I have been considering a few questions since Mass yesterday in regards to the Eucharist.
The first is whether all of the Sacraments are equal or whether the Eucharist is a “higher” Sacrament than the other six. The power and the grace of Jesus Christ is present in all seven Sacraments, but Baptism is not the Real Presence, nor is Matrimony or Holy Orders for example. But the Eucharist contains the Real Presence, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the very same that walked the earth 2,000 years ago, that touched and healed the ill and the sick, that raised the dead man, and lifted Mary Magdalene up, and conversed with a woman at a well. The Eucharist contains Jesus in a very different fashion.
The second is when exactly does the Sacrament of the Eucharist takes place and what the Sacrament really is. In Baptism, for example, the water is not the Sacrament and the recipient is not the Sacrament, nor are the priest or the words the Sacrament. According to my understand the Sacrament is the act of being Baptized, it exists for only a moment as one receives the water with the words of the formula of Baptism being prayed by the priest. The grace of course persists longer than the Baptism occurs, but you aren’t able to point at Holy Water that was used or will be used in Baptism and say “look, that is the Sacrament of Baptism”. The other Sacraments are similar: Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Confession, and Anointing of the Sick.
But the Eucharist is different. Right? I mean, doesn’t the Sacrament exist prior to anyone receiving the Sacrament? If the priest consecrated the Sacrament and then everyone dropped dead, wouldn’t it still be the Body of Blood of Christ despite having not been received by a single person? Doesn’t the Sacrament exist between each communicant and even after the last communicant has received? This certainly isn’t true of the other Sacraments. Each person Baptized must have the baptismal formula repeated. Each penitent must have the words of absolution prayed over them, but not so with the Eucharist. Many people can receive after the Sacrament having been confected just once. In fact, so long as the hosts remain uncorrupted one can receive the Sacrament many hours, days, even weeks later without having the formula of consecration being performed again!
I don’t know, these were just some thoughts about the Eucharist’s uniqueness among all the Sacraments and how it may sort of be a hypersacrament of sorts. Thoughts?