Bread of Life Discourse

In pure faith, we enter into our Lord’s hiddenness within the Eucharist.

We see Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, not with our bodily eyes, but with the highest and most wondrous spiritual vision—pure faith.  As the Savior hid the glory and grandeur of the Godhead in His assumption of our nature, so too, in the Holy Eucharist, there is no visible disclosure of Him.  Consequently, to be one with Him in loving harmony, we must be hidden with Him; we must be lost in Him.  We must die to ourselves that we may live to Him. (Transforming Your Life Through the Eucharist, Kane, 9)

We see and know Him in the Blessed Sacrament with the eyes of faith.

Silent and loving before him, we are absolutely certain of His hidden reality, more certain than they who in the days of His flesh beheld and touched his body, which curtained the magnificence of the Godhead. With the eyes of faith, we see Him not disfigured and clouded by the weakness of human nature but shining with heavenly light in the grandeur of His beauty and in the perfection of His attributes. (Transforming Your Life Through the Eucharist, Kane, 112)

We must realize what we believe.

We shall give ourselves heart and soul to the full possession of Christ if we are thoroughly convinced that in Holy Communion He, the Eternal God, enters into our souls with his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—in other words, if we realize what we believe. (Transforming Your Life Through the Eucharist, Kane, 131)

Jesus invites us to Him in the Eucharist, in Scripture.  We accept His words in faith.

Come to Me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you [Matt 11:28].  The bread which I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world [Jn 6:52].  Take you and eat: this is My Body, which shall be delivered for you.  Do this for the commemoration of Me [1 Cor 11:24].  He that eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, abides in Me, and I in him [Jn 6:57].  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life [Jn 6:64].

These are all Your words, O Christ, eternal Truth, though they were not all spoken at one time nor written together in one place.  And because they are Yours and true, I must accept them all with faith and gratitude.  They are Yours and You have spoken them; they are mine also because You have spoken them for my salvation.  Gladly I accept them from Your lips that they may be the more deeply impressed in my heart. (The Imitation of Christ, a Kempis, 211-212)

Be steadfast in faith.

Be not disturbed, dispute not in your mind, answer not the doubts sent by the devil, but believe the words of God, believe His saints and prophets and the evil enemy will flee from you.  It is often very profitable for the servant of God to suffer such things.  For Satan does not tempt unbelievers and sinners whom he already holds securely, but in many ways he does tempt and trouble the faithful servant.

Go forward, then, with sincere and unflinching faith, and with humble reverence approach this Sacrament. (The Imitation of Christ, a Kempis, 255-256)

The test of faith is to believe without complete understanding; to humbly accept mystery.

In fact, not only did Jesus let his disbelieving disciples go, but he turned to Peter and the Twelve and invited them to leave, too: “Will you also go away?” (John 6:67).  The point is clear: Jesus would brook no compromise on the mystery of his body and blood.  It was a litmus test of discipleship.  And how did Peter respond to this test?  As spokesman for the Twelve, he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).  Essentially, Peter was saying, “Lord, I don’t fully grasp what you just said, but I do know who you are.” (Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, Pitre, 107)

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. Will you also go away?”: the Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has “the words of eternal life and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself. (CCC1336)

Catholics are true mystics, holding an infinite, unseen reality: the Mystery of Faith.

We Catholics have that great freedom of mind through our faith in the reality of the Eucharistic sacrifice; we know that through this faith, we move in a world which is entirely beyond human experience; we are true mystics, because we hold an infinite reality and yet hold it without any human factors; it is truly the mysterium fidei, the mystery of faith. (90) Let the spiritual thing be held spiritually by the spiritual man. (The Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, Vonier, 95)

The substantial change is a mystery of faith, founded in Jesus’ word and Church authority.

How does Christ come to be present in the Eucharist in this real and substantial way affirmed by the Church, given that we continue to perceive the appearances of bread and wine?  ….  We believe it solely because of what Christ said at the Last Supper and what he said earlier at the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6) and because the Church’s infallible magisterium has defined the sense of those words and the way they must be interpreted. (Eucharist, Feingold, 259)

Faith reconciles reason.

For a mystery of faith, although it is above reason, can never be contrary to reason or in contradiction with itself. (Eucharist, Feingold, 260)

Belief in Jesus and His words exceed our understanding.  Faith is needed to lift understanding.

What he taught was beyond human nature’s ability to comprehend.  …  The Lord, however, was looking for faith, faith in himself and faith in his words, well aware, as he himself said, that no one could offer such faith “unless the Father draw him” (Jn 6:44).  And so many found the saying too much to take.  They went away.

Through the centuries, the Church has consistently refused to mitigate the shock contained in the words of the Lord at Capernaum. (The Hidden Manna, O’Connor, 95)

In the Eucharist, faith precedes the understanding.

The change that takes place in the elements in the “Mystery of faith” and cannot be comprehended by the senses or the intelligence.  “It must not be understood first so that it can afterward by believed; it must be believed first, so that it can afterward by understood.” (Guitmund, De Corporis) (The Hidden Manna, O’Connor, 106)

We have believed so that we might know because, if we wanted first to know and then to believe, we would be able neither to know nor to believe.  What have we believed and known?  That you are the Christ, the Son of God, that is, that you are life eternal itself and that in your Flesh and Blood you give us nothing except what you are. (St. Augustine) (The Hidden Manna, O’Connor, 173)

Faith presents what God is, but in a way that experiences Him.

[Faith] not only enables the intellect to know God intimately and subjectively…but even more, to experience what God is. (Faith According to St. John of the Cross, St. John Paul II, 69)

Faith is completed in obedience and in union with God’s will.

Faith is complete only when it becomes concrete obedience to the divine mandate. God awaits our Yes, awaits a faith that becomes life in the transformation of our will to the point of full conformity with his will. (On Love, Ratzinger, 33)

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