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Following The Truth: Jesus Is Waiting Ė Donít Forget To RSVP! (Catholic or Open) ^ | November 16th, 2009 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/21/2011 9:25:41 AM PST by Salvation

Jesus Is Waiting – Don’t Forget To RSVP!

November 16th, 2009 by Gary Zimak

How would our lives be different if we lived 2,000 years ago and actually got to witness Jesus perform miracles or had the chance to meet Him personally? Would our faith be greater? Would we trust Him more? In today’s hectic world, many people would welcome the chance to be healed by Jesus or just to be able to speak with Him from time to time. Think about how you would react if it was announced that Jesus Christ would be appearing in person at your local Catholic parish and tickets would be available on a “first come, first served” basis. The stampede of people would be unimaginable. The good news is that He is truly appearing at every Catholic church in the world! The bad news is that many Catholics don’t even realize it.

One day St. Teresa of Avila heard someone say, "If only I had lived at the time of Jesus… If only I had seen Jesus… If only I had talked with Jesus…" She responded, "But do we not have in the Eucharist the living, true and real Jesus present before us? Why look for more?" Whether we know it or not, all of us who are Catholic have personally met Jesus. I am not speaking in a spiritual or figurative sense; we  have actually met the one and only Savior of the world. In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus is present in the same way now as when He walked on the earth. If this is true, however, then why is it so difficult to comprehend? There is actually a simple explanation and it has to do with our senses and how they process information. We’re human and have been given senses to help us function in the world. We use our senses to differentiate one thing from another. If an object looks, smells, feels and tastes like an apple, we draw the conclusion that the object is indeed an apple. From an early age, we are trained to obey our senses. In the case of the Eucharist, we must learn to ignore our senses and rely instead on our faith. When we receive Holy Communion, our senses tell us that we are receiving ordinary bread and wine, but our faith reminds us that it is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord. While this can be difficult, I have developed a simple method for helping us to remember the Lord’s Real Presence, based upon the commonly used acronym “RSVP”. In this case, I will change the standard meaning from “Répondez S’il Vous Plait” to “Remember, Speak, Venerate, Practice”.

REMEMBER – We must always remember that the consecrated host actually is Jesus. Even though it doesn’t look like a body, we see Him when we look at the host. We may not realize it, but we are looking at the same Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. We are looking at the Son of God who became man, died on the cross and rose from the dead for our salvation. Despite the fact that our senses betray us, we need to recall that the small white host is really Him – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! We must constantly remind ourselves and meditate on this great mystery; otherwise our human nature will cause us to forget this magnificent fact.

SPEAK – When speaking of the Eucharist, we should choose our words carefully. After the consecration, the bread and wine no longer exist. Through the miracle of transubstantiation, what was once bread and wine truly becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus and should be referred to as such. While it may not seem like a big deal, this careless use of words can gradually erode our respect for the Real Presence of Our Lord. Referring to “The Precious Blood” and “The Sacred Host” or “the Body and Blood” is not only an accurate description, but it reminds us that Jesus is fully present in what appears to be ordinary bread and wine.

VENERATE – The word “venerate” means to “regard with feelings of respect and reverence”. When we genuflect before the tabernacle, we should recall that we are paying homage to Our Lord and Savior and we should be respectful and reverent. In other words, our knee should touch the ground and we should think about what we are doing. We are bending our knee and humbling ourselves before the Lord and Savior of the world. It isn’t something that we should be doing in a casual manner. Of course, if a medical condition prevents proper genuflection than a bow of the head will suffice. Try thinking the words “I love you, Jesus” or “My Lord and My God” as you genuflect in order to remember to Whom you are paying respect. We also need to examine our actions and mindset when we receive the Lord in Holy Communion. If we were sick, came face to face with Jesus in His human form and were healed, how would we behave? Would we casually walk away and not acknowledge His presence or the gift of healing? I’m sure that very few people would do so. Instead we would probably throw ourselves at His feet or give Him a big hug! At the very least we would say “Thank you!” When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we are personally encountering Our Lord and Savior who gives us the grace to lead a good and holy life. Keeping this in mind will help us to avoid treating this as a casual event. When the priest or extraordinary minister raises Our Lord and proclaims, “The Body of Christ”, we should make a gesture of reverence (such as a bow of the head) in order to acknowledge His presence. Holy Communion is a foretaste of what awaits us in Heaven. At that moment, we are intimately united with Our Lord and Savior and all of our earthly problems and concerns should vanish.

PRACTICE – The Eucharist is Jesus, a real person, and we should speak to Him as such. As we practice this more frequently, it becomes easier and more comfortable. Eventually we begin to think of The Eucharist as a person and not a “thing”. Upon receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, we can imagine being reunited with a long lost relative or friend. Tell Him about your worries and concerns. He wants to hear that you are frustrated with your job or concerned about a family member. He wants you to tell Him that you love Him and that you are trying your best to lead a good life. Jesus wants you to ask for the grace that you need to become a better person. At that moment, you are “in Heaven” and united with Our Lord…speak to Him! In addition, be aware that the Lord also wants to speak to you. Unfortunately, many of us miss His “words” because we don’t stop to listen or don’t know how to listen. When Jesus speaks to us, He generally doesn’t use a loud, booming voice. Instead He speaks by placing thoughts or feelings in our hearts. After receiving Holy Communion, have you ever experienced a feeling of peace or thought of something that you should be doing in your life? There’s a good chance that this is Jesus speaking directly to you. Don’t ignore Him!

As Catholics, we have the opportunity to meet Jesus at least once a week. He is also waiting for us in numerous adoration chapels around the world, where we can visit Him on a regular basis. In order to more fully understand His Real Presence, however, we must do some work. By practicing the above techniques, we can learn to better appreciate this incredible gift. So, the next time that you personally meet Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist…don’t forget to RSVP!

TOPICS: Catholic; Prayer
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas; prayer
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (, a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.

1 posted on 12/21/2011 9:25:43 AM PST by Salvation
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To: All


The Anima Christi is a prayer from around the 14th century.

It is still widely used after receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord,
Jesus Christ in Holy Communion

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ's side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints

and with Thy angels
Forever and ever

"I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally....My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath."

- Saint John Vianney.

2 posted on 12/21/2011 9:26:34 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Catholic Ping!

3 posted on 12/21/2011 9:29:27 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

“Will you folks be sitting in Smoking or Non-Smoking?”

4 posted on 12/21/2011 9:36:57 AM PST by Portcall24
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To: Portcall24

I guess I don’t understand your question (Unless it references hell) because there is no smoking permitted inside Catholic Churches.

Or were you talking about the incense that signifies the travel of our prayers upwards to God?

5 posted on 12/21/2011 9:42:38 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Portcall24
R. S. V. P.
Or did you miss the play on that common acronym?

6 posted on 12/21/2011 9:45:48 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Your first guess was correct. Heaven versus hell.

7 posted on 12/21/2011 9:51:45 AM PST by Portcall24
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To: Portcall24

For the sake of clarity, courtesy of douay rheims online:

From the inerrant Word of God:
“[32] Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. [33] For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. [34] They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread. [35] And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.

[36] But I said unto you, that you also have seen me, and you believe not. [37] All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out. [38] Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. [39] Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day. [40] And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day.

[41] The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. [42] And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? [43] Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. [44] No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. [45] It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me.

[44] Draw him: Not by compulsion, nor by laying the free will under any necessity, but by the strong and sweet motions of his heavenly grace.

[46] Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. [47] Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. [48] I am the bread of life. [49] Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. [50] This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.

[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven. [52] If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. [53] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? [54] Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. [55] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.

[54] Eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood: To receive the body and blood of Christ, is a divine precept, insinuated in this text; which the faithful fulfil, though they receive but in one kind; because in one kind they receive both body and blood, which cannot be separated from each other. Hence, life eternal is here promised to the worthy receiving, though but in one kind. Ver. 52. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world. Ver. 58. He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. Ver. 59. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.

[56] For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. [57] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. [58] As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. [59] This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. [60] These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.

[61] Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? [62] But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? [63] If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? [64] It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. [65] But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.

[63] If then you shall see: Christ by mentioning his ascension, by this instance of his power and divinity, would confirm the truth of what he had before asserted; and at the same time correct their gross apprehension of eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, in a vulgar and carnal manner, by letting them know he should take his whole body living with him to heaven; and consequently not suffer it to be as they supposed, divided, mangled, and consumed upon earth.

[64] The flesh profiteth nothing: Dead flesh separated from the spirit, in the gross manner they supposed they were to eat his flesh, would profit nothing. Neither doth man’s flesh, that is to say, man’s natural and carnal apprehension, (which refuses to be subject to the spirit, and words of Christ,) profit any thing. But it would be the height of blasphemy, to say the living flesh of Christ (which we receive in the blessed sacrament, with his spirit, that is, with his soul and divinity) profiteth nothing. For if Christ’s flesh had profited us nothing, he would never have taken flesh for us, nor died in the flesh for us.

[64] Are spirit and life: By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace, and life, in its very fountain.

[66] And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. [67] After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. [68] Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? [69] And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. [70] And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.”

8 posted on 12/21/2011 9:59:06 AM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: Portcall24

So you totally missed the point that this was about prayer?

9 posted on 12/21/2011 10:08:03 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Sorry, with most respect my post was not necessarily in response to what you provided, but a more light-hearted addition. I do believe our Lord has a sense of humor.

10 posted on 12/21/2011 10:14:41 AM PST by Portcall24
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To: Portcall24
Following The Truth: Jesus Is Waiting – Don’t Forget To RSVP! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: So, You Just Received Jesus…Now What? (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: An Advent Challenge: Love Your Enemies! (Catholic and Open)
Following The Truth: The Journey To Bethlehem is Not Comfortable! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Does God Want Us To Worry? (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: The Morning Offering – Pray Without Ceasing! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: A (Lenten) Advent “Weight” Loss Program (Catholic or Open)

Following The Truth: Hurry Up, Lord…I’m Waiting! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Evangelize? Sorry, But I’m Catholic! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should!) (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Letting Your Conscience Be Your Guide(What Jiminy Cricket Didn’t Tell You) [Catholic or Open]
Following The Truth: Catholic “Fluff” – The Enemy Within (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Appreciating The Gift Of Suffering (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Satan’s Attack On The Church – What You Can Do! (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Saying “Y-E-S” to God During Lent (and Advent) [Catholic or Open]
Following the Truth: Spiritual Dryness: “I Don’t Feel Anything!” (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: A Biblical Roadmap To The One, True Church (Catholic or Open)

11 posted on 12/21/2011 10:17:49 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
For some reason, some Catholics fall for this...I guess they are looking for something beyond themselves and will reach out for anything...

Fortunately, most Catholics don't buy into this...It's completely unBiblical...

Jesus indwells the real believer 24/7...We have no reason to hope for a supernatural presence in a cracker...

Muzlims do the same thing with their black rock over there in Mecca...They teach that God resides in that big black rock...You guys have a cracker, they have a black rock...

There is only one way to meet and know the real Jesus...Repent and call on Jesus and accept and trust Jesus as you own Saviour...

12 posted on 12/21/2011 10:21:30 AM PST by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: Iscool

**Fortunately, most Catholics don’t buy into this...It’s completely unBiblical...**

So wrong.

The Bible tells us Christ’s exact words. “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall not have life within you.”

13 posted on 12/21/2011 10:23:26 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Iscool

**There is only one way to meet and know the real Jesus...Repent and call on Jesus and accept and trust Jesus as you own Saviour... **

Christ is the center of the Catholic Church, both in Word and in Sacrament.

And that means that from our Baptism we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

14 posted on 12/21/2011 10:25:23 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Iscool

Iscool, read the words I posted from the Holy Word of God, above. Ask yourself who knows better: John, the Lord’s beloved friend and Apostle, or Iscool? I’ll follow the words of the former. Not trying to sound snide, either. But each and EVERY Catholic MUST, as a part of their being Catholic, accept this dogmatic Truth.

15 posted on 12/21/2011 10:51:34 AM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: Salvation
And that means that from our Baptism we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So how does that work with an infant?
16 posted on 12/21/2011 11:33:34 AM PST by crosshairs (Liberalism is to truth, what east is to west.)
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To: Salvation


17 posted on 12/21/2011 2:39:42 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: All; Salvation

Early Church Fathers

Didache, The [70-100 AD] The Didache

The Eucharist... And concerning the broken bread: We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, anRead More

The Eucharist. Now concerning the First, concerning the cup: We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever.. And concerning the broken bread: We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever..Read More

But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.”Read More

Ignatius of Antioch [50-117 AD] Epistle to the Romans “I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).Read More

Ignatius of Antioch [50-117 AD] Epistle to the Philadelphians

Take ye heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever ye do, ye may do it according to [the will of] God.Read More

Ignatius of Antioch [50-117 AD] Epistle to the Smyraeans “Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes”

(Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).Read More See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.Read More

Justin Martyr [100-165 AD] First Apology

“We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).Read More

Justin Martyr [100-165 AD] Dialogue with Trypho (Chapters 9-47)

Justin: And the offering of fine flour, sirs, which was prescribed to be presented on behalf of those purified from leprosy, was a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed...Read More

Justin Martyr [100-165 AD] Dialogue with Trypho (Chapters 109-142)

, in the Eucharist of the bread and the cup, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they are well-pleasing to Him...Read More

Irenaeus of Lyons [120-180 AD] Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus

“Let us offer the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of the lips.” Now those oblations are not according to the law, the handwriting of which the Lord took away from the midst by cancelling it; but they are according to the Spirit, for we must worship God “in spirit and in truth.” And therefore the oblation of the Eucharist is not a carnal one, but a spiritual; and in this respect it is pure. For we make an oblation to God of the bread and the cup of blessing, giving Him thanks in that He has commanded the earth to bring forth these fruits for our nourishment. And then, when we have perfected the oblation, we invoke the Holy Spirit, that He may exhibit this sacrifice, both the bread the body of Christ, and the cup the blood of Christ, in order that the receivers of these antitypes may obtain remission of sins and life eternal. Those persons, then, who perform these oblations in remembrance of the Lord, do not fall in with Jewish views, but, performing the service after a spiritual manner, they shall be called sons of wisdom.Read More

Irenaeus of Lyons [120-180 AD] Adversus Haereses (Book IV, Chapter 18)

“If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?” (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).Read More

But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion...Read More Irenaeus of Lyons [120-180 AD] Adversus Haereses (Book V, Chapter 2)

When Christ visited us in his grace, he did not come to what did not belong to him: also, by shedding his true blood for us, and exhibiting to us his true flesh in the Eucharist, he conferred upon our flesh the capacity of salvation...Read More

But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body...Read More

“He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life-flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?” (ibid., 5:2).Read More

Clement of Alexandria [150-215 AD] The Paedagogus (Book I) “’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children” (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).Read More

Clement of Alexandria [150-215 AD] The Paedagogus (Book II) called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul...Read More

Clement of Alexandria [150-215 AD] The Stromata (Book I) Both must therefore test themselves: the one, if he is qualified to speak and leave behind him written records; the other, if he is in a right state to hear and read: as also some in the dispensation of the Eucharist...Read More

Clement of Alexandria [150-215 AD] The Stromata (Book IV) “ For Salem is, by interpretation, peace; of which our Saviour is enrolled King, as Moses says, Melchizedek king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who gave bread and wine, furnishing consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist...Read More

Hippolytus [170-236 AD] The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus: Exegetical

“‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e.,Read More

Hippolytus [170-236 AD] Appendix

That a deacon may dispense the Eucharist to the people with permission of a bishop or presbyter.Read More

Hippolytus [170-236 AD] Refutation of All Heresies (Book VI)

And very often, taking the Cup, as if offering up the Eucharistic prayer, and prolonging to a greater length than usual the word of invocation...Read More

And this (Marcus), infusing (the aforesaid) mixture into a smaller cup, was in the habit of delivering it to a woman to offer up the Eucharistic prayer, while he himself stood by, and held (in his hand) another empty (chalice) larger than that...Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] De Corona (The Chaplet)

We take also, in congregations before daybreak, and from the hand of none but the presidents, the sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord both commanded to be eaten at meal-times, and enjoined to be taken by all alike...Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] The Prescription Against Heretics How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile! See what she has learned, what taught, what fellowship has had with even (our) churches in Africa! One Lord God does she acknowledge, the Creator of the universe, and Christ Jesus Resurrection of the flesh; the law and the prophets she unites in one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she drinks in her faith. This she seals with the water (of baptism), arrays with the Holy Ghost, feeds with the Eucharist, cheers with martyrdom, and against such a discipline thus (maintained) she admits no gainsayer.Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] On the Resurrection of the Flesh “[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God” (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] Appendix (Against All Heresies) To these are added those heretics likewise who are called Ophites: for they magnify the serpent to such a degree, that they prefer him even to Christ Himself; for it was he, they say, who gave us the origin of the knowledge of good and of evil. His power and majesty (they say) Moses perceiving, set up the brazen serpent; and whoever gazed upon him obtained health. Christ Himself (they say further) in His gospel imitates Moses’ serpent’s sacred power, in saying: “And as Moses upreared the serpent in the desert, so it behoveth the Son of man to be upreared.” Him they introduce to bless their eucharistic (elements). Now the whole parade and doctrine of this error flowed from the following source. They say that from the supreme primary Aeon whom then speak of there emanated several other inferior Aeons. To all these, however, there opposed himself an Aeon who name is Ialdabaoth. He had been conceived by the permixture of a second Aeon with inferior Aeons; and afterwards, when he had been desirous of forcing his way into the higher regions, had been disabled by the permixture of the gravity of matter with himself to arrive at the higher regions; had been left in the midst, and had extended himself to his full dimensions, and thus had made the sky. Ialdabaoth, however, had descended lower, and had made him seven sons, and had shut from their view the upper regions by self-distension, in order that, since (these) angels could not know what was above, they might think him the sole God. These inferior Virtues and angels, therefore, had made man; and, because he had been originated by weaker and mediocre powers, he lay crawling, worm-like. That Aeon, however, out of which Ialdaboath had proceeded, moved to the heart with envy, had injected into man as he lay a certain spark; excited whereby, he was through prudence to grow wise, and be able to understand the things above. So, again, the Ialdaboath aforesaid, turning indignant, had emitted out of himself the Virtue and similitude of the serpent; and this had been the Virtue in paradise—that is, this had been the serpent—whom Eve had believed as if he had been God the Son. He plucked, say they, from the fruit of the tree, and thus conferred on mankind the knowledge of things good and evil. Christ, moreover, existed not in substance of flesh: salvation of the flesh is not to be hoped for at all.Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] On Prayer

Similarly, too, touching the days of Stations, most think that they must not be present at the sacrificial prayers, on the ground that the Station must be dissolved by reception of the Lord’s Body. Does, then, the Eucharist cancel a service devoted to God, or bind it more to God? Will not your Station be more solemn if you have withal stood at God’s altar? When the Lord’s Body has been received and reserved? each point is secured, both the participation of the sacrifice and the discharge of duty.Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] On Modesty

The “ring” also he is then Wont to receive for the first time, wherewith, after being interrogated, he publicly seals the agreement of faith, and thus thenceforward feeds upon the “fatness” of the Lord’s body,—the Eucharist, to wit. This will be the prodigal son, who never in days bygone was thrifty; who was from the first prodigal, because not from the first a Christian. Him withal, returning from the world to the Father’s embraces, the Pharisees mourned over, in the persons of the “publicans and sinners.”Read More

But now I write to you, if any is named a brother among you, (being) a fornicator, or an idolater” (for what so intimately joined?), “or a defrauder” (for what so near akin?), and so on, “with such to take no food even,” not to say the Eucharist: because, to wit, withal “a little leaven spoileth the flavour of the whole lump.”Read More

Tertullian [160-240 AD] Against Marcion, Book IV If, however, you deny that divorce is in any way permitted by Christ, how is it that you on your side destroy marriage, not uniting man and woman, nor admitting to the sacrament of baptism and of the eucharist those who have been united in marriage...Read More

Origen [185-254 AD] De Principiis (Book IV)

“Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]” (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).Read More

Dionysius the Great [190-265 AD] Extant Fragments ...he gave the boy a small portion of the Eucharist, telling him to steep it in water and drop it into the old man’s mouth. The boy returned bearing the portion; and as he came near, and before he had yet entered, Serapion again recovered, and said, “You have come, my child, and the presbyter was unable to come; but do quickly what you were instructed to do, and so let me depart.” The boy steeped the morsel in water, and at once dropped it into the (old man’s) mouth; and after he had swallowed a little of it, he forthwith gave up the ghost. Was he not then manifestly preserved? and did he not continue in life just until he could be absolved, and until through the wiping away of his sins he could be acknowledged s for the many good acts he had done?Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] The Seventh Council of Carthage

...the profane person administers the office of the priesthood; the sacrilegious person establishes an altar. In addition to all these things, there is also this evil, that the priests of the devil dare to celebrate the Eucharist; or else let those who stand by them say that all these things concerning heretics are false. Behold to what kind of things the Church is compelled to consent, and is constrained without baptism, without pardon of sins, to hold communion.Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Treatises Attributed to Cyprian

...since, as he hastens to the spectacle when dismissed from the Lord’s table, and still bearing within him, as often occurs, the Eucharist, that unfaithful man has carried about the holy body of Christ among the filthy bodies of harlots, and has deserved a deeper condemnation for the way by which he has gone ‘hither, than for the pleasure he has received from the exhibition.Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Epistle 9

For although in smaller sins sinners may do penance for a set time, and according to the rules of discipline come to public confession, and by imposition of the hand of the bishop and clergy receive the right of communion...Read More

have brought me back to His Church,—yet these, disregarding the honour which the blessed martyrs with the confessors maintain for me, despising the Lord’s law and that observance, which the same martyrs and confessors bid to be maintained, before thRead More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Epistle 10

Although you sent letters to me in which you ask that your wishes should be examined, and that peace should be granted to certain of the lapsed as soon as with the end of the persecution we should have begun to meet with our clergy, and to be gathereRead More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Epistle 11

Yet I hear that certain of the presbyters, neither mindful of the Gospel nor considering what the martyrs have written to me, nor reserving to the bishop the honour of his priesthood and of his dignity, have already begun to communicate with the lapsRead More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Epistle 53

And, as the Eucharist is appointed for this very purpose that it may be a safeguard to the receivers, it is needful that we may arm those whom we wish to be safe against the adversary with the protection of the Lord’s abundance...Read More

” First of all, he cannot be fitted for martyrdom who is not armed for the contest by the Church; and his spirit is deficient which the Eucharist received does not raise and stimulate...Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Epistle 69 Further, it is the Eucharist whence the baptized are anointed with the oil sanctified on the altar...Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Epistle 74 But that woman, who previously by wiles and deceitfulness of the demon was attempting many things for the deceiving of the faithful, among other things by which she had deceived many, also had frequently dared this; to pretend that with an invocation...Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Treatise 3

“He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned-[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord” (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).Read More

In a profane body and mouth the Eucharist could not remain; the draught sanctified in the blood of the Lord burst forth from the polluted stomach...Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Treatise 4

And we ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not, by the interposition of some heinous sin, by being prevented, as withheld and not communicating, frRead More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Treatise 9

Let patience be strong and stedfast in the heart; and neither is the sanctified body and temple of God polluted by adultery, nor is the innocence dedicated to righteousness stained with the contagion of fraud; nor, after the Eucharist carried in it,Read More

Cyprian of Carthage [200-270 AD] Treatise 12 That it is of small account to be baptized and to receive the Eucharist, unless one profits by it both in deeds and works...Read More

That the Eucharist is to be received with fear and honour...Read More

That it is of small account to be baptized and to receive the Eucharist, unless one profit by it both in deeds and works...Read More

That the Eucharist is to be received with fear and honour...Read More

Gregory Thaumaturgus [213-275 AD] The Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen

Be this, then, the method of my eucharistic discourse. To God, indeed, the God of the universe, I shall not think of speaking in such terms: yet is it from Him that all the beginnings of our blessings come; and with Him consequently is it that the beginning of our thanksgivings, or praises, or laudations, ought to be made... ...a capacity with which he has not been gifted by any other one, but which he has received from Him alone, he cannot possibly find any greater matter of thanksgiving than what is implied in its possession.Read More

Nicaea I (325) [ECUMENICAL]

But, if any one should be restored to health again who has received the communion when his life was despaired of, let him remain among those who communicate in prayers only. But in general, and in the case of any dying person whatsoever asking to receive the Eucharist, let the Bishop, after examination made, give it him.Read More

It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great Synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters, whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer. And this also has been made known, that certain deacons now touch the Eucharist even before the bishops. Let all such practices be utterly done away, and let the deacons remain within their own bounds, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop and the inferiors of the presbyters. Let them receive the Eucharist according to their order, after the presbyters, and let either the bishop or the presbyter administer to them. Furthermore, let not the deacons sit among the presbyters, for that is contrary to canon and order. And if, after this decree, any one shall refuse to obey, let him be deposed from the diaconate.Read More

Eusebius of Caesarea [265-340 AD] Church History (Book V) But none were ever cast out on account of this form; but the presbyters before thee who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it...Read More

But though matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the administration of the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect...Read More

Eusebius of Caesarea [265-340 AD] Church History (Book VI) But as I had commanded that persons at the point of death, if they requested it, and especially if they had asked for it previously, should receive remission, that they might depart with a good hope, he gave the boy a small portion of the eucharist,Read More

Antioch in Encaeniis (341) [LOCAL] [341 AD] Antioch in Encaeniis (341) [LOCAL]

All who enter the church of God and hear the Holy Scriptures, but do not communicate with the people in prayers, or who turn away, by reason of some disorder, from the holy partaking of the Eucharist, are to be cast out of the Church, until, after they shall have made confession, and having brought forth the fruits of penance, and made earnest entreaty, they shall have obtained forgiveness; and it is unlawful to communicate with excommunicated persons, or to assemble in private houses and pray with those who do not pray in the Church; or to receive in one Church those who do not assemble with another Church. And, if any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any one in the Canon shall be found communicating with excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of the Church.Read More

Aphrahat/Aphraates [280-367 AD] Demonstration XVII (Of Christ the Son of God)

“After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink” (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).Read More

Basil the Great, St [329-379 AD] De Spiritu Sancto Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of tim invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching.Read More

Cyril of Jerusalem, St [315-386 AD] Catechetical Lecture 19 “The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ” (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).Read More

Cyril of Jerusalem, St [315-386 AD] Catechetical Lecture 22 “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul” (ibid., 22:6, 9).Read More

Ambrose of Milan, St [340-397 AD] On the Mysteries “Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ” (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]).Read More

John Chrysostom, St [347-407 AD] Homily 24 on First Corinthians

But why adds he also, “which we break?” For although in the Eucharist one may see this done, yet on the cross not so, but the very contrary...Read More

John Chrysostom, St [347-407 AD] Homily 5 on Galatians Again, the Scripture is wont to give the name of the Flesh to the Mysteries of the Eucharist, and to the whole Church, calling them the Body of Christ...Read More

Miscellaneous [Unknown] Canons of the Thirteen Holy Fathers (various dates)

He speaks of the written doctrine, and the unwritten tradition of the Apostles, and says, that both have the same efficacy as to religion. The unwritten traditions which he mentions, are the signing those who hope in Christ with the Cross; praying toward the East, to denote, that we are in quest of Eden, that garden in the East from whence our first parents were ejected (as he afterwards explains it), the words of invocation at the consecration of the Bread of Eucharist, and the cup of eulogy; the benediction of the baptismal water, the chrism and of the baptized person; the trine immersion, and the renunciations made at baptism; all which the Fathers concealed from those who were not initiated.Read More

Miscellaneous [Unknown] Apostolic Constitutions (Book II) As to the deacons, after the prayer is over, let some of them attend upon the oblation of the Eucharist, ministering to the Lord’s body with fear...Read More

” Thou shalt also permit him to offer the Eucharist; but if, out of reverence to thee, and as a wise man, to preserve the honour belonging to thee, he will not offer, at least thou shalt compel him to give the blessing to the people...Read More

Jerome, St [347-420 AD] The Dialogue Against the Luciferians

Still it is one thing, he says, to admit a penitent neophyte, another to admit a man to be bishop and celebrate the Eucharist...Read More

There is a difference between shedding tears for sin, and handling the body of Christ; there is a difference between lying prostrate at the feet of the brethren, and from the high altar administering the Eucharist to the people. It is one thing to lament over the past, another to abandon sin and live the glorified life in the Church...Read More

And all this proves that you with a little leaven have corrupted the whole lump of the Church, and receive the Eucharist to-day from the hand of one whom yesterday you loathed like an idol...Read More

Since Hilary when he left the Church was only a deacon, and since the Church is to him, though to him alone, a mere worldly multitude, he can neither duly celebrate the Eucharist, for he has no bishops or priests, nor can he give baptism without the Eucharist...Read More

Jerome, St [347-420 AD] Letter 71

You ask me whether you ought to fast on the Sabbath and to receive the eucharist daily according to the custom—as currently reported—of the churches of Rome and Spain...Read More

Jerome, St [347-420 AD] Letter 82 “ If then we l may not offer gifts that are our own unless, we are at peace with our brothers; how much less can we receive the body of Christ if we cherish enmity in our hearts?..Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Letter 54 (A.D. 400) 4. Some one may say, “The Eucharist ought not to be taken every day.” You ask, “On what grounds?” He answers, sacrament, he ought to choose those days upon which he lives in more special purity and self-restraint; for whosoever eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.’”

Another answers, “Certainly; if the wound inflicted by sin and the violence of the soul’s distemper be such that the use of these remedies must be put off for a time, every man in this case should be, by the authority of the bishop, forbidden to approach the altar, and appointed to do penance, and should be afterwards restored to privileges by the same authority; for this would be partaking unworthily, if one should partake of it at a time when he ought to be doing penance; and it is not a matter to be left to one’s own judgment to withdraw himself from the communion of the Church, or restore himself, as he pleases. If, however, his sins are not so great as to bring him justly under sentence of excommunication, he ought not to withdraw himself from the daily use of the Lord’s body for the healing of his soul.” Perhaps a third party interposes with a more just decision of the question, reminding them that the principal thing is to remain united in the peace of Christ, and that each should be free to do what, according to his belief, he conscientiously regards as his duty. For neither of them lightly esteems the Body and Blood of the Lord; on the contrary, both are contending who shall most highly honour the sacrament fraught with blessing. There was no controversy between those two mentioned in the Gospel, Zacchaeus and the Centurion; nor did either of them think himself better than the other, though, whereas the former received the Lord joyfully into his house, the latter said, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof,” — both honouring the Saviour, though in ways diverse and, as it were, mutually opposed; both miserable through sin, and both obtaining the mercy they required. We may further borrow an illustration here, from the fact that the manna given to the ancient people of God tasted in each man’s mouth as he desired that it might. It is the same with this world-sabduing sacrament in the heart of each Christian. For he that dares not take it every day, and’ he who dares not omit it any day, are both alike moved by a desire to do it honour. That sacred food will not submit to be despised, as the manna could not be loathed with impunity. Hence the apostle says that it was unworthily partaken of by those who did not distinguish between this and all other meats, by yielding to it the special veneration which was due; for to the words quoted already, “eateth and drinketh judgment to himself,” he has added these, “not discerning the Lord’s body;” and this is apparent from the whole of that passage in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, if it be carefully studied.Read More

7. Let me add, that it would be a mistake to suppose that the custom prevalent in many places, of offering the sacrifice on that day after partaking of food, is to be traced to the words, “ Likewise after supper,” etc. For the Lord might give the name of supper to what they had received, in already partaking of His Body, so that it was after this that they partook of the cup: as the apostle says in another place, “When ye come together into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper,” giving to the receiving of the Eucharist to that extent (i.e. the eating of the bread) the name of the Lord’s Supper.Read More As to the question whether upon that day it is right to partake of food before either offering or partaking of the Eucharist, these words in the Gospel might go far to decide our minds, “As they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it;” taken in connection with the words in the preceding context, “When the even was come, He sat down with the twelve: and as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” For it was after that that He instituted the sacrament; and it is clear that when the disciples first received the Body and Blood of the Lord, they had not been fasting.Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Letter 98 (A.D. 408) 4. As to the incident mentioned in the same letter, that a girl who was left as an infant in charge of her nurse, when her parents had escaped by sudden flight, and was made by that nurse to take part in the profane rites of idolatrous worship, had afterwards in the Church expelled from her mouth, by wonderful motions, the Eucharist when it was given to her, this seems to ate to have been caused by divine interposition, in order that persons of riper years might not imagine that in this sin they do no wrong to the children, but rather might understand, by means of a bodily action of obvious]’ significance on the part of those who were unable to speak, that a miraculous warning was given to themselves as to the course which would have been becoming in persons who, after so great a crime, rushed heedlessly to those sacraments] from which they ought by all means, in proof of penitence, to have abstained. When Divine: Providence does anything of this kind by means , of infant children, we must not believe that they are acting under the guidance of knowledge and reason; just as we are not called upon to admire the wisdom of asses, because once God was, pleased to rebuke the madness of a prophet by the voice of an ass. If, therefore, a sound exactly like the human voice was uttered by an irrational animal, and this was to be ascribed to a divine miracle, not to faculties belonging to the ass, the Almighty could, in like manner, through the spirit of an infant (in which reason was not absent, but only slumbering undeveloped), make manifest by a motion of its body something to which those who had sinned against both their own souls and their children behoved to give heed. But since a child cannot return to become again a part of the author of his natural life, so as to be one with him and in him, but is a wholly distinct individual, having a body and a soul of his own,Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] The City of God (Book V)

“Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands” (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]).Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Contra Faustum, Book XIX

14. And if the righteous men of old, who saw in the sacraments of their time the promise of a future revelation of faith, which even then their piety enabled them to discern in the dim light of prophecy, and by which they lived, for the just can live only by faith; if, then, these righteous men of old were ready to suffer, as many actually did suffer, all trials arid tortures for the sake of those typical sacraments which prefigured things in the future; if we praise the three children and Daniel, because they refused to be defiled by meat from the king’s table, from their regard for the sacrament of their day; if we feel the strongest admiration for the Meccabees, who refused to touch food which Christians lawfully use; how much more should a Christian in our day be ready to suffer all things for Christ’s baptism, for Christ’s Eucharist, for Christ’s sacred sign, since these are proofs of the accomplishment of what the former sacraments only pointed forward to in the future! For what is still promised to the Church, the body of Christ, is both clearly made known, and in the Saviour Himself, the Head of the body, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, has already been accomplished. Is not the promise of eternal life by resurrection from the dead? This we see fulfilled in the flesh of Him of whom it is said, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In former days faith was dim, for the saints and righteous men of those times all believed and hoped for the same things, and all these sacraments and ceremonies pointed to the future; but now we have the revelation of the faith to which the people were shut up under the law; and what is now promised to believers in the judgment is already accomplished in the example of Him who came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] On Baptism, Against the Donatists (Book V)

28. But what kind of argument is this, that “a heretic must be considered not to have baptism, because he has not the Church?” And it must be acknowledged that “when he is baptized, he is questioned about the Church.” Just as though the same question about the Church were not put in baptism to him who within the Church renounces the world in word and not in deed. As therefore his false answer does not prevent what he receives from being baptism, so also the false reply of the other about the holy Church does not prevent what he receives from being baptism; and as the former, if he afterwards fulfill with truth what he promised in falsehood, does not receive a second baptism, but only an amended life, so also in the case of the latter, if he come afterwards to the Church about which he gave a false answer to the question put to him, thinking that he had it when he had it not, the Church herself which he did not possess is given him, but what he had received is not repeated. But I cannot tell why it should be, that while God can “sanctify the oil” in answer to the words which proceed out of the mouth of a murderer, “He yet cannot sanctify it on the altar reared by a heretic,” unless it be that He who is not hindered by the false conversion of the heart of man within the Church is hindered by the false erection of some wood without from deigning to be present in His sacraments, though no falseness on the part of men can hinder Him. If, therefore, what is said in the gospel, that “God heareth not sinners,” extends so far that the sacraments cannot be celebrated by a sinner, how then does He hear a murderer praying, either over the water of baptism, or over the oil, or over the eucharist, or over the heads of those on whom his hand is laid? All which things are nevertheless done, and are valid, even at the hands of murderers, that is, at the hands of those who hate their brethren, even within, in the Church itself. Since “no one can give what he does not possess himself,” how does a murderer give the Holy Spirit? And yet such an one even baptizeth within the Church. It is God, therefore, that gives the Holy Spirit even when a man of this kind is baptizing.Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] On Baptism, Against the Donatists (Book VI)

11. Caecilius of Bilta said: “I know of one baptism in the one Church and of none outside the Church. The one will be where there is true hope and sure faith. For so it is written, ‘One faith, One hope, one baptism.’ Not among heretics, where there is no hope and a false faith; where all things are done by a lie; where one possessed of a devil exorcises; the question of the sacrament is asked by one from whose mouth and words proceeds a cancer; the faithless gives faith; the guilty gives pardon for sins and Antichrist baptizes in the name of Christ one accursed of God blesses; the dead promises life; the unpeaceful gives peace; the blasphemer calls on God; the profane administers the priesthood; the sacrilegious sets up the altar. To all this is added this further evil that the servant of the devil dares to celebrate the eucharist. If this be not so, let those who stand by them prove that all of it is false concerning heretics. See the kind of things to which the Church is compelled to assent, being forced to communicate without baptism or the remission of sins. This, brethren, we ought to shun and avoid, separating ourselves from so great a sin, and holding to the one baptism which is granted to the Church alone.”Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Answer to Petilian the Donatist (Book II)

53. Or do you say, Even if I am guilty of sacrilege, I ought not to be slain by you? It is one question as to the enormity of my action, which you never prove with any truth, another as to the baptism of your blood, from whence you derive your boast. For I never killed you, nor do you prove that you are killed by any one. Nor even if you were to prove it would it in any way affect me, whoever it was that killed you, whether he did it justly in virtue of power lawfully given by the Lord, or committed the crime of murder, like the chaff of the Lord’s harvest, through some evil desire; just as you are in no way concerned with him who in recent times, with an intolerable tyranny, attended even by a company of soldiers, not because he feared any one, but that he might be feared by all, oppressed widows, destroyed pupils, betrayed the patrimonies of other men, annulled the marriages of other men, contrived the sale of the property of the innocent, divided the price of the property when sold with its mourning owners. I should seem to be saying all this out of the invention of my own head, if it were not sufficiently obvious of whom I speak without the mention of his name. And if all this is undoubtedly true, then just as you are not concerned with this, so neither are we concerned with anything you say, even though it were true. But if that colleague of yours, being really a just and innocent man, is maligned by a lying tale, then should we also learn in no way to give credit to reports, which have been spread abroad of innocent men, as though they had delivered up the sacred books, or murdered any of their fellow-men. To this we may add, that I refer to a man who lived with you, whose birthday you were wont to celebrate with such large assemblies, with whom you joined in the kiss of peace in the sacraments, in whose hands you placed the Eucharist, to whom in turn you extended your hands to receive it from his ministering, whose ears, when they were deaf amid the groanings of all Africa, you durst not offend by free speech; for paying to whom, even indirectly, a most witty compliment, by saying that in the Count he had a god for his companion, some one of your party was extolled to the skies. But you reproach us with the deeds of men with whom we never lived, whose faces we never saw, in whose lifetime we were either boys, or perhaps as yet not even born. What is the meaning, then, of your great unfairness and perversity, that you should wish to impose on us the burdens of those whom we never knew, whilst you will not bear the burdens of your friends? The divine Scriptures exclaim: “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him.” If he whom you saw did not pollute you, why do you reproach me with one whom I could not have seen? Or do you say, I did not consent with him, because his deeds were displeasing to me? But, at any rate, you went up to the altar of God with him. Come now, if you would defend yourself, make a distinction between your two positions, and say that it is one thing to consent together for sin, as the two elders consented together when they laid a plot against the chastity of Susannah, and another thing to receive the sacrament of the Lord in company with a thief, as the apostles received even that first supper in company with Judas. I am all in favor of your defense. But why do you not consider how much more easily, in the course of your defense, you have acquitted all the nations and boundaries of the earth, throughout which the inheritance of Christ is dispersed? For if it was possible for you to see a thief, and to share the sacraments with the thief whom you saw, and yet not to share his sin, how much less was it possible for the remotest nations of the earth to have anything in common with the sins of African traditors and persecutors, supposing your charges and assertions to be true, even though they held the sacraments in common with them? Or do you say, I saw in him the bishop, I did not see in him the thief? Say what you will. I allow this defense also, and in this the world is acquitted of the charges which you brought against it. For if it was permitted you to ignore the character of a man whom you knew, why is the whole world not allowed to be ignorant of those it never knew, unless, indeed, the Donatists are allowed to be ignorant of what they do not wish to know, while the nations of the earth may not be ignorant of what they cannot know?Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Against Two Letters of the Pelagians (Book IV)

But now it plainly appears in what way Cyprian proclaims the grace of God against such as these, when he is arguing about the Lord’s Prayer. For he says: “We say, ‘May Thy name be made holy,’ not that we wish for God that He may be made holy by our prayers, but that we beseech of Him that His name may be made holy in us. But by whom is God made holy, since He Himself makes holy? But, because He says, ‘Be ye holy, because I also am holy,’ we ask and entreat this, that we who were made holy in baptism may continue in that which we have begun to be.” And in another place in the same epistle he says: “We add also, and say, ‘Thy will be done in heaven, and in earth,’ not in order that God may do what He wills, but that we may be able to do what God wills. For who resists God that He may not do what He wills? But, since we are hindered by the devil from obeying God with our thought and deed in all things, we pray and ask that God’s will may be done in us. And that it may be done in us, we have need of God’s will, that is, of His help and protection; since no one is strong in his own strength, but he is safe by the indulgence and mercy of God.” In another place also: “Moreover, we ask that the will of God may be done both in heaven and in earth, each of which things pertains to the fulfilment of our safety and salvation. For since we possess the body from the earth, and the spirit from heaven, we are ourselves earth and heaven; and in both, that is, both in body and in spirit, we pray that God’s will be done. For between the flesh and the spirit there is a struggle, and there is a daily strife as they disagree one with the other; so that we cannot do the very things that we would, in that the spirit seeks heavenly and divine things, while the flesh lusts after earthly and temporal things. And, therefore, we ask that, by the help and assistance of God, agreement may be made between these two natures; so that while the will of God is done both in the spirit and in the flesh, the soul which is newborn by Him may be preserved. And this the Apostle Paul openly and manifestly declares by his words. ‘The flesh,’ says he, ‘lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.’” And a little after he says: “And it may be thus understood, most beloved brethren, that since the Lord commands and teaches us even to love our enemies, and to pray even for those who persecute us, we should ask even for those who are still earth, and have not yet begun to be heavenly, that even in respect of these God’s will may be done, which Christ accomplished in preserving and renewing humanity.” And again, in another place he says: “But we ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not, by the interposition of some more heinous sin,—by being prevented, as those abstaining and not communicating, from partaking of the heavenly bread,—be separated from Christ’s body.” And a little afterwards, in the same treatise he says: “But when we ask that we may not come into temptation, we are reminded of our infirmity and weakness, while we so ask as that no one should insolently vaunt himself; that none should proudly and arrogantly assume anything to himself; that none should take to himself the glory either of confession or of suffering as his own, when the Lord Himself teaching humility said, ‘Watch and pray, that ye come not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak;’ so that while a humble and submissive confession comes first, and all is attributed to God, whatever is sought for suppliantly, with fear and honour of God, may be granted by His own loving-kindness.” Moreover, in his treatise addressed to Quirinus, in respect to which work Pelagius wishes himself to appear as his imitator, he says in the Third Book “that we must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own.” And subjoining the divine testimonies to this proposition, he added among others that apostolic word with which especially the mouths of such as these must be closed: “For what hast thou, which thou hast not received? But if thou hast received it, why boastest thou as if thou hadst not received it?” Also in the epistle concerning Patience he says: “For we have this virtue in common with God. From Him patience begins; from Him its glory and its dignity take their rise. The origin and greatness of patience proceed from God as its Author.”Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II)

Because he says, among other things, are in Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not by the interposition of some heinous sin be separated from Christ’s body by being withheld from communicating and prevented from paRead More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Sermon 7 on the New Testament

For shall we receive the Eucharist when we shall have come to Christ Himself, and begun to reign with Him for ever? So then the Eucharist is our daily bread; but let us in such wise receive it, that we be not refreshed in our bodies...Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Sermon 8 on the New Testament

” Again, this is a very good sense of, “Give us this day our daily bread,” thy Eucharist, our daily food...Read More Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Tractate 6 (John 1:32-33)

“I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ” (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]).Read More

Augustine of Hippo, St [354-430 AD] Homily 3 on the First Epistle of John

receive with us what the faithful know they receive, Benediction, the Eucharist, and whatever there is in Holy Sacraments: the communion of the very altar they receive with us, and are not of us...Read More

Sozomen [375-447 AD] Ecclesiastical History (Book III) Therefore we received and embraced your pastor, and, having held communion with you through him, we dispatch this address and our eucharistic prayers that you may know how we are united by the bond of love to him and you...Read More

Theodoret of Cyr [393-457 AD] Dialogue 3)

“They do not admit Eucharists and oblations, because they do not confess the Eucharist to be flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins and which of His goodness the Father raised...Read More

Leo the Great, Pope [395-461 AD] Sermon 91 The Truth of the Incarnation is proved both by the Eucharistic Feast and by the Divine institution of almsgiving...Read More

Leo the Great, Pope [395-461 AD] Letter 9 The repetition of the Holy Eucharist on the great festivals is not undesirable...Read More

Leo the Great, Pope [395-461 AD] Letter 59 They are to be rejected who deny the truth of Christ’s flesh, a truth repeated by every recipient at the Holy Eucharist...Read More

Constantinople/”Trullo”/Quinisext (692) [692 AD]

Constantinople/”Trullo”/Quinisext (692) [LOCAL]

No one may give the Eucharist to the bodies of the dead; for it is written “Take and eat.” But the bodies of the dead can neither...Read More

Councils [600 AD] Nicaea II (787) [ECUMENICAL] On the rite of consecrating churches with reliques see Cardinal Bona. (De Rebus Lit., Lib. I., cap. xix.) The Antimensia are consecrated at the same time as the church; a full account of the ceremony is found in the Euchologion (Goar’s ed., p. 648). A piece of cloth is placed on the altar and blessed, and then subsequently, as need requires, pieces are cut off from it and sent to the various oratories, etc. The main outline of the ceremony of consecration is as follows. J. M. NEALE. (Int. Hist. East. Ch. p. 187. ) Relics being pounded up with fragrant gum, oil is poured over them by the bishop, and, distilling out to the corporals, is supposed to convey to them the mysterious virtues of the relics themselves. The holy Eucharist must then be celebrated on them for seven days, after which they are sent forth as they are wanted.Read More

Council of Constance (1414) Certain people, in some parts of the world, have rashly dared to assert that the Christian people ought to receive the holy sacrament of the eucharist under the forms of both bread and wine...Read More

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18 posted on 12/21/2011 3:06:46 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: All; sayuncledave

Ver. 32. Moses gave you not bread from heaven; i.e. the manna was not given to your forefathers by Moses, but by God’s goodness. 2ndly, Neither came it from heaven, but from the clouds, or from the region of the air only. 3rdly, It did not make them that eat it live for ever; but they that spiritually eat me, the living bread; that is, believe in me, and keep my commandments, shall live for ever. -— Ver. 37, 44, and 66. No one can come to me, unless the Father draw him.[1] These verses are commonly expounded of God’s elect; who are not only called, but saved, by a particular mercy and providence of God. God is said to draw them to himself by special and effectual graces, yet without any force or necessity, without prejudice to the liberty of their free-will. A man, says St. Augustine, is said to be drawn by his pleasures, and by what he loves. (Witham)

Ver. 33. A life of immortality and eternal happiness to all who worthily receive it.

Ver. 34. St. Augustine with all the Fathers, believed that the Jews did not understand this in its proper sense; but only understood a material bread, of superior excellence to the manna, which would preserve their health and life for ever (St. Augustine); or at least, a far more delicious bread, which they were to enjoy during the whole course of their lives.

Ver. 36. You demand this bread; behold it is before you, and yet you eat it not. I am the bread; to believe in me is to eat me. You see me, but you believe not in me. (St. Augustine) -— It is to this place that those words of St. Augustine are to be referred: “Why do you prepare your teeth and belly? believe in me, and you have eaten me.” Words which do not destroy the real presence, of which he is not speaking in this verse. (Maldonatus, 35.) -— Jesus Christ leads them gradually to this great mystery, which he knows will prove a stumbling block to many. The chapter begins with the miraculous multiplication of the loaves; then Christ walking on the sea; next he blames the Jews for following him not through faith in his miracles, but for the loaves and fishes, and tells them to labour for that nourishment which perishes not, by believing in Him, whom the Father had sent; and then promises, that what their fathers had received in figure only, the manna, the faithful shall receive in reality; his own body and blood.

Ver. 38. Christ does not say this as if he did not whatever he wished; but he recommends to us his humility. He who comes to me shall not be cast forth, but shall be incorporated with me, because he shall not do his own will, but that of my Father. And therefore he shall not be cast forth; because when he was proud, he did his own will, and was rejected. None but the humble can come to me. (St. Hilary and St. Augustine) -— An humble and sincere faith is essentially necessary to believe the great mysteries of the Catholic faith, by means of which we come to God and believe in God. (Haydock)

Ver. 41. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. These Jews did not believe that Christ was the true and eternal Son of God, who came down from heaven, and was made flesh, was made man. He speaks of this faith in him, when he calls himself the living bread, the mystical bread of life, that came to give life everlasting to all true and faithful believers. In this sense St. Augustine said, (trac. xxv. p. 489) why dost thou prepare thy teeth and belly? only believe, and thou hast eaten; but afterwards he passeth to his sacramental and real presence in the holy sacrament. (Witham)

Ver. 44. Draw him. Not by compulsion, nor by laying the free-will under any necessity, but by the strong and sweet motions of his heavenly grace. (Challoner) -— We are drawn to the Father by some secret pleasure, delight, or love, which brings us to the Father. “Believe and you come to the Father,” says St. Augustine, “Love, and you are drawn. The Jews could not believe, because they would not.” God, by his power, could have overcome their hardness of heart; but he was not bound to do it; neither had they any right to expect this favour, after the many miracles which they had seen. (Calmet)

Ver. 45. Every one, therefore, that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned of him who I am, cometh to me by faith and obedience. As to others, when the Scripture says they are taught of God, this is to be understood of an interior spiritual instruction, which takes place in the soul, and does not fall under the senses; but not less real on that account, because it is the heart, which hears the voice of this invisible teacher.

Ver. 47. Thus Jesus Christ concludes the first part of his discourse: “Amen, amen, he that believeth in me, hath everlasting life;” which shews that faith is a necessary predisposition to the heavenly bread.

Ver. 48. Because the multitude still insisted in begging for their corporal nourishment and remembering the food that was given to their fathers, Christ, to shew that all were figures of the present spiritual food, answered, that he was the bread of life. (Theophylactus) -— Here Jesus Christ proceeds to the second part of his discourse, in which he fully explains what that bread of life is, which he is about to bestow upon mankind in the mystery of the holy Eucharist. He declares then, in the first place, that he is the bread of eternal life, and mentions its several properties; and secondly, he applies to his own person, and to his own flesh, the idea of this bread, such as he has defined it.

Ver. 51. Christ now no longer calls the belief in him, or the preaching of the gospel, the bread that he will give them; but he declares that it is his own flesh, and that flesh which shall be given for the life of the world. (Calmet) -— This bread Christ then gave, when he gave the mystery of his body and blood to his disciples. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 52. The bread which I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world.[2] In most Greek copies we read, is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world. Christ here promised what he afterwards instituted, and gave at his last supper. He promiseth to give his body and blood to be eaten; the same body (though the manner be different) which he would give on the cross for the redemption of the world. The Jews of Capharnaum were presently scandalized. How (said they) can this man give us his flesh to eat? But notwithstanding their murmuring, and the offence which his words had given, even to many of his disciples, he was so far from revoking, or expounding what he had said of any figurative or metaphorical sense, that he confirmed the same truth in the clearest and strongest terms. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat, &c. And again, (ver. 56.) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. I cannot omit taking notice of what St. Chrysostom and St. Cyril, in their commentaries on this place, have left us on these words, How can this man do this? These words which call in question the almighty and incomprehensible power of God, which hinder them, says St. Chrysostom, from believing all other mysteries and miracles: they might as well have said: How could he with five loaves feed five thousand men? This question, How can he do this? Is a question of infidels and unbelievers. St. Cyril says that How, or, How can he do this? cannot, without folly, be applied to God. 2ndly, he calls it a question of blasphemy. 3rdly, a Jewish word, for which these Capharnaites deserved the severest punishments. 4thly, He confutes them by the saying of the prophet Isaias, (lv. 9.) that God’s thoughts and ways are as much above those of men, as the heavens are above the earth. But if these Capharnaites, who knew not who Jesus was, were justly blamed for their incredulous, foolish, blasphemous, Jewish saying, how can he give us his flesh to eat? much more blameable are those Christians, who, against the words of the Scripture, against the unanimous consent and authority of all Christian Churches in all parts of the world, refuse to believe his real presence, and have nothing to say, but with the obstinate Capharnaites, how can this be done? Their answers are the same, or no better, when they tell us that the real presence contradicts their senses, their reason, that they know it to be false. We may also observe, with divers interpreters, that if Christians are not to believe that Jesus Christ is one and the same God with the eternal Father, and that he is truly and really present in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, it will be hard to deny but that Christ himself led men into these errors, which is blasphemy. For it is evident, and past all dispute, that the Jews murmured, complained, and understood that Christ several times made himself God, and equal to the Father of all. 2ndly, When in this chapter, he told them he would give them his flesh to eat, &c. they were shocked to the highest degree: they cried out, this could not be, that these words and this speech was hard and harsh, and on this very account many that had been his disciples till that time, withdrew themselves from him, and left him and his doctrine. Was it not then at least high time to set his complaining hearers right, to prevent the blasphemous and idolatrous opinions of the following ages, nay even of all Christian Churches, by telling his disciples at least, that he was only a nominal God, in a metaphorical and improper sense; that he spoke only of his body being present in a figurative and metaphorical sense in the holy Eucharist? If we are deceived, who was it that deceived us but Christ himself, who so often repeated the same points of our belief? His apostles must be esteemed no less guilty in affirming the very same, both as to Christ’s divinity, and his real presence in the holy sacrament, as hereafter will appear. (Witham) -— Compare the words here spoken with those he delivered at his last supper, and you will see that what he promises here was then fulfilled: “this is my body given for you.” Hence, the holy Fathers have always explained this chapter of St. John, as spoken of the blessed sacrament. See the concluding reflexions, below.

Ver. 53. Because the Jews said it was impossible to give them his flesh to eat, Christ answers them by telling them, that so far from being impossible, it is very necessary that they should eat it. “Unless you eat,” &c. (St. Chrysostom) -— It is not the flesh of merely a man, but it is the flesh of a God, able to make man divine, inebriating him, as it were, with the divinity. (Theophylactus) See Maldonatus.

Ver. 54. Unless you eat ... and drink, &c. To receive both the body and blood of Christ, is a divine precept, insinuated in this text; which the faithful fulfil, though they receive but in one kind; because in one kind they receive both the body and blood, which cannot be separated from each other. Hence life eternal is here promised to the worthy receiving, though but in one kind: (ver. 52.) If any man eat of this bread he shall life for ever: and the bread which I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world: (ver. 58.) He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me: (ver. 59.) He that eateth this bread shall live for ever. (Challoner)

Ver. 55. Jesus Christ, to confirm the notion his disciples had formed of a real eating of his body, and to remove all metaphorical interpretation of his words, immediately adds, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. ... For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed;” which could not be so, if, as sectarists pretend, what he gives us in the blessed sacrament is nothing but a bit of bread; and if a figure, certainly not so striking as the manna.

Ver. 58. As the living Father hath sent me, his only, his true Son, to become man; and I live by the Father, proceeding always from him; so he that eateth me, first by faith only, by believing in me; and secondly, he that eateth my body and blood, truly made meat and drink, though after a spiritual manner, (not in that visible, bloody manner as the Capharnaites fancied to themselves) shall live by me, and live for ever, happy in the kingdom of my glory. (Witham)

Ver. 61. If Christ had wished to say nothing else than that his disciples should be filled with his doctrine, that being his flesh and blood, it would not have been a hard saying; neither would it have shocked the Jews. He had already said as much in the former part of his discourse: but he goes on in still stronger terms, notwithstanding their complaints; and, as they were ignorant how he would fulfil his promise, they left him, (Calmet) and followed the example of the other unbelieving Jews, as all future sectarists have, saying: how can this be done?

Ver. 62. If you cannot believe that I can give you my flesh to eat, now that I am living amongst you, how will you believe, that, after my ascension, I can give you to eat my glorified and immortal flesh, seated on the right hand of the majesty of God? (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 63. If then you shall see, &c. Christ, by mentioning his ascension, by this instance of his power and divinity, would confirm the truth of what he had before asserted; at the same time, correct their gross apprehension of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, in a vulgar and carnal manner, by letting them know he should take his whole body living with him to heaven; and consequently not suffer it to be, as they supposed, divided, mangled, and consumed upon earth. (Challoner) -— The sense of these words, according to the common exposition, is this: you murmur at my words, as hard and harsh, and you refuse now to believe them: when I shall ascend into heaven, from whence I came into the world, and when my ascension, and the doctrine that I have taught you, shall be confirmed by a multitude of miracles, then shall you and many others believe. (Witham)

Ver. 64. The flesh profiteth nothing. Dead flesh, separated from the spirit, in the gross manner they supposed they were to eat his flesh, would profit nothing. Neither doth man’s flesh, that is to say, man’s natural and carnal apprehension, (which refuses to be subject to the spirit, and words of Christ) profit any thing. But it would be the height of blasphemy, to say the living flesh of Christ (which we receive in the blessed sacrament, with his spirit, that is, with his soul and divinity) profiteth nothing. For if Christ’s flesh had profited us nothing, he would never have taken flesh for us, nor died in the flesh for us. -— Are spirit and life. By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace and life. These words sufficiently correct the gross and carnal imagination of these Capharnaites, that he meant to give them his body and blood to eat in a visible and bloody manner, as flesh, says St. Augustine, is sold in the market, and in the shambles;[3] but they do not imply a figurative or metaphorical presence only. The manner of Christ’s presence is spiritual and under the outward appearances of bread and wine; but yet he is there truly and really present, by a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of his body and blood, which truly and really become our spiritual food, and are truly and really received in the holy sacrament. -— The flesh[4] of itself profiteth nothing, not even the flesh of our Saviour Christ, were it not united to the divine person of Christ. But we must take care how we understand these words spoken by our Saviour: for it is certain, says St. Augustine, that the word made flesh, is the cause of all our happiness. (Witham) -— When I promise you life if you eat my flesh, I do not wish you to understand this of that gross and carnal manner, of cutting my members in pieces: such ideas are far from my mind: the flesh profiteth nothing. In the Scriptures, the word flesh is often put for the carnal manner of understanding any thing. If you wish to enter into the spirit of my words, raise your hearts to a more elevated and spiritual way of understanding them. (Calmet) -— The reader may consult Des Mahis, p. 165, a convert from Protestantism, and who has proved the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist in the most satisfactory manner, from the written word. Where he shows that Jesus Christ, speaking of his own body, never says the flesh, but my flesh: the former mode of expression is used to signify, as we have observed above, a carnal manner of understanding any thing.

Ver. 68. Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? He shews them, says St. Chrysostom, that he stood not in need of them, and so leaves them to their free choice. (Witham) -— Jesus Christ remarking in the previous verse that the apostate disciples had left him, to walk no more with him, turning to the twelve, asks them, Will you also go away? The twelve had heard all that passed; they had seen the Jews strive amongst themselves, and the disciples murmur and leave their Master; they understood what he said in the same literal sense; it could, indeed, bear no other meaning; but when Jesus put the above question to them, leaving them to their free choice, whether to follow him, or to withdraw themselves, Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life;” and therefore art able to make good thy words, however hard and difficult they may appear to others. -— We may here admire not only the excellency of their faith, but the plain, yet noble motive of their faith: they believe, because he is Christ, the Son of God, (or, as it is in the Greek, the Son of the living God) who is absolutely incapable of deceiving his creatures, and whose power is perfectly equal to perform the promises he here makes them.

Ver. 69. Simon Peter, the chief or head of them, said in the name of the rest: Lord, to whom shall we go? It is only from thee that we hope for salvation. Thou hast the words of eternal life: we have believed, and known, and remain in this belief, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God. (Witham)

Concluding reflexions on this chapter.

If we take into consideration all the circumstances of this chapter, it will be difficult to conceive how any person can bring their mind to think that there is no connexion between this chapter and the institution of the blessed sacrament. It must proceed, as Dr. Clever, the Protestant Bishop of Bangor, affirms, “from the fear of giving advantage to the doctrine of transubstantiation.” He moreover adds: “whilst the institution is considered as a memorial only, nothing can well be further from being plain.” See his Sermon on the Lord’s Supper. The holy Fathers have unanimously understood these repeated promises of Christ with a reference to the institution. St. Cyprian, of the third age[century], quoting the promises of Christ, the bread which I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world, deduces this conclusion: “Hence it is manifest, that they have this life, who touch his body, and receive the Eucharist.” Qui corpus ejus attingunt. (De Orat. Dom. p. 147.) St. Hilary, of the fourth age[century], quoting Christ’s words, says: “there is no place left to doubt of the truth of Christ’s flesh and blood, de veritate carnis et sanguinis non relictus est ambigendi locus; for now, by the profession of the Lord himself, and according to our belief, it is truly flesh and truly blood.” (De Trin. lib. viii. p. 954-6.) St. Basil, of the fourth century also, citing ver. 53 and 54 of this chapter, says: “about the things that God has spoken there should be no hesitation, nor doubt, but a firm persuasion that all is true and possible, though nature be against it: Kan e phusis machetai. Herein lies the struggle of faith.” (Reg. viii. Moral. t. 2, p. 240.) Again the same saint says: “it is very profitable every day, to partake of the body and blood of Christ, phagein to soma kai piein to aima tou kuriou emon, for he that eateth my flesh. &c. (John vi. 55.) -— “We communicate four times in the week; on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and on the other days, if there be a commemoration of any saint.” (Ep. xcii. t. 3, p. 186.) -— St. Ambrose, of the same age, says: “the manna in the desert was given in figure. You have known things more excellent. For light is preferable to the shadow; truth to the figure; the body of Christ to the manna of heaven. But you may say: I see somewhat else: how do you assert that I shall receive the body of Christ?” He gives this answer: “How much more powerful is the virtue of the divine blessing, than that of nature; because by the former, nature itself is changed? ... If the blessing of men (he here instances Moses changing a rod into a serpent, and many other miraculous changes) was powerful enough to change nature, what must we not say of the divine consecration, when the very words of the Lord operate? For that sacrament which you receive, is accomplished by the word of Christ. If the word of Elias could call down fire from heaven, shall not the word of Christ be able to change the outward elements? ... The word of Christ could draw out of nothing what was not, shall it not be able to change the things that are into that which they were not? ... Was the order of nature followed when Jesus was born of a Virgin? Certainly not. Then why is that order to be looked for here? It was the true flesh of Christ, which was crucified, which was buried; and this is truly the sacrament of his flesh ... Our Lord himself proclaims, This is my body.” -— If Jesus Christ, during his public ministry, performed so many visible and palpable miracles as we read of in the gospels, was it not to induce us to believe without doubting the truths that escape our senses, and surpass our reason? If we believe the water was changed into wine at the marriage feast of Cana; if we believe that the bread in the hands of Christ and his apostles was not diminished, by being broken and divided among five thousand, why cannot we believe the miracle of the Eucharist on the authority of Christ’s word, “the bread that I will give you, is my flesh? This is my body,” &c. Not one of all the ancient Fathers has ever denied the real presence; not one of them all has ever said, that the body of Jesus Christ is received in figure only.


[1] Ver. 37. Nisi pater traxerit eum. St. Augustine, trac. 26, p. 495. noli te cogitare invitum trahi; trahitur animus et amore.

—————trahit sua quemque voluptas. Virg. Ecl. ii.

[2] Ver. 52. Quomodo potest hic, &c. pos dunatai outos; St. Chrysostom, hom. xlv. in Joan. in the Greek, hom. xlvi. tom. 8, p. 272. otan gar e zetesis tou pos eiselthe, sunerchetai kai apistia. St. Cyril, lib. iv. in Joan. p. 359. Illud quomodo stultè de Deo proferunt, to pos anoetos epi theou legousin. -— Hoc loquendi genus omni scatere blasphemiâ, dusphemias apases. -— Judaicum verbum. to pos Ioudaikon rema. He takes notice how much the nature and power of God is above human capacity; he shews it by examples, and then concludes, (p. 360) De quibus miraculis si tuum illud quomodo subinde inferas, omni plane Scripturæ Divinæ fidem derogabis, ole pantelos apeitheseis theia graphe.

[3] Ver. 64. St. Augustine, 27. p. 503, carnem quippe intellexerunt, quomodo in cadavere dilaniatur, aut in macello venditur.

[4] Ver. 64. St. Augustine, 27. p. 503, caro non prodest quicquam, sed caro sola ... nam si caro nihil prodesset, verbum caro non fieret.

19 posted on 12/21/2011 3:20:03 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: All; johngrace

20 posted on 12/21/2011 3:21:32 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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