Skip to comments.The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Posted on 03/24/2009 12:13:23 PM PDT by GonzoII
The third Sacrament is the Holy Eucharist. Its matter is wheaten bread and wine from the grape mixed with a little water so that the water becomes part of the wine. The water signifies the faithful who are incorporated into Christ. Other than wheaten bread and wine from the grape cannot be the matter for this Sacrament. The form of this Sacrament is the very words of Christ, "This is My Body," and "This is the chalice of My Blood of the new and eternal testament; the mystery of faith; which shall be shed for you and for many, to the remission of sins." These words spoken by the priest in the person of Christ brings into being this Sacrament. The minister of this Sacrament is the priest; and no one else can consecrate this matter into the Body of Christ.
THE EFFECT OF THE EUCHARIST
The effect of this Sacrament is twofold: first, in the very consecration of the Sacrament, since in virtue of the above words bread is changed into the Body of Christ, and wine into His Blood; so that Christ is entirely contained under the appearances of bread which remain without a subject; and Christ is entirely contained under the appearances of wine. And, moreover, under each part of the consecrated Host and of the consecrated wine, Christ is totally present even after the separation is made. The second effect of this Sacrament brought about in the soul of one who worthily receives is the union of man with Christ, as He himself says: "He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him." And since man is incorporated with Christ and united to His members through grace, it follows that through this Sacrament grace is increased in those who receive it worthily. Thus, therefore, in this Sacrament there is that which is the Sacrament alone ("sacramentum tantum"), that is, the species of bread and wine; and that which is known as the "res et sacramentum," that is, the true Body of Christ; and that which is the "res tantum," that is the unity of the Mystical Body, that is, the Church which this Sacrament both signifies and causes.
ERRORS CONCERNING THE EUCHARIST
There have been many errors regarding this Sacrament. The first error is of those who say that in this Sacrament is not the true Body of Christ but only a sign of it. The author of this error is said to be Berengarius against whom it is written: "For My Flesh is meat indeed; and My Blood is drink indeed." The second is the error of the Arrodinici, who offer in their sacrament bread and cheese because they say men at first made offerings of the fruits of the earth and of their flocks. Against this, however, stands the fact that the Lord who is the institutor of this Sacrament gave to His disciples bread and wine. The third is the error of the Cataphrygae and the Praeputiati, who drew the blood of an infant from tiny punctures in its body, and mixing this with flour made a bread of it; and thus asserted that they consecrated the sacrament. This is more like the sacrifices of demons than that of Christ: "And they shed innocent blood . . . which they sacrificed to the idols of Chanaan." The fourth is the error of the Aquarii, who offer water only in their sacrifices. But against this are the words from the mouth of Wisdom, which is Christ: "Drink the wine which I have mingled for you." Another error is that of the Poor People of Lyons who hold that any just man can consecrate this Sacrament. Against such errors is the fact that the Lord gave to the Apostles the power to celebrate this Sacrament; and hence only those who receive this power in a certain succession from the Apostles can consecrate this Sacrament.
(For "Questions for Discussion" see Chapter 6.)
21. "Hence it also follows that Christ is so contained, whole and entire, under either species that, as under the species of bread are contained not only the body but also the blood and Christ entire, so in like manner under the species of wine are truly contained not only the blood, but also the body and Christ entire. These are matters on which the faithful cannot entertain a doubt. Wisely, however, was it ordained that two distinct consecrations should take place. They represent in a more lively manner the Passion of Our Lord, in which His blood was separated from His body; and hence in the form of consecration we commemorate the shedding of His blood. Again, since the Sacrament is to be used by us as the food and nourishment of our souls, it was most appropriate that it should be instituted as food and drink, two things which obviously constitute the complete sustenance of man.
"Nor should it be forgotten that Christ is, whole and entire. contained not only under either species, but also in each particle of either species. 'Each,' says St. Augustine, 'receives Christ the Lord, and He is entire in each portion. He is not diminished by being given to many, but gives Himself whole and entire to each' (cited in Gratian, 'De consecratione,' dist. 2). This is also an obvious inference from the narrative of the Evangelists. It is not to be supposed that Our Lord consecrated the bread used at the Last Supper in separate parts, applying the form particularly to each, but that all the bread then used for the sacred mysteries was consecrated at the same time and with the same form, and in a quantity sufficient for all the Apostles. That the consecration of the chalice was performed in this manner, is clear from these words of the Saviour: 'Take and divide it among you' (Luke, xxii, 17)" ("Roman Catechism," "The Eucharist," 35-36).
22. John. vi. 57.
23. "Those who receive this Sacrament piously and fervently must, without any doubt, so receive the Son of God into their souls as to be united as living members to His Body. For it is written, 'He that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me.' And again: 'The bread which I will give is My flesh for the life of the world' (John, vi. 58). . . . For the Eucharist is the end of all the Sacraments, and the symbol of unity and brotherhood in the Church" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 49).
24. John, vi. 56.
25. Ps. cv. 39.
26. Prov., ix. 5.
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"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again." Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to Smyrnaeans, 7,1 (c. A.D. 110).
"For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh." Justin Martyr, First Apology, 66 (c. A.D. 110-165).
"[T]he bread over which thanks have been given is the body of their Lord, and the cup His blood..." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV:18,4 (c. A.D. 200).
"He acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as his own blood, from which he bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of creation) he affirmed to be his own body, from which he gives increase to our bodies." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V:2,2 (c. A.D. 200).
"But what consistency is there in those who hold that the bread over which thanks have been given is the Body of their Lord, and the cup His Blood, if they do not acknowledge that He is the Son of the Creator of the world..." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV:18, 2 (c. A.D. 200).
"For the blood of the grape--that is, the Word--desired to be mixed with water, as His blood is mingled with salvation. And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord's immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh. Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality. And the mixture of both--of the water and of the Word--is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul." Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 2 (ante A.D. 202).
"Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, 'This is my body,' that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: 'I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,' which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies, He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed 'in His blood,' affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood." Tertullian, Against Marcion, 40 (A.D. 212).
"For because Christ bore us all, in that He also bore our sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ...Thus, therefore, in consecrating the cup of the Lord, water alone cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if any one offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from Christ; but when both are mingled, and are joined with one another by a close union, there is completed a spiritual and heavenly sacrament. Thus the cup of the Lord is not indeed water alone, nor wine alone, unless each be mingled with the other; just as, on the other hand, the body of the Lord cannot be flour alone or water alone, unless both should be united and joined together and compacted in the mass of one bread; in which very sacrament our people are shown to be made one, so that in like manner as many grains, collected, and ground, and mixed together into one mass, make one bread; so in Christ, who is the heavenly bread, we may know that there is one body, with which our number is joined and united." Cyprian, To Caeilius, Epistle 62(63):13 (A.D. 253).
"Having learn these things, and been fully assured that the seeming bread is not bread, though sensible to taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the seeming wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, And bread strengtheneth man's heart, to make his face to shine with oil, 'strengthen thou thine heart,' by partaking thereof as spiritual, and "make the face of thy soul to shine."" Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, XXII:8 (c. A.D. 350).
"For as to what we say concerning the reality of Christ's nature within us, unless we have been taught by Him, our words are foolish and impious. For He says Himself, My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. As to the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubt. For now both from the declaration of the Lord Himself and our own faith, it is verily flesh and verily blood. And these when eaten and drunk, bring it to pass that both we are in Christ and Christ in us. Is not this true? Yet they who affirm that Christ Jesus is not truly God are welcome to find it false. He therefore Himself is in us through the flesh and we in Him, whilst together with Him our own selves are in God." Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 8:14 (inter A.D. 356-359).
"Let us then in everything believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what is said seem to be contrary to our thoughts and senses, but let His word be of higher authority than both reasonings and sight. Thus let us do in the mysteries also, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His sayings. For His word cannot deceive, but our senses are easily beguiled. That hath never failed, but this in most things goeth wrong. Since then the word saith, 'This is my body,' let us both be persuaded and believe, and look at it with the eyes of the mind. For Christ hath given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if thou hadst been incorporeal, He would have delivered thee the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul hath been locked up in a body, He delivers thee the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible. How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! Thou seest Him, Thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He giveth Himself to thee not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within thee." John Chrysostom, Gospel of Matthew, Homily 82 (A.D. 370).
"It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, 'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.' And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life. I, indeed, communicate four times a week, on the Lord's day, on Wednesday, on Friday, and on the Sabbath, and on the other days if there is a commemoration of any Saint. Basil, To Patrician Caesaria, Epistle 93 (A.D. 372).
"You will see the Levites bringing the loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wonderous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ...When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body." Athanasius, Sermon to the Newly Baptized, PG 26, 1325 (ante A.D. 373).
if a person sees bread he also, in a kind of way, looks on a human body, for by the bread being within it the bread becomes it, so also, in that other case, the body into which God entered, by partaking of the nourishment of bread, was, in a certain measure, the same with it; that nourishment, as we have said, changing itself into the nature of the body. For that which is peculiar to all flesh is acknowledged also in the case of that flesh, namely, that that Body too was maintained by bread; which Body also by the indwelling of God the Word was transmuted to the dignity of Godhead. Rightly, then, do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the Word of God is changed into the Body of God the Word. For that Body was once, by implication, bread, but has been consecrated by the inhabitation of the Word that tabernacled in the flesh. Therefore, from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a Divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread, and in a manner was itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle, 'is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer'; not that it advances by the process of eating to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it is at once changed into the body by means of the Word, as the Word itself said, 'This is My Body.' Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, 37 (post A.D. 383).
Seeing, too, that all flesh is nourished by what is moist (for without this combination our earthly part would not continue to live), just as we support by food which is firm and solid the solid part of our body, in like manner we supplement the moist part from the kindred element; and this, when within us, by its faculty of being transmitted, is changed to blood, and especially if through the wine it receives the faculty of being transmuted into heat. Since, then, that God-containing flesh partook for its substance and support of this particular nourishment also, and since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified, for this end it is that, by dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption. He gives these gifts by virtue of the benediction through which He trans-elements the natural quality of these visible things to that immortal thing." Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, 37 (post A.D. 383).
"Perhaps you will say, 'I see something else, how is it that you assert that I receive the Body of Christ?' And this is the point which remains for us to prove. And what evidence shall we make use of? Let us prove that this is not what nature made, but what the blessing consecrated, and the power of blessing is greater than that of nature, because by blessing nature itself is changed...The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: 'This is My Body.' Before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the consecration the Body is signified. He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood. And you say, Amen, that is, It is true. Let the heart within confess what the mouth utters, let the soul feel what the voice speaks." Ambrose, On the Mysteries, 9:50 (A.D. 390-391).
"'And was carried in His Own Hands: how carried in His Own Hands'? Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said, 'This is My Body.'" Augustine, On the Psalms, 33:1,10 (A.D. 392-418).
"Dearly-beloved, utter this confession with all your heart and reject the wicked lies of heretics, that your fasting and almsgiving may not be polluted by any contagion with error: for then is our offering of the sacrifice clean and oar gifts of mercy holy, when those who perform them understand that which they do. For when the Lord says, "unless ye have eaten the flesh of the Son of Man, and drunk His blood, ye will not have life in you,' you ought so to be partakers at the Holy Table, as to have no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ's Body and Blood. For that is taken in the mouth which is believed in Faith, and it is vain for them to respond Amend who dispute that which is taken." Pope Leo the Great, Sermon, 91:3 (ante A.D. 461).
"The body which is born of the holy Virgin is in truth body united with divinity, not that the body which was received up into the heavens descends, but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God's body and blood. But if you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energizes and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out. But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine and the water by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same. John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4:13 (A.D. 743).
Wherefore to those who partake worthily with faith, it is for the remission of sins and for life everlasting and for the safeguarding of soul and body; but to those who partake unworthily without faith, it is for chastisement and punishment, just as also the death of the Lord became to those who believe life and incorruption for the enjoyment of eternal blessedness, while to those who do not believe and to the murderers of the Lord it is for everlasting chastisement and punishment. The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, 'This is My body,' not, this is a figure of My body: and 'My blood,' not, a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. And again, He that eateth Me, shall live." John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4:13 (A.D. 743).
the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Eucharist! The Real presence..
Praise be Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!