Friday, 15 December 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 14.


I. St. Hilary was born in the beginning -of the fourth century and owing to his great merits was made bishop of Poitiers. He was one of the most prominent bishops of his time in Gaul on account of his holiness, learning and zeal for the defense of the Catholic faith against Arianism, a heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. On ac count of his masterly defense of the divinity of our Savior, the Arian emperor Constantius banished him to Asia and left nothing undone to induce him to embrace Arianism. But St. Hilary so well championed the cause of the true faith, that the Arians, seeing themselves overcome by Hilary in their councils, and fearing his continued success in bringing so many Arians back to the Church, prevailed on the emperor to send him back to Gaul. His return was hailed with demonstrations of joy all over Gaul, and he soon turned his attention to restoring religious peace in that country by refuting and converting the Arians. He died in 368. His able writings and his defense of the faith won for him the title of Doctor of the Church. He is a powerful witness of the faith of the Church in the Real Presence, as we shall see by two passages of his writings. The first passage, though short, is very conclusive.

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).

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 13.



III. St. Cyprian was converted from paganism to Christianity by Cecilius, a priest of Carthage. In the course of time he was ordained a priest, and after a few years he became Bishop of Carthage, and governed his diocese with great zeal and wisdom. When the persecution broke out in the year 251, after the Church had been left in peace for thirty-eight years and the number of Christians had greatly increased in the meantime, then the saying of the prophet was verified: " Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy " (Is. 9:3), for the faith, virtue and constancy of the Christians did not increase in the same proportion as their number. Far from it, for in that persecution many apostatized, especially in Northern Africa. Some openly apostatized, gave up the faith and actually took part in the idolatrous pagan rites, rather than suffer the torments of martyrdom. Others even forestalled their arrest as Christians and went and declared themselves as pagans and offered incense to the idols. Others again betook themselves to the magistrates, and bribed them to give them a certificate of having offered incense to the idols, although they had not done so. When the persecution began to relax, the majority of these apostates, without doing any of the penances required for such crimes, insisted on assisting at the Holy Sacrifice and partaking of Holy Communion. Some priests were weak enough to yield to their demands. Moreover, a number of the apostates had obtained from one of the martyrs, after he had already undergone torments, and before his execution, a writing recommending the indulgence of the Church towards said apostates, and these per sons insisted that, by virtue of said recommendation, they should be dispensed from all penance and be admitted at once to receiving Holy Communion.

St. Cyprian, as his duty required, did all he could by preaching and by writing to put an end to such abuses and profanations. He relates a number of examples of divine punishment of the guilty. A man was struck dumb immediately after his apostasy. Another apostate, having tasted a piece of one of the victims of the pagan sacrifices, at once went mad and gnawed off his own tongue. In St. Cyprian's own presence an infant, that his nurse had brought to a pagan altar to taste of the idolatrous sacrifice, was brought to receive Holy Communion, as was often done in the early ages of the Church in the case of infants; but at once, as if in great torture, it threw up the Sacred Species. An old woman, who had apostatized, fell down in convulsions in venturing to receive Holy Communion. In his writings against the apostates, St. Cyprian declares that " these people assail the body of the Lord; they do violence to His body and blood; and now with their hands (in which the Holy Eucharist is placed) and mouth they sin far more against the Lord than when they denied Him" (that is, apostatized).

The belief in the Real Presence can hardly be more strongly or more clearly expressed. By receiving Holy Communion unworthily, says St. Cyprian, those apostates attack and do violence to the Lord Himself; but this they could not do unless the Lord's body and blood are really and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. Moreover, how could an unworthy Communion be a greater crime than the denial of Jesus Christ through fear of torment, if the Savior's true body and true blood are not really present in the Holy Eucharist?

In another work St. Cyprian gives an explanation of the Lord's Prayer. In explaining the petition: " Give us this day our daily bread," St. Cyprian says: " We beg our bread, that is, Christ Himself, that He may be given to us every day, in order that we, who remain and live in Christ, may not recede from His sanctification and His body." By these words St. Cyprian asserts his belief in the Real Presence, and that he considers the Holy Eucharist as the daily nourishment of our soul, and as a necessary means to keep our soul in sanctification, that is, in the state of grace, and preserve it as a living member of the body of Christ, that is, of the Church, of which Jesus Himself is the head and we are the members. Do not these words of St. Cyprian remind us of our late Holy Father Pius X who so strenuously recommends to us all daily Holy Communion ?

St. Cyprian in the next persecution could have concealed himself, but he would not and was there fore apprehended and in the year 258 suffered martyrdom by being beheaded for the faith he had so zealously upheld and defended.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 12.



II. Origen, one of the greatest geniuses the world has ever seen, was born in the year 185 at Alexandria in Egypt. His father, the martyr St. Leonidas, caused him from his very boyhood to study daily a chapter of the Bible, and to learn how to explain it. He was not quite seventeen years old when a violent persecution broke out and his father was arrested as a Christian and put to the torture to compel him to give up his faith. Origen was so eager for martyrdom that he intended to go to the pagan magistrate and publicly proclaim himself a Christian, and thus have himself arrested and put to death for the faith, and so share his father's martyrdom. But he was prevented from doing so by his mother, who hid his clothes so well that Origen could not leave the house. But Origen wrote a beautiful and eloquent letter to his father to encourage him to suffer and die for the faith of Jesus Christ. So great was Origen's learning and ability that when he was only eighteen years old, the Bishop of Alexandria placed him in charge of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, which had acquired great celebrity under the famous Clement of Alexandria.

Origen not only kept up the renown of the school, but even greatly increased it by his able lectures on philosophy and religion. Not only Christians, but also pagans flocked to it in great numbers, even from distant countries, and very many were the conversions of pagans; and there came forth from Origen's school many saints, martyrs, prominent bishops and priests and learned teachers. He was over sixty-five years old in 251 when the persecution broke out; he was imprisoned and courageously underwent fearful tortures for the faith, and finally at the end of the persecution he was set free, indeed, but his health was shattered and he died in consequence two or three years later. The authority of Origen in testifying to the faith and practice of the Church in his time, is so weighty that no sane man can gainsay his testimony. In his Homily on the cure of the centurion's servant by our divine Savior he says:

1. " When thou enjoyest the bread and beverage of life (that is, Holy Communion), thou eatest and drinkest the body and blood of the Lord; then does the Lord enter under thy roof; and thou, therefore, humbling thyself, imitate the centurion and say: ' Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof/ When the Lord enters an unworthy recipient (communicant), He enters to pass judgment" (that is, condemnation). These words of Origen prove that the Christians of his days held the doctrine of the Real Presence, and firmly believed that the words of Jesus Christ, * This is My body, This is My blood/ were to be taken in their plain, literal sense; and that those who received Holy Communion unworthily profaned the very body and blood of Jesus Christ and, as St. Paul de clares, ' ate and drank their own condemnation/ '

2. In the early days of the Church the custom in receiving the body of our Lord in holy Communion was to receive it in one's hand; then men received it from the celebrant in their bare hand, the women in their hand covered with a veil or a fine piece of linen; and in times of persecution they were allowed to bring the Sacred Host to their homes and to communicate themselves. This was, of course, not allowed to the catechumens, but only to the baptized.

In fact, in the first four centuries none but the baptized were even instructed in the holy Eucharist and permitted to assist at holy Mass after the Offertory. In the following passage from Origen, taken from one of his sermons, he addresses only the baptized, saying: " You who are wont to assist at the divine mysteries know how, when receiving the body of Christ, you preserve it with all care and veneration, lest any particle of it should fall down, lest any part of the consecrated gift should slip away, for you charge yourself as guilty of sin, if any of it falls down through your carelessness."

This wonderful reverence of the early Christians is an unquestionable proof of their firm belief in the Real Presence. Similar passages may be found in the works of other Christian writers.

3. In another work Origen speaks of the manna, the daily food which God gave the Israelites journeying for forty years in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, as a figure of the Holy Eucharist, the food which Jesus Christ gives our soul on her way to heaven, her Promised Land. Among other things Origen says: " Therefore the manna is a food figuratively; but now the flesh of the Word of God (Jesus Christ) is in the species (of bread) a true food, as He Himself says: ' My flesh is meat indeed.'' The contrast which Origen makes between the manna and the Blessed Eucharist is an evident proof of his belief that the flesh of Jesus Christ is really present as food in the Holy Eucharist.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 11.



The principal writers in the third century who testified to the faith of the Church in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist are: the martyr, St. Hippolytus of Rome; St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and martyr; and Origen of Alexandria, the most celebrated of the three.

I. St. Hippolytus, who suffered a most painful martyrdom in the year 235, was one of the ablest writers of his century. He refers in one of his books to the Holy Eucharist in the following words: " The Word (that is, the Son of God) prepared His precious and immaculate body and His blood, which are daily prepared (that is, offered) as a sacrifice on the mysterious divine table (altar) in commemoration of that first table of the mystic divine Supper (the Lord's Supper), saying: 'Come, eat My bread and drink the wine which I have mingled for you' He hath given us His own divine flesh and His own precious blood to eat and drink."

These words of St. Hippolytus clearly denote not merely that our divine Savior actually gave to His apostles at the Last Supper His true body and His true blood to eat and drink, but also that the very same was then done in the Church in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a renewal and commemoration of that which our Lord Jesus Christ had done at the Last Supper. This is a proof that the doctrine and practice of the Church in the third century was essentially the same as it is in our own time.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 10.


TESTIMONY OF TERTULLIAN: Tertullian lived in the second half of the second century and in the first quarter of the third. Before becoming a priest he had been married and had practised law. He was a man of great talent and learning. His great work is entitled, " On Prescription/' against heresies, refuting them by the argument known in judiciary proceedings by the name of Prescription, or as we popularly express it: " Possession is nine points of the law, and a person in possession of a thing cannot be lawfully dispossessed of it without clear and adequate proof that he has no right to it." In this work Tertullian proves that heresy can not claim to be the doctrine of Christ, because the Church from the beginning has possessed the true doctrine of Christ. But Tertullian, in spite of his learning and masterly ability, had failed to master himself, and therefore being disappointed in his ambitious aspiration and spurred on by his excessive rigorism, he fell into heresy, teaching among other errors that there should be no forgiveness to those who had fallen into great crimes, such as apostasy, murder, etc. He had previously refuted in his great work " On Prescription" his own errors. Nevertheless, in his former orthodox works, he is a genuine witness of the faith of the early Church in the Real Presence. " Christ," he writes, "taking bread and distributing it to His disciples, made it His own body by saying: ' This is My body/ . . . Our flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ, in order that our soul may thrive on God/' By these words he clearly declares that the Holy Eucharist is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ and the spiritual nourishment of our souls. This is the very teaching of the Church on the Real Presence.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 9.


TESTIMONY OF ST. IRENAEUS, BISHOP OF LYONS AND MARTYR : This saint was born in Asia Minor about the year 130. He was a disciple of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who had been one of the favorite disciples of St. John the Evangelist, and for this reason was looked upon with great veneration by the whole Church in the second century. Irenaeus was among the first missionaries sent into Gaul in the second half of the second century to convert its inhabitants to the Christian religion. When St. Pothinus, the first Bishop of Lyons, with a number of Christians, had suffered martyrdom for the faith, St. Irenaeus was chosen to succeed him. In the year 204, he, with thousands of Christians, suffered martyrdom in the persecution of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Among his writings is a very important book entitled, " Against Heresies," in which he enumerates and refutes the heresies of his time and takes the stand that " no one can be orthodox in the faith, unless he be in communion with the Bishop of Rome." In this work there are two passages relating to the Real Presence, in which he says: " How do those heretics say that that flesh which is nourished with the Lord's blood and body, becomes corrupt and does not receive life? . . .

How do they deny that our flesh, which is nourished with the Lord's blood and body, is capable of receiving the gift of God, namely, eternal life?" To understand the saint's meaning, we should bear in mind that among the heretics St. Irenaeus was refuting, there were some who denied the resurrection of the body and the capability of the body to enjoy the happiness of heaven. To refute them the saint recalled the fact, taught by Jesus Himself, that man's flesh (that is, body), which in Holy Communion is nourished with the body and blood of Christ, is thereby rendered capable of resurrection and of enjoying heavenly bliss, for, he says, " Did not the Savior Himself tell us that the reception of His body and blood would be the pledge of a glorious resurrection and of the consequent enjoyment of life everlasting? ' 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. I am the Bread of life. ... 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. ... He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6.) All this shows us clearly that the early Christians not only believed in the Real Presence, but also considered Holy Communion as the pledge of a glorious resurrection and of the heavenly reward, just as our Catechism now teaches us.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 8.


TESTIMONY OF ST. JUSTIN, MARTYR: Let us now turn our attention to the writings of St. Justin, who also sealed his faith with his blood. He lived in the first half of the second century. He was a philosopher of the school of Plato. After due investigation and instruction he became a Christian. After his conversion he continued to profess philosophy and wear the usual philosopher's mantle. He had many controversies with pagan philosophers, and became an acknowledged champion of the Christian religion. When accused of being a Christian, he defended his faith even before the Roman Senate. He addressed two apologies of the Christian religion to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and wrote several other works in defense of the Christian religion. His bold profession and defense of the faith were the cause of his martyrdom in the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the year 165. In Chapter 66 of his First Apology he speaks of the Holy Eucharist as follows: " This food, which we call the Eucharist, no one is permitted to partake of, unless he believes that our teaching is true and has submitted to the ablution for the forgiveness of sins (that is, has been baptized) and regeneration, and lives as Christ has commanded (that is, faithfully keeps the commandments), for we take this food, not as common bread, nor as common drink, but as Jesus Christ, our Savior, made flesh by the Logos (Word) had flesh and blood to effect our salvation, so have we been taught that also the food consecrated by the word of prayer ordained by Him, by which our blood and flesh are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. This the apostles have handed down in their memoirs, called Gospels (declaring), that they were commanded to do this by these words: 'Do this in commemoration of Me, for this is My Body'; and in the same manner He took the chalice, and gave thanks and said: ' This is My blood' and then gave them all to drink thereof."

This extract from St. Justin's First Apology testifies to the belief of the early Christians, one hundred years after our divine Savior's death, in the Real Presence. Every word of his unmistakably indicates this, for he plainly declares that in Holy Communion not mere bread and wine are received, but the very flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, " the Divine Word made flesh " for our salvation, and that our own flesh and blood are nourished in Holy Communion with the very flesh and blood of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. In fact, if St. Justin were now living among us as one of us, he could not speak more clearly and more forcibly to express the faith of the Catholic Church in the Real Presence.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 7.



Every fair-minded person who reads the writings of the most ancient Fathers of the Church, will be convinced that the Christians of the first two centuries had a clear and firm faith in the Real Presence of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.


The earliest Father of the Church who mentions the Holy Eucharist in his writings is St. Ignatius, a disciple of the apostles. A very ancient tradition informs us that Ignatius was a little child in the life-time of our divine Savior. Now we know that when, on a certain occasion the apostles were driving away the children crowding around our Lord, Jesus took up one of them in his arms, saying: " Suffer little children to come to Me, for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen I say unto you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it" (Mark 10: 13-16) ; that is, if any one wished to enter heaven, he should become in humility, simplicity and innocence, like the little child He was holding in His arms. This little child, tradition tells us, afterwards became St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, whom the Emperor Trajan sent under guard to Rome to be there exposed to and devoured by wild beasts, out of hatred to the Christian religion and for the amusement of the Romans. On his long journey to Rome, St. Ignatius wrote several letters to exhort and encourage the Christians of various cities, and also one to the Christians in Rome, expressing his great desire of dying for Christ and beseeching them not to take any steps to prevent his martyrdom, which he declares to be his glory and happiness. In his letter to the Christians of Smyrna, where St. Polycarp, another disciple of the apostles, was bishop, St. Ignatius warns them against certain heretics of those days who would not believe in the Holy Eucharist, and says: " These heretics do not admit the Eucharist, because they do not acknowledge that the Eucharist is the very flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins." No words can express more clearly the Real Presence, for in these few words St. Ignatius tells us that in the Eucharist there is really and truly the very flesh or body of Jesus Christ which suffered and died for our sins.

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.

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 49.


TRANSUBSTANTIATION. The doctrine of Transubstantiation is a natural consequence of the real presence—so natural, that many of the leading ministers of the Calvinistic body, assembled in Council, have expressed their surprise that the Lutherans do not adopt it. " For," say they, " as the rod of Moses was not changed into a serpent but by transubstantiation; as water did not become blood in Egypt, or wine in Cana, without a change—so, in the Eucharist, bread cannot become the body of Christ, if it be not changed into his flesh by losing the substance of bread."— (Synod of Czenger. See Bossuet's History of the Variations of the Protestant Religion, Book 2, chap. 33.) Thus do we see, that the Catholic doctrine on this important subject is, in a manner, admitted and taught by our greatest opponents— the Lutherans admitting the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Calvinists teaching that if the real presence be admitted, Transubstantiation cannot be rejected.

Three hundred years and upwards have elapsed since the Sacramentarians attacked the doctrine of Transubstantiation; they ransacked the Scripture and Fathers to prove their novel opinions; but a host of Catholic divines have triumphantly demonstrated, from the same authorities, from Councils, ancient liturgies, and the united evidences of the Greek and Latin Churches, that Transubstantiation has been the invariable doctrine of the Catholic Church from the days of Christ down to their own times. On this article, as on all other points, Protestants have made but a feeble defence; driven from position to position, they changed their mode of attack, and scarcely employ any argument now against the doctrine in question, but that of reason and the evidence of the senses, excluding all scriptural mysteries, according to the Socinian system. " If Protestants be not orthodox in this particular," says D'Alambert, " they are, at least, consistent with their own principles," namely, that the " Scripture is the rule of faith, as understood by every man of sound judgment;" if he read the Scripture with a pure intention, and judge by it that there is no mystery of the Trinity, Incarnation, &c., he may, no doubt, deny those mysteries, as not being grounded, according to his judgment, on the evidence of the senses. There are, however, some mysteries in nature, and our senses are as liable to deception, with regard to them, as they are in these of religion, as appears from the following examples.

Square towers appear circular when viewed from a distance, and seem smaller than they are in reality. What becomes of the evidence of our senses in this case, in opposition to reason ? The organ of vision is also deceived with regard to motion, as when we set sail with a fresh breeze from port, the shores seem in motion, and the villas and cities retreating. Should we be remote from a long chain of mountains, the convex as well as the concave parts of them appear to the view like a plain level surface. The Sun appears sometimes only two feet, at most, in diameter, though according to astronomers, it is about one million three hundred and ninety-three thousand times bigger than the earth. Who could imagine the square of the hypotenuse to be equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides, though the sum of the sides is larger than the hypotenuse ?

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 48.


Protestants should acknowledge with a holy fear, to what a degree they are inexcusable if they do not submit to this article. In reality, one may say, there is no error against which the word of God presents us with such powerful arguments as against this error, which denies the incomprehensible eating of the flesh of our Lord, because the word of God represents those who were first engaged in this error as apostates and deserters from Jesus Christ. No other error has so express a declaration against the first abettors of it. The consolation of the Catholic is, that if on one side Protestants, by abandoning the Church on account of this incomprehensible article concerning the eating of the flesh of our Lord, have the unhappiness to see, that both in sentiments and in conduct they resemble the first deserters from the communion of Jesus Christ, Catholics have the comfort to see themselves here followers of the example of the Apostles. They continue faithful to our Lord, notwithstanding the ineffable mystery of the eating of his flesh, because they know that Jesus Christ, who is the author of it, is the Son of God, that he has the words of eternal life, and that he has the power to do more than man can conceive, and that how incomprehensible soever his words may be, they are the only way by which we can come to life everlasting.

Thus the Disciples who here abandoned Jesus Christ, were, in some sense, the first Protestants, that is, the first Christians that would not submit to the word of Jesus Christ concerning the eating of his flesh. And, on the contrary, the Apostles were the first Catholics, I mean the first Christians that believed this eating, how inconceivable soever it might appear to their reason. And I will venture here to entreat my readers to meditate well on the following quotations from two of the most illustrious doctors of God's church, viz., from St. Cyprian and from St. Augustine, who is, according to Calvin, the most faithful witness of antiquity. St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage in Africa, who lived in the third century, says: "The priest in consecrating imitates what Jesus Christ did, and indeed is our Lord's lieutenant, and offers then a true, perfect, and accomplished sacrifice in the faithful Church to God the Father, endeavouring to do as Jesus Christ himself did at his last supper."— (L. 2, Ep. 3.) St. Augustine says: " Oh most beautiful Jesus Christ, I beseech thee by that sacred effusion of thy precious blood, whereby we are redeemed, grant me contrition of heart, and a fountain of tears, especially, whilst I, although unworthy, am assisting at the sacred altar, desiring to offer up to thee that admirable and celestial sacrifice, worthy of all reverence and devotion, which thou, oh Lord my God, immaculate priest, didst institute and command to be offered up in commemoration of thy charity, that is, of thy passion."— (Manual, c. 11.)

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 47.


I am now to prove my minor, and therefore I have to consider the principal points of doctrine which these religions teach.

1st. Luther and Calvin, the fathers of your pretended Reformation, declare that there is no free will; and Luther in his 26th Article affirms, " That it is the principal foundation of his religion." See also Calvin, L. 1, Recognit. But this was long ago the heresy of Simon Magus, and of Valentinus, as is testified by St. Augustine, (Hoer. 11,) and of the Manicheans, as is proved also from St. Augustine, (In Prolog. Contra Pelag.) and of Wickliffe, &c. (In Conc. Constant. Sess. 8.)

2nd. Luther and Calvin teach, "That God is the instigator or mover of all wickedness, and that every sort of evil springs from God's decree." And this again in former ages was the heresy of Simon Magus, (See Vincent Lirin.) and of Florinus, (Eusebius, L. 5, c. 20.)

3rd. Both teach, "That good works are not necessary to salvation, and that faith alone is sufficient for salvation." This was an heresy of the same Simon Magus, as is stated by St. Irenaeus, (L. 1, c. 20,) and of the Eunomians, about the year of Christ 360, as is proved by St. Augustine, (Haer. 54.)

4th. Both teach, that sins though they be ever so great and numerous, cannot injure him who has faith, for that the malice of them is not to be imputed to him who believes.

This was the heresy of the Eunomians, as related by St. Augustine, (Haerr, 54,) of Basilides, and of Carpocrates, as mentioned by St. Irenaeus, (L. 1, c. 23, 24.)

5th. Calvin denies the real presence of Christ's body in the Eucharist. But this was the heresy of Berengarius, about the year of our Lord 1051, where it is to be remarked, first, that though some persons privately had doubts on that great dogma of Catholic faith, the real presence, yet it was never publicly broached till Berengarius was hardy enough to have moved the question, as is related by Hugh of Langres, and Adelman of Bressia, in their Epistles to Berengarius, and by Paschasius in his book on the words of the institution of this sacrament; the fact being, that the real presence was ever the uniform doctrine of the Catholic Church, and was never opposed by any heretic until the time of Berengarius. Secondly, that this heresy of Berengarius was condemned by many Councils, as I have stated in my first letter; likewise Berengarius had three times abjured his error, and ended his life by dying very penitent in the bosom of the Catholic Church. After his death his heresy lay buried in oblivion for two hundred years, that is, till the time of the Lollards, who revived it, and which is proved by Trithemius's Chronicle about the year 1315. After them, Wickliffe broached the same heretical opinion, as appears from his third article. After his death this heresy again slumbered in silence for the space of one hundred years, till Zuinglius renewed it; and after him Calvin and others; whereby it appears certain that the rejecting the real presence was always considered by the Church as an egregious heresy. Therefore, my Lord Bishop, that the Church has either always erred in a principal article of divine faith, and consequently was never Christ's true Church on earth, or that opinion which abrogates and inveighs against the real presence of Christ's body in the sacrament, is a damnable heresy.

6th. Both Luther and Calvin reject tradition, and declare that every thing necessary for salvation is to be found in Scripture alone. This was the heresy of the Arians, as is recorded by St. Augustine, (L. 1, Contra. Maxim, c. 2, et ult.); also of Nestorius, Dioscorus, and Eutyches, as is declared in the Seventh Synod, Act 1.

7th. Both deny the sacraments of penance and confirmation. The Novations taught the same opinions centuries ago, as is proved by St. Cyprian and by St. Theodoret, (L. 4, Epist. 2, L. 3, Fabulanim.)

8th. Luther and Calvin declare, that the Church consists of good alone; that the Church in former times was visible, but perished notwithstanding for many ages, and that at the present moment the elect alone remain in their congregations. Now, my Lord Bishop, this was the very heresy of the Donatists, as is recorded by St. Augustine, (L. de Unit. Eccl. c. 12.)

9th. Luther and Calvin teach, that prayers are not to be offered for the dead; and that the fast of Lent, or even any fasts, as commanded by the Church, are not to be kept, but that every one is to fast whenever it appears good to him. The Arians taught the very same in former ages, if we may believe St. Epiphanius, (Haer. 75,) and St. Augustine, (L. de Hcer. c. 33.)

10th. Luther and Calvin condemn that any veneration should be paid to holy relics, to the images of Christ and of his Saints, and call it idolatry. Vigilantius did precisely the same thing in past ages, as is mentioned by St. Jerome. The same has been done by the image breakers, as is related by Zoneras, Cedrenus, and Nicephorus, regarding those who made war against images.

By all these powerful testimonies which I have produced, it is manifest, that the chief opinions of Lutheranism, of Calvinism, and of the established Church, are all borrowed and, in fact, grounded on heresies long since condemned by the ancient Church, and which were always regarded by her as heresies.— (See Bellarman, de Notts Eccl. c. 9; and Coccius, de Signis Eccl. L. 8, Art. 3.) In a word, I feel sure on reflection, that your Lordship must agree with me, that the great malady of Protestants is the pride of reason, which never consents to believe that it could be deceived.

I am,

My Lord Bishop,

Your obedient Servant, VERAX,