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Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Eucharist Through the Centuries: From the Council of Trent to Present Day

The Council of Trent by Pasquale Cati (Public Domain)


"The main purpose of this work is to trace elements of Eucharistic  doctrine from the day our Lord Jesus Christ announced it for the first time in the synagogue in Capernaum (John, Chapter 6) down to our day."  Rev. Roberto de la Vega, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Eucharist Through The Centuries. 



The Eucharist from the Council of Trent to Present Day 

Pope St. Pius X (1903 - 1914) 

"The desire of Jesus Christ and of the Church, that all the faithful of Christ approach the sacred banquet daily, is especially important in this, that the faithful of Christ being joined with God through the sacrament may receive strength from it to restrain wantonness, to wash away the little faults that occur daily, and to guard against more grievous sins to which human frailty is subject; but not principally that consideration be given to the honor and veneration of God, nor that this be for those who partake of it a reward or recompense for their virtues.  Therefore, the Sacred Council of Trent calls the Eucharist 'an antidote, by which we are freed from daily faults and are preserved from mortal sins.'" 

Pope Pius XII (1939 - 1958) 

Quotes from Pope Pius XII encyclical

66. "The mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist which Christ, the High priest instituted, and which he commands to be continually renewed in the Church by His Ministers, is the culmination and center, as it were, of the Christian religion." 

67.  "Christ the Lord...offered His Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine to God the Father, and under the same species allowed the Apostles, whom He at that time constituted the priests of the New Testament, to partake thereof, commanding them and their successors in the priesthood to  make the same offering." 

68.  "The august Sacrifice of the altar, then, is no mere empty commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, but a true and proper act of sacrifice, whereby the High Priest by an unbloody immolation offers Himself a most acceptable Victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the Cross.  It is one and the same Victim." 

77.  "Wherefore, that the redemption and salvation of each person and of future generations unto the end of time may be effectively accomplished and acceptable to God, it is necessary that men should individually come into vital contact with the Sacrifice of the Cross, so that the merits which flow from it, should be imparted to them." 

79.  "The august Sacrifice of the altar...the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the Divine Redeemer upon the Cross are distributed to the faithful: 'as often as this commemorative Sacrifice is offered, there is wrought the work of our Redemption.'...Its daily immolation reminds us that there is no salvation except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that God Himself wishes that there should be a continuation of this Sacrifice 'from the rising of the sun till the going down thereof,' (Mal 1:11) so that there may be no cessation of the hymn of praise and thanksgiving which man owes to God, seeing that he requires His help continually and has need of the Blood of the Redeemer to remit sin which challenges God's justice." 

80. "The unbloody immolation at the words of consecration, when Christ is made present on the altar in the state of a victim, performed by the priest and by him alone, as the representative of Christ and not as the representative of the faithful.  It is because the priest places the divine Victim upon the altar that he offers it to God the Father as an oblation for the glory of the Blessed Trinity and for the good of the whole Church."

81.  "Now the faithful participate in the oblation, understood in this limited sense, after their own fashion and in a twofold manner, namely, because they not only offer the Sacrifice by the hands of the priest, but also, to a certain extent, in union with him.  It is by reason of this participation, that the offering made by the  people is also included in liturgical worship."

98.  "...It is then (at Mass), with the High priest and through Him they offer themselves as a spiritual sacrifice that each one's faith ought to become  more ready to work though charity, his piety more real and fervent, and each should consecrate himself to the furthering of the divine glory, desiring to became as like as possible to Christ is his most grievous sufferings. " 

123. "...from the Imitation of Christ to the communicant:  'Remain on in secret and take delight in your God; for He is yours Whom the whole world cannot take away from you'"

129.  "The Eucharistic Food contains, as all are aware, 'truly, really and substantially the Body and Blood together with the Soul and Divinity of Our Lard Jesus Christ.'...It is no wonder, then, that the Church, even from the beginning, adored the Body of Christ under the appearance of bread; that is evidence from the very rites of the august Sacrifice, which prescribe that the sacred ministers should adore the most Holy Sacrament by genuflecting or by profoundly bowing their heads."  

131.  "...the Eucharist is at once a Sacrifice and a Sacrament: but it differs from the other Sacraments in this that it not only produces grace,but contains a permanent manner the Author of grace Himself." 

134.  "Thus St. John Chrysostom states: 'When you see It (the Body of Christ) exposed, say to yourself:  thanks to this Body, I am no long dust and ashes, I am  no more a captive but a free man:  Hence I hope to obtain Heaven and the good things that are there in store for me, eternal life, the heritage of the Angels, companionship with Christ; death has not destroyed this Body which was pierced by nails and scourged,...this is that Body which was once covered with blood, pierced by a lance, from which issued saving fountains upon the world, one of blood and the other of water...This Body  He gave to us to keep and eat, as a mark of His intense love.'" 

201.  "The Mass is the chief act of divine worship; it should also be the source and center of Christian piety."  

Vatican Council II (1962 - 1965)

22. "No other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on  his own authority." 

50.  "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as well as the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved...Parts (of the Mass) which suffered loss through accidents of history are to be restored to the vigor they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary." 

54. "A suitable place may be allowed to the vernacular in Masses which are celebrated with the people...Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them."   

116."The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman liturgy.  Therefore, other thing being equal, it should be given pride in liturgical services." 

120.  "The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church...Other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, in the judgement and with the consent of the competent territorial authority."  

121.  "The texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine.  Indeed, they should be drawn chiefly from the sacred scripture and from liturgical sources."  

Pope Paul VI (1963 - 1978) 
Mysterium Fidei September 3, 1965 

1.  "The Mystery of Faith, that is, the ineffable gift of the Eucharist that the Catholic Church received from Christ, her Spouse, as a pledge of His immense love, is something that she has always devoutly guarded as her most precious treasure, and during the Second Vatican Council she professed her faith and veneration in a new and solemn declaration."


4. "At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His Death and Resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.''

5. "These words highlight both the sacrifice, which pertains to the essence of the Mass that is celebrated daily, and the sacrament in which those who participate in it through holy Communion eat the flesh of Christ and drink the blood of Christ, and thus receive grace, which is the beginning of eternal life, and the "medicine of immortality" according to Our Lord's words: "The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

15. "First of all, We want to recall something that you know very well but that is absolutely necessary if the virus of every kind of rationalism is to be repelled; it is something that many illustrious martyrs have witnessed to with their blood, something that celebrated fathers and Doctors of the Church have constantly professed and taught. We mean the fact that the Eucharist is a very great mystery—in fact, properly speaking and in the words of the Sacred Liturgy, the mystery of faith. "It contains within it," as Leo XIII, Our predecessor of happy memory, very wisely remarked, "all supernatural realities in a remarkable richness and variety of miracles."

20. "And St. Bonaventure declares: "There is no difficulty over Christ's being present in the sacrament as in a sign; the great difficulty is in the fact that He is really in the sacrament, as He is in heaven. And so believing this is especially meritorious. "

22. "It is only logical, then, for us to follow the magisterium of the Church as a guiding star in carrying on our investigations into this mystery, for the Divine Redeemer has entrusted the safeguarding and the explanation of the written or transmitted word of God to her. And we are convinced that "whatever has been preached and believed throughout the whole Church with true Catholic faith since the days of antiquity is true, even if it not be subject to rational investigation, and even if it not be explained in words."

27. "It is a good idea to recall at the very outset what may be termed the heart and core of the doctrine, namely that, by means of the Mystery of the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Cross which was once carried out on Calvary is re-enacted in wonderful fashion and is constantly recalled, and its salvific power is applied to the forgiving of the sins we commit each day."

30  "In the same fashion, when we offer our prayers to God for the dead, even those who are sinners, we are not just making a crown but instead are offering Christ who was slaughtered for our sins, and thus begging the merciful God to take pity both on them and on ourselves.''  St. Augustine attests that this custom of offering the "sacrifice which ransomed us" also for the dead was observed in the Church at Rome, and he mentions at the same time that the universal Church observed this custom as something handed down from the Fathers."

32. "For each and every Mass is not something private, even if a priest celebrates it privately; instead, it is an act of Christ and of the Church. In offering this sacrifice, the Church learns to offer herself as a sacrifice for all and she applies the unique and infinite redemptive power of the sacrifice of the Cross to the salvation of the whole world. For every Mass that is celebrated is being offered not just for the salvation of certain people, but also for the salvation of the whole world." 

34. "The Lord is immolated in an unbloody way in the Sacrifice of the Mass and He re-presents the sacrifice of the Cross and applies its salvific power at the moment when he becomes sacramentally present— through the words of consecration—as the spiritual food of the faithful, under the appearances of bread and wine."
 
38. "We would like very much to call what St. John Chrysostom, overcome with awe, had to say in such accurate and eloquent words: "I wish to add something that is clearly awe-inspiring, but do not be surprised or upset. What is this? It is the same offering, no matter who offers it, be it Peter or Paul. It is the same one that Christ gave to His disciples and the same one that priests now perform: the latter is in no way inferior to the former, for it is not men who sanctify the latter, but He who sanctified the former. For just as the words which God spoke are the same as those that the priest now pronounces, so too the offering is the same." 

40.  "It is true that the Fathers and Scholastics had a great deal to say about symbolism in the Eucharist, especially with regard to the unity of the Church. The Council of Trent, in re-stating their doctrine, taught that our Saviour bequeathed the Eucharist to His Church "as a symbol . . . of the unity and charity with which He wished all Christians to be joined among themselves," "and hence as a symbol of that one Body of which He is the Head."

45. "The Council of Trent, basing itself on this faith of the Church, "openly and sincerely professes that after the consecration of the bread and wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is really, truly and substantially contained in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the outward appearances of sensible things." And so Our Savior is present in His humanity not only in His natural manner of existence at the right hand of the Father, but also at the same time in the sacrament of the Eucharist "in a manner of existing that we can hardly express in words but that our minds, illumined by faith, can come to see as possible to God and that we must most firmly believe."

49. "St. John Chrysostom insists upon the same point with these words: "It is not man who makes what is put before him the Body and Blood of Christ, but Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The priest standing there in the place of Christ says these words, but their power and grace are from God. This is my Body, he says, and these words transform what lies before him."

50. "Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, is in wonderful harmony with John, the Bishop of Constantinople, when he writes in his commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew: "He said This is my body and this is my blood in a demonstrative fashion, so that you might not judge that what you see is a mere figure; instead the offerings are truly changed by the hidden power of God Almighty into Christ's body and blood, which bring us the life-giving and sanctifying power of Christ when we share in them."

51. "Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, in a clear statement on the Eucharistic conversion, has this to say: "Let us be assured that this is not what nature formed but what the blessing has consecrated; and there is greater power in the blessing and in nature, since nature itself is changed through the blessing." To confirm the truth of this mystery, he recounts many of the miracles described in the Sacred Scriptures, including Christ's birth of the Virgin Mary, and then he turns his mind to the work of creation, concluding this way: "Surely the word of Christ, who could make something that did not exist out of nothing, can change things that do exist into something they were not before. For it is no less extraordinary to give new natures to things than it is to change nature."

67. "No one can fail to see that the divine Eucharist bestows an incomparable dignity upon the Christian people. For it is not just while the Sacrifice is being offered and the Sacrament is being confected, but also after the Sacrifice has been offered and the Sacrament confected—while the Eucharist is reserved in churches or oratories—that Christ is truly Emmanuel, which means "God with us." For He is in the midst of us day and night; He dwells in us with the fullness of grace and of truth."

73. "May the all-merciful Redeemer, who shortly before His death prayed to the Father that all who were to believe in Him might be one, just as He and the Father are one,  deign to hear this most ardent prayer of Ours and of the whole Church as quickly as possible, so that we may all celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery with one voice and one faith, and through sharing in the Body of Christ become one body, joined together by the same bonds that Christ wanted it to have."

Pope John Paul II 
Dominicae Cenae (February 24, 1980)

5. "The Eucharist signifies this charity, and therefore recalls it, makes it present and at the same time brings it about. Every time that we consciously share in it, there opens in our souls a real dimension of that unfathomable love that includes everything that God has done and continues to do for us human beings, as Christ says: "My Father goes on working, and so do I."(John 5:17) Together with this unfathomable and free gift, which is charity revealed in its fullest degree in the saving sacrifice of the Son of God, the sacrifice of which the Eucharist is the indelible sign, there also springs up within us a lively response of love. We not only know love; we ourselves begin to love. We enter, so to speak, upon the path of love and along this path make progress. Thanks to the Eucharist, the love that springs up within us from the Eucharist develops in us, becomes deeper and grows stronger. Eucharistic worship is therefore precisely the expression of that love which is the authentic and deepest characteristic of the Christian vocation. This worship springs from the love and serves the love to which we are all called in Jesus Christ."

6. "The Eucharist educates us to this love in a deeper way; it shows us, in fact, what value each person, our brother or sister, has in God's eyes, if Christ offers Himself equally to each one, under the species of bread and wine. If our Eucharistic worship is authentic, it must make us grow in awareness of the dignity of each person. The awareness of that dignity becomes the deepest motive of our relationship with our neighbor."

8.  "The priest offers the holy Sacrifice in persona Christi; this means more than offering "in the name of' or "in place of' Christ. In persona means in specific sacramental identification with "the eternal High Priest" who is the author and principal subject of this sacrifice of His, a sacrifice in which, in truth, nobody can take His place. Only He-only Christ-was able and is always able to be the true and effective "expiation for our sins and...for the sins of the whole world."(1 John 2:2) Only His sacrifice-and no one else's-was able and is able to have a "propitiatory power" before God, the Trinity, and the transcendent holiness. Awareness of this reality throws a certain light on the character and significance of the priest celebrant who, by confecting the holy Sacrifice and acting "in persona Christi," is sacramentally (and ineffably) brought into that most profound sacredness, and made part of it, spiritually linking with it in turn all those participating in the eucharistic assembly."

13. "Above all I wish to emphasize that the problems of the liturgy, and in particular of the Eucharistic Liturgy, must not be an occasion of dividing Catholics and for threatening the unity of the Church. This is demanded by an elementary understanding of that sacrament which Christ has left us as the source of spiritual unity. And how could the Eucharist, which in the Church is the sacramentum pietatis, signum unitatis, vinculum caritatis,(72) form between us at this time a point or division and a source of distortion of thought and of behavior, instead of being the focal point and constitutive center, which it truly is in its essence, of the unity of the Church herself?

We are all equally indebted to our Redeemer. We should all listen together to that spirit of truth and of love whom He has promised to the Church and who is operative in her. In the name of this truth and of this love, in the name of the crucified Christ and of His Mother, I ask you, and beg you: Let us abandon all opposition and division, and let us all unite in this great mission of salvation which is the price and at the same time the fruit of our redemption. The Apostolic See will continue to do all that is possible to provide the means of ensuring that unity of which we speak. Let everyone avoid anything in his own way of acting which could "grieve the Holy Spirit."

Catechism of the Catholic Church 
Published 1992

1322: "The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist."

1323: "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'"

1324: "The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."

1325: "The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit."

1326: "Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all." (1 Col 15:28)

1327: "In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: "Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking."

1335:  "The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigures the superabundance of this unique bread."  

1336:  "The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them:  'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?'  The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks.  It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division.  'Will you also go away?' The Lord's question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has 'the words of eternal life' and that to receive in faith the gift of the Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself."  

1345: "As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration. They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical families. St. Justin wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) around the year 155, explaining what Christians did:

On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place.

The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits.

When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.

Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.

When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.

Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren.

He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.

When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: 'Amen.'

When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent."

1346: "The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity:
- the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions;
- the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.

The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form "one single act of worship"; the Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord."

1347 "Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table "he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them."

1356 "If from the beginning Christians have celebrated the Eucharist and in a form whose substance has not changed despite the great diversity of times and liturgies, it is because we know ourselves to be bound by the command the Lord gave on the eve of his Passion: "Do this in remembrance of me."

1367 "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner."

1382 "To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us."  

1406 "Jesus said: I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;...he who eats my flesh and drinks my  blood has eternal life and...abides in me, and I in him." (John 6:51, 54,56)

1407 "The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church." 

1411 "Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord."  

1412 "The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: "This is my body which will be given up for you. . . . This is the cup of my blood. . . ."

1413 "By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity."

1414 "As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God."

Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, 
I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.  (Rev 1:4; 22:20)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Eucharist Through the Centuries: The Twelfth through the Sixteenth Century

Consecration of the Blessed Sacrament - Holy Trinity Church El Dorado Hills, California 


"The main purpose of this work is to trace elements of Eucharistic  doctrine from the day our Lord Jesus Christ announced it for the first time in the synagogue in Capernaum (John, Chapter 6) down to our day."  Rev. Roberto de la Vega, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Eucharist Through The Centuries. 


12th Century           
Eucharistic Doctrine Begins to be Clarified 

 "Among the first questions that the theologians took up was:  What happens to the substance of the bread and wine at Mass?  They taught correctly that the substance of bread and wine does not coexist with the body and blood of Christ.  However, they erred in believing that the substance of the bread and wine simply ceased to exist, and that in its place there was substituted the body and blood of Christ.  Later the Church would clarify that the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ. Thus, Christ does not enter the bread and wine; but the bread and wine are changed into Christ."  (page 349 Eucharist Through the Centuries)

13th Century 
Marked Development of Eucharistic Doctrine
 

The Church officially used the word "transubstantiation" to describe what takes place during the Consecration at the IV Ecumenical Lateran Council in 1215.  The following is from the Council: 

"In the universal Church of the faithful Jesus Christ is the priest himself and the sacrifice.  His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine.  By divine power the bread is transubstantiated into his body and the wine into his blood, so that to accomplish the mystery of unity, we ourselves receive from him what he took from us (our human nature). And surely no one can perform this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained in accordance to the keys of the Church, which Jesus Christ himself gave to the Apostles and their successors." 

14th and 15th Century 
A Great Heresy Looms
 

Following the 13th century the Church entered 200 years of controversy.  The spiritual chaos of those years in Europe led to the Protestant Reformation.  

Father John Wycliffe (1324 - 1384) denied transubstantiation claiming that the bread and wine remain after Consecration. 

16th Century 
The Protestant Reformation 

Father Martin Luther may had originally only intended to reform the Church but his attack on religious doctrine set the ground work for what was more likely the Protestant Revolution and 200 new churches in the United States alone, with new churches continuing to come and go even to this day. 

From the first Apostles, the Church understood the rule of faith to be God's Revelation as contained in the written word of the Bible as well as Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.  When Luther proposed that the rule of faith is not found in Sacred Tradition or the Magisterium but in the Bible alone and as it is interpreted by individuals, he denied the pope's authority and made every man his own pope.   This naturally led to various "Reformers" teaching different ideas concerning the Church as well as the Eucharist.  

Luther accepted the Real Presence but denied transubstantiation when he stated,  "My conscience is effectively firm in the opinion that in the Eucharist there is true bread and true wine together with the true flesh and true blood of Christ."  

Luther also decided that Christ was only present from the time of Consecration to Communion.  He was  not present in the tabernacle or at any other time.  

Zwingli (1484 - 1531) taught that the Eucharist was only a symbol or figure of Christ.  Not his true Body and Blood.  Calvin (1509 - 1564), the founder of the Presbyterians said that the bread and wine contain a power of the body but not the real Body of Christ.  

As more Protestant churches formed most adopted Zwingli's idea that the Eucharist was a mere symbol of Christ.  

The Catholic Churches Answer 
The Council of Trent (October 11, 1551) 

From the Council of Trent on the Holy Eucharist:  

"In the nourishing sacrament of the Holy Eucharist after the consecration of the bread and wine our Lord Jesus Christ true God and true man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things."  

"He wished that this sacrament be received as the spiritual food of souls (Matthew 26:26) by which they may be nourished and strengthened, living the life of him who said: 'He who eats me, the same shall also live by me.' (John 6:57) The Eucharist is clearly a nourishing sacrament to nourish Sanctifying Grace, that participation of Christ's life in the soul."  

"Christ wished that this sacrament be a pledge of future glory and of everlasting happiness....Anyone who east my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day."  

"The Eucharistic sacrament is a symbol of that one body (the Church) of which he himself is the head, and to which he wished us to be united, as members, by the closest bond of faith, hope and charity, that we might all speak the same thing and there might be no schisms among us."  

"The other sacraments first have the power of sanctifying, when one uses them; but in the Eucharist there is the Author of sanctity himself before it is used."  

"Immediately after the consecration the true body of our Lord and his true blood together with his soul and divinity exist under the species of bread and wine...Therefore, it is very true that as much is contained under either species as under both.  For Christ whole and entire exists under the species of bread and under any part whatsoever of that species; likewise the whole Christ is present under the species of wine and under its parts."  

"By the consecration of the bread and wine a conversion takes place of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his blood.  This conversion is appropriately and property called 'transubstantiation' by the Catholic Church." 

"Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion." 

For the Protestants to come back to the Church: 

"This holy Synod with paternal affection admonishes, exhorts, entreats and beseeches, 'through the bowels of the mercy of God', that each and all who are called under the Christian name will now finally agree and be of the same opinion in this 'sign of unity,' in this 'bond of charity'...Mindful of so great a majesty and such boundless love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his own beloved soul as the price of our salvation, and gave his 'own flesh to eat', may they believe and venerate these mysteries of his body and blood with that constancy and firmness of faith, with that devotion of soul, that piety and worship, as to be able to receive frequent that super-substantial bread." 

The Council of Trent on the Mass 
'Do this in Memory of Me'

 "The clean and perfect sacrifice of the Mass cannot be defiled by any unworthiness on the part of those who offer it." 

"The priesthood which men posses today is simply a sharing in Christ's own priesthood."

"It is the power of Christ the Priest that the human priest uses to change bread and wine into Christ at Mass and to forgive sins in the sacrament of Confession." 

"In this divine sacrifice, which is celebrated in the Mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, who on the altar of the cross once offered himself in a bloody manner...It is one and the same Victim..." 

"The holy Synod teaches that Mass is truly propitiatory and has this effect, namely if contrite and penitent we approach God with a sincere heart and right faith, with fear and reverence, we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid. For appeased by this oblation, the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence, pardons crimes and even great sins.  The fruits of Christ's bloody oblation on the cross are received most abundantly through the unbloody oblation of the Mass."  

"Mass is offered rightly according to the tradition of the Apostles not only for the sins of the faithful living and for their punishments and other necessities, but also for the dead in Christ who are not yet fully purged."  

"And though the Church has been accustomed to celebrate some Masses now and then in honor and in memory of the Saints, yet she does not teach that the sacrifice is offered to them, but to God alone who has crowned them...They priest gives thanks to God for their victories and implores their patronage, so that they themselves may deign to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate on earth."  

The Council of Trent 
First Catechism of Catholic Church (September 1566) 

"That as there is 'one lord, one faith' there may also be one standard and prescribed form of propounding the dogmas of faith, and instructing Christians in all the duties of piety." 

"All the doctrines of Christianity, in which the faithful are to be instructed, are derived from the word of God, which includes Scripture and Tradition."  

"Without faith it is impossible to please God." 

"Of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord as unfailing sources of grace, there is  none that can compare to the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist." 

"This sacrament is significant of three things:  the passion of Christ, a thing past; divine grace, a thing present; and eternal glory, a thing future." 

"That our Lord made use of wine in the institution of this Sacrament has been at all times the doctrine of the Catholic Church...with the wine used in the sacred mysteries the Church of God, however has always mingled water, because, as we know on the authority of councils and the testimony of St. Cyprian, our Lord himself did so; and also because this mixture renews the recollection of the blood and water that issued from his sacred side....This rite, derived from apostolic tradition, the Catholic Church  has at all times observed.  But care  must be taken not only to mingle water with wine, but also to mingle it in a small quantity; for in the opinion of the ecclesiastical writers the water  is changed into wine."  

"As the bread and wine, though invisibly, are really and substantially changed into the body and blood of Christ, so are we, although interior and invisibly, yet really, renewed to life, receiving in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the true life."  

"The Catholic Church then firmly believes and openly professes that in this sacrament the words of consecration accomplish three things:  first, that the true and real body of Christ, the same that was born of the Virgin and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, is rendered present in the Holy Eucharist; secondly, that however repugnant it may appear to the dictate of the senses,  no substance of the elements (bread and wine) remains in the Sacrament; and thirdly, a natural consequence of the two preceding and one which the words of consecration also express, that the accidents (appearances) which present themselves to the eyes or other senses exist in a wonderful and ineffable manner without a subject.  The accidents of bread and wine we see; but they inhere in no substance, and exist independently of any.  The substance of the bread and wine is so changed into the body and blood of our Lord, that they altogether cease to be the substance of bread and wine."  

"With great truth is the Holy Eucharist called the fountain of all grace, containing as it does after an admirable manner, the source of all gifts and graces, the author of all the Sacraments, Christ our Lord, from whom as from their source, they derive all their goodness and perfection." 

"It will also be found expedient to consider attentively the nature of bread and wine, the symbols of this sacrament: what bread and wine are to the body, the Eucharist is in a superior order to the health and joy of the soul."  

"These spiritual treasures must be poured into the soul which receives with purity and holiness him who says of himself:  'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me and I in him.'"

"The life of the soul is not only sustained but also invigorated by feasting on the Eucharistic banquet, which imparts to it an increasing zest for heavenly things." 

"That the Holy Eucharist remits lighter offenses or, as they are commonly called venial sins, cannot be a matter of doubt.  Whatever losses the soul sustains by falling into some slight offenses through the violence of passion, these the Eucharist, which cancels lesser sins, repairs in the same manner..." 

"Of this heavenly Sacrament justly, therefore, has St. Ambrose said: 'This daily bread is taken as a remedy for daily infirmity.' This, however, is to be understood of venial imperfections only." 

"Also represses the licentious desires of the flesh and keeps them in due subjection to the spirit." 

"The Holy Eucharist facilitates to an extraordinary degree the attainment of eternal life:  'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood,' says the Redeemer, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day' (John 6:54)"

"The pastor will teach in the first place that the Eucharist was instituted by our Lord for two great purposes, to be the celestial food of the soul, preserving and supporting spiritual life, and to give to the Church a perpetual sacrifice, by which sin may be expiated, and our heavenly Father, whom our crimes have often grievously offended, may be turned from wrath to mercy, from the severity of just vengeance to the exercise of benignant clemency...Nor could our divine Lord, when about to offer himself to his eternal Father on the altar of the cross, have given a more illustrious proof of his unbounded love for us, than by bequeathing to us a visible sacrifice, by which the bloody sacrifice, which a little while after was to be offered once on the cross, was to be renewed, and its memory celebrated daily throughout the universal Church even to the consummation of time, to the great advantage of her children."  

"We therefore confess that the sacrifice of the Mass is one and the same sacrifice with that of the cross:  the victim is one and the same, Christ Jesus, who offered himself, once only, a bloody sacrifice on the altar of the cross.  The bloody and unbloody victim is still one and the same, and the oblation of the cross is daily renewed in the Eucharistic sacrifice, in obedience to the command of the Lord:  'This do, for a commemoration of me.'  The priest is also the same, Christ our Lord; the ministers who offer this sacrifice consecrate the holy mysteries not in their own but in the person of Christ.  This the words of consecration declare:  the priest does not say, 'This is the body of Christ,' but 'This is my body'; and thus invested with the character of Christ, he changes the substance of the bread and wine into the substance of his real body and blood." 

"So acceptable to God is the sweet odor of this sacrifice, that through its oblation he pardons our sins, bestowing on us the gifts of grace and repentance."  

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.


 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Eucharist Through the Centuries: The Sixth through the Thirteenth Century


Eucharistic Adoration - Carmelite Monastery Highway 1 Carmel

"The main purpose of this work is to trace elements of Eucharistic  doctrine from the day our Lord Jesus Christ announced it for the first time in the synagogue in Capernaum (John, Chapter 6) down to our day."  Rev. Roberto de la Vega, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Eucharist Through The Centuries. 

6th Century

St. Avitus, Bishop of Vienne, France (died 519) 

Here is what St. Avitus, bishop and poet,-- wrote about the Eucharist: 

"As an eternal and most pious father, our Redeemer, when about to complete the sacrament of the flesh he had taken, gave to the sons he had created and redeemed the hope of adoption.  Before the day of his death he assigned to us heavenly goods and made a testament, by which he made us the inheritors of what he was giving us with such generosity.  In this he proceeded as men usually do, although not out of necessity as  men usually do in making their testament.  For he was not going to lose what he destined for his children.  Rather he was going to keep his sons along with the inheritance he had destined for them. This testament of his we call the New Testament. For all those who had been disinherited there was instituted one sole inheritor, the Christian people." 

"But this inheritance (the Eucharist given by Christ at the Last Supper) is not divided up in a human way, nor is it reduced by being distributed among many as with a corruptible distribution. It embraces all; it invites all.  Nor is anything taken from the portion of those who already have it in order to give it to those who are to be born.  Let the desire for children grow and multiply as it will - the inheritance remains intact for all."   

"Our ineffable Redeemer himself, using very trustworthy witnesses (the Apostles) wrote this Testament when he was handed over to death, sealed it when he suffered, and opened it when he rose.  And since everything was done legitimately, with reason St. Paul says:  'If a will is drawn up in due form, no one is allowed to disregard it or add to it.'" 

"Let us faithfully now recognize the sum of the inheritance we have received.  It is that, while the Apostles were eating, he consecrated the order of the eternal offering...he gave himself, that is, the flesh and blood of his body." 

St. Caesarius, Bishop of Aries, France (470 - 543)

St. Caesarius on not leaving Mass early: 

"I plead with you, dearest brothers, and I admonish you that no one leave the church before the divine mysteries are ended...We rejoice at the faith and devotion of many of you.  Yet there is a good number of you who are less attentive to the health of your souls; and after the reading of the divine lessons they promptly leave the church.  Others, while the lessons are being read, engage in idle chatter with the result that they themselves do not hear the readings, nor do they let others hear them.  We would hold such people less guilty, if they did not come to church."  

"If you consider it properly, you will understand that Masses are not celebrated in the church when the divine readings are recited, but when the gifts are offered and the body and blood of the Lord are consecrated.  The readings, be they from the Prophets, the Apostles or the Gospels, you yourselves can read in your homes or hear them read to others; but the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord you cannot hear or see in any other place than in the house of the Lord.  therefore, anyone wanting to hear Mass entirely and with profit to his soul much remain in church with his body in a humble position and with a contrite heart until the Lord's Prayer has been recited and the blessing has been given to the people."  

Cassiodorus, Roman Senator and Monk (480 - 570) 

"He who approaches unworthily (the Eucharist) is doubly guilty.  He is guilty of sin and  of usurpation.  He does not make proper discernment of the body of the Lord.  He receives it as if it were ordinary food." 

Primasius, Bishop of Hadrumetum, Africa (died c. 552)

"The hidden manna, that is the invisible bread come down from heaven (John 6:51), who became man precisely so that man might eat the bread of angels."  

"The Church as received 'all power in heaven on on earth,' while she makes present the sacrifice of God, with the Lord offering himself in the first place and with the saints offering their bodies as a living and holy victim." 

"St. Paul says:  'All these things (in the history of the Old Testament) were figures (warnings) for us, and just as God fed the Jews with visible manna, so now he feeds the Church with food from heaven.'"

7th Century 

Pope St. Gregory the Great (died 604) 

Pope St. Gregory the Great was born into a family of nobility in Rome.  Soon he felt the call to religious life and sold all his possessions.  He was the first monk to become a Pope. He wrote our Kryie Eleison and developed the exiting Roman liturgical melody into Gregorian chant.  

"He did what he recommended; he demonstrated what he commanded.  The Good Shepherd gave his life for the sheep even to the point of putting his body and blood in our sacrament and filling the sheep he had redeemed with the food of his own flesh."  

"If after death one's sins are not unpardonable, that is, if one does not dies in mortal sin, it is usual that the sacred offering of the saving Host helps souls a great deal also after death.  Indeed, it seems that sometimes even the souls themselves of the deceased ask for that offering (the Mass)."  

"Now with these things in mind let us ponder what this sacrifice is for us,  this sacrifice which always re-presents the passion of the Only-begotten Son for our forgiveness.  For who among the faithful can doubt that at the very hour of the sacrifice the heavens are opened at the voice of the priest, that in that mystery of Jesus Christ the choirs of angels are present, that the things of earth are united to the things of heaven, and that things visible and invisible are made one?" 

St. Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636) 

"The Greeks call the sacrament of the bread and wine 'Eucharist', which in Latin means 'good grace.'  And what better thing is there than the body and blood of Christ?" 

"The sacraments are performed with benefit in the Church, because the Holy Spirit, who is in the Church, in a hidden manner produces the very effect of the sacraments.  For this reason whether the sacraments be administered in the Church of God by good or bad ministers, the benefits of the sacraments are not increased by the merits of the good ministers, nor are they decreased by the merits of the bad ministers.  The reason is that it is the Holy Spirit, who in Apostolic times manifested himself by visible works, now gives the sacraments life in a mystical way...For this reason the sacraments are called 'mysteries' in Greek, because they contain something secret and hidden." 

"For thus it pleased the Holy Spirit through the Apostles that, in honor of so great a sacrament the Lord's body enter the mouth of a Christian before the other food; and therefore this custom is observed throughout the whole world.  For the bread that we break is the body of Christ, who said:  'I am the living bread come down from heaven.'  And the wine is his blood, and this is what is written:  "I am the true vine.' But the bread, because it strengthens the body, therefore it is called the body of Christ; and the wine, because it produces blood in the flesh, therefore it refers to his blood." 

"Now if there be no sins great enough that one be judged separated from Communion, he should not remain away from the medicine of the Lord's body; lest perhaps if he abstain from Communion for a long time, he be separated from the body of Christ.  It is manifest that they live who receive his body.  Therefore it is to be feared that, while one is separated from the body of Christ for a long time, he remain alien to salvation.  For Christ himself says:  'If you do not eat the flesh  of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.'  Let him who has stopped sinning not stop receiving Communion." 

8th Century 

St. John Damascene, Monk and Priest (c 675-749) 

"The body of Christ is truly united to the Divinity, that body that was born of the holy Virgin.  It is united to the Divinity  not because it ascended into heaven and comes down from heaven, but because the bread and wine themselves are changed into the body and blood of God.  If you ask about the manner in which this is realized, be satisfied in hearing that it is realized by means of the Holy Spirit...By nature the bread by being eaten, and the water and wine by being drunk, are changed into the body and blood of the one who eats and drinks them; but they do not result in a body different from that of the eater and drinker.  Likewise, the bread at Mass and the water and wine, by means of the epiclesis and the coming of the Holy Spirit, are changed in a supernatural way into the body and blood of Christ, and there are not two bodies, but one and the same body of Christ."  

"The bread and wine are not a figure of the body and blood of Christ.  But they are the very divinized body of the Lord." 

"The Eucharistic oblation is called participation, because by means of it we participate in the Divinity of Jesus.  It is called communion, and it really is, because by it we are united with one another and we communicate with one another, because by partaking of the one same bread we are all the one same body of Christ...and we become members of one another, since we are concorporate with Christ."  

9th Century 

St. Paschasius Radbertus, Abbot (786 - 860) 

"Therefore, when Christ says: 'This is my body, or my flesh, and this is my blood,' as I see it, he does not  mean to speak of another flesh that is not his very own, which was born of the Virgin Mary and nailed to the cross; nor of some other blood different from that which was poured out on the cross and until then circulated through his veins.  In addition, if the Eucharistic mystery would contain some other flesh and some other blood, distinct from those of Christ when on earth, it would not bring us to remission of sins.  And if it did not have life in itself, it would not be able to diffuse life in our souls." 

"If you truly believe that this flesh was formed in the virginal womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, then also believe that what is realized on the altar by the word of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit is the body of Christ who was born of the Virgin."  

12th Century 

Guitmond, French Benedictine and Bishop of Aversa 

"In the thousand Masses celebrated simultaneously there is present the same body of Christ, whole and entire and without any division...In each of the parts of the broken Host there is present the entire body of Christ.  Nevertheless, the sum of the parts of the broken Host is not many bodies, but the one, sole body of Christ...just as the soul is present whole and entire in the thousand parts of the human body.  And even when the soul is present whole and entire in each of those parts, there are nevertheless  not many souls, but one soul."

13th Century 

In 1215 the Ecumenical Lateran Council IV officially sanctioned the word, "transubstantiation," to describe the change of substances that happens at Consecration.  The Council declared:  "In the universal Church of the faithful Jesus Christ is the priest himself and the sacrifice.  His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine.  By divine power the bread is transubstantiated into his body and the wine into his blood, so that to accomplish the mystery of unity, we ourselves receive from him what he took from us (our human nature).  And surely no one can perform this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained and according to the keys of the Church, which Jesus Christ himself gave to the Apostles and their successors."   


Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Eucharist Through the Centuries: The Fifth Century


"Thou hast made us for thyself, 
O Lord, and our hearts
 are restless until they rest in thee."
St. Augustine



Holy Family Catholic Church Modesto, California

"The main purpose of this work is to trace elements of Eucharistic  doctrine from the day our Lord Jesus Christ announced it for the first time in the synagogue in Capernaum (John, Chapter 6) down to our day."  Rev. Roberto de la Vega, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Eucharist Through The Centuries. 

St. Jerome (347 - 420) 

St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia in what is now Bosnia.  He served for awhile as secretary to Pope Damasus, who asked St. Jerome to translate the books of the Bible from their original Hebrew and Greek into Latin.  His version would be called the Vulgate.  Here are some of St. Jerome's writings: 

"Ignorance of the Scriptures, is ignorance of Christ." 

"Christ is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the Scriptures are read in the Church."  

"Since the flesh of the Lord is real food, and his blood real drink, spiritually speaking, we have in this present life only one good thing, namely, to eat his flesh and drink his blood not only in the Eucharist, but also in the reading of the Scriptures.  For the knowledge of the Scriptures is true food and drink taken from God's word." 

"The Savior of the human race celebrated the Pasch in an upper room...he (Christ) entrusted the mystery of the body and blood to his disciples, and left us the eternal feast of the spotless Lamb." 

"That which is written in the Gospel of Matthew (6:11) according to the Latin interpreter is 'Give us this day our daily bread.'  But it is better in Greek: 'our supersubstantial bread'; that is, the principal, special or singular bread."

St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354 - 430) 

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in what is now part of Algiers to a pagan father.  His mother was St. Monica.  St. Augustine lead an immoral life until finally his mother was able to get him to meet with St. Ambrose.  St. Augustine in his search for the truth read st. Paul's Letter to the Romans, "Let us live decently, as people do in daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity, no licentiousness, no wrangling..."  St. Augustine wrote, "I had neither desire nor need to read further.  The miracle of grace was worked in calm and silence."  St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose.  Here are some of St. Augustine's writings: 

"Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." 

"It has pleased the Holy Spirit that, in honor of so great a sacrament, the body of Christ enter the mouth of a Christian before other foods." 

"Therefore, newly baptized, take and eat the body of Christ, now that you have become members of Christ in the body of Christ (the Church).  Take and drink the blood of Christ.  Do not become separated; eat the bond that unites you." 

"Four things are to be considered in every sacrifice:  to whom it is offered; by whom it is offered; what is offered; and for whom it is offered.  Christ himself is the one true mediator, who reconciles us to God through his sacrifice of peace.  He remains one with him (God the Father) to whom the sacrifice is offered.  He remains united with those for whom the sacrifice is offered (the Church, the mystical body of Christ).  He himself is the  one who offers the sacrifice; and he himself is what is offered."  

Rabulas, Bishop of Edessa (died c. 436) 

"Particles of the sacred body that fall to the floor (when Communion is distributed) are to be sought diligently. If they are found, scrape the place in which they fell. If they fall in the dirt, mix the dirt with water...If a particle is not found, scrape the floor anyway, just as we said.  Do the same thing, if some of the sacred blood has been spilled.  If the floor is of stone, let live coals be placed on it."  

St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (Egypt) (died 444) 

St. Cyril is known as the Doctor of the Incarnation for having staunchly defended the personal unity of Christ.  

"Christ has let us go free, that is, free of our sins.  He has made us resplendent with the grace of adoption, and has given himself to us as good viaticum (food for our journey through life).  For our good he was led away as the immaculate Victim, as a sheep to its killer.  He has granted us a participation in the life-giving blessings, that is, of his flesh and blood."  

"Christ spoke in a demonstrative way, 'This is my body and this is my blood,' so that you do not think that the things that you see are a figure or type; but the offerings are really transformed into the body and blood of Christ through the ineffable action of God the Almighty.  When we partake of the body and blood of Christ, we receive his life-giving and sanctifying strength.  It is property that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, penetrate into us in a manner worthy of God with his holy flesh and precious blood in our bodies.  We have the flesh and body of Christ in the form of bread and wine as a life-giving blessing, so that we do not remain unmoved when we see his flesh and blood exposed on the sacred altars of the churches."

"By partaking of the body of Christ and of his precious blood he unites himself to us, and we unite ourselves to him." 

"Therefore make up your mind to live a good and holy life, and thus partake of the blessing (Eucharist).  Believe that the Eucharist has the power not only to destroy death but also our weaknesses."    

"I hear that they say that the mystical blessing (Eucharist) will not sanctify, if some of it remains for another day.  But those who say such things are wrong.  Because Christ does not change, nor will his holy body be changed, because the force of the blessing and the life-giving grace are perpetual in him."  

Pope St. Leo the Great (died 461) 

The Monophysite heresy had spread during the time of Pope St. Leo's rule which was  from 440 to 461. This heresy claimed that Christ had no human nature only divine nature.  The fourth Ecumenical Council was called to address this heresy.  In his letter to the Council, Pope Leo clearly wrote about Christ being one person both human and divine in nature.  Pope Leo is also the first to use the word missa to describe the Mass. 

The following is from Pope Leo's letter to the citizens of Constantinople in Greece:  

"In what darkness of ignorance, in what laziness have they (the heretics) not remained prone even to this day, so that they have not learned by hearing or reading what runs from mouth to mouth with such unanimity in the Church of God?  Not even the tongues of children silence the truth of the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament of Communion.   This is what is distributed ; this is what is received in that mystic distribution of the spiritual food.  In receiving the strength of the heavenly food we are transformed into the flesh of Him who became our flesh."  

"Jesus (at the Last Supper), firm in his determination and fearless in carrying out the Father's mandate, put an end to the Old Testament and created the new Pasch.  The Apostles were seated with him to eat the mystic supper, while in the hall of Caiphas they were discussing how they would be able to kill Christ.  He instituted the sacrament of his body and blood and thus taught what victim should be offered to God."

"Because you are the true 'Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.'  You bring to perfection all of the mysteries in yourself, so that just as there is but one sacrifice instead of all those victims, so also there is but one kingdom for all  the nations."  

"The partaking of the body and blood of Christ does nothing else than change us into what we eat, into him which whom we (in Baptism) have died, been buried, and risen, and him whom we bear completely in spirit and flesh."  

"Since Christ has said:  'If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you,' you should partake of the sacred table in such a way that you have do doubt whatsoever concerning the truth of the body and blood of Christ."


May we face all life's difficulties with confidence and faith.