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every thing, and not gainsay Him, although what is said may seem contrary to our reason and our sight. Let his word overpower both. Thus let us do in mysteries, not looking only on the things that lie before us, but holding fast His words; for His word cannot deceive; but our sense is very easily deceived. That never failed; this often. Since then His word says: This is my Body; let us assent, and believe, and view it with the eyes of our understanding." In another place; “ Who," he asks, “ will give us of his flesh that we may be filled ? (Job xxxi. 31.) This, Christ has done--not only allowing Himself to be seen, but to be touched too, and to be eaten, and teeth to pierce His flesh, and all to be filled with the love of Him. Parents often give their children to be nourished by others: not so, I, says Christ; but I nourish you with
my Flesh, and I place myself before you. I was willing to become your brother; for the sake of you, I took Flesh and Blood; and again I deliver to you that Flesh and Blood, by which I became so related."* _“ What sayest thou, O blessed Paul? Willing to impress awe on the hearer, and making mention of the tremendous mysteries, thou callest them the cup of benediction, (1 Cor. x. 16) that terrible and tremendous cup. That which is in the cup, is that which flowed from his side, and we partake of it. It is not of the altar, but of Christ Himself that we partake ; let us, therefore, approach to Him with all reverence and purity; and when thou beholdest the Body lying before thee, say to thyself: By this body, I am no longer earth and ashes,—This is that very Body which bled, which was pierced by the lance.”|—"He that was present at the Last Supper, is the same that is now present, and consecrates
For it is not man who makes the things lying on the altar become the Body and Blood of Christ; but that Christ who was crucified for us. The Priest stands performing his office, and pronouncing these words—but the power and
grace are the
* Homil. xlvi. alias xlv. in Ioan. T. viii. p. 272-3.
is my body,' and these words effect the change of the things offered."*
“ As many as partake of this Body, as many as taste of this Blood, think ye it nothing different from That which sits above, and is adored by angels. ”op One more short passage from him will suffice: he says"Wonderful! The table is spread with mysteries ; the Lamb of God is slain for
and the spiritual blood flows from the sacred table. The spiritual fire comes down from heaven; the blood in the chalice is drawn from the spotless side for thy purification. Thinkest thou, that thou seest bread? that thou seest wine? that these things pass off as other foods do?' Far be it from thee to think so. But as wax brought near to the fire loses its former substance, which no longer remains; so do thou thus conclude, that the mysteries (the bread and wine) are consumed by the substance of the body. Wherefore, approaching to them, think not that you receive the divine Body from a man, but fire from the hand of the Seraphim.”I
These are a few examples out of a great many more from the fathers, expressly instructing the faithful without reserve; and see what language they hold! the fact is, that beginning from the earliest times in the Church, we have texts without end, expressing the same belief, sometimes casually mentioned, at other times, although more closely veiled, betraying what their doctrine was. For instance, St. Irenæus says; pure oblation the Church alone makes. The Jews make it not, for their hands are stained with blood; and they received not the Word that is offered to God. Nor do the assemblies of heretics make it; for how can these prove,
that the bread, over which the words of thanksgiving have been pronounced, is the Body of their Lord, and the cup His Blood, while they do not admit that He is the Son, that is, the Word, of the Creator of the world!”Ç This is a casual passage
in a writer
* Homil. i. de Prodit. Judæ. T. ii.
Adv. Hær. Lib. iv. c. xviii. p. 251.
speaking of quite another subject of those who deprive themselves of the benefits of redemption, by not believing in Christ.
In the following centuries, the authorities are absolutely overpowering. I will content myself with one or two that seem particularly striking. St. Augustine again and again speaks most strongly of this doctrine, as the following extracts will show. “ When, committing to us His Body, He said; This is my Body, Christ was held in His own hands. He bore that body in His hands.". “ How was He borne in His hands ?” he asks in the next sermon on the same Psalm,“because when He gave His own Body and Blood, He took into His hands what the faithful know; and He bore Himself in a certain manner, when He said, This is my Body."* Again: “ We receive with a faithful heart and mouth the mediator of God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who has given us His Body to eat, and his Blood to drink; although it may appear more horrible to eat the flesh of a man, than to destroy it, and to drink human blood, than to spill it."| I will now read you a splendid testimony of the Oriental Church. It is that of St. Isaac, priest of Antioch, in the fifth century, who writes in these glowing terms; “I saw the vessel mingled, and, for wine, full of Blood; and the Body, instead of bread, placed on the table. I saw the Blood and shuddered: I saw the Body, and was awed with fear. Faith whispered to me; eat, and be silent; drink, child, and enquire not. She showed me the Body slain, of which placing a portion on my lips, she said gently: Reflect, what thou eatest. She held out to me a reed, directing me to write. I took the reed; I wrote; I pronounced: This is the Body of my God. Taking then the cup, I drank. And what I had said of the Body, that I now say of the cup; This is the Blooa of my Saviour." I
I will conclude my quotations with the sentiments of another
* In Psal. xiv. T. iv. p. 335.
Serm. de Fide. Bibl, Orient. T. 1. p. 220. Roma, 1719.
last few years.
eminent father, which have been brought to light within the
passage is remarkable in itself, from the strong confirmation it gives our belief. It is, moreover, a proof how little we have to fear from the discovery of any new writings of the fathers; how much, on the contrary, we should desire to possess them all, because there is no instance of their being recovered, in which they have not done us some good. St. Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium, was the bosom friend of St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Jerome, who speak of him as one of the most learned and holy men of their time. Of this father we possess only a few detached fragments, but the little we have is worthy of the fame which he enjoyed. These few remnants contained nothing on the Eucharist, and never even glanced at the subject. Four or five years ago were published, for the first time, the acts of a council held at Constantinople, in 1166, on the text, “ The Father is greater than I.” The bishops there assembled, collected a great many passages from the fathers to illustrate these words; and among the rest, one from St. Amphilochius, of which we previously possessed a fragment. The remaining portion, thus recovered, contains a powerful testimony in favour of our doctrine. As it has not yet found its way into popular works, I beg to quote it at length. The writer is asserting the equality of the Father and Son. But, as our Saviour had said, that the Father is greater than He, while on another occasion, He tells us that they are one; St. Amphilochius endeavours to reconcile the two assertions by a series of antitheses, which show how, in some respects, the Father is equal, and in others superior. This is the entire passage:“ The Father, therefore is greater than He who goeth unto Him, not greater than He who is always in Him. And that I may speak compendiously; He (the Father) is greater, and yet equal : greater than He who asked' how many loaves have ye?' equal to Him who satisfied the whole multitude with five loaves: greater than He who asked, ' where have ye laid Lazarus ?' equal to Him who raised Lazarus by His word: greater than
He who said, 'who toucheth me?' equal to Him who dried up the inexhaustible flux of the sick woman : greater than He who slumbered in the vessel; equal to Him who chid the sea: greater than He who was judged by Pilate; equal to Him who freeth the world from judgment: greater than He who was buffeted, and was crucified with thieves; equal to Him who justified the thief freecost: greater than He who was stripped of His raiment: equal to Him who clothes the soul: greater than He to whom vinegar was given to drink; equal to Him who giveth us his own Blood to drink: greater than He whose temple was dissolved; equal to Him, who, after its dissolution, raised up His own temple: greater than the former, equal to the latter."* As the proof, then, that Christ and the Father are equal, this Saint alleges that Christ gave us His own Blood to drink. Now, if he had believed Him to present us nothing more than a symbol of His blood, would that be a proof of His divinity, or that the Father and He were equal? Is it of the same character as justifying the sinner freecost, as clothing the soul with grace, freeing the world from judgment, and forgiving the penitent thief, or raising Himself to life? Can the mere institution of a symbol be ranked on an equality with these works of supreme power? And yet St. Amphilochius brings it among the last of his examples of miracles, as one of the strongest proofs of Christ's equality to the Father: and we must consequently understand it to have been, in his estimation, a miracle of the highest order. Nothing but a belief in the Real Presence can justify such an argument; and this would be completely demonstrated did time allow me to enter into further reflection on the text.t Here we have a testimony recently discovered; see how completely it accords with the doctrine which we maintain.
I have presented you with a very limited view of the argu
Scriptorum vet. nova Collectio." Rome, 1231; vol. iv. P.
9. | See the account of this text communicated to thc“ Catholic Minas zine,” vol. iv. 1833, p. 284 sea.