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The Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist {Catholic/Orthodox Caucus}
Catholic Answers ^ | 33 AD | JC

Posted on 01/22/2011 9:52:58 PM PST by Cronos

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine. The Bible is forthright in declaring it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and, most forcefully, John 6:32–71).

The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. Renowned historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: "Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

From the Church’s early days, the Fathers referred

to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Kelly writes: "Ignatius roundly

declares that . . . [t]he bread is the flesh of Jesus, the cup his blood.

Clearly he intends this realism to be taken strictly, for he makes it the

basis of his argument against the Docetists’ denial of the reality of Christ’s

body. . . . Irenaeus teaches that the bread and wine are really the Lord’s

body and blood. His witness is, indeed, all the more impressive because

he produces it quite incidentally while refuting the Gnostic and Docetic

rejection of the Lord’s real humanity" (ibid., 197–98).

"Hippolytus speaks of ‘the body and the blood’

through which the Church is saved, and Tertullian regularly describes the

bread as ‘the Lord’s body.’ The converted pagan, he remarks, ‘feeds on

the richness of the Lord’s body, that is, on the Eucharist.’ The realism

of his theology comes to light in the argument, based on the intimate relation

of body and soul, that just as in baptism the body is washed with water

so that the soul may be cleansed, so in the Eucharist ‘the flesh feeds

upon Christ’s body and blood so that the soul may be filled with God.’

Clearly his assumption is that the Savior’s body and blood are as real

as the baptismal water. Cyprian’s attitude is similar. Lapsed Christians

who claim communion without doing penance, he declares, ‘do violence to

his body and blood, a sin more heinous against the Lord with their hands

and mouths than when they denied him.’ Later he expatiates on the terrifying

consequences of profaning the sacrament, and the stories he tells confirm

that he took the Real Presence literally" (ibid., 211–12).


Ignatius of Antioch

"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" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [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" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1

[A.D. 110]).


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" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).



"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?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).

"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?" (ibid., 5:2).


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" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).



"[T]here 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" (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).



"‘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]" (Fragment from Commentary

on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).



"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]" (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).


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" (The Lapsed 15–16

[A.D. 251]).


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]" (Canon 18 [A.D. 325]).


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" (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).


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" (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [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" (ibid., 22:6, 9).


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" (The Mysteries

9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]).


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" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D.




"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" (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [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" (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]).


"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" (ibid., 272).


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]).

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; General Discusssion; History; Orthodox Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: christianity; communion; eucharist; realpresence
This is a Catholic/Orthodox Caucus. That is that only Catholics/Orthodox may post. Mention is made only of our beliefs not in contradistinction to others.

Catholics believe in a corporeal, substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It is not just a spiritual presence. The whole Christ is present—body, blood, soul, and divinity. Furthermore, Catholics believe in an objective presence, not one that is available only to those who receive in faith.

Ever since Irenaeus the Catholic Church has been insistent that the Incarnation really was a supernatural union of the spiritual and the physical. Irenaeus was countering Gnosticism which, as Stone writes, "interposed an insuperable barrier between spiritual beings and material things, between the true God of the universe and the universe of matter." And it is one of the great heresies of our age that Christians attempt to "spirit away" the physicalness of the gospel. In this way the Resurrection, the miracles, and the Incarnation itself become mere "spiritual events."

So likewise the Church has always insisted—despite the difficulties—that the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is not simply spiritual and subjective. It is objective and corporeal. The Fourth Lateran Council explained that belief with the term "transubstantiation." As the Oxford Dominican Fr. Herbert McCabe has said, "Transubstantiation is not a complete explanation of the mystery, but it is the best description of what we believe happens at the consecration."

1 posted on 01/22/2011 9:53:03 PM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

Great post- Thanks

2 posted on 01/22/2011 9:57:12 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: All
In Aramaic, there are over three dozen words that mean represent or symbolize, but Jesus used none of them in his statement, "This is my body." In fact, a literal translation in the Aramaic is simply, "This my body."

In 1 Corinthians 11:27, Paul says that if one eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner he will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. In a Semitic culture, to be guilty of another’s body and blood is to be guilty of murder. Paul goes on to say that some are dying because of this.

The bread of life discourse begins in John 6:22, and the first point to address is the discussion of the heavenly bread. Jesus makes the point that as the Father sent manna from heaven for the physical nourishment of the Israelites, he has sent Jesus for the spiritual nourishment of the world. When Jesus announced this (6:41), the Jews murmured because he said that he had come down from heaven, not because he said that he was like bread. They understood his symbolic statement regarding the origin of the manna, and were scandalized by what it implied: "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’" (6:42).

Beginning in verse 43, Jesus replies to these objections. At the completion of his answer (6:51), he speaks of a bread that he is yet to give. The Jews’ understand that he is now speaking in a literal sense, and so they object, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So the Jews first objected because of what Jesus’ initial words meant symbolically, and now they object to what his second statement means literally. Had Jesus been speaking in a metaphorical sense here, this would be the perfect point to clarify his intentions.

Matthew 16:5–12 is one such example where Jesus’ listeners thought that he was speaking in a literal sense, and he had to correct them. In this passage, Christ was warning the disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The disciples concluded that he was speaking of the bread they had forgotten to bring for their journey. In seeing their confusion, Jesus had to reiterate that he was not speaking literally of bread

Keeping this in mind, look how Jesus answers the Jews’ objections in John 6:53–58: "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. . . . For my flesh is food indeed, and my flesh is drink indeed." These words would hardly quell the Jew’s fear that Jesus spoke literally. Following this, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"(6:60). At this point, we witness the only place in Scripture where anyone leaves Jesus for a doctrinal reason

One last passage worth considering is John 10:9, where Jesus says, "I am the door." None of those present understood Jesus to be speaking literally when he said that he was a door. The narrative does not continue, "And his disciples murmured about this, saying, ‘How can he be a door? Where are his hinges? We do not see a doorknob.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you, I am a door, and my chest is real wood, and my hips are real hinges.’" This is absurd, but it illustrates how shocking Jesus’ words were when he said that his flesh was real food and his blood real drink.

3 posted on 01/22/2011 10:02:02 PM PST by Cronos (Bobby Jindal 2012)
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To: Steelfish

you’re welcome. It’s incredible how the Early Christians believed in something as complex as transubstantiation. I guess the simplest believers can be the holiest

4 posted on 01/22/2011 10:04:10 PM PST by Cronos (Bobby Jindal 2012)
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To: Cronos

A mystery cannot be fully understood in this life; that is the nature of mystery. The greatest Mystery of all, Christ uniting Himself to us in the Eucharist, is also His Saving Love come to earth today.

Thank You, my Lord Jesus Crhist, Risen Son of Almight God, for the Mystery of You...

5 posted on 01/22/2011 10:04:46 PM PST by Judith Anne (Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.)
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To: Judith Anne

We are sanctified by Christ, when we become His through surrender to His Will and acceptance of His Salvation. We eat, and by processes ordained by God the food becomes our bodies which are united with our souls here on earth.

So it is not so difficult to accept that by a process ordained by God, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, eaten and drunk by us to unite us to Him, our Savior.

6 posted on 01/22/2011 10:33:08 PM PST by Judith Anne (Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.)
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