Within the Church, we have the privilege of a rich and deep patrimony from which to draw inspiration and guidance. We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, interceding on our behalf to God. In addition to their intercession, they also provide the foundation and evidence of what the Church has believed since its founding by Christ 2,000 years ago.
Check out some of these great quotes about the Eucharist from the early Church Fathers and take some time to learn more about the saints who uttered them or the works from which they are taken.
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many.” – St. Andrew the Apostle, 1st century A.D.
“But let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist except those who have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for the Lord has also spoken concerning this: ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs.’” – The Didache, late 1st century A.D
“Only that Eucharist which is under the authority of the bishop (or whomever he himself designates) is to be considered valid. Wherever the bishop appears, there let the congregation be; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” – St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, A.D. 107-110
“For we do not receive these things as common bread nor common drink; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior having been incarnate by God’s logos took both flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food eucharistized through the word of prayer that is from Him, from which our blood and flesh are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who became incarnate. – St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, A.D. 151-155
“For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.” – St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, A.D. 177-183
“We give thanks to the Creator of all, and, along with thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings we have received, we also eat the bread presented to us; and this bread becomes by prayer a sacred body, which sanctifies those who sincerely partake of it.” – Origen, Against Celsus, A.D. 248
“The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ.” – St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, A.D. 348-350
“You will see the Levites bringing the loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wonderous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ….When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body. – St. Athanasius of Alexandria, Sermon to the Newly Baptized, A.D. 373
“Now we, as often as we receive the Sacramental Elements, which by the mysterious efficacy of holy prayer are transformed into the Flesh and the Blood, ‘do show the Lord’s Death.’” – St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Christian Faith, A.D. 378-379
“It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. ‘This is my body,’ he says. This word transforms the things offered. – St. John Chrysostom, Against the Judaizers, A.D. 386-387
“How was Christ carried in His Own Hands? Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in like manner carried Himself, when He said, ‘This is My Body.’” – St. Augustine, Exposition on the Psalms, A.D. 396-420
“He did not say, ‘This is the symbol of My Body, and this, of My Blood,’ but, what is set before us, but that it is transformed by means of the Eucharistic action into Flesh and Blood.” – St. Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on Matthew, A.D. 400-415
“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,’ 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.” – St. Leo the Great, Sermon 91, A.D. mid-5th century