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Real Presence


"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes."
— Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 c. 110 AD

Introduction


The Eucharist, also sometimes called Holy Communion or The Lord's Supper, is at the very center of Catholicism. The Real Presence is a belief Catholics hold in common with Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and other Christian denominations. The Real presence is often the subject of much debate and ridicule by those outside of the Catholic Church. As such, I have created this document as a defense and explanation of the Catholic teaching on the Holy Eucharist, which will examine Church teaching, Scripture, and the Early Church fathers on the subject, as well as answer common objections.


Note: This document is currently being brought into visual conformity with the rest of this website, given proper citations, and edited for continuity and ease of reading. Your patience is appreciated while I make the needed changes.

Catechism of the Catholic Church


1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."


The Holy Eucharist in Sacred Scripture



The first to write of the Eucharist was the apostle Paul, as early as 56 AD.

1 Corinthians 11:23–29
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Paul confirms the literal Real Presence:

1 Corinthians 10:16 
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

The second to write about the Eucharist was Mark, Circa 64 AD:

Mark 14:22–24
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”

The Third account of the Last Supper, was Matthew's, probably written Circa 70 AD:

Matthew 26:26–28
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”

The fourth account of the Last supper, comes to us from Luke, also Circa 70 AD:

Luke 22:15–20
He (Jesus) said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it (again) until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you (that) from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”

The Fifth account of the Last Supper comes from the beloved Disciple, John. Modern scholars place his writing from 90 AD or later.
  • John is an eyewitness to the Last supper.
  • The uniformity of expression across the first four authors affirms the literalness.
  • Five times in in John using different verbal expressions, Jesus confirmed the reality of the meaning he intended.
John 6:51 
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

John 6:52 
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

John 6:53 
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

Literal Meaning increased:
  • 1. Between John 6:23-53, the Greek for the word Jesus uses is "phago" (φάγω) which means literally to eat.
  • 2. The Disciples take him literally and question the teaching (John 6:52).
  • 3. Jesus changes to an absolutely literal word, "trogo" (τρώγω) which means literally to gnaw or to crunch (John 6:54, 56, 57, 58).
  • 4. Jesus repeats himself five times, enforcing his literal meaning. (John 6:51-56).
  • The word “trogo” (τρώγω) is only used two other times in the New Testament (Matthew 24:38 and John 13:18).
  • It always means to literally gnaw or chew meat.
  • "trogo" (τρώγω) is never used metaphorically in Greek.
  • Opponents of the Real Presence cannot find one verse in Scripture where "trogo" (τρώγω) is used symbolically
  • 5. Some disciples, leave Jesus, returning to their old ways (John 6:60-66).
John 6:54 
he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
"eats" = "trogo" (τρώγω)

John 6:55 
For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

John 6:56 

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
"eats" =  "trogo" (τρώγω)

John 6:57
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
"eats" = "trogo" (τρώγω)

John 6:58
This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
"eats" = "trogo" (τρώγω)
  • Jesus uses repetition of the same message in different ways to make a clear literal point.
  • Jesus switches from "phago" (φάγω), (John 6:23-53) to using the word "trogo" (τρώγω) (John 6:54, 56, 57, 58) along with repetition to drive his point home.
  • Those around him clearly understood what he was saying.
  • Cannibalism and the drinking of blood are both forbidden by Mosaic Law.
  • This caused many of his disciples to reject his teaching and return to their former lives.
John 6:60-66:
Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

Common Objections Answered


Denials of the Real Presence of the Eucharist usually intend to convince us that Christ is speaking symbolically or metaphorically. To that end, the following arguments are often encountered.


John 10:9 
I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

  • This verse uses the language of metaphor.
  • Jesus does not say "I am a true door indeed".
  • Jesus is like a door, we go to heaven through him.
  • Nobody asks Jesus if he's literally made of wood. Compare this with John 6:52 and John 6:60.
  • This verse does not use repetition to indicate literal meaning as Jesus does in John's Gospel regarding Christ's Flesh and Blood.
John 15:1
I am the true vine: and my Father is the husbandman.

  • This verse uses the language of metaphor.
  • Jesus continues the metaphor, and expands on it (John 15:2-6).
  • Jesus is like a vine, we get our spiritual sap through him.
  • Nobody asks Jesus if he's really a vine. Compare this with John 6:52 and John 6:60.
  • This verse does not use repetition to indicate literal meaning as Jesus does in John's Gospel regarding Christ's Flesh and Blood.
John 6:63 
It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

  • Is Jesus telling us to eat his flesh to no avail? No.
  • Was Jesus' incarnation of no avail? No.
  • Did Jesus die for no avail? No.
  • Was Jesus' resurrection of no avail? No.
  • "The words I have spoken to you are spirit" does not mean "What I have just said is symbolic." 
  • The word "spirit" is never used that way in the Bible.

"One suspects, had they been asked by the Creator their opinion of how to bring about mankind’s salvation, Fundamentalists would have advised him to adopt a different approach. How much cleaner things would be if spirit never dirtied itself with matter! But God approves of matter—he approves of it because he created it—and he approves of it so much that he comes to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just as he does in the physical form of the Incarnate Christ."
(Source: Catholic Answers)

This text (John 6:63) refers to mankind’s inclination to think using only what their natural human reason would tell them rather than what God would tell them. This is expanded on later by John:

John 8:15
You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one.

Man indeed, who wishes alone to bear testimony of himself, is arrogant, and not to be believed, because all men are frail and liable to be deceived; but light and truth itself can neither deceive nor be deceived. (St. Augustine)

John 8:16
Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me.

Or it is as if He said, If your law admits the testimony of two men who may be deceived, and testify to more than is true; on what grounds can you reject Mine and My Father's testimony, the highest and most sure of all? (Alcuin)

Human judgment unaided by God’s grace is unreliable, but God’s judgment is always true. This is the meaning of John 6:63.

John 6:63, Heresy and Gnosticism:

The idea that "matter is evil" was a first and second century Gnostic belief. The Gnostics were a heretical sect that borrowed many ideas from Greek philosophers and tried to "mesh them" with Christianity, thus ending up with quite a few ideas that contradicted authentic Christianity. This idea of "evil matter" further contradicts Genesis 1:31, and other scriptures and was also the basis for their denial of the Incarnation. If matter is evil, they thought, then Christ cannot be true God and true man, as Orthodox (Catholic) Christianity teaches, for Christ is in no way evil. Thus, they claimed Jesus Christ only appeared to be a man, but that this was an illusion.

Some Gnostics, recognizing Genesis 1:31 teaches that God created matter, claimed there were two Gods, an evil "creator God" from the Old Testament, and the "New God" of the New Testament.

Additionally, they thought that there were many divine beings know as "aeons", who mediated between man and the unreachable God. The lowest of these "aeons", who had contact with men, they said was Jesus Christ.

Jesus Only performed "visible" miracles:

It may surprise some, but this argument has been made to me many times in my defense of the Church. Jesus performed visible miracles or "signs" to demonstrate who he was, why he was here, and so that people might believe. He also drew the line eventually, making a decision what sufficient proof would be. We already believe, and we do not need to see the Host or Wine physically change in appearance or taste to believe Jesus. God can change the substance of any created matter while the appearances remain unchanged. This demands faith. Catholics take Jesus at His word: the bread is his body; the wine is his blood. This would be the appropriate place to refer back to John 6:63, and demonstrate proper use of this verse.

John 6:63 
It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

What benefit for you is a physical manifestation of a miracle when there is one of spirit and life already?

John 20:29 
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

Invisible Miracles:
  • 1. Forgiveness of Sin
  • 2. Curing Hemorrhages (Mark 5:25)
  • 3. Being Born Again
  • 4. Receiving Graces
  • 5. Christ's Love
  • 6. Transubstantiation


Cannibalism and Dietary Law



Some of the disciples (Jews as John tells us), hearing Christ's teachings and knowing his literal meaning, thought that what Jesus was saying was a violation of Levitical law:

Leviticus 17:14
For the life of all flesh is in the blood. Therefore I said to the children of Israel: you shall not eat the blood of any flesh at all, because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and whosoever eateth it, shall be cut off.

Leviticus 11:44-45 prohibits the consuming of:
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Crab
  • Crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Oyster
  • Shrimp
  • Duck
  • Frog legs
Dietary Laws, do not apply to Christians because Jesus made a new Covenant during the Last Supper.
Although not a strictly a "dietary law" the Cannibalism bit doesn't apply to the Eucharist, both in light of the New Covenant, and Christ's institution of the Sacrament.

The New Covenant:

Matthew 5:17
Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Hebrews 8:13 

In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

1 Corinthians 11:25 

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

Matthew 26:28 
for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Dietary Laws Abolished:

Matthew 15:10 
And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand:

Matthew 15:11 
not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."

Colossians 2:16 
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.

1 Timothy 4:1 
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

1 Timothy 4:2 
through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared,

1 Timothy 4:3 
who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

1 Timothy 4:4 
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving;

1 Timothy 4:5 
for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Luke 10:8 
Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you;

1 Corinthians 10:27
If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

Additional Points:
  • Jesus institutes the New Covenant at the Last Supper.
  • Making a charge of Cannibalism denies the Incarnation.
  • Jesus is fully human and fully God.
  • Cannibalism is one human person eating the flesh of another human person.
  • Communion (Eucharist, Last Supper) is one human person eating the flesh of a divine Person, Jesus.
  • Cannibalism has never been defined as consuming a Glorified Body (as is Christ).
  • In the New Testament Jesus is called the "Lamb of God" 34 times (e.g. John 1:36). 
  • Scripture refers to the Last Supper as the Passover Lamb (Mark 14:11). 
  • At the original Passover (Exodus 12:1-42) the Lamb of God had to be eaten. 
  • At the last supper Jesus said "take this and eat it, this is my body." 
  • Catholics don't think this is a coincidence.

One Sacrifice


Catholic Christians take the word of God seriously and seek to remember Christ in the Last Supper "as often as" possible. And in doing this proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:24-26
"This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Luke 22:19
"This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me."

Catholic Christians also believe that there is only one sacrifice, Jesus', but following the command "as often as" to proclaim the death of the Lord, the sacrifice of Christ is made physically present to every Christian in all places in every age. The Eucharist makes the atemporal aphysical actions of Christ's redeeming action truly present to us always and everywhere. This is incarnational.

Following the word of God, Catholics also know that Christ is not and cannot be resacrificed. This has never been the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Hebrews 10:12
But this one (Jesus) offered one sacrifice for sins ...

Hebrews 7:27
He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself.

Hebrews 9:25-28
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly ... But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. ... Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many ...

The 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this statement explicitly.

1085 In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father "once for all." His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is - all that he did and suffered for all men - participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.

1104 Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present.


The Early Church Fathers


St. Ignatius of Antioch, a direct Disciple of the Beloved Apostle St. John wrote:

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible"
Source: Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans 7:3 110 A.D.

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes"
Source: Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 110 A.D.

Note: It's hard to believe that St. Ignatius, a respected Church Father, and disciple of Christ directly under St. John the Apostle could have been mistaken about the concept of the last supper. This is perhaps the greatest witness we have to the Real Presence and the Eucharist.

These quotes take place approximately 120 years before the first extant list of New Testament books is even created by St. Anathasius in his 39th Festal Letter. Accusing St. Ignatius of being mistaken about scriptures would be a mistake, since the Bible had yet to be assembled, although the Church was alive and well, already practicing the sacrament which Christ instituted.


Justin Martyr:

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus"
Source: Justin Martyr: First Apology 66, 151 A.D.


Irenaeus:

"If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (
Source: Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4:33–32 189 A.D.

"He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. 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?"
Source: Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:2 189 A.D.

Clement of Alexandria

"’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children"
Source: Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 191 A.D.

Tertullian

"There is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God"
Source: Tertullian, The Resurrection of the Dead 210 A.D.

Hippolytus

"‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e.,
the Last Supper]"
Source: Hippolytus, Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs 217 A.D.

Origen

"Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. 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]"
Source: Origen, Homilies on Numbers 7:2 248 A.D.


Cyprian of Carthage

"He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord"
Source: Cyprian of Carthage, The Lapsed 15–16 251 A.D.

Council of Nicaea I

"It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]"
Source: Canon 18, 325 A.D.

Aphraahat the Persian Sage

"After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink".
Source: Aphraahat the Persian Sage, Treatises 12:6 340 A.D.

Cyril of Jerusalem

"The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ"
Source: Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 19:7 350 A.D.

"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul"
Source: Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 22:6, 9 350 A.D.
 

Ambrose of Milan

"Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ"
Source: Ambrose of Milan, The Mysteries 9:50, 58 390 A.D.

Theodore of Mopsuestia

"When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit"
Source: Theodore of Mopsuestia, Catechetical Homilies 5:1 405 A.D.

Augustine

"Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands"
Source: Augustine, Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 405 A.D.

"I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ"
Source:
Augustine, Sermons 227 411 A.D.

"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction"
Source: Augustine, Sermons 272 411 A.D.
 

Council of Ephesus

"We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving" (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).


Conclusion


  • To the revealed Word that there is "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" the Church labeled the belief "Trinity."
  • To the revealed Word that the "Son of God became man" the Church labeled the belief "Incarnation."
  • To the revealed Word that the "blood of Christ spilled on Calvary saved us" the Church labeled the belief "Redemption."
  • To the revealed Word that "my flesh is true food, my blood is true drink" the Church labeled the belief "Transubstantiation."1

Citations


This document uses content throughout from the following sources.

1. Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Eucharist: The Lord's Supper
2. Living Water: Christ in the Eucharist


External Links


Scripture Catholic: The Eucharist
Catholic Answers: Christ in the Eucharist
Catholic Encyclopedia: Real Presence
Catholic Answers: The Sacrifice of the Mass
Catholic Answers: Is the Mass a Sacrifice?
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