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.