Saturday, July 25, 2009
A Few Texts From Saint Cyril of Jerusalem on the Eucharist
I ran across these texts by St Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures regarding the Eucharist. Recently some "Reformed" Protestants have used his writings to try and support their heresy of Sola Scriptura. In reading the texts in full context, I found no evidence of this whatsoever. In doing this research I ran across these texts pertaining to the Eucharist. Let me ask this simple question. Without applying any sophistry to the texts, who does St. Cyril appear to be in line with concerning Eucharistic doctrine? The Protestants or the Catholic and Orthodox Churches?
7. Moreover, the things which are hung up at idol festivals , either meat or bread, or other such things polluted by the invocation of the unclean spirits, are reckoned in the pomp of the devil. For as the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist before the invocation of the Holy and Adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, while after the invocation the Bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ , so in like manner such meats belonging to the pomp of Satan, though in their own nature simple, become profane by the invocation of the evil spirit.
(no 7 from Lecture 19)
1. Even of itself the teaching of the Blessed Paul is sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, of which having been deemed worthy, you have become of the same body and blood with Christ. For you have just heard him say distinctly, That our Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, Take, drink, this is My Blood. Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood? (no 1 from lecture 22)
6. Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to you, yet let faith establish you. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to you. (No6 from lecture 22)
9. Having learned these things, and been fully assured that the seeming bread is not bread, though sensible to taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the seeming wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, And bread strengthens man's heart, to make his face to shine with oil , "strengthen your heart," by partaking thereof as spiritual, and "make the face of your soul to shine." And so having it unveiled with a pure conscience, may you reflect as a mirror the glory of the Lord 2 Corinthians 3:18, and proceed from glory to glory, in Christ Jesus our Lord:— To whom be honour, and might, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen. (No 9 lecture 22)
For the sake of space I did not put the entire letters here. But here is the link to lecture 22 in its entirety so you can read it for yourself in full context, which I always encourage everyone to do for themselves. Many times I have read these "reformed" apologists on the internet mocking the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist telling us that it is obvious by our senses that it is not the real Body and Blood of Our Lord. Well, here we have one of their favorite Church Fathers that they quote twisting his words, telling them, "Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to you, yet let faith establish you. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to you. Not only is Saint Cyril not a friend to their position of Scripture Alone, but he is also not a friend to their Calvinistic views on the Eucharist.