Friday, 10 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 32.



ORIGEN.—" You that have been accustomed to be present at the divine mysteries, know when you receive the body of the Lord, with what care and veneration you preserve it, lest any particle of it fall to the ground, or be lost."— (Hom. 13, in Exod. T. 2, p. 176.)

ST. CYPRIAN.—Speaking of some who had the weakness to deny their faith, he says: " Returning from the altar of the devil, regardless of the menaces of God, they dare to offer violence to the body and blood of the Lord, thus sinning more against him, than when they denied him."— (De Lapsis, p. 132.) " Christ is the bread of life.—He said: I am the bread of life who came down from heaven. If any one eat of my bread, he shall live for ever. But the bread which I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world. Hence it is manifest, that they have this life, who approach his body, and receive the Eucharist."— (De Orat. Dom. p. 146.)


COUNCIL OF NICE.—Condemning an abuse which had crept in, that deacons in some places administered the Eucharist to priests, the Council says: " That neither canon nor custom has taught, that they (deacons) who have themselves no power to offer, should give the body of Christ to them that possess that power."— (Can. 18, conc. Gen. T. 2, p. 38.)

ST. ATHANASIUS.—" Take care then, O deacon, not to give to the unworthy the blood of the immaculate body, lest you incur the guilt of giving holy things to dogs."— (Serm. de incontam. Myst. T. 2, p. 35.)

ST. HILARY.—" If the word truly was made flesh, and we, truly, receive this word for our food: how can he be thought not to dwell naturally in us, who assumed the nature of our flesh inseparably united to him, and communicates, in the sacrament, that nature to us."— (De Trin. L. 8, p. 954.)

ST. EPHREM OF EDESSA.—" When the eye of faith is clearly open, it contemplates in a light, the Lamb of God, who was immolated for us, and who gave us his body for our food to the remission of sins. This same eye of faith manifestly beholds the Lord, eating his body and drinking his blood, and indulges no curious enquiry. You believe that Christ is the Son of God, for you were born in the flesh.

Then why do you search into what is inscrutable ? Doing this you prove your curiosity, not your faith. Believe then, and with a firm faith receive the body and blood of our Lord. Abraham placed earthly food before celestial spirits, (Gen. xviii.) of which they all ate. This is wonderful. But what Christ has done for us greatly exceeds this, and transcends all speech, and all conception. To us, that are in the flesh, he has given to eat his body and blood. Myself, incapable of comprehending the mysteries of God, I dare not proceed; and should I attempt it, I should shew only my own rashness."—(De Nat. Dei. T. 3, p. 182.)

ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM.—In his instructions addressed to those who had been newly baptised, he says: " The bread and wine which before the invocation of the adorable Trinity, were nothing but bread and wine, become after this invocation, the body and blood of Christ."— (Catech. Mystag. 1, n. 4, p. 281.) " The Eucharistic bread, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, is no longer bread, but the body of Christ."— (Catech. 3, n. 3, p. 289.) "The doctrine of the blessed Paul alone is sufficient to give certain proofs of the truth of the divine mysteries; and you, being deemed worthy of them, are become one body and one blood with Christ. For this great Apostle says: That our Lord, in the same night that he was delivered, having taken bread and given thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying to them, Take and eat, this is my body. Afterwards he took the cup and said, Take and drink, this is my blood. As then Christ, speaking of the bread, declared, and said, this is my body, who shall dare to doubt it ? And as speaking of the wine, he positively assured us, and said, this is my blood, who shall doubt it, and say, that it is not his blood? "— (Catech. 4, n. I, p. 292.)