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Friday, December 02, 2005

Fathers on the Eucharist

I have been snowed with my work and have not had a moment to think about blogging anything of great substance. My brain is a bit mush right now to be honest. Therefore, I will post a few quotations from the Fathers.

Justin Martyr: For we do not receive these as common bread and common drink; but just as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have learned that the food over which thanks has been given by the prayer of the word which comes from him, [see 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Lk 22; 19] and by which are blood and flesh are nourished through a change, is the Flesh and Blood of the same incarnate Jesus.

St. Hilary of Poitiers: In the Old Covenant there were loaves of proposition [the bread of the presence], but they being of the Old Covenant, have come to an end. In the New Covenant there is a heavenly bread and a cup of salvation that sanctify the body and soul. For as the bread exists for the body, so the Word is in harmony with the soul. Therefore, do not consider them as bare bread and wine; for according to the declaration of the Master, they are Body and Blood. If even the senses suggest this to you [viz. that they are only bread and wine], let faith reassure you. Do not judge the reality by taste but, having full assurance from faith, realize that you have been judged worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.

St. Ambrose: De Mysteriis...will not the word of Christ have the power to change the nature of the elements. You have read about the creation of the whole world: ‘He spoke and they were made, he gave a command and they were created.’ (Ps 33: 9) Therefore can not the word of Christ, which was able to create out of nothing that which did not exist, change those things that do exist into that which they were not?

St. Chrysostom: On the PriesthoodWhen you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled by that precious Blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven? Is not every carnal affection deposed? Do you not with pure mind and clean heart contemplate the things of heaven?

St. Augustine: ... I promised you who have been baptized a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s table, which you now behold and which you became partakers of last night. You should understand what you have received, what you will receive, indeed what you should receive daily. The bread you see on the altar and that has been sanctified by the word of God is the Body of Christ. Through these things the Lord Christ wished to entrust to us his Body and his Blood which he shed for us unto the remission of sins. If you receive them well, you are that which you receive. The Apostle says, ‘One bread and we, the many, are one body.’ [1 Cor 10: 17]

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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