The Physical and Spiritual Aspects of the Eucharist

Written by Joel on May 19th, 2008

I notice in the Roman Catholic Church the heavy focus on the physical (material) part of the Eucharist; that it really becomes Christ’s physical body and blood. I have wondered if there is any spiritual aspect to the Eucharist as well; that it hosts the spirit of Christ.

There is more to Christ than just his physical body. Humans are made up of both body and spirit. Jesus, being born a man, also has a body and a spirit.

I believe that when we consume the Eucharist there is more to it that putting Christ’s body and blood into our mouths and down to our stomachs. We not only consume Christ physically, but we also consume him spiritually.

Consuming the bread and wine is a physical act, but consuming the spirit entails much more. It is a putting on of Christ. One’s spirit must be open to receiving him.

Is it possible to consume the bread and wine and yet fail to consume the spirit of Christ? If this happens does one receive the Eucharist at all?

Is it possible to receive Christ’s spirit at the Eucharist, without receiving the physical elements?

Which aspect should we focus on?


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Anonymous says:


    To the best of my understanding it is possible to receive the Eucharist only physically and only spiritually. The best is when we are able to receive the Eucharist in it’s entirety of course(both physically and spiritually).

    When we are unable to receive the Eucharist for any reason (sin/sickness), we may stay back in the pew and pray that Christ come to us spiritually to nourish our soul. I was taught that this is called “Spiritual Communion”. This is in no way a replacement for the Eucharist in it’s complete fullness.

    On the other hand it is possible to receive the Eucharist physically and not gain any of it’s merits (i.e. forgiveness of venial sins, strength to resist temptation, etc) when we do not receive it in an unworthy fashion. For example in a state of mortal sin or when people come up to communion chatting to the person behind. If we are not in the proper mindset, we negate any of the benefits that flow from the Eucharist.

    I am no theologian but as I understand, the physical element of Christ in the Eucharist will become part of us so that we may become more like him. So that we may share in his divinity.

    The spiritual side (maybe physical?) is what nourishes our soul, forgives us of venial sins, gives strengths to resist temptation, etc.

    I hope this helps somewhat, I’m just and average person that has only read the basic Cathecism and a few others. I’m by no means an expert.

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