Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Fathers Speak: The Eucharist

The Fathers Speak: 
The Eucharist

          The most famous writings testifying to the ancient belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist are probably those by Sts. Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr.  However, many Fathers of the Church testified to the ancient belief in this blessed Truth.  Below are a few powerful but less famous quotes:

When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life-flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him? – St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, circa A.D. 180

Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]  – Origen, de principiis, early third century

Then, having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth his Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before him, that he may make the bread the Body of Christ and the wine the Blood of Christ, for whatsoever the Holy Spirit has touched is surely sanctified and changed. – Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 23, mid-fourth century

But yet all those who ate that food died in the wilderness, but that food which you receive, that living Bread which came down from heaven, furnishes the substance of eternal life; and whosoever shall eat of this Bread shall never die, and it is the Body of Christ. – St. Ambrose, On the Mysteries A.D. 387

In that sacrament is Christ, because it is the Body of Christ, it is therefore not bodily food but spiritual. – St. Ambrose, On the Mysteries, A.D. 387