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.