the words of consecration? I have always assumed that at that moment Our Lord comes down from heaven and transforms the substance of the elements into His own Body and Blood. Yet in the Creed we assert He is “seated at the right hand of the Father.” How can I explain this apparent discrepancy to my children?
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:
The priest’s speaking the words of consecration initiates the changing of the elements’ substance into the Body and Blood of Our Lord. But read on in the historic Eucharistic Prayer 1: “In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty, so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son.” You see what the Church is telling us? The King of Glory does not come down from His heavenly throne to change the substance of the elements into His own Body and Blood. Rather, He draws that substance to himself, seated at the right hand of the Father. This He does in each offering of the Holy Sacrifice. Thus, we may say, He maintains the unity of His heavenly body.