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INSTRUCTED IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST,
OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST.
Q.1. WHAT was the end or design for which Christ instituted the holy Eucharist?
A. It was that it might be the spiritual food and nourishment of our souls, to preserve and augment that life of grace which we receive in baptism, and which is completed and perfected in confirmation; according to the words of our Saviour, “ I am the
living bread which came down from heaven; if
any man eat of this bread, he shall live for “ever.” And, a little after, " he that eateth me, " the same shall live by me," John vi. 51, 58.
Q. 2. How is this explained ?
A. From the similitude of the natural life of our bodies; for we see, that however lively, vigorous, and strong we be as to our natural life, yet our
strength will soon diminish, our vigour fail, and our life become weaker and weaker, and at last be destroyed entirely, unless it be preserved by proper food, which feeds, nourishes, and strengthens the body; so, in like manner, however lively and strong the soul be in the life of grace, which we receive in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation; yet, by reason of the corruption of our nature, and the many temptations to which we are continually exposed from the malice of our spiritual enemies, this spiritual life would soon fail and decay, and at last be extinguished entirely by mortal sin, if we had not a proper food to support and nourish it in the soul. For this reason, our blessed Saviour was pleased to institute the sacrament of the holy Eucharist, in which, under the outward appearances of bread and wine, he gives us his own precious body and blood, to feed and nourish our souls, and to preserve and augment in them the life of grace, by which we live to him.
Q. 3. In what does the Holy Eucharist, differ from the other satraments ?
A. In several things, (1.) In dignity; for the Eucharist is the most excellent of all the sacraments, and supereminently shines above them all, as the sun above the stars. (2.) In the grace it contains; for the other sacraments contain only particular graces adapted to the ends for which they are instituted ; but the Holy Eucharist contains Jesus Christ himself, the fountain and source of all grace. (3.) In its permanency; for the other sacraments are sacraments only at the very time in which they are administered to the person who receives them; but the holy Eucharist is a true and perfect sacrament, both at the time we receive it, and when it is not administered to any one, but reserved in our churches.
Q. 4. What is the outward sensible sign in the sacrament of the Eucharist?
A. The appearances of bread and wine which remain after consecration, and under which our blessed Saviour is received into our souls, when the priest puts it into our mouths, and we take it down into our stomachs.
Q. 5. What is the inward grace it contains ?
A. The body and blood of Jesus Christ, the fountain and author of all grace.
Q. 6. Where does it appear that Jesus Christ is the author of this sacrament ?
A. From the history of its institution related in the gospel, where we are told, that at the last supper, Jesus Christ, “ taking bread, gave thanks and brake, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying, This is the chalice of the New Testament in my blood which shall be shed for you,” Luke xxii. 19.
Q. 7. How is this sacrament a sign of the grace we receive ?
A. Because as bread and wine is the food and pourishment of the body, and preserves and augments our natural life and strength; so' the outward appearances of bread and wine in the holy Eucharist, represent the spiritual food and nourishment which our souls receive from the body and blood of Christ, communicated to us under these appearances.
Q. 8. What is the matter made use of in consecrating the holy Encharist ?
A. Bread made of wheat, and wine of the grape, and no other thing can be used for this purpose, because this was what Christ used himself, and he commanded bis apostles and their successors to do what he had done.
Q. 9, What becomes of the bread and wine by the consecration ?