Quoting from the Radio Replies by the Fathers Rumble and Carty, we concluded our preceding article with Question and Answer 779 of Volume II, whether in Communion the Trinity was received or only the Second Person. And the answer was that, in the Romish conception, the people receive not only the Second Person but also the Trinity. And now we continue with these replies.
780. What relation arises between the soul of the communicant and the First and Third Persons of the Trinity?
“The whole idea of Communion is to bring us into a special union with God, and that means into a more intimate union with all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Sacrament is the medium by which, in virtue of our Lord’s humanity, we attain that union, His humanity links us with His divinity because itself is united with that divinity in an indestructible and personal union. And in that divinity we are brought equally into relation with all three Divine Persons. What is this relationship given by Sacramental Communion? God is present everywhere by His immensity, knowledge and power. But that is His natural presence. No one can escape it. Yet, if men cannot escape God’s immensity, knowledge and power, they can escape His love, forfeiting it by sin. If a man repents of his sins and recovers God% grace, God is united to that man in a new way, no longer natural but supernatural. He is one with such a man, not only by the contact of power, but by the far more intimate contact of love. That there is a difference between these two modes of presence and union all men admit. Two people, physically present to each other in a room, could be miles apart in quite another sense. There may be nothing in common between them. They are not drawn to each other. We even say they behave distantly to each other. There is a chasm between the spirit of one and the spirit of the other. Now it is this chasm between the soul and God which is eliminated when grace replaces sin, and when a man ceases to rebel against God’s will in order to love Him. And that means a union of intimate and personal friendship with all three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Thus, Christ said, “If anyone love Me, My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.” John 14:23. The plural indicates a new mode of presence of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. Now this new relationship, or union, with all three Divine Persons exists in all who are in God’s grace. But, as is evident, such a union can be ever intensified. One can grow in grace, and in the love of God. Now I can answer the question. Every Sacramental Communion intensifies our degree of grace, and, consequently, the intimacy of our union equally with all three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity.”
That God’s people, at the Lord’s Supper, have fellowship with the Triune God, no protestant will dispute. But, of course, that we receive the Triune God, in the bread and wine, according to the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation, we reject. And what an absurdity! The bread and wine are changed into the actual body and blood of the Lord. The body and blood of the Lord surely refer to Christ’s human nature; When Jesus said to His disciples, “This is My body,” He was certainly referring to His human body. Of course, we maintain that He referred to His body as broken upon the cross of Calvary, and He therefore referred to the fact that the broken bread is a symbol of His atoning suffering upon the cross. And now Rome would have us believe that the communicant, when receiving the bread, also receives the Trinity, the entire Godhead. And this is supposed to rest upon the Scripture, “Except ye eat My flesh and drink My blood?” Since when is it true that “flesh and blood” in Scripture designate the Godhead, the Blessed Trinity?
781. What is the Mass?
“The Mass is the sacrifice of the Christian dispensation in which the very body and blood of Jesus Christ under de appearance of bread and wine are offered to God by a lawfully ordained priest. This sacrifice of the Mass is offered to render honor and glory to God, to thank Him for His benefits, to make reparation for the sins of mankind, and to beg of God the graces and blessings we need. It represents and continues in our midst the one great sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, and is offered for all the purposes for which He died.”
782. Christ meant His disciples, each time they broke bread, to remember His death, and so renew their love for Him each time.
“He meant that, but far more also. Not only were we to remember His death for us, but He left His very body under the appearances of bread so that we might reoffer to the Father, Him who was our victim on the Cross. Not only were we to remember His death; we were to show His death as often as the celebration occurred, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi. “For from the rising of the sun to the going down, My name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation; for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.” Mal. 1:11. Nor were we merely to renew our love for Him. He was to renew His life in us. So He said, “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me.” John 658. It is difficult to understand why you should wish to belittle the greatness of His gift.”
Malachi 1:11 is translated in our King James version as follows: “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.” Notice that Roman Catholicism speaks, in this text, of a sacrifice and of a “clean oblation.” Now it must be evident, if we would interpret this passage literally, that the prophet refers, not to the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, but to the sacrifices of the Old Testament. But it is also evident that he refers to the future inasmuch as he speaks of the rising and going down of the sun, and that God’s Name shall be great among the Gentiles. So this Word of God merely refers to the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles, and he emphasizes the pure and perfect service of the Lord whereof the sacrifices in the Old Dispensation were a symbol. We need not refer to John 658.
783. Hebrews 10:12 says that Christ’s was a finished or perfected work or sacrifice.
“The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacrifice of the Cross was a complete and perfect sacrifice. The Mass is not a new sacrificing of Christ in the same sense, but is a new offering and application of the Christ sacrificed on Calvary. The absolute Sacrifice occurred on Calvary, the Mass is a relative Sacrifice, deriving its value from the Cross. Just as prior to His death on Calvary, Christ offered His Body and Blood at the Last Supper, saying, “This is My Body which is given to you, this My Blood which is shed for you,” so in the Mass, not now by anticipation but in retrospect, Christ the Victim is offered to His Father.”
One might almost think that the Romish view is presented here as if the bread and wine were merely symbols of the death of Christ upon the cross, when we read that in the Mass Christ is offered to His Father merely in retrospect, and not in anticipation of the cross. But we know that Rome does not view the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper as mere symbols. Answer 783 states that the absolute sacrifice occurred upon Calvary, that the Mass is only a relative Sacrifice, deriving its value from the Cross. But Rome also teaches that the sacrifice of the cross also derives its value from the Mass, and that the Cross of our Lord is only of power and value if and when Christ is offered daily in the Mass.
784. What did our Lord mean when He said, “He that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me.” John 6:58. Is not our eternal life due to the death of Christ upon the Cross?
“It is true that our Lord merited eternal life for us by His death on the Cross. But the fruit and grace of that sacrifice are applied to our souls by the Sacraments. Now the central Sacrament of all is the Holy. Eucharist (yet not considered essential by Rome—H.V.). We receive the principle of supernatural life by Baptism, but the Eucharist is ordained for the preservation of that life. The most important function for a living being is to live. And it lives by nutrition. The growth and development of a tree is an act of continuous nutrition. Now the Eucharist is for the spiritual nourishment of the spiritual life. And it does all for the life of the soul that ordinary food does for the life of the body. It sustains the life of grace. It repairs loss of spiritual vitality. It promotes progress towards a perfect development in holiness. And it gives the joy of health in the spiritual order. And since the Eucharist is the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, our Lord rightly said, “He that eateth Me, the same shall live by Me.” There is one essential difference, of course, between the activity of the Eucharist, and that of ordinary food. Ordinary food nourishes our bodies by becoming absorbed and transformed into our own living tissues and cells. But the opposite process occurs in the Eucharist. Holy Communion absorbs us into a unity with Christ. It is a greater and stronger food than any merely natural food. Instead of merely fostering our natural life, it intensifies our participation in a higher and supernatural life.”
This is certainly no clear answer to the objection as voiced in the question, namely that our eternal life is due only to the death of Christ upon the cross. And we also do well to remember that Heb. 10:12emphasizes that “this man,” Christ Jesus, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. And it is clearly the thought in Heb. 10:12 that this man, Christ Jesus, sitting down on the right hand of God, does not sacrifice Himself anymore, inasmuch as He once offered for sins upon the cross. That sacrifice upon the cross is surely a finished and perfect sacrifice.
785. He added, “He that eateth this bread shall live forever.” Yet the Eucharist does not stop death. Those who have received Holy Communion die just as those who have not.
The Eucharist is opposed chiefly to the forces which lead to the death of the supernatural life of grace within the soul. But it also robs the natural death of the body of all permanent power, since it will lead to the restoration of bodily life in a glorious resurrection. Even though Christ died, He overcame the power of death by His resurrection. Death could not keep Him in the tomb. By receiving the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, you receive the right and title to your own glorious resurrection. In the Eucharist our Lord continues His work for you.”