Tuesday, July 3, 2018

St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Amazing Explanation for the Eucharist

From Catholic Exchange:
Gregory begins by reframing this as a question of how: How can the bread and wine be Christ? Gregory of Nyssa responds by saying that the bread is a kind of prototypical food, just as wine was, in the ancient world, a fundamental source of fluids for all men. And, because of this characteristic bread and wine are a type of the human body. As he puts it:
Some animals feed on roots which they dig up. Of others grass is the food, of others different kinds of flesh, but for man above all things bread; and, in order to continue and preserve the moisture of his body, drink, not simply water, but water frequently sweetened with wine, to join forces with our internal heat. He, therefore, who thinks of these things, thinks by implication of the particular bulk of our body. For those things by being within me became my blood and flesh, the corresponding nutriment by its power of adaptation being changed into the form of my body (Great Catechism, 37).
Actually, all Gregory has done here is address how the Eucharistic bread and wine can represent the body and blood of Christ. This is a helpful answer in so far as it is a necessary step towards understanding how the bread and wine could be God Incarnate. Now he turns to this second question:
[W]hen He came in a body such as ours did not innovate on man’s physical constitution so as to make it other than it was, but secured continuance for His own body by the customary and proper means, and controlled its subsistence by meat and drink (Great Catechism, 37).
Put simply, the Eucharist can be the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ because that’s similar to what happened on a daily basis during Christ’s life on earth: all the food and drink He consumed became part of His Sacred body, just as food and drink does for us. To build on Gregory’s point, this process is intensified in the Eucharist, in which bread and wine are not only transformed into the body and blood of Christ, but also into His soul and divinity. Gregory concludes,
For that Body was once, by implication, bread, but has been consecrated by the inhabitation of the Word that tabernacled in the flesh. Therefore, from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a Divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread, and in a manner was itself bread, so also in this case the bread (Great Catechism, 37).
In effect, Gregory is saying that Christ is transforming the Eucharist into Himself in much the same way that He absorbed food and drink into His body during His earthly life. (Read more.)

Eucharistic Adoration can save the Church. From The Catholic Herald:
There has been in recent times a discernible increase in those drawn to Eucharistic adoration in parishes and communities, and particularly among young people. Adoration stands as an antidote to the noise and busyness of our world.

As we hear from the account of Elijah at Horeb, the Lord was not in the mighty wind, fire or earthquakes but in “the gentle breeze” (1 Kings 19: 9a, 11-16). After encountering that “gentle breeze”, Elijah covered his face with his cloak and stood at the entrance of the cave. “The gentle breeze” might be the Lord calling us from the Blessed Sacrament, and the cloak the call to humble and prostrate ourselves in Adoration. (Read more.)

The Holy Prophet Elias

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