On the night He was betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples and said: “Take, eat: this is My Body.” He took the cup, gave thanks and said: “Take, drink: this is My Blood.” Since Christ Himself has declared the bread to be His Body, who can have any further doubt? Since He Himself has said quite categorically, This is My Blood, who would dare to question it and say that it is not His Blood?
Therefore, it is with complete assurance that we receive the bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ. His Body is given to us under the symbol of bread, and His Blood is given to us under the symbol of wine, in order to make us by receiving them one body and blood in our members, we become bearers of Christ and sharers, as Saint Peter says, in the divine nature.
Once, when speaking to the Jews, Christ said: Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood you shall have no life in you. This horrified them and they left Him. Not understanding His words in a spiritual way, they thought the Saviour wished them to practice cannibalism.
Under the old covenant there was showbread, but it came to an end with the old dispensation to which it belonged. Under the new covenant there is Bread from Heaven and the Cup of Salvation. These sanctify both soul and body, the bread being adapted to the sanctification of the body, the Word, to the sanctification of the soul.
Do not, then, regard the Eucharistic elements as ordinary bread and wine: they are in fact the Body and Blood of The Lord, as He Himself has declared. Whatever your senses may tell you, be strong in faith.
You have been taught and you are firmly convinced that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is not bread and wine but the Body and Blood of Christ. You know also how David referred to this long ago when he sang: Bread gives strength to man’s heart and makes his face shine with the oil of gladness. Strengthen your heart, then, by receiving this bread as spiritual bread, and bring joy to the face of your soul.
May purity of conscience remove the veil from the face of your soul so that by contemplating the glory of the Lord, as in a mirror, you may be transformed from glory to glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
– from the Jerusalem Catecheses————————————————————————————————-
(Cat. 22, Mystagogica 4, 1. 3-6. 9: PG 33, 1098-1106)
What do the Saints say about the Blessed Sacrament?
“Recognise in this bread what hung on the Cross, and in this chalice what flowed from His side… whatever was in many and varied ways announced beforehand in the sacrifices of the Old Testament pertains to this one sacrifice which is revealed in the New Testament.
He who is all-knowing knew of nothing more that He could give than the Eucharist. He who is all-powerful could not do anymore than He does in the sacrament and He who is all loving had nothing more that He could give. The Eucharist is a Divine storehouse filled with every virtue.”***
St. Alphonsus Liguori
“Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest of the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.”***
St Francis of Assisi
“Oh sublime humility! Oh humble sublimity! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble himself like this and hide under the form of a little bread, for our salvation.
Priests should realise that the chalices, corporals, and altar linens where the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ are offered in Sacrifice should be completely suitable.[It is a scandal] if priests reserve the Blessed Sacrament in unsuitable places or carry It about irreverently, or receive It unworthily, or give It to all-comers without distinction…. Surely we cannot be left unmoved by loving sorrow for all this. We must have the greatest reverence for the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. When the priest is offering sacrifice at the altar or the Blessed Sacrament is being carried about, everyone should kneel down and give praise, glory, and honour to our Lord and God, living and true.
We should visit churches often and show great reverence for the clergy, not just for them personally, for they may be sinners, but because of their high office, for it is they who administer the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ with great humility and reverence, remembering the words of our Lord himself, He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting (Jn. 6:55), and, Do this is remembrance of me (Lk. 22:19)
Man should tremble, the world should vibrate, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe
“God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. He remains among us until the end of the world. He dwells on so many altars, though so often offended and profaned.
(Prayer) ”You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!”
St. John Chrysostom
“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.
When the Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels, who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.”***
St. Peter Julian Eymard
“How kind is our Sacramental Jesus! He welcomes you at any hour of the day or night. His Love never knows rest. He is always most gentle towards you. When you visit Him, He forgets your sins and speaks only of His joy, His tenderness, and His Love. By the reception He gives to you, one would think He has need of you to make Him happy.
When we work hard, we must eat well. What a joy, that you can receive Holy Communion often! It’s our life and support in this life – Receive Communion often, and Jesus will change you into himself.
Have a great love for Jesus in his divine Sacrament of Love; that is the divine oasis of the desert. It is the heavenly manna of the traveller. It is the Holy Ark. It is the life and Paradise of love on earth.
Live on the divine Eucharist, like the Hebrews did on the Manna. Your soul can be entirely dedicated to the divine Eucharist and very holy in the midst of your work and contacts with the world.”***
St. Francis de Sales
“When the bee has gathered the dew of heaven and the earth’s sweetest nectar from the flowers, it turns it into honey, then hastens to its hive. In the same way, the priest, having taken from the altar the Son of God (who is as the dew from heaven, and true son of Mary, flower of our humanity), gives him to you as delicious food.
When you have received Him, stir up your heart to do Him homage; speak to Him about your spiritual life, gazing upon Him in your soul where He is present for your happiness; welcome Him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of His Presence.”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
“Do you realise that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love. You must open a little, or rather raise on high your corolla so that the Bread of Angels may come as divine dew to strengthen you, and to give you all that is wanting to you.
Receive Communion often, very often. There you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing. The guest of our soul knows our misery; He comes to find an empty tent within us – that is all He asks. It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight.
By our little acts of charity practiced in the shade we convert souls far away, we help missionaries, we win for them abundant alms; and by that means build actual dwellings spiritual and material for our Eucharistic Lord.”
St. John Vianney (Curé d’Ars)
“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.
I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master.”
St. Angela of Foligno
“If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.”
Pope St. Pius X
“The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself.”***