Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Since the first celebration of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, down through the centuries, during which the holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been re-presented again and again in different places and midst various cultures, its celebration has undergone numerous changes. In everr age the liturgical setting of this Eucharistic meal has .been. in some way, different from that of the age before. The present time has seen widespread liturgical renewal resulting in a return to original simplicity. Making an effort to enter more meaningfully into the celebration of the Eucharist, there is a danger that some aspects of this mystery will receive less emphasis than others which are more popular or more in tune with the times. The fact that from the very beginning the Eucharist was seen to be a sacrament that effected a profound change in the lives of those who would approach it is one of the aspects which has not always been given sufficient attention. At a time when the efficacy of the sacraments in themselves had to be defended against reformers who tried to subject them to the dispositions of the celebrant and the recipients, their power to cause grace il opere operato had to be stressed. The sacraments cause what they signify regardless of the unworthiness or human defects of the celebrant and the recipients. This kind of stress led to the opposite error -- that the sacraments are some sort of magic rituals that require nothing of the people involved -- and so a further clarification was necessary. The sacraments do effect grace ex opere operato but also ex opere operantis, according to and in the measure that the participants are aware and intend to receive their full effect. In defending the primacy and freedom of God's action, the complimentary action of man became less evident.