Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Monday, June 14, 2010

For Us Conversion is Gradual

The classical term for what happens to the bread and wine when they are consecrated in the eucharistic celebration is “transubstantiation.”  Something comparable happens to ourselves when we, through the action of the Holy Spirit, undergo conversion.

At Mass, we bring the bread and wine to the altar.  When they are consecrated through the words of the priest and the power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine return to us transformed into the very body and blood of the risen Christ.  At Mass, and at other moments as well, we bring our sinful selves to the Lord.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord forgives our sins and returns us to ourselves as converted sinners and his disciples.

Because we put up more resistance to God’s actions than inert material things, our conversion is gradual, unlike the transubstantiation of the bread and wine at Mass.  Our goal is to become like clay in the hands of the divine potter, to become the saints he wants us to be.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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