“He who eats the Eucharist with faith eat the Holy Spirit and Fire.” More Reflection on the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit teaching from the ‘Soul Institute’ this Sunday Eucharistic Sunday

Daniel Keating in his book, ‘Deification and Grace’ writes,” John of Damascus describes the body of Christ as ‘deified’ itself, communicating to us in the Eucharist, like a burning coal, the divine fire and life-and all this because of the life-giving power of the Spirit:

‘The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ but the defied body of the Lord itself…And let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire…For the Lord’s flesh is life-giving spirit because it was conceived of the life-giving Spirit. For what is born of the Spirit is spirit. But I do not say this to take away the nature of the body, but I wish to make clear its life-giving and divine power.’

Thomas Aquinas uses the metaphor of food and drink to speak of our divine inebriation through the Eucharist: ‘For the food is not changed into the one who eats it, but it turns the one who takes it into itself, as we see in Augustine…And so this is a food capable of making man divine (divinum) and inebriating him with divinity. (divinitate inebrians)”

Keating writes, “Among other New Testament texts that employ the vocabulary of participation, three express our relationship to the Holy Spirit in terms of participation: Hebrews 6:4, ‘partakers (metochos) of the Holy Spirit’ 2 Corinthians 13:13, ‘the fellowship (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit’ and Philippians 2: 1 ‘participation (koinonia) in the Spirit.’ It is notable that the indwelling of the Spirit, so central to baptism and our divine filiation, is expressed biblically in term of participation. Obviously we do not become the Holy Spirit by virtue of his dwelling in us. We do, however, become partakers of the Spirit, enabling the effective life and power of God to be at work in us, transforming us into the image of Christ and drawing is into the Trinitarian communion of love. Our share in Christ through the Eucharist is also described in terms of participation. In 1 Corinthians 10: 14-22 Paul employs the vocabulary of participation to state the incompatibility between sacrificial pagan meals and the Christian Eucharist. He describes the cup of blessing as ‘a participation (koinonia) in the blood of Christ’ and the breed is broken as ‘a participation (koinonia) in the body of Christ.”

Let us close with these words from Saint Ambrose

“Every time you drink, you receive the remission of sins and you become intoxicated with the Spirit. It is in that sense that the Apostle said, ‘Do not get drunk with wine…but be filled with the Spirit.’ (Eph 5:18) He who becomes intoxicated with wine staggers, but he who becomes intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ. How truly excellent is this intoxication which produces the sobriety of the soul.”


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