"Reality" is not just what we can measure. It is not only "quantums", but quantifiable entities, that are real; on the contrary, these are always only manifestations of the hidden mystery of true being. But here, where Christ meets us, we have to do with this true being. This is what was being expressed with the word "substance". This does not refer to the quantums, but to the profound and fundamental basis of being. Jesus is not there like a piece of meat, not in the realm of what can be measured and quantified...How should we relate to reality? What is "real"?...Concerning the Eucharist it is said to us: The substance is transformed, that is to say, the fundamental basis of its being...The Lord takes possession of the bread and the wine; he lifts them up, as it were, out of the setting of their normal existence into a new order; even if, from a purely physical point of view, they remain the same, they have become profoundly different.
Considering the Anglican emphasis on receiving the sacrament, which emphasis is now shared also by the Church of Rome, it is fitting to let even the Articles, which some use only to a divisive end, take a place of ecumenical significance. With the enlightenment that only clear theological discussion affords, Article XXV can be seen as providing common ground in its attention to the purpose of the sacrament. In the context of the Articles as a whole, it can serve to show why we believe that Christ gave us the sacrament of his Body and Blood, and that receiving the sacrament, and with it the grace of the sacrament, deserves an emphasis that ought not be seen as necessarily competing with a Eucharistic devotion that aims all worship to God, even if it does so through adoration of the Mystery. In past centuries this may have been impossible, since errors of each age require special attention from the Church. But, we are not stuck in the past, bound out of loyalty to old but resolved conflicts as if our sad divisions in the Body of Christ should be preserved and defended against charity, unity and better understanding.
We may, therefore, speak of transubstantiation both in terms of what our fathers knew as the Real Presence of Christ in the Mystery, and also in terms of the grace of the sacrament. For this, we are indebted again to the words of then Archbishop Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
Wherever Christ is present, afterward it cannot be just as if nothing had happened. There, where he laid his hand, something new has come to be. This points us back again to the fact that being a Christian as such is to be transformed, that it must involve repentance and not just some embellishment added onto the rest of one's life. It reaches down into our depths and renews us from those very depths. The more we ourselves as Christians are renewed from the root up, the better we understand the mystery of transformation. Finally, this capacity things have for being transformed makes us more aware that the world itself can be transformed, that it will one day as a whole be the New Jerusalem, the Temple, vessel of the presence of God.
This transformation is the very purpose of the grace of this sacrament. Allow me to quote myself:
The Lord Jesus said: "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever (John 6: 54-58)."
By eating this bread and drinking this cup our sinful bodies are made clean by his body, and our souls are washed through his most precious blood of the New Covenant. Springing from his Incarnation, from the Word made flesh, is this sacrament by which we receive Christ, the Bread of Life, the food and drink of eternal life. The words: “…that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, and our souls washed through his most precious Blood…” offends the modern mind, which is why TEC cut these words out of the Prayer of Humble Access. They fail to understand that the body is unclean by reason of death, to which it is subject, and the soul is stained with both original sin and our own added culpability by thought, word and deed.
The hope of the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day, receiving immortality by feeding on Christ, not only who died, but who rose again and everlives to make intercession for us, is the great benefit of eating and drinking salvation by this sacrament (not the memorial of the dead, but the reminder of the living).
The words of St. John teach us that the grace of the sacrament is nothing less than our own transubstantiation.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:1-3)
That hope is that your whole being, and mine, will be changed from the substance of one who is dead in trespasses and sins to one who is forever alive in Christ (already prefigured and given to us in baptism, as taught in Romans chapter 6). To be made like him, when we see him as he is, is the hope that the whole substance of the believer will be transubstantiated from bondage to sin and death to the liberty of Christ's Passover from death to life, transubstantiated from a dead sinner into a living saint, alive forever and glorified in Christ. It is the resurrection on the Last Day for those who have fed on the bread of Life. This is the grace of the sacrament for all who receive it with hearty repentance and true faith, the ultimate transubsantiation into partakers of the Divine Nature (II Pet. 1:4).