Q&A: Why you don’t consider the Eucharist a Sacrament of healing?

All questions come from parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish or St. Joseph Mission and they are presented to you anonymously. Questions and answers were presented in the Series “Because You Asked” from 2016.
Average Time to Read: 2 minutes

Question:

I have been meaning to ask you why you don’t consider the Eucharist a Sacrament of healing –We always had Mass as a part of our Charismatic healing services (I believed for this reason). And we pray : “my soul shall be healed “.

Answer:

believe your question may have been generated by one of my catechetical classes where I was introducing the seven sacraments by their three official groupings. These include the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation), Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) and Sacraments of Vocation (Holy Orders and Matrimony). The Eucharist is listed among the Sacraments of Initiation because in the original Easter Vigil new Christians received all three of these sacraments in one evening and that was considered as having been formally and completely received into the faith community. Early saints gave the analogy of birth, daily nourishment which leads to growth and maturity to explain Baptism (the gateway to the other sacraments), The Eucharist (source and summit of our faith) and Confirmation (our own personal Pentecost). However this is not to say that the Eucharist cannot be thought of also as a sacrament of mercy or healing in its own right. In fact, in reflecting on the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has spoken of the Eucharist in this very way. He said that just before Jesus departed to the Garden of Gethsemane to enter into his Passion, it is clear from Sacred Scripture that he and the Apostles had just finished singing the Great Hallel (Psalm 136) where over and over again the refrain is sung, “His mercy endures forever”. Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection, aimed at mercy, produced the fruit of the Eucharist which was meant to heal and strengthen us. A number of saints in history, such as St. Teresa, often referred to this Eucharist/Mercy as the necessary medicine that heals all of our spiritual ills. She said that the Devil’s first attack on Catholics is to try to separate us from the Eucharist and our first inclination in error when we are discouraged is also to stop going to Mass which cuts us off from the Eucharist. She added that in the most difficult times it is just this inclination that we must most fight against. It is absolutely true then that the Eucharist heals and transforms us if we receive it properly disposed and with a heart open to God’s grace.

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