Essay, 2 pages (350 words)


Chauvet, Louis-Marie. 2001. The sacraments here Human beings, throughout history, have designated a system of connections between elements and levels of a culture. This system is also known symbolism and is evident throughout the lives of every human. In the Christian context, the sacramental symbol of the Eucharist is the most recognized. Chauvet identified four traits that all symbols share. First and foremost, a symbol transports humans into the world it belongs to1. The Eucharist symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus made for mankind. The world is usually a symbolic order that is unlike that experienced in reality. Secondly, a symbol commences with the initial rupture immediately given. That is, symbols are usually in the form of phoneme. The phoneme, on its own, does not mean anything2. Continued utterance, of the phoneme, gives it meaning. The Eucharist, in comparison to a phoneme, is uttered by preachers and priests alike. The Catholic Mass, for example, is centred on the Eucharist. Thirdly, the existence of a symbol depends on the differences and relations with other parts in the system. Once it is isolated from the parts, the symbol can adopt any meaning. Lastly, a symbol’s value arises from its location in relation to the whole system3. The Eucharist relates to the other parts of the Mass. All events, in the Mass, culminate to the Eucharist. This grants the Eucharist its meaning as the body of Christ. Chauvet illustrates this through the example of a shard of porcelain strewn on a street. The shard helps us in recognizing that it was once a vase.
Chauvet clearly distinguishes the two from their definition down to their usage. She defines sign as an element used to refer to something else4. The difference between the two is homologous to the analogy of the difference between the market-value principle and the symbolic-exchange principle.
According to Chauvet, receiving a sacrament symbolizes the passage of the word to the body of its receiver5. The new covenant states that the Spirit of God will become one with the body of the people. Through the sacramental symbol, Christians are able to live out of God’s spirit.
Chauvet, Louis-Marie. 2001. The sacraments: the Word of God at the mercy of the body. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press.

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