FROM JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST BY REV. FERREOL GIRARDEY, C.Ss.R.
ST. HILARY ON THE REAL PRESENCE
1. "The word was truly made flesh, and we truly receive the Word made flesh in the Lord's food " (that is, in Holy Communion).
These words clearly denote that St. Hilary holds the Real Presence to be just as true as the Incarnation of the Son of God. Of course, those who do not believe in the mystery of the Incarnation, that is, that Jesus Christ is truly and really the Son of God made man, will not admit the Real Presence, such persons can have no genuine claim to be or to be called Christians. We will now proceed to the second extract from the writings of St. Hilary.
2. "We should not speak of things divine in a merely human or worldly manner. Let us read the things that are written and endeavour to grasp their real meaning, and then we shall discharge the office of a perfect faith. In speaking of the natural truth of Christ in us, we speak foolishly or without reverence, unless we learn the truth from Him (that is, unless we understand His words in the sense He Himself attached to them). For He said: 'My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed; he that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me and I in him.' There is no room left to doubt of the reality of His flesh and blood (in the Eucharist). For now by the Lord's own declaration and by our own faith, it (the Eucharist) is His true flesh and His true blood, and the receiving of these has the effect that we are in Christ and Christ is in us, and is not this really true? Those, indeed, who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, do not hold this as true. Therefore, He Himself is in us through His flesh, and we are in Him, whilst that which we are with Him is in God. That we are really in Him through the communion of His flesh and blood, He Himself testifies in these words: And this world does not see Me, but you shall see Me, because I live and you shall live, since I am in My Father, and you are in Me and I in you. That this natural union exists in us, He Himself thus testified: He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me and I in him. No one can be in Jesus, unless Jesus be in him; Jesus will take up the flesh of him
only who shall have received His. He had already previously taught the sacrament (or mystery) of this union in these words: As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; and he that eateth My flesh, the same shall live by Me. Jesus, therefore, lives by the Father, and in the same manner in which He lives by the Father, in like manner also do we live by His flesh."
The words of St. Hilary are very remarkable. In the first place, he calls our attention to the fact that, in order to understand the meaning of the words of our divine Savior, we must not consider our own views, or notions, or theories, but we must seek to understand them in the sense which Jesus Christ attached to them. He that insists on under standing them in his own way without regard to Christ's real meaning, is both foolish and impious. This is conclusive against those who pretend to interpret Holy Scripture in accordance with their private judgment. What we should especially consider in the words of St. Hilary is the assertion that we cannot live by Christ, as Christ declares we should, in order to be saved (John 6: 58), unless we receive this life by partaking of His real flesh and blood. St. Hilary, moreover, shows that our divine Savior compares the union between those who receive His true flesh and blood, to the union existing between Jesus and His heavenly Father. How beautiful, how grand must such a union be! Without the Real Presence such an intimate union could not be effected by Holy Communion. In the next place, St. Hilary calls our attention to the fact that only those deny the Real Presence, who deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ. This is perfectly true, although some who deny the Real Presence, declare that they believe in Christ's Divinity; but notwithstanding their claim, they have a false conception of the mystery of the Incarnation, and consequently do not believe it in its full meaning. By the Incarnation the Son of God united Himself to our human nature; by Holy Communion He unites Himself to each individual recipient, and makes him an individual partaker of the benefits, which the Incarnation and Redemption bestowed on human nature, and gives a pledge to each individual recipent of a glorious resurrection and of eternal life in heaven, as He Himself declares: " He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath ever lasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day " (John 6:55).