Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 6


St. Paul refers to the Real Presence in another passage of the same epistle in which he says: " The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all who partake of one bread " (i Cor. 10: 16, 17). 

In this passage St. Paul states in the plainest words that the chalice really and substantially contains the blood of Christ, and that the real body of the Lord is received under the appearances of bread. But this is not all. St. Paul even goes so far as to declare that those who partake of the Eucharist become one body with Christ and with one another. In his epistles he maintains that the Christians with Jesus Christ form but one (mystical) body, of which Jesus is the Head and the individual Christians are the members. And here he tells us that the Eucharist, that is, the body of Christ received by the faithful, is the vital principle of the Christian body, the bond of union between all who partake of it and makes of them but one (mystical) body; and therefore the reception of the Eucharist is rightly called Communion, the efficient bond of the common union of the faithful with one another in Christ. Those who deny the Real Presence, deny not only the clear teaching of St. Paul, but also these effects attributed to Holy Communion by St. Paul who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, " the Spirit of Truth." 

Only a divine food is able to produce such admirable supernatural results of the mystical union of the faithful in one body among themselves and with Jesus Christ.

Next to the Scriptural proofs of the Real Presence, omitting for the present the dogmatical definitions of the Church, comes the testimony of all the various ancient liturgies. All of them, even the most ancient that can be traced back to the apostolic age, all testify to the faith in the Real Presence. The very offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass prescribed in them proves beyond all doubt the belief in the Real Presence. Moreover, the ancient liturgies and writings of Fathers of the Church testify to the faith of the primitive Christians in the Real Presence. What we now believe about the Real Presence and the other doctrines of the Catholic Church, is identically the very same that has been believed in all ages of the Church from the time of the apostles, for, like truth itself which is ever one and unchangeable, the doctrines of the Catholic Church have always been the same and have ever remained unchanged. This is easily proved by the testimony, the writings of the Fathers of the Church. But some one may say: " What do I care about what those ancient writers, the Fathers of the Church, wrote on any subject? 

Their views can have no bearing on what we are to believe." To such a one we give this answer: The writings of the Fathers of the Church are of the greatest importance in religious matters, for they testify as to what was the faith of the Church at the time in which they were written; they are the competent witnesses of what the Christians believed in their time. He who reads these writings, finds out exactly what the Christians then believed, how they understood the various texts of Scripture, the words of our divine Savior and the writings of the apostles. The writings of the Fathers of the Church are unquestionable witnesses that, like Jesus Christ, her Founder, the Catholic Church is " the same yesterday, today and for ever " (Hebr. 13:8). Why should we not be allowed to adduce the testimony of the Fathers of the Church in favor of our holy faith? Why should we be permitted to believe historians narrating events they themselves have not witnessed, and be forbidden to believe and adduce the testimony of those learned, holy and conscientious writers who testify to what they themselves have seen and personally known and believed. If lawyers and judges prove their views and their decisions by adducing the testimony of those who framed the laws and of those who preceded them on the bench, why should not we be allowed to prove the oneness and sameness, in one word, the perfect identity of the Catholic faith in all centuries by the testimony and decisions of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church? If we find in their writings the identical doctrines which the Catholic Church now holds and teaches, it is a most conclusive proof that the faith of the Catholic Church has never varied, that it is unchangeable, and, therefore, true. This is in accordance with the teaching of even human reason and common sense.

The testimonies of the Fathers of the Church on the Real Presence would be far more numerous than they are, had it not been for the " discipline of the secret." In what did this discipline consist? The ancient pagans, like our modern atheists, were in their views so gross, coarse and material, that the Church, enlightened by God and by a wise experience, did not consider it prudent to publish to the pagan world some of the deepest mysteries of divine revelation, for fear of their being entirely misunderstood and shockingly misrepresented. The ineffable mystery of the Real Presence was one of these; its very meaning was entirely beyond the grasp, the comprehension of the base minds of the pagans, just as it is now perfectly incomprehensible to our modern infidels. When writing on or referring to the Blessed Eucharist the early Christians of the first three centuries were usually so guarded in their words, that the pagans could not understand what they were referring to. Even converts were not instructed in this mystery until they had been baptized and had given proofs of fidelity to their faith. And yet history tells us that something of this grand mystery leaked out among the pagans, for they accused the Christians of feasting, at their religious meetings, on the flesh of an infant. Such was the explanation the pagans gave of the faith of the Christians in the Real Presence and of Holy Communion. This very calumny is a capital and conclusive proof of the faith of the early Christians in the Real Presence.

In some of the most ancient liturgies, containing the prayers, ceremonies, etc., of the Mass, we find, after the prayer to be delivered from evil, this invocation : " Christ Jesus, we eat Thy body crucified for us, we drink Thy blood shed for us." The meaning conveyed by these words clearly denotes faith in the Real Presence. The Fathers of the Church in their writings warn their readers and hearers not to credit the testimony of their corporal senses, but to believe unhesitatingly and firmly the words of Christ declaring that what seems to be only bread and wine, is really His body and His blood; they admonish the faithful that Jesus wished to give Himself to us under the appearances of bread in order to enable us to submit our reason to faith in His words, and not to yield to the testimony of our senses, for were He to give Himself to us in His human nature as our food, it would be too repulsive to us. The Holy Fathers all declare the Blessed Eucharist a great miracle, an awe-inspiring mystery, an adorable, living inconsumable food, a most holy and incorruptible Bread, and that the Lord Himself enters into all who eat it. They unanimously require all Christians to adore, that is, to pay divine honor to the Blessed Eucharist. They expressly teach that they who receive it, are incorporated in Christ, that Christ, at the Last Supper, after consecrating the bread and wine, actually held Himself in His hands; that they who hold the Eucharist in their hands, really handle Jesus Christ Himself, and that the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion impress immortality in the recipients and, as it were, ferment in them into a glorious resurrection at the last day. The teaching of the Holy Fathers on the Blessed Eucharist is therefore identical with the faith and teaching of the Catholic Church in our own day.

We can draw another proof of the truth and unchangeableness of the Catholic doctrine of the Blessed Eucharist from the very enemies of the Catholic Church. All the ancient Christian sects, separated from the Catholic Church, that believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, also believe most firmly in the doctrine of the Real Presence; this proves that when they, each in its own time, left the Church, the universal belief of the Church in the Real Presence was the same as it is now; hence the faith of the Church in the Blessed Eucharist has never changed, and, consequently, it is the same as Jesus Himself taught His Apostles, and is true beyond all reasonable doubt.

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 5



St. Paul expressly declares that Jesus Christ Him self had revealed to him the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. " I have received of the Lord," he writes, " that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread and giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat; this is My body, which shall be delivered for you; this do for a commemoration of Me. In like manner, also the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the New Testament in My blood; this do ye, as often as ye shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For, as often as you shall eat this bread, you shall show the death of the Lord until He come " (i Cor. 11: 23-26). These words, which are St. Paul's testimony of the revelation he received from our divine Savior Himself, prove beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ in instituting the Eucharist gave His apostles to eat not bread, but His very living body which He was going to deliver to death for mankind on the following day; and that He gave them to drink, not wine, but His very living blood, which Jesus Himself declared to be the blood of the New Testament. The Old Testament, that is, the Covenant of God with the Israelites, was dedicated by sprinkling the people with the blood of the victim, a lamb, the figure of the Savior of mankind. The New Testament was dedicated on Good Friday by the shedding of the blood of Jesus, the Immaculate Lamb, and applying it to mankind; the partaking of the body and blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist would enable all recipients to participate in the merits of the death of the Savior. Moreover, the text of St. Paul also proves that Jesus Christ empowered His apostles, His Church, to change bread and wine, as He had done, into His living body and blood for the benefit of those who were to believe in Him, until Jesus would again come upon earth at the last day to judge all mankind.

But this is not all, for St. Paul further on uses such clear, forcible and awe-inspiring language as to impress deeply on all the doctrine of the Real Presence, the necessity of a due preparation for receiving the Holy Eucharist, and the horrid crime and terrible effects of its unworthy reception.

" Wherefore," he says, " whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself; and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord" (i Cor. 11:27-29). For those who deny the Real Presence, these words of St. Paul are an insolvable enigma. If the Blessed Eucharist is not the real body and the real blood of Jesus Christ, how could St. Paul declare that he who ventures to receive the Holy Eucharist, without the requisite condition of being free from the least grievous sin, would be guilty of a crime against the body and the blood of the Lord ? And this crime, according to St. Paul, is most heinous, for, he says, " he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord." And why is this crime so grievous, as to cause the sinner to " eat and drink his own condemnation " ? Because he uses that food and drink as if it were ordinary and merely material food and drink, and does not discern it, that is does not regard it and treat it as the very body and blood of the Lord. If the Eucharist were mere bread and wine, it would not be so heinous a crime, so horrid a sacrilege to partake of it without " having proved oneself/' that is, without having rendered oneself worthy by the removal or forgiveness of one's sins. But St. Paul expressly enjoins this " proving of oneself" as an indispensable obligation for the worthy reception of the Eucharist, for he says: " Let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice." If the unworthy reception of the Eucharist is so horrid a crime as to draw down on the offender the very eating and drinking of his own condemnation, it must be be cause it is actually the horrible profanation of the very body and the very blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This proves beyond all doubt the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The great Apostle of the Gentiles does not speak in such strong and terrible terms of any other sin, nor does he require so careful a preparation for the performance of any other act, however holy it may be. This should suffice to convince any fair-minded person that the Blessed Eucharist is really and indeed the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 4


But how could our Divine Savior cause a piece of bread to become His very body and a little wine to become His very blood? Let us recall to mind that our Savior, being God, is almighty. His words are not like our words. Our words go no further than to express our meaning, our thoughts, our intentions. But the words of God not only express His meaning, but, as St. Ambrose declares, they are also operative, that is, His words actually do, effect and perform what they mean. For instance, when God, in the beginning of creation, said: " Let there be light," these His words actually brought light into existence without any further act or effort on His part. Hence St. Paul says: " The word of God is living and effectual" (Hebr. 4: 12). This is evident also from the manner in which Jesus Christ performed miracles, saying, for instance, to the paralytic: " Arise, and walk;" to a blind man: " Be thou seeing;" to the dead Lazarus in the tomb: " Lazarus, come forth." These words produced their effect instantaneously. In like manner, when Jesus said over the bread He held: " This is My body," the bread at once became His true body, and there was no longer any bread in His hands, but only its external appearance. And when He pronounced over the wine in the chalice He held these words: " This is My blood of the New Testament/' the wine had immediately become His true blood, and there was no longer wine in the chalice, but only its appearance. The words our Savior then used were the instrument which effected these most wonderful changes. This can present no difficulty to the Christian who really believes in our Savior's divinity, who believes in the creation, in the miracles of Jesus Christ, and that the word of God is almighty (Wisd. 18:15).

Let us bear in mind that our Divine Savior instituted the Blessed Eucharist on the eve of His death for the salvation of mankind, after He had eaten His last Pasch with His apostles. He began by saying to His apostles: " With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer" (Luke 22: 15). How could Jesus so ardently desire to eat that Pasch with His apostles if He did not in tend before dying, to give them an extraordinary token of His love? And could that extraordinary token consist only of a little bread and wine, according to the explanation of those who reject the doctrine of the Real Presence? Had He not daily for three years eaten bread with His apostles? Why should eating it once more before dying create such an ardent desire on His part? Moreover, had He not promised a year previous to feed them with His own flesh and blood as the principle of imparting to them life everlasting, that is, eternal salvation? Deny the Real Presence, and you can show no proof that Jesus ever kept His promise of furnishing His disciples with the means of securing life everlasting. And yet He had declared: " Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you " (John 6:54). Jesus could not have said so ardently: " with desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you before I die," unless He was about to give His apostles, His Church, such a token, such a testimony of His boundless love towards them, as would, beyond all conception, surpass all the marks of love and affection He had hitherto bestowed on them. Let us also recall to mind that Jesus, as the Savior of men, had come on earth to abrogate the Law of Moses, a law of fear, and replace it by the law of love, the law of the children of God, which should last for ever and most intimately unite us with our heavenly Father. To effect this, He wished to make us His brethren and to incorporate us as the adopted children of His Father and render us "partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Pet. 1:4), and for this purpose He wished to feed us with His own flesh and blood in the Eucharist which He was about to institute as the greatest proof of His love for us.

It was, therefore, at the Last Supper that Jesus Christ, to fulfil the prophecies of the Old Testament, made the New Testament, or Covenant, the New Law for His Church which was to endure till the end of time. Wherefore, He was then about to bequeath to His Church the means of saving man kind, of applying to them the merits and fruits of His passion and death. In short, it was at the Last Supper, which He had so ardently desired, that He made His last will. For the last time before His death He was speaking familiarly with His intimate friends, " to whom it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God" (Mark 4: n). To them He spoke plainly, "without parables," for He was then instructing " His successors and representatives, who were to teach all nations " (Mat. 28: 19-20). Wherefore, He must have spoken to them clearly, simply, plainly, intelligibly, literally, without obscurity, without figures. What, then did He, could He mean when He said: " THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU " (Luke 22: 19) ? If it was NOT His BODY, how could He say " THIS is MY BODY? " And to leave no doubt about His meaning, Jesus says expressly, " WHICH is GIVEN FOR YOU." Was it only a " piece of bread" which Jesus then gave His apostles and which He gave up for them on the cross the next day? No, by no means, for on the following day He really and indeed sacrificed His own true, living body on the cross for the salvation of mankind. Therefore the plain, clear meaning of Jesus when He said: " Take ye and eat, this is My body which is given for you " is this: " This is no longer bread, but My very body, which is to be sacrificed on the cross for you." And the plain meaning of Jesus when He said: " Drink ye all of this, for this is My blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many " is: " Drink ye all of this, for this is no longer wine, but My true living blood, which shall be shed for the salvation of mankind." The Real Presence cannot be expressed more clearly, more plainly, more appropriately, or more correctly. And surely our Divine Savior would not have taken all that trouble and used all these clear, simple and plain expressions, in order to give His apostles merely a piece of bread to eat and a little wine to drink, unless He intended to deceive them; and the Evangelists would not have so carefully and so minutely related the actions and words of Jesus, had there been question of only a little bread and wine! Moreover, if Jesus Christ then really intended to give and actually gave His apostles, as He had promised them a year previous, His own flesh to eat and His own blood to drink, could He have done so in words more appropriate or more effective than those He used at the Last Supper, saying: " THIS is MY BODY, THIS is MY BLOOD? "

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 3



St. John, who so minutely and clearly relates the Divine Savior's promise of the Blessed Eucharist as the spiritual food of man's soul, makes no mention of its institution. The other three Evangelists relate it clearly in almost identical terms. He who conscientiously examines their testimony, will be convinced, that they all testify to the truth of the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.

ST. MATTHEW 26: 26-28: " Whilst they were at supper Jesus took bread and blessed and broke and gave to His disciples and said: Take ye and eat, this is My body; and taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this, for this is My blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins."

ST. MARK 14:22-24: "Whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessing broke and gave to them and said: Take ye, this is My body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them: This is My blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many."

ST. LUKE 22: 19-20: "Taking bread, He gave thanks and broke and gave to them, saying: This is My body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me. In like manner the chalice also after He had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the New Testament in My blood, which shall be shed for you."

And now what was it that Jesus actually gave His apostles to eat? Was it bread? No, it could not be bread, for Jesus did not call it " bread," but called it " His body," for He said, " Take ye and eat, THIS is MY BODY." Had it been bread, as it appeared to be, Jesus Christ could not and would not have said, " THIS is MY BODY." Jesus Christ is God; He knows all things; He is Truth itself; He could not be mistaken; He could not utter a falsehood. Therefore, we must conclude that what He said was perfectly true. Hence, He, truly gave them His body to eat; mark, it was His true living body that He gave them to eat, for He said so; it was His very body, for He expressly declared that He gave them to eat " MY BODY WHICH is GIVEN FOR YOU," that is, which shall be sacrificed and shall die on the cross on the following day for the salvation of mankind.

The words Jesus Christ spoke over the chalice make this still more clear: " Drink ye all of this for this is My blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins." He expressly and clearly declared that He wished all His apostles to drink out of the chalice He held in His hands, not wine, but His real living blood which would be shed on the following day for the forgiveness of men's sins, for He said it: " THIS is MY BLOOD." Moreover, He calls it the " blood of the New Testament." The Old Testament, or Covenant of God with the Israelites, was dedicated by the shedding of the blood of a victim, a lamb, and sprinkling it over the people; but the New Testament was to be dedicated also by the shedding of the blood of a victim, the blood of Jesus, the " Lamb of God (John i: 29), and His blood was to wash away the sins of mankind. And it was this very same blood which Jesus expressly declares was contained in the chalice over which He pronounced these words: " Drink ye all of this, for THIS is MY BLOOD of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins."

Here we have the fulfillment of the promise our Divine Savior had made a year previous: " THE BREAD WHICH I WILL GIVE IS MY FLESH for the life of the world. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. Amen, amen, I say unto you: EXCEPT YOU EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK His BLOOD, you shall not have life in you. My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in Him. He that eateth this bread shall live forever" (John 6:52-59). Therefore nothing can be more evident than the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.

He who would give any other meaning to the words of our Divine Saviour, either in the promise He made of the Blessed Eucharist, or in the words He used in its Institution, would, therefore, distort the natural sense of His words and make Him contradict Himself. In order to justify their denial of the Real Presence, the translators of the version of the Bible, known as King James* Bible, did not shrink from corrupting the text of the Evangelists on the Institution of the Blessed Eucharist, for they added thereto words which were calculated to show that Jesus Christ did not give to His apostles His body to eat or His blood to drink, but only a little bread to eat and a little wine to drink. How did they do this? By purposely interpolating the word it, where the Evangelists had not written it. They did it in this way: " Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to His disciples." Those who would read this version would conclude therefrom that Jesus took bread and blessed the bread and gave the bread to His disciples and nothing more than bread, whilst telling them to eat, for " this is My body." They thus deceived all their followers, and represented Jesus to them as contradicting Himself, or telling a falsehood. What a terrible responsibility rests on those translators and their abettors for so grossly deceiving their readers and leading them into a most pernicious and damnable error!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 2


1 Then they said to Him: Lord, give us always this bread. And Jesus said to them : I am the Bread of life; he that cometh to Me, shall not hunger; and he that believeth in Me, shall never thirst. But I said to you, that you also have seen Me, and you believe not. All that the Father giveth Me, shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me, I will not cast out; because I am come down from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. Now this is the will of Him that sent Me, the Father, that all that He hath given Me, I lose not thereof, but raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of My Father who sent Me, that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day " (John 6: 34-40).

What Jesus said about the true Bread from heaven excited the desires of His hearers; therefore they asked Him to give them always this bread; but they meant only material food; wherefore Jesus, after telling them He was the Bread of life which satiated the hunger and quenched the thirst, He insists so much on the necessity of believing in Him as the Son of God. The fact was that, although the people honored Him greatly, they, nevertheless, lacked faith in Him and, in spite of His unquestionable miracles, they would not admit that He was the Son of God.

'' Then the Jews murmured against Him, because He had said: I am the living Bread which came down from heaven. And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know ? How then saith He, I came down from heaven? " (John 6: 41, 42).

They who call themselves Christians and, never theless, deny the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, resemble the Jews who claimed to believe in the prophecies of Holy Scripture concerning the Messias, and yet would not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messias, but looked upon Him merely as the son of Joseph. In like manner, such Christians practically do not believe in the Divinity of the Savior, but believe only what they please of His words. Hence Jesus insists again and again on the obligation of believing in Him as the Son of God, and calls attention to the fact that the true faith in Him is a gift of God granted only to the humble, and not to the proud and conceited.
"Jesus therefore answered and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to Me, except the Father, who hath sent Me, draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, but He who is of God, He hath seen the Father. Amen, amen I say to you: he that believeth in Me, hath everlasting life'' (John 6: 43-47).

Our Divine Savior further on tells the Jews why it is that those who truly believe in Him have ever lasting life, and how He will raise them gloriously at the last day.

" I am the Bread of life," He continues: " your fathers ate manna in the desert and they died," for they ate only material food, which could not impart immortality. But " this is the Bread descending down from heaven, that, if any one eat of it, he may not die." That is, the Bread which I will give is a spiritual food which imparts spiritual life, which confers immortality and perfect happiness to the soul, and fits the body for a glorious resurrection, by incorporating it in the mystical body of Jesus Christ. " I am the living Bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread which I will give is My flesh for the life of the world" (5:48-52).

Here our Divine Savior speaks in the clearest terms. He tells us that He Himself is the Bread from heaven which it behooves us to eat, that we may possess everlasting life; that the Bread which He will give us to eat, will not be mere material bread, but will be the very flesh which He would later on sacrifice for the salvation of the world. And yet there are men who pretend to believe in Christ's infallible word, and yet flatly contradict His very words, for Jesus promises to give a Bread which is His very flesh, and they maintain that He promised to give merely material bread.

"The Jews, therefore, debated among themselves, saying: How can this man give us His flesh to eat ? " (John 6:53).

The language of the Jews proves that they had understood that Jesus intended to give His very flesh as food. Had they mistaken His meaning, Jesus would, most assuredly, have corrected their mistake, as He did later in another point. But, far from now correcting them and telling them that He did not intend to give His very flesh as food, He confirms them in the meaning they attach to His words, and insists more strongly even than before, that He actually intends His very flesh and blood to be real food and drink.

' Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. This is the Bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers ate manna and died. He that eateth this Bread shall live for ever " (John 6:54-59).

By these words Jesus Christ clearly affirms that His flesh is real food and His blood real drink; that they who eat His flesh and drink His blood, shall have life everlasting. Words cannot be plainer than these. Deny the Real Presence, and you necessarily deny the very words of Jesus Christ, and are no longer a Christian, a believer in Christ, but an unbeliever, for, practically, you deny the veracity and, consequently, the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

"These things Jesus said in the synagogue in Capharnaum. Many, therefore, of His disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? If then you shall see the Son of man ascend where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are the spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that did not believe, and who he was that would be tray Him. And He said: Therefore did I say to you that no man can come to Me, unless it be given by My Father " (John 6: 60-66).

The words of Jesus Christ: " It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing " are alleged by Protestants as an unanswerable argument against the Real Presence. But they are woefully mistaken, for our Divine Savior, being infinite Wisdom and Truth, cannot contradict Himself. He had just said: " My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed "; and " the Bread which I will give is My flesh for the life of the world. " Nothing can be more clear than these words. Deny the Real Presence, and you give the lie to these words of the Son of God. There is no alternative: either admit the Real Presence, or charge the Savior with either telling a lie or with not knowing what He was saying. What He afterwards said about the spirit and the flesh does not and cannot in the least contradict what He had previously expressed so clearly, but only shows that He was not to be understood in the material sense given to His words by the carnal Jews. They said: " This saying is hard, and who can hear it?" Their words indicate that they understood Jesus in a carnal sense, for hearing Him say that His flesh was meat indeed, and His blood drink indeed, they imagined that Jesus intended that they should eat His flesh as they ate the flesh of cattle! Of course, this was not the meaning of our Lord, when He said that " the flesh" not His own body, but the carnal meaning they attached to it, " profiteth nothing "; hence His words must be understood in a more spiritual sense; in other words, He would give them His very flesh to eat, but not in the material manner they attached to His words. Moreover, He called their attention to the fact that the Real Presence would be still harder to believe after He would have returned to heaven. His words are a clear anticipated refutation of the Protestant doctrines on the Blessed Eucharist. Hence our Divine Savior did not at all contradict or take back what He had previously said about the Real Presence. He only insinuated to the Jews that they understood His words in too material a sense. Even after this explanation many would no longer believe in Him, for they remained obstinately attached to their preconceived views and prejudices, and were not, therefore, disposed, like others more humble, to believe firmly all He said.

"After this many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away ? And Simon Peter answered Him: Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life; and we have believed and have known that Thou art Christ the Son of God" (John 61:67-70).

The doctrine of our Divine Savior concerning the Real Presence so shocked the Jews, even after His explanation, that many of His followers forsook Him. If Jesus did not intend to give to men His very body as their spiritual food, and His very blood as their spiritual beverage, He would, in all truth, have most clearly said so, and thus prevented so many of His followers from abandoning Him and going astray. Their doing so must, certainly, have greatly pained Him, for He turned to His apostles and asked them if they also intended to leave Him. But they remained faithful to their divine Master. Here we have another proof of the Primacy of St. Peter in matters of faith. Whenever there is question of faith, it is always St. Peter who speaks for all, just as it has always occurred in the Church of Jesus Christ, the Pope, who is St. Peter's successor, speaks for the whole Church and the whole Church accepts his decision in all matters pertaining to man's salvation.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 1


The Sixth Chapter of the Gospel of St. John begins with the narrative of an astounding miracle of our Savior, a miracle which was to prepare His disciples for the doctrine of the REAL PRESENCE. That miracle was the feeding and satiating of five thousand men with five ordinary loaves of bread and two fishes, and the gathering of twelve baskets full of their remnants after the multitude had satisfied their hunger. This great miracle made so deep an impression on the people that they were about to " take Him by force and make Him their king.'* But Jesus frustrated their design by escaping alone into a mountain. When the evening came, His disciples entered their boat to go over the lake to Capharnaum.

"It was now dark," says the evangelist, " and Jesus had not come to them. And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the ship; and they were afraid. But He said to them: It is I, be not afraid. They were willing, therefore, to take Him into the ship; and presently the ship was at the land to which they were going. The next day the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one, and that Jesus had not entered the ship with His disciples, but that His disciples had gone away. But other ships came in from Tiberias near to the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks. When the people, therefore, saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they took shipping, and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found Him on the other side, they said to Him: Rabbi, when camest Thou hither?" (John 6: 16-25.)

By the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves our Divine Savior wished to prepare his followers for the far more wonderful multiplication, if we may call it, of Himself in the Blessed Eucharist. By the miracle of His walking on the sea during a violent storm, which prevented the apostles from using their sail or making any headway by rowing, and then by causing the boat, as soon as He entered it, to land miles away at its very destination, Jesus wished to manifest His boundless power over nature and thus prepare their minds to admit the ineffable mystery of the Real Presence.

Let us now examine how Jesus answered the question of the Jews. " Jesus answered them and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek Me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth to ever lasting life, which the Son of man will give you. For Him hath God the Father sealed. They said therefore to Him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in Him, whom He hath sent. They said therefore to Him: What sign dost Thou show that we may see, and may believe Thee? What dost Thou work ? Our fathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat" (John 6:14-31).

We see from this passage of the Gospel, first, that our Divine Savior reminded His questioners that they followed Him out of selfish and material motives, for it was not truth or even miracles that they sought, for they now expected that He would, as on the day previous, feed them and provide for all their wants. Hence Jesus called their attention to the necessity they were under of seeking food rather for their souls, a food that would secure them, not a few years of mortal life, but life ever lasting; a food which He the Son of God, would give them. They could depend on His word, for His heavenly Father had, like a notary with his seal, authenticated His divine mission by the testimony given at His baptism and by the power He had of working miracles. He then replied to their inquiry as to what they should do to perform God's will, by telling them of their obligation of believing in Him as the promised Messias, or Redeemer. But they were not satisfied with His answer, for they asked for a sign by which He should prove His mission, and, at the same time, they indicated the sign they wished to have, for they alluded to the manna, the food with which God had miraculously fed their forefathers for forty years during the journey to the Promised Land. Moses, their leader and law giver, had foretold that his law was to last and be obligatory until another prophet and lawgiver like himself would come. Now, as Moses fed their forefathers in the desert with manna from heaven, they expected that the Great Prophet, the Messias, would also feed the people with bread from heaven. Wherefore, they now summoned Jesus to prove His claim of being the promised Messias, by providing them also with food from heaven, as Moses had done for their forefathers. Hence they said to Him:
"Our fathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you: Moses gave you not bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world " (John 6: 31-33).

There is an apparent contradiction between our Divine Savior's words and the quotation of the psalm calling the manna " bread from heaven." But the contradiction is merely apparent, and not real, for the psalm calls the manna " bread from heaven" because it fell from the clouds, or what, in common parlance, is denoted as " the heaven " or "the heavens." Jesus wished to call the attention of His hearers to the Bread which He was to give them, as coming down in all reality from " heaven," the very home of God and His angels and saints. The Bread which He would give was so much the more excellent than the bread, or manna, of Moses, as the heaven where God reigns in His glory is infinitely more excellent, precious and noble than the clouds, or the heavens, whence fell the manna to feed the Israelites. The latter preserved the life of the body, and the former is destined to preserve and increase the life of the soul. Moreover, the manna was, in some manner, a pledge to the Israelites that God would lead them into the Promised Land; whilst the Bread from heaven promised by our Divine Savior, is for all His followers a pledge of life everlasting, a pledge that, after our death, He will lead us to heaven, our true country, our home.

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 50.


It is demonstrated, that the diagonal is incommensurable with the sides of the square j yet it is impossible to account for this incommensurability. The senses tell such as view from the base one of the largest pyramids of Egypt, (it is, according to Herodotus, 800 feet high, and its base covers eight acres of ground,) that its summit resembles almost a spire; were all mankind assembled in the same place, they would say, that the top of that pyramid terminates in a point; yet reason, which judges of the altitude and proportions of the object, assisted by art and experience, correct that mistake, and tells us, notwithstanding the general voice of the senses of mankind, that the top of a pyramid is a platform, capable of containing fifty persons. Are we not, therefore, justified in asserting, that were all mankind to deny, that God revealed the doctrine of Transubstantiation, (for it is foolish to reject a fact revealed to us by God, because we do not think it possible,) would not faith have a right to correct that general error, as we see reason has a right to correct the error of the senses and imagination with regard to the pyramid ? The evidence of our senses, no doubt, is often of very great use, but they are not so on many occasions; our senses do not even distinguish between poison and a wholesome remedy; the sight as well as taste are deceived in the common beverage of adulterated tea and coffee; we know their bad qualities only from their effects.

Locke says, he cannot assent to a proposition, which affirms " the same body to be in two distinct places at once;" it seems this philosopher forgot, that the human soul, which though an immaterial substance, " is a body in its peculiar manner of existence," says Tertullian, (2 Advers. Prax. c. 7,) " The human soul is a body in a certain sense," says St. Augustine, (Cont. Ep. Fund. c. 16,) and exists in every part of the human frame at one and the same time; the voice of the orator is heard by the whole and every part of the assembly, and although but only one, is heard in many places at once. There is no parallelogram, how small soever, which may not be extended from the earth to the heavens in infinitum, without becoming at the same time of greater capacity; hence had an angel the power to reduce himself to a point, and of course to a line, he might occupy any given extension or length whatever, and he would at the same time be present in heaven and on earth. Had Locke reflected, that a burning torch or stick twirled with rapidity, appears to be at the same time coexistent with every part of a circle, he would then have perhaps admitted that a body could be, by Almighty power, in two places at once, and that what is possible in appearance to the creature, is possible in reality to the Creator, with whom all things are possible.

But let us examine Locke's opinion upon Protestant principles: Protestants profess to believe, that in eating the bread and drinking the wine, they receive spiritually by faith the body and blood of Christ; a Protestant therefore animated with faith, may receive the body and blood of Christ as often as he uses bread and wine at his ordinary meals, or on other occasions, though he be neither priest nor minister; for it is not the consecration made by the minister, but the faith of the receiver, according to Protestants, which renders the body and blood of Christ spiritually present. Let us now suppose, that the Protestant population of the British empire amounts to ten millions of persons, and that twenty thousand of that number receive the sacrament on the same day and moment, and render Christ's body and blood spiritually present, by their faith, at the same instant. Here, then, are the body and blood of Christ not only in two places, but in twenty thousand places at one and the same instant. It is strange, that a solution so simple escaped the penetration of this philosopher.

But the great objection against Transubstantiation, is that of Tillotson, which has been employed by Hume and other Protestant writers. They say, that " this doctrine is contrary to the reason and sense of mankind." Yet, it is not more contrary to sense and reason than the doctrine of the Trinity. Trinity and unity, in one and the same respect, is a contradiction; but in different respects, there is not even the shadow of a contradiction; for the unity is in respect of the nature, the Trinity in respect of the persons. Tran-substantiation is not more contrary to sense and reason, than that the Sun and every fixed star should be greater than the earth; that he who appeared to Joshua, (v. 13, 14,) and to the holy women, should be an angel. But if God revealed it to them, that he who appeared to be a man, was not a man but an angel, must they have believed God or their senses? If they said, they would believe their senses rather than God, they would be guilty of downright blasphemy. " Our senses," says Tillotson, " afford us a physical certainty, that the substance of bread exists wherever we see its appearances." It is astonishing that Protestants, who are so well informed in other respects, have not well considered that the same objection may be proposed against the Incarnation; and that they themselves are obliged, as professing that mystery, to give the solution; for we take it for granted, that they admit revelation. Had not they who perceived all the visible characters of human nature in Christ, an apparent physical certainty, that he was a human person ? How then could they believe his divinity, or the mystery of the incarnation? What became in this case of the evidence of sense? The same as in the Eucharist; we see the appearances of bread, but not the body of Christ, except by faith. Sense could not discover the divine nature in him " in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally. The Jews could not perceive the divine nature in him, when he said: " I and the Father are one," (St. Mark xvi. 5, and Matt, xxviii. 5,) for which they were going to stone him, " because," said they, " thou being a man, makest thyself God." According to this fine Protestant principle, we should believe no miracles, not even those of Christ himself, unless we had seen him perform them.