Questions About the Eucharist

Someone objected to the Catholic teaching on the Real Presence by arguing the Eucharist was never adored in the Early Church, thus the substances of bread and wine were never revered. This person also claimed there are no records of Eucharistic miracles nor allusions to any concept associated to transubstantiation. Below is a breakdown of my attempt to address each issue.

 

๐—”๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—˜๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜.

I will start with the quotations from St. Augustine.

“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 [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.” (Sermons 272)

โ€œFOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: ‘THIS IS MY BODY.’ FOR HE CARRIED THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS.” (Psalms 33:1:10)

โ€œHe walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH ๐™๐™‰๐™‡๐™€๐™Ž๐™Ž ๐™ƒ๐™€ ๐™๐™„๐™๐™Ž๐™๐™Ž ๐˜ผ๐˜ฟ๐™Š๐™๐™€๐™Ž ๐™„๐™; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.โ€ (Enarr. Psalm 98:9)

St. Basil (330-379 AD) would divide the Eucharist in three parts: one to be consumed by him, one for his monks and a third one to be placed in a golden dove suspended above the altar to be adored.

By the 11th century, not the 13th, Eucharistic Adoration in the modern form was already widespread.

ephesus_ichthyscrop

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€.

St Ephraim (306-373 AD) writes in his Homilies 4:4, 4:6.

โ€œDo not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread [of life], and ๐™™๐™ค ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™˜๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™ง๐™ช๐™ข๐™—๐™จ; for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it.โ€

Origen (185-254 AD) in his 13th Homily on Exodus writes:

โ€œI wish to admonish you with examples from your religious practices. You who are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries know, when you receive the body of the Lord, how you protect it with all caution and veneration ๐™ก๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฎ ๐™จ๐™ข๐™–๐™ก๐™ก ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™›๐™–๐™ก๐™ก ๐™›๐™ง๐™ค๐™ข ๐™ž๐™ฉ, lest anything of the consecrated gift be lost. For you believe, and correctly, that you are answerable if anything falls from there by neglect. But if you are so careful to preserve his body, and rightly so, how do you think that there is less guilt to have neglected Godโ€™s word than to have neglected his body?โ€

 

๐—˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—น๐˜† ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜€.

Though the first officially recognized eucharistic miracle took place in the 8th century in Lanciano, there are early testimonies of other extraordinary events. Take the โ€˜Sayings of the Desert Fathersโ€™:

[…] โ€œThe old man received this saying with joy and he prayed in these words, โ€œLord, you know that it is not through malice that I do not believe and so that I may not err through ignorance, reveal this mystery to me, Lord Jesus Christ.โ€ The old men returned to their cells and they also prayed God, saying, โ€œLord Jesus Christ, reveal this mystery to the old man, that he may believe and not lose his reward.โ€ God heard both the prayers. At the end of the week they came to church on Sunday and sat all three on the same mat, the old man in the middle. ๐™๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ง ๐™š๐™ฎ๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™ค๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™š๐™™ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™จ ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™˜๐™š๐™™ ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™ค๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š, ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™–๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™™ ๐™–๐™จ ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™– ๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™š ๐™˜๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™จ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ง๐™š๐™š ๐™–๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™š. And when the priest put out his hand to break the bread, behold an angel descended from heaven with a sword and poured the childโ€™s blood into the chalice. When the priest cut the bread into small pieces, the angel also cut the child in pieces. ๐™’๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ฎ ๐™™๐™ง๐™š๐™ฌ ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™–๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ง๐™š๐™˜๐™š๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™จ๐™–๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™™ ๐™š๐™ก๐™š๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ค๐™ก๐™™ ๐™ข๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™ง๐™š๐™˜๐™š๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š๐™™ ๐™– ๐™ข๐™ค๐™ง๐™จ๐™š๐™ก ๐™ค๐™› ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™™๐™ฎ ๐™›๐™ก๐™š๐™จ๐™. ๐™Ž๐™š๐™š๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™จ ๐™–๐™›๐™ง๐™–๐™ž๐™™ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™˜๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™™ ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฉ, โ€œ๐™‡๐™ค๐™ง๐™™, ๐™„ ๐™—๐™š๐™ก๐™ž๐™š๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™ ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™›๐™ก๐™š๐™จ๐™ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™˜๐™๐™–๐™ก๐™ž๐™˜๐™š ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™™.โ€ ๐™„๐™ข๐™ข๐™š๐™™๐™ž๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™›๐™ก๐™š๐™จ๐™, ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ž๐™˜๐™ ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™š๐™ก๐™™ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™, ๐™—๐™š๐™˜๐™–๐™ข๐™š ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™, ๐™–๐™˜๐™˜๐™ค๐™ง๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ข๐™ฎ๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ค๐™  ๐™ž๐™ฉ, ๐™œ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ ๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™‚๐™ค๐™™. ย Then the old men said to him, โ€œGod knows human nature and that man cannot eat raw flesh and that is why he has changed his body into bread and his blood into wine, for those who receive it in faith.โ€ […]

I would argue though, that the earliest Eucharistic miracles happened in the NT. Take the Lukeโ€™s Road to Emmaus:

โ€œ๐™’๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™จ ๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ข, ๐™๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ค๐™  ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™, ๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™จ๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™—๐™ง๐™ค๐™ ๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฉ, ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™œ๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ข. ๐™๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ง ๐™š๐™ฎ๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™ค๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™š๐™™, ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ฎ ๐™ง๐™š๐™˜๐™ค๐™œ๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฏ๐™š๐™™ ๐™๐™ž๐™ข; ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™๐™š ๐™ซ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™จ๐™๐™š๐™™ ๐™›๐™ง๐™ค๐™ข ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ง ๐™จ๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” ๐™๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ก๐™™ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™๐™–๐™™ ๐™๐™–๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™š๐™™ ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ง๐™ค๐™–๐™™, ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™–๐™™ ๐™—๐™š๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ข๐™–๐™™๐™š ๐™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ข ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™.โ€ (Lk 24:30-35)

If you pay close attention, the apparitions of Jesus often take place in the Lordโ€™s Day, when the disciples get together to break the bread.

 

๐—ข๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ณ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ฏ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป.

Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) is the clearest:

For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™ฃ๐™จ๐™ข๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” (First Apology, 66)

St Irenaeus (140-202 AD):

โ€œWhen, therefore, the mixed cup 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 LORDโ€ฆreceiving the Word of God, BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, WHICH IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRISTโ€ฆโ€ (Against Heresies 5:2:2-3).

Origen again writes:

โ€œWe give thanks to the Creator of all, and, along with thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings we have received, we also eat the bread presented to us; and this bread BECOMES BY PRAYER A SACRED BODY, which sanctifies those who sincerely partake of it.โ€ (Against Celsus 8:33)

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