June 1, 2016

Saint Justin Martyr on the Eucharist

Saint Justin the Martyr is considered Christianity's first apologist. He was a pagan philosopher, who after becoming Christian, spent his life explaining the faith to the pagan world. One of his writings about the Eucharist, the First Apology written by St. Justin in 150 AD, shows that from the beginning, the Church believed that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. St. Justin wrote:
The apostles, in their recollections, which are called Gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that He took bread, gave thanks and said: “Do this in memory of Me. This is My body.” In the same way He took the cup, He gave thanks and said: “This is My blood.” The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through His Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. ...
We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving. ...
No one may share in the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ. 
St Justin Martyr, pray for us that we would defend the faith, not just in word, but in deed as you showed by your life and death as a martyr for Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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