Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 20.



In this passage, which is clear and decisive, St. Ambrose, from whom I have taken it, lays down four great points, which plainly declare the doctrine of the primitive Christians as regards the miracle of the Eucharist. 1st. He compares the conversion of bread into the body of Jesus Christ to his Incarnation, which is also frequently done by St. Justin, and by St. Cyprian,  in order to establish, as he says, the truth of this mystery upon that of the Incarnation, and to teach us in the same manner, that the Word is truly made Flesh, concealing his Divinity under his holy humanity, he converts the Bread truly into his Body, concealing his Flesh under the species of Bread. Consequently, who will presume to say now that Jesus Christ only gave us his figurative flesh, according to Marcion, who had, as Tertullian says, a pumpkin instead of a heart. 2nd. He declares that the change of the bread surpasses the laws of nature as well as that of the Incarnation. It is not then an allegorical change, nor a mental change. It is a miraculous change; it is a miracle which changes nature; it is a substantial change 3rd. He proves the verity of this wonderful change by the words of the Son of God, This is my Body, shewing us the cause of this miracle, and the power of him who operates it. 

For, as St. Chrysostom admirably says, "They are not the productions of a human power; for what Jesus Christ did then at the supper, even now he so operates and accomplishes it. We hold the rank of ministers, but it is himself who sanctifies these things and changes them. Jesus Christ who has made this table, is now again present; it is he himself who prepares it. Because it is not a mortal man who makes these gifts, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, it is Jesus Christ himself who has been crucified for us. The priest who represents him, truly assists there, and pronounces the words; but the power and the grace comes entirely from Christ This is my Body, says he; it is that word which changes the things which are present; because as that word increase, multiply, and fill the earth, was only once pronounced, but it operates always, giving to our nature the power of engendering. In like manner, that (word, This is my Body) once said accomplishes this sacrament, and brings it upon every altar since that period to the present, and even till the coming of Jesus Christ."— (St. Chrysost. Homil. 83, in Matth. and Homil. 60, ad Popul. Antioch, Idem. Homil. de Prodit Juda.) 

In fine, he adds, as a last proof of the verity of this miraculous conversion, that it is the language and the opinion of the whole Church; that the priests and people speak after the following manner: Whence does it happen, that that which before consecration they call Bread, after the consecration they call the Body of Jesus Christ, and the people answer, Amen, that is to say, it is true. Whence he concludes, that as they can say it, so they ought to "believe it, it "being necessary that the heart and mouth should accord.