Monday, 9 May 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 59.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. But what will you say to our Saviour's calling the sacrament the fruit of the vine? St. Matt. xxvi. 29.

A. If it were certain our Saviour had so called the consecrated wine of the blessed sacrament, it would prove no more than St. Paul's calling the consecrated host, bread; 1 Cor. x. 11, that is it would only show that the name of wine, or the fruit of the vine, might be given to it, from having the accidents and appearance of wine, and having been consecrated from wine. But there is all the reason in the world to think, that this appellation of " the fruit of the vine" was given by our Saviour, not to the consecrated cup or chalice, but to the wine of the paschal supper, which they drank before the institution of the sacrament: this will appear evident, from the 22nd chapter of St. Luke, to any one who will but read, from the 14th verse to the 21st, where it is plain ; that it was not the sacramental cup, but that which was drank with the passover, to which our Saviour gives the name of "the fruit of the vine."

Q. The ancient fathers often called this sacrament a figure and sign, which seems not to import grace present.

A. It cannot be a sacrament, without being a figure or sign; but the fathers in no place call it a symbol or figure only; so as to deny or exclude the verity and substance of Christ's body and blood from being contained under them. The eucharist is called the sign or figure of

Christ's body, upon account of the species, which represent it not as absent, but really present. Hence Tertullian says, Christ did not doubt to say, " This is my body," when he gave the figure of his body; so divines say, it is a full figure, not an empty one.

Q. Which are the articles of faith that follow from the real presence, and are defined by the Church?

A. First, against the Lutherans, that the reality subsists without the use, and not only while it is taken. Again, that every particle contains the true body and blood, in the consecration of both species. Again, that the soul and divinity of Christ are also present. Again, that the body and blood are present, by force of the words of consecration, and both present under each species, by concomitance. Again, that Christ, in the sacrament, is to be adored with divine worship. That when the species are divided or broken, the whole body of Christ is in every particle, but undivided in itself. That when the species are corrupted, the body of Christ is not corrupted, but ceases to be present. Lastly, that the body of Christ is not every where as the Ubiquitarians affirm, but only in heaven locally, and in the eucharist sacramentally.

Q. What is the principal effect of the eucharist?

A. To bestow nutritive grace, and in greater plenty than any other sacrament: though it does not confer first grace, but supposes it already given by penance. Hence, remission of sin is not the proper effect. The eucharist, as a sacrament, only profits those who receive it.f But, as it is a sacrifice, it profits others. Venial sins hinder not the nutritive grace: yet they slacken the growth of virtue like a bad soil.

Q. Who are rightly disposed to receive the eucharist ?

A. Divines distinguish three sorts of persons. First, such as receive the sacrament only, without the effect. Secondly, those who receive the effect only by faith, and ardent charity, not having an opportunity to receive the sacrament itself: yet these do not receive the proper sacramental grace. Thirdly, such as receive both the sacrament and the effect. The first communion is called sacramental only, the second spiritual only, the third sacramental and spiritual. Hence it is defined by the council of Trent, that faith alone is not a sufficient preparation; but there must be a true contrition, and not a supposed one, but acquired by confession if there be an opportunity of having a confessor: all which are required by St. Paul, when he says, " Let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of this bread, and drink of this cup; for he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the body of our Lord." 1 Cor. xi. 28. The Church so expounds the preparation that is required. Again, this precept of confessing extends even to priests, who are obliged by office to celebrate, unless a confessor is wanting; and then the council of Trent says, they are to make an act of contrition, and afterwards quam primum confiteri, which words, as Pope Alexander VII declares, import the first opportunity, and not the stated time of the,priest's usual confession. In fine, in order to receive the blessed sacrament worthily, and the effects thereof, we must be in the state of grace, that is, free from all mortal sin, and affection to venial. We must also approach with a right intention: first, to glorify God, and give him thanks for so great a favor and blessing, in bestowing upon us his only Son ; secondly, to strengthen our souls in spiritual life, and to gain an increase of charity and all other virtues; and thirdly, to obtain the grace and assistance of Almighty God, in order to correct all our failings and imperfections, and to overcome such and such temptations.