One of my favorite things to talk about is the Holy Eucharist. But on this day that we celebrate The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, I thought I would share some favorite things said by our friends.
Saint Justin Martyr: This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. "First Apology", Ch. 66, 148-155 A.D.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Keep these traditions inviolate, and preserve yourselves from offenses. Do not cut yourselves off from Communion, do not deprive yourselves, through the pollution of sins, of these Holy and Spiritual Mysteries. -"Mystagogic Catechesis [23 (Mystagogic 5), 23]" ca. 350 A.D.
St. John Chrysostom: I wish to add something that is plainly awe-inspiring, but do not be astonished or upset. This Sacrifice, no matter who offers it, be it Peter or Paul, is always the same as that which Christ gave His disciples and which priests now offer: The offering of today is in no way inferior to that which Christ offered, because it is not men who sanctify the offering of today; it is the same Christ who sanctified His own. For just as the words which God spoke are the very same as those which the priest now speaks, so too the oblation is the very same. "Homilies on the Second Epistle to Timothy," 2,4, ca. 397 A.D.
Saint Augustine of Hippo: He who made you men, for your sakes was Himself made man; to ensure your adoption as many sons into an everlasting inheritance, the blood of the Only-Begotten has been shed for you. If in your own reckoning you have held yourselves cheap because of your earthly frailty, now assess yourselves by the price paid for you; meditate, as you should, upon what you eat, what you drink, to what you answer 'Amen'. "Second Discourse on Psalm 32". Ch. 4. ca. 400 A.D.
Saint Leo the Great: For when the Lord says, “unless you have eaten the flesh of the Son of Man, and drunk His blood, you will not have life in you John 6:53,” you ought so to be partakers at the Holy Table, as to have no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ's Body and Blood. For that is taken in the mouth which is believed in Faith, and it is vain for them to respond Amen who dispute that which is taken. -"Sermons" [91,3] ante 461 A.D.
St. Thomas Aquinas: Material food first changes into the one who eats it, and then, as a consequence, restores to him lost strength and increases his vitality. Spiritual food, on the other hand, changes the person who eats it into itself. Thus the effect proper to this Sacrament is the conversion of a man into Christ, so that he may no longer live, but Christ lives in him; consequently, it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual strength he had lost by his sins and defects, and of increasing the strength of his virtues. Commentary on Book IV of the Sentences, d.12, q.2, a.11 ca. 1260 A.D.
Let the Church say, “Amen!”