Skip to comments.The saint who was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church
Posted on 05/30/2013 5:28:14 AM PDT by NYer
St Justin Martyr (June 1) began his career as a pagan philosopher
Justin Martyr (c 100-165) was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church. Yet he began his career as a pagan philosopher and did not convert to Christianity until he was about 30. Thenceforward he was much concerned with the relation between faith and reason, exploring the differences and similarities between his new religion and the speculative Hellenism in which he had been raised.
Justin was born to Greek parents at Shechem (modern Nablus) in Samaria, the hilly region to the north of Jerusalem. He studied philosophy at Alexandria and Ephesus, but found himself unsatisfied by pagan thinkers.
He discovered that the Stoics confused discipline with truth, that the Peripatetics (or Aristotelians) wanted to be paid, and therefore could hardly be classed as true philosophers, that the Pythagoreans relied overmuch on music and geometry, and that the Platonists talked of God but were unable to identify Him.
Then one day he met an old man by the sea who made him understand that the soul could never arrive at a proper idea of God through human knowledge, but needed to be instructed by teachers who had been inspired by the Holy Ghost. Thou art a friend of discourse, the old man told him, but not of action, nor of truth.
Justin was also greatly struck by the courage, even the joyfulness, with which Christians at Ephesus faced suffering and martyrdom. The disciples of the Greek philosophers, he noted, certainly would not die for their doctrines. By contrast, the Christians treated God as though He were a friend, not an abstract theory.
And so Justin abandoned the hopes of philosophy for Christian revelation. Once converted, he wrote copiously in defence of his new faith, although only three of his works remain. His two Apologies set forth the moral virtues of Christians, and defend them against ill-informed reproach. These treatises afford valuable information about early Christian practice.
In his other extant work, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Justin considers the proper relation between Christianity and Judaism. He allows that Jews may continue to observe the Law after conversion to Christianity, but insists that they should not compel other Christians to follow these traditions.
Justin finally fell foul of the state in Rome, under the Stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180). It did not help that he derided the Cynic Crescentius as that friend of noise and ostentation.
If you do not obey, the prefect Rusticus told Justin, you will be tortured without mercy.
That is our desire, came the reply, to be tortured for Our Lord Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour. He was beheaded, along with five companions.
Justin Martyr also provides us with an early description of the Mass, circa 125 AD.
--St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, Ch. 66 (A.D. 155-157)
This quote by Justin Martyr does not actually prove the RCC’s doctrine on the Eucharist or transubstantiation. We have other church fathers who use the SAME exact language, and yet define their own language as being used only symbolically.
Here are some Roman Catholic quotations of Augustine allegedly proving that Augustine believed in what the RCC holds to today.
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 (Exp. of the Psalms 33:1:10)
I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lords Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ (Ser. 227)
What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction (Ser. 272)
To the unsuspecting reader, you would think that Augustine really does support your theology. But WAIT, how does Augustine actually define his own views?
For if sacraments had not some points of real resemblance to the things of which they are the sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all. In most cases, moreover, they do in virtue of this likeness bear the names of the realities which they resemble. As, therefore, in a certain manner the sacrament of Christs body is Christs body, and the sacrament of Christs blood is Christs blood. (Augustine, Letters, 98)
He speaks of the Eucharist as being in a certain manner the body of Christ, based on its bearing the name of the reality they resemble. Thus, when Augustine speaks of the Eucharist being the body of Christ, he means it from the standpoint of what it symbolizes, but not that it is actually a part of Christs real physical body placed on the altar. It is simply a manner of speaking. Here’s more support:
What you can see passes away, but the invisible reality signified does not pass away, but remains. Look, its received, its eaten, its consumed. Is the body of Christ consumed, is the Church of Christ consumed, are the members of Christ consumed? Perish the thought! Here they are being purified, there they will be crowned with the victors laurels. So what is signified will remain eternally, although the thing that signifies it seems to pass away. So receive the sacrament in such a way that you think about yourselves, that you retain unity in your hearts, that you always fix your hearts up above. Dont let your hope be placed on earth, but in heaven. Let your faith be firm in God, let it be acceptable to God. Because what you dont see now, but believe, you are going to see there, where you will have joy without end. (Augustine, Ser. 227)
Augustine is quite clear that the body of Christ is not consumed. In fact, his entire argument here is that the bread itself symbolizes the Christian directly. In other words, it is US who are offered on the table, though we are not literally transubstantiated into bread.
I would recommend, actually, reading the entire sermon, as it reveals a great deal into Augustines views on the various sacraments. By his definition, sacraments and symbolism is the same thing. Hence, he can have a sacrament of the Holy Spirit which is the oil, also mentioned in that same sermon.
Then came baptism, and you were, in a manner of speaking, moistened with water in order to be shaped into bread. But its not yet bread without fire to bake it. So what does fire represent? Thats the chrism, the anointing. Oil, the fire-feeder, you see, is the sacrament of the Holy Spirit. (Same as above)
Another, the sacrament of the kiss of peace:
After that comes Peace be with you; a great sacrament, the kiss of peace. So kiss in such a way as really meaning that you love. Dont be Judas; Judas the traitor kissed Christ with his mouth, while setting a trap for him in his heart. But perhaps somebody has unfriendly feelings toward you, and you are unable to win him round, to show him hes wrong; youre obliged to tolerate him. Dont pay him back evil for evil in your heart. He hates; just you love, and you can kiss him without anxiety. (Same as above)
Wheres your sacrament of kissing by the way? And do you think that peace is transubstantiated into a kiss? Or is the Holy Spirit transubstantiated into the oil?
Heres more quotes in general, interpreting the Eucharist as Protestants do today:
They said therefore unto Him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? For He had said to them, Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life. What shall we do? they ask; by observing what, shall we be able to fulfill this precept? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent. This is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which endureth unto eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 25.
Let them come to the church and hear where Christ is, and take Him. They may hear it from us, they may hear it from the gospel. He was slain by their forefathers, He was buried, He rose again, He was recognized by the disciples, He ascended before their eyes into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He who was judged is yet to come as Judge of all: let them hear, and hold fast. Do they reply, How shall I take hold of the absent? how shall I stretch up my hand into heaven, and take hold of one who is sitting there? Stretch up thy faith, and thou hast got hold. Thy forefathers held by the flesh, hold thou with the heart; for the absent Christ is also present. But for His presence, we ourselves were unable to hold Him. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 50, John 11:55-57, 12:1-11,
It seemed unto them hard that He said, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you: they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally, and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, This is a hard saying. It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He saith not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learnt that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learnt. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and saith unto them, It is the Spirit that quickeneth, but the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Understand spiritually what I have said; ye are not to eat this body which ye see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken. Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood. NPNF1: Vol. VIII, St. Augustin on the Psalms, Psalm 99 (98)
Augustine isnt alone in this. Heres from a Pope:
Gelasius, Bishop of Rome (492-496): Surely the sacrament we take of the Lord´s body and blood is a divine thing, on account of which, and by the same we are made partakers of the divine nature; and yet the substance of the bread and wine does not cease to be. And certainly the image and similitude of Christ´s body and blood are celebrated in the action of the mysteries. (Tractatus de duabus naturis 14 [PL Sup.-III. 773]) See Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 Vols., trans. George Musgrave Giger and ed. James T. Dennison (Phillipsburg: reprinted by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1992), Vol. 3, p. 479 (XVIII.xxvi.xx).
And another Bishop:
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): Orth. You are caught in the net you have woven yourself. For even after the consecration the mystic symbols are not deprived of their own nature; they remain in their former substance figure and form; they are visible and tangible as they were before. But they are regarded as what they are become, and believed so to be, and are worshipped as being what they are believed to be. Compare then the image with the archetype, and you will see the likeness, for the type must be like the reality. For that body preserves its former form, figure, and limitation and in a word the substance of the body; but after the resurrection it has become immortal and superior to corruption; it has become worthy of a seat on the right hand; it is adored by every creature as being called the natural body of the Lord. NPNF2: Vol. III, Theodoret, Dialogue II.The Unconfounded. Orthodoxos and Eranistes.
The idea of a constant tradition on this matter is simply fiction. It stands only by reading into the Fathers the current theology of Rome today, and falsely claiming that all held the same view and meant the same things when they used certain phrases or words. It is not wise to assume that someone speaking in those days meant exactly the same thing the RCC means today, 2,000 years later, as the meaning and usage of words changes a great deal. Justin Martyr would not have been aware that the RCC would come along later and make the sacrament more than just something done for “remembrance,” as he asserts, but into something done for “salvation.” Had he have known, I bet his language would have been different.
Welcome to St. Groundhogs Day in which we play out again the same old Protestant canards again, and again, and again in the hope of luring a single Catholic freeper away from "Rome".
"To those with faith, no proof is necessary, to those without faith no proof is possible." - St. Thomas Aquinas.
"Oh you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?" - Matthew 16:8
My advice for you is to stop getting your source material from William Webster like websites and actually crack a book written by the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church to learn all of that they really taught. The cut and paste of incomplete and out of context citations really isn't working for you.
"A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text." - Dr. Donald Carson.
“My advice for you is to stop getting your source material from William Webster like websites and actually crack a book written by the Church Fathers”
I did. Several, actually. But you just got done dismissing it all because your religion doesn’t need proof, nor does it, apparently, need to answer proof against it.
This is a huge, unwarranted jump, since every Catholic believes that the Eucharist is Jesus' Real Body "in a certain manner." That is, not in every manner.
How can this Eucharist be His Real Body and yet ""in a certain manner"? Well, think of this.
But the Church --- and Augustine and Justin Martyr, believing in the words of Christ --- assents that we are receiving His real, entire Self, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
That's why this is not cannibalism. Cannibals eat dead body parts. We eat not parts, but the whole Christ --- all of us hundreds of millions who eat His Body and drink His Blood around the world --- and alive.
Maybe Petrosius or some other knowledgeable FReeper will explain the difference between substance and accidents.
For now, I just want to say: your misunderstanding of what Justin and Augustine and the Catholic Church believe about the Eucharist, is not surprising to me at all. The whole thing rests entirely on faith, and not in some supposed intellectual "grasp" of what we cannot grasp: of a visitation from the Supreme Being beyond time and space, Who presents His very Self to us under the appearance of Bread and Wine and says, "Eat and Drink".
Christ says "This is My Body."
I say "Amen."
That's it. You say "Amen" or you walk away.
>> Christ says “This is My Body.” <<
Had you quoted the entire statement, it would have made it plain that it is not his body, but a remembrance of what was done to his body for us. He would not have us break a commandment.
(obviously, it was being broken by his body that moment)
“It seems you are saying that all of Augustine’s exceptionally clear, explicit statements about Christ’s Real, Eucharistic Body (the first, second, and third paragraph-long quotes) are nullified because he used the four words “In a certain manner.””
They’re nullified because it’s common sense to assume that when the writer tells us that his language is symbolic, as shown in the very same sermons where he asserts they are the body of Christ, that we ought to take them as symbolic too.
From sermon 227:
“I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lords Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ (Ser. 227)”
Also from sermon 227:
What you can see passes away, but the invisible reality signified does not pass away, but remains. Look, its received, its eaten, its consumed. Is the body of Christ consumed, is the Church of Christ consumed, are the members of Christ consumed? Perish the thought! Here they are being purified, there they will be crowned with the victors laurels. So what is signified will remain eternally, although the thing that signifies it seems to pass away.”
You can’t be more explicit than that. And this isn’t two different sermons here. It’s the same one.
The rest of your post doesn’t touch upon any of the actual specifics of any of the quotes, but seems to pass over them in silence while seeming to be some kind of an answer to them.
Thus proving that the early Chistians — the generation with and after the apostles celebrated the Eucharist.
And it’s in writing to boot!
Why do I need to consider a proof derived from and governed by flawed human capacity when I have faith and complete trust (credo) in the perfection of the Word revealed through the instrument established by Jesus and guided by the Paraclete? Unlike much or Protestantism I do not endeavor to demonstrate that the Word meet my standards, I endeavor to ensure that I meet the Word's standards.
The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.
"Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe." - St. Augustine.
Peace be with you
“Why do I need to consider a proof derived from and governed by flawed human capacity when I have faith and complete trust (credo) in the perfection of the Word revealed through the instrument established by Jesus and guided by the Paraclete? “
You really don’t need to keep reminding me that you have perfect faith in the RCC as if it were some kind of groundbreaking retort. I have my faith in Jesus Christ alone, which should be clear enough by now.
Had you quoted ALL that Jesus and the witnesses said on the subject it would be clear that the Epiousios is indeed the Real Presence. Any discussion of the Eucharist that does not present all other versus in the context of John 6 is at best woefully incomplete.
Peace be with you
A real presence of a real desire for salvation by ritual.
I have faith in God whose instrument is the Catholic Church. I do not have faith in the opinions of men that the Reformation produces.
Peace be with you.
All that those quotes show is your ignorance of what the Catholic Church teaches on the Eucharist because none of it actually contradicts Church teaching. It is your (or whomever’s) interpretations of said quotes that “seem” to agree with your Protestant, heretical beliefs.
But Protestants are good at interpreting things the way they see fit..so I’m not surprised.
It is why I don’t bother dialoguing with them anymore (unless they are sincerely looking for the Truth).