The Eucharist and the Early Church Fathers

There is mystery in the natural world all around us as the great scientist Einstein once observed and this is certainly also the case with religion and especially Christianity, beginning with the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Christ’s gift to us of Himself in what we call the Eucharist [from the Greek word meaning "thanksgiving" and sometimes referred to as Holy Communion] is such a mystery of faith.

To see them, we need as St. Paul says, eyes of faith, remembering that we must walk by faith, not by sight through God’s mysteries (Rom12: 6-7) but never fearing that faith and reason are brothers in God’s creation. Like Father James T. O’Connor, from whose work The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist much of this manuscript is drawn, I would like to repeat with Chesterton that the theme of the Eucharist is so wonderful that we must take a risk in offering our praise.

The first full treatise on the Holy Eucharist was not produced until the 9th century, however, the writings of the Early Church Fathers have frequent mention of it. This essay will attempt to survey only a small measure of their content to give you some sense of the development of the doctrine of the Eucharist–that is, the Church’s understanding of this great mystery. . . . more . . . (read the entire article, “The Early Church Fathers Speak about the Eucharist: The Body and Blood of Christ, the Real Presence of Christ: Development of Eucharistic Understanding” by clicking on the following link)

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