Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

7/29/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Jesus, the Son of God become man, was able, through his human nature joined to the person of the Word of God, to offer perfect, infinite, and meritorious worship and adoration to the Godhead.  This feat no one has the ability, and one will have the ability, and no one is able to have the ability to do on his own.

The Holy Eucharist.

The Holy Eucharist.


By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (

7/29/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Mass, Eucharist, Jesus, Incarnation, Kenosis, exinanition, Pierre de Bérulle, Andrew M. Greenwell

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - The Eucharist, teaches the Second Vatican Council in its dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, is the "source and summit of the Church's life."  (LG, No. 11; see also CCC § 1324).

Why is this? 

The answer is simple.  Without the Eucharist it is impossible to worship and adore God. 

Man is under a duty, both under natural law and divine law (the First Commandment) to worship and adore, both individually and socially, the one true God.  CCC § 2105

Why is it impossible to worship and adore God without the Eucharist?

The answer is again simple.  It is impossible to worship God without the Eucharist because the Eucharist is not a thing, but is a person, namely, Jesus Christ.

What does the fact that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ have to do with the possibility of worshiping and adoring God?

In answering this question, let us reflect on the insights and the words, indeed even the prayers directed to the Eucharistic Jesus, in the Second Discourse on the State and Grandeurs of Jesus by of the French Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629):

"You alone serve God as he deserves to be served," prayed de Bérulle to Jesus, "which is to say, with an infinite service.  And you alone adore Him with an infinite adoration, as he is infinitely worthy of being served and adored.  For before You, neither men nor angels could serve and adore this supreme majesty with this kind of service by which it is cherished and adored according to its infinite grandeur, the divinity of its essence, and the majesty of its persons."

Jesus, the Son of God become man, was able, through his human nature joined to the person of the Word of God, to offer perfect, infinite, and meritorious worship and adoration to the Godhead.  This feat no one has the ability, and one will have the ability, and no one is able to have the ability to do on his own.

Ur-Nammu could not do it.  Abraham could not do it.  Moses could not do it.  Lao Tse could not do it.  Zoroaster could not do it.  Vishvamitra could not do it.  Siddhartha Gautama Buddha could not do it.  Confucius could not do it.  Socrates could not do it.  Plato could not do it.  Aristotle could not do it.  Plotinus could not do it.  Muhammad could not do it.  Guru Nanak could not do it.  Bahá'u'lláh could not do it.  All of them together could not do it.

Without Christ, no one can do it.  That is why the only real and the only perfect worship and adoration of God is through Jesus in the Eucharist.
"It is impossible," says Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange in his book Our Savior and His Love for Us, "to adore God more perfectly, to better acknowledge His sovereign domain over all things and all souls, than by the sacramental immolation of the Savior who dies for us on the Cross. . . . It is the most perfect fulfillment of the commandment: 'Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and shalt serve Him only.' (Deut. 6:13)"

That is why it is essential that we participate in Mass, in the liturgy of the Eucharist, for the Mass is nothing less than our participation in this perfect act of worship and adoration given to God by Jesus Christ.
The Mass is Christ's highly priestly prayer and perfect sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, worship and adoration.  It is our participation in Jesus Christ's perfect act of adoration to God.

We can sing all the hymns we want.  We can say all the rosaries or heart's desire.  We can do hundreds of act of mercy and charitable works.  We can pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the very prayer of the Church herself, and none of that has in value except to the extent that these participate in some way with the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, which is to say the sacrifice of the Eucharist, which is the act of worship and adoration of Almighty God by Jesus, the Son of God, in his human nature.  For this is the source of all grace.  This is the source of all merit.

As the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium puts it:  "For all [the laity's] works, if accomplished in the Spirit, become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ: their prayers and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, even the hardships of life if patiently borne (see Pet. 2:5).  In the celebration of the Eucharist, these are offered to the Father in all piety along with the body of the Lord."  (LG, No. 34) (emphasis added)

"From all eternity," de Bérulle continues, "there was an infinitely adorable God, but there was still not an infinite adorer.  There was a God infinitely worthy of being loved and served, but no man nor infinite servant able to render an infinite service and love."

But in Jesus, as de Bérulle points out, all that has changed. 

"You are now, O Jesus, this adorer, this man, this servant, infinite in power, in quality, in dignity, so that you can fully satisfy this need and render this divine homage.  You are this man, loving, adoring, and serving the supreme majesty as he ought to be loved, served, and honored."

This is why Jesus is central in any act of worship and adoration of God.  Jesus is uniquely qualified because he, and only he, is both God and Man.  He is the only person in the history of the world who has, and who will ever have, what Vladimir Sololiev called Bogochelovechestvo, Godmanhood.

The Mass, which Jesus instituted at the "Last Supper," is the means Jesus instituted for us to participate in this perfect act of service, adoration, and honor to God, which ultimately culminated in his voluntary and willing Sacrifice on the Cross. 

The Eucharistic Sacrifice--the Mass--is identical with the Sacrifice at Calvary.  Only the manners are different, the former being unbloody, and the latter being bloody. CCC § 1367.

Jesus, acting at the hands of an ordained priest acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), is the real priest in the Eucharistic sacrifice. 

Jesus is the altar through which instrument the Eucharistic sacrifice takes place.

Jesus, present fully in the Eucharistic elements offered to God through the hands of the priest acting in persona Christi, is the eternal victim, the clean and spotless Lamb of God, the victim of the guilt offering, and the victim of the peace offering in which we participate by eating in the rite of Communion.

In one of his hymns on the crucifixion, St. Ephrem of Edessa (ca. 306 A.D. - 375 A.D.) cleanly summarized the doctrine of the Eucharist, which is at one with the doctrine of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross: "He is Altar and Lamb, Victim and Sacrificer, Priest and Food."  (Hymnus de Crucifixus Tertius)

The Sacrifice, the Eucharist, the Mass would all have been impossible without the Son of God becoming man, without the Incarnation.  The Incarnation is what gave Jesus the state of Bogochelovechestvo, Godmanhood.

De Bérulle recognizes this, and so it is that he thanks Jesus, the Son of God become man for becoming man. 

He thanks Christ Jesus, who "though he was in the form of God," he "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself (Gr. ἐκένωσεν / L. exinanivit), taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross."  (Phil. 2:6-7)

The theological word for this great remarkable act of Christ's emptying himself out is kenosis (κένωσις) or exinanition. 

Kenosis or exinanition means a thorough emptying out, an enfeeblement, a humiliation, a lowering down of one's self, a stooping.  This is the quality, not of man who suffers from pride, but of God who is Love (1 John 4:8).  De Bérulle describes a God who undergoes kenosis or exinanition as a God who has no regard, no interest, in his divinity (sans intéręt de sa divinité).

This ability to empty oneself for another--which is at the heart of all love--is something divine.  It is one of "the grandeurs of God" (les grandeurs de Dieu), one of the "grandeurs of Jesus" (les grandeurs de Iesus).

"And just as there is a God worthy of being adored, served, and loved," de Bérulle concludes, "so there is also in you, O my Lord Jesus, a God adoring, loving and serving him eternally, in the nature which was united to your person in the fullness of time.  O grandeur of Jesus, precisely in His state of abandonment and servitude . . . . since from now on we have a God served and adored without any sort of defect in this adoration, and a God who adores, without interest in his divinity."

God has no interest in his divinity, because all his interest is in man.  That is the quality of a God who is love.  That is the God whose eternal Word became man, suffered and died on the Cross, and gave us the Eucharist so that we may be partakers, through no merit of our own, in his divine love of God the Father. 

In this manner, by participating in the Eucharistic sacrifice, we participate by grace in the love between the God served and adored and the God who adores without interest in his divinity.  That is to say, we participate in the very interior life of the Blessed Trinity.

God's grandeur becomes, by participation and by grace, our grandeur.


Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

3 Biblical ways to achieve small victories in our Walk with God Watch

Image of Walk with God.


Life struggles are inevitable but to look at them more than just a bump in the road is like putting rocks in your backpack before a hike. God doesn't want that - our journey to Him is meant to shape us in a way He planned for us. Little by little, we achieve victories ... continue reading

Families 'free us from the sea of loneliness and indifference,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of After recently concluding a series of catechesis on the family as a lead-in to this year's synod gathering, Pope Francis explained that he would start a new catechesis on the

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Family rescues us from indifference and loneliness and teaches us the essentials of life, Pope Francis said - adding that as the family of God, the Church has the same role and must evaluate how to live this out. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "Like Saint ... continue reading

Respecting life the Gospel way Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

For the sake of our salvation, we need to pay serious attention, and act with purpose, to what Jesus teaches here in Matthew's Gospel: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will ... continue reading

Young girl blessed by Pope Francis during visit to U.S. believes the 'miracle has begun' Watch

Image of Julia Bruzzese was blessed by Pope Francis.


12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

'God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone,' Pope Francis says of marriage Watch

Image of Pope Francis' comments were made during his Oct. 4 Mass marking the official opening of this year's Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading

FULL TEXT: Family synod prayer vigil, Pope Francis's full address Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis led the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, at the Vatican. Drawing tens of thousands of the faithful, many were present in the Square since the afternoon for a ... continue reading

Vatican issues statement in regards to monsignor's declaration of homosexuality Watch

Image of


The director of the Holy See press office has issued a statement in response to Vatican official Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in a recent interview that he is homosexual and has a boyfriend. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Msgr. Charamsa, 43, granted a ... continue reading

Guardian Angels are always by our sides, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Pope Francis explained that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God could have left them to fend for themselves. Instead, as an act of love and mercy, the Lord sent with them an angel to guide and protect them.


Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on Friday. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "May we ask the Lord for the grace of this ... continue reading

Top 5 Bible verses to turn to when you're angry Watch

Image of What does the Bible have to say about anger?

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What makes you angry? Maybe you don't like the way your boss talks to you at work or your spouse spends too much money. What do you do when you feel anger coming on? Who do you turn to? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we get angry we can say or do things we ... continue reading

Megachurch Pastor's new book tells people to 'get over themselves' Watch

Image of Pastor Kyle Idleman (YouTube).


Megachurch Pastor Kyle Idleman claims that to live life, "everyone simply needs to get over themselves" to truly "experience abundant life with Jesus," a theory he promotes in his new book The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. LOS ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2
13 Priests, put on sackcloth and lament! You ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 9:2-3, 6, 16, 8-9
6 the enemy is wiped out -- mere ruins for ever -- ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:15-26
15 But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 9th, 2015 Image

Sts. Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
October 9: The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around ... Read More