If the Eucharist gives eternal life, does that not minimize the need for faith?
It is true, as Jesus tells us in Jn 6:54, that he who receives the Eucharist has eternal life. But, you shouldn’t take this to mean that once a Catholic receives the Eucharist he has his irrevocable ticket to heaven. Instead, the Eucharist brings eternal life in that:
- through it we receive Jesus Himself, who IS eternal life, and
- the Eucharist helps us to live a life of grace and friendship with the Lord that is necessary in order to receive heaven (“eternal life”) when we die.
Furthermore, in no way does the “eternal life” received from the Eucharist diminish the need for faith. For one, there is no reception of the Eucharist without first entering into the Church through Baptism, which the Church calls “the sacrament of faith.” So, faith is what grants us the privilege to receive the Eucharist in the first place. Also, note that without faith the Eucharist will not be fruitful. In other words, even though the bread and wine have truly become Jesus Christ Himself, if we do not receive it in faith, believing that it is in fact Jesus Christ Himself, we will not experience the increase in holiness and friendship with God that the Eucharist provides.
As you can see, faith is in every way necessary and in no way diminished by the Eucharist, or for that matter, by any of the seven sacraments of the Church
Peace of Christ to you,
Nicholas Hardesty, WIMM Board Member
Director of Religious Education, Blessed Mother Catholic Church
Feel free to email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org