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Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Feast of Corpus Christi

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Lord Jesus Christ,
we worship You living among us
in the Sacrament of Your Body and Blood.
May we offer to our Father in heaven
a solemn pledge of undivided love.
May we offer to our brothers and sisters
a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom
where You live with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you
that in this wonderful sacrament
you have given us a memorial of your passion:
grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries
of your body and blood
that we may know within ourselves
and show forth within our lives
the fruits of your redemption:
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Hail, true Body born of the Virgin Mary;
truly you suffered,
impaled on the cross for the sins of the world.
From your pierced side flowed blood and water.
In my last agony,
grant me a foretaste of your presence.
O sweet Jesus
O Gracious Jesus,
son of Mary,
have mercy on me.
Tr. by Andrew Burnham, A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Dev


Justin Martyr
"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."

Cyril of Jerusalem
"Since Christ Himself said in reference to the bread: "This is My Body," who will dare remain hesitant? And since with equal clarity He asserted: "This is My Blood," who will dare entertain any doubt and say that this is not His Blood?... You have been taught these truths. Imbued with the certainty of faith, you know that what seems to be bread is not bread but the Body of Christ, although it seems to be bread when tasted. You also know that what seems to be wine is not wine but the Blood of Christ although it does taste like wine."

Council of Ephesus 431
"We are made partakers of the Body and Blood of Christ, not as taking common flesh, nor as of a holy man united to the Word in dignity, but the truly life-giving flesh of the Word Himself."

Augustine
When we say "Give us this day our daily bread," by "this day" we mean "at this time," when we either ask for that sufficiency, signifying the whole of our need under the name of bread, which is the outstanding part of it, or for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary at this time for attaining not so much this temporal as that eternal happiness."

John of Damascus
If the Word of God is living and powerful, and if the Lord does all things whatsoever he wills; if he said, "Let there be light", and it happened; if he said, "let there be a firmament", and it happened; ...if finally the Word of God himself willingly became man and made flesh for himself out of the most pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever Virgin, why should he not be capable of making bread his Body and wine and water his Blood?... God said, "This is my Body", and "This is my Blood."

Tertullian (210 A.D.)
Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned. But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.

St John Chrysostom (c. 344 - 407 A.D.)
"So also was Christ offered once." [Hebrews 7-10] By whom was He offered? Quite evidently, by Himself. Here [Paul] shows that Christ was not Priest only, but also Victim and Sacrifice. Therein do we find the reason for the words "was offered." "He was offered once," [Paul] says, "to take away the sins of many." Why does he say of many and not of all? Because not all have believed. He did indeed die for all, for the salvation of all, which was His part....But He did not take away the sins of all men, because they did not will it....What then? Do we not offer daily? Yes, we offer, but making remembrance of His death; and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one and not many? Because this Sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies. This Sacrifice is a type of that, and this remembrance a type of that. We offer always the same, not one sheep now and another tomorrow, but the same thing always. Thus there is one Sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the Sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one Body. And just as He is one Body and not many though offered everywhere, so too is there one Sacrifice. (Homilies on Hebrews 17, 2[4]; 17, 3[6])

St. John Chrysostom
“...You see that same Body, not in a manger, but upon the altar; not carried in His Mother's arms, but elevated in the priest's hands. Let us, therefore, be roused, and tremble, and bring with us more devotion to the altar than those Eastern kings did to the manger, where they adored their newborn Saviour.”

Basil
"It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, 'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.' And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life."

Iraneus (c. 140 - 202 A.D.)
"The Sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord commanded to be taken at meal times and by all, we take even before daybreak in congregations... We offer sacrifices of the dead on their birthday anniversaries.... We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground..." (The Crown 3:3-4)

Theodore of Mopsuestia (cd. 428 A.D.)
He did not say, "This is the symbol of My Body, and this, of My Blood," but "This is My Body and My Blood," teaching us not to look upon the nature of what is set before us, but that it is transformed by means of the Eucharistic action into Flesh and Blood. (Commentary on Matthew 26:26)

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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.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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