The Mystery Of The Eucharist – Voices from the Saints and Mystics

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This book examines the eucharistic teaching and contribution of twenty-six saints and mystics from the church’s past including St. John Damascene, John Paul II, Thomas Merton, Teresa of Calcutta and Chiara Lubich.

In this companion volume to The Beauty of the Eucharist, Father Dennis Billy examines the eucharistic teaching and contribution of twenty-six saints and mystics from the church’s past.

Some taught with conviction from pulpit or classroom. Others showed a pastor’s concern for hungering souls. Still others searched the mystical depths of the sacrament and the everlasting union with God it foreshadows. Lastly, voices from more recent times have urged us to see in the Eucharist a powerful force for social change and personal transformation, for compassion and peace. Together, these form a moving chorus of insight and spirituality which is helpful to all who are seeking a deeper grasp of the incredible riches of the mysterium fidei.

Author of numerous books and articles, Redemptorist Father Dennis Billy holds a Th.D. in Church History from Harvard Divinity School and a S.T.D. in spirituality from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. He holds the John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and also serves as Karl Rahner Professor of Catholic Theology at the Graduate Theological Foundation.

Some excerpts on the Eucharist from the book:

“Just as bread in the natural process of eating, and water and wine in drinking, are changed into the body and blood of the one eating and drinking, and do not become another body than his former body, so too the bread on the credence table, as also the wine and water, through the epiclesis and coming of the Holy Spirit, are supernaturally changed into the Body of Christ and into His Blood, and they are not two but one and the same.” (36)

“Participation [in the Eucharist] is spoken of, because through the Eucharist we participate in the divinity of Jesus. Communion is likewise spoken of, and it is real communion, because through the Eucharist we have communion with Christ and share in His flesh and in His divinity. We do indeed have such communion thereby, that we are united with each other. For since we partake of one Bread we all become one body of Christ and one blood, and members of each other, since we become of one body with Christ.” (37-38)

St. John Damascene (d. c.749),was the “last Father of the Greek Church,” and the greatest of her poets. (31)

“When we have been purified by the twofold love of which we have just treated, we can find our way into God’s own sanctuary and be embraced by Him there. Our longing breaks through the limitations of our flesh, and there we see Jesus Christ as God. We are drawn into His glorious light, and lost in His unbelievable joy. Everything that belongs to our human nature, everything fleshly and perceptible and transitory is stilled. All we can do is to gaze on the One who is forever changeless, and as we gaze on Him, we are perfectly at rest; so great is the delight we find in His embrace that this is indeed the Sabbath of all Sabbaths.” (86)

St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110–67), homilist and historian, was known for his work on the nature of Christian friendship. (81)

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