Summary Against Modern Thought: On Confirmation & The Eucharist

Summary Against Modern Thought: On Confirmation & The Eucharist

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Two short chapters on sacraments this week.


1 The perfection of spiritual strength consists properly in a man’s daring to confess the faith of Christ in the presence of anyone at all, and in a man’s being not withdrawn therefrom either by confusion or by terror, for strength drives out inordinate terror.

Therefore, the sacrament by which spiritual strength is conferred on the one born again makes him in some sense a front-line fighter for the faith of Christ. And because fighters under a prince carry his insignia, they who receive the sacrament of confirmation are signed with the sign of Christ; this is the sign of the cross by which He fought and conquered. This sign they receive on the forehead as a sign that without a blush they publicly confess the faith of Christ.

Notes Did you see a martial metaphor coming?

2 This signing takes place with a mixture of oil and balm which is called chrism, and not without reason. For by the oil one designates the power of the Holy Spirit, from whom Christ, too, is called “anointed” (Ps. 44:8; Luke 4:18); and consequently from Christ they are called “Christians” (Acts 9:26), so to say, as fighting under Him. And by the balm, through its fragrance, good repute is indicated. For the public confession of faith in Christ this good repute must be had by those who dwell among men of this world, brought forth, so to say, from the hidden recesses of the Church onto the field of battle.

3 Suitably, too, this sacrament is conferred only by bishops, who are in some sense the leaders of the Christian army. For even in secular military forces it is the prerogative of the army leader to select some men to be enrolled; so, also, those who receive this sacrament seem to be enrolled somehow in the spiritual military forces. Hence, also, a hand is laid upon them to designate the derivation of manliness from Christ.

Notes Ah, manliness. A most unwelcome argument in our age.


1 Now, bodily life needs material nourishment, not only for increase in quantity, but to maintain the nature of the body as well, lest it be dissolved by continuous resolutions and lose its power; in the same way it was necessary to have spiritual nourishment for the spiritual life that the reborn may both be conserved in virtues and grow in them.

2 Spiritual effects were fittingly given under the likeness of things visible (as was said); therefore, spiritual nourishment of this kind is given to us under the appearances, of the things which men rather commonly use for bodily nourishment. Bread and wine are of this sort. Accordingly, this sacrament is given under the appearances of bread and wine.

3 But consider this: He who begets is joined to the begotten in one way, and nourishment is joined to the nourished in another way in bodily things. For the one who begets need not be conjoined to the begotten in substance, but in likeness and in power only. But nutriment must be conjoined to the one nourished in substance.

Wherefore, that the spiritual effects may answer the bodily signs, the mystery of the incarnate Word is joined to us in one way in baptism which is a spiritual rebirth, and in another way in this sacrament of the Eucharist which is a spiritual nourishment. In baptism the Word incarnate is contained in His power only, but we hold that in the sacrament of the Eucharist He is contained in His substance.

4 And since the fulfillment of our salvation took place through the passion and death of Christ, in which His blood was separated from His flesh, we are given the sacrament of His body separately under the appearance of bread, and of His blood under the appearance of wine, and so we have in this sacrament both memory and the representation of our Lord’s passion. And in this our Lord’s words are fulfilled: “My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:56).

Notes John, you will recall, also tells us of how Jesus initially lost a large number of followers after asking his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood.


  1. C-Marie

    Regarding: “Notes Did you see a martial metaphor coming?” Yes, for we, in the seventh grade, were told, that due to the Sacrament of Confirmation, we were now soldiers for Christ, although there was no immediate manifestation as at Pentecost and no expectation for the Holy Spirit to manifest as tongues of fire, nor for the praising of God in the gift of Tongues.

    We were water baptized already, a we were in the Civic Auditorium with all of the other Catholic Schools in the city…. sooo many people. We lined up and each took our turn for the Bishop to pray, the prayer I do not remember, and the Bishop did not select us, and then we said “Yes” and each received a light slap on the cheek, and that was it.

    The soldiering realization came for me later when called upon to witness to Jesus Christ, that His Lordship is to be personally received by one’s own self … as is done within the Charismatic Renewal in Catholicism, and the gift of praying in Tongues is taught and is received as one’s prayer language in the Spirit, and as led of by the Holy Spirit there are many gifts given by Him and received and used as led of by the Holy Spirit.
    And no, no tongues of fire appeared in the physical.

    In Acts, Peter goes to Cornelius’ house, at God’s command to this Gentile’s house, and Peter preaches all about Jesus and the Holy Spirit falls on Cornelius’ household, as is written:

    “44 While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. 45 And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. 47 Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they desired him to tarry with them some days.” Acts 10: 44-48.

    Jesus has always been real to me, but for a time, I did not live honoring Him. He has forgiven me. Spending time with God our Father and with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, has tremendously increased my knowing them, loving them and receiving their love through Father’s fathering, Jesus’ Saviourship, and Holy Spirit leading and guiding.

    “manliness”, no, but a witness to Jesus no matter what! … Yes!!

    To be commanded by Jesus to eat His Body and to drink His Blood, does sound way out there …. but, keep in mind that He is the Lamb of God without ever having the stain of sin in Him, Who was sacrificed and died for our sins, Who arose from the dead, and is now seated in Heaven, and He will come to judge the living and the dead. And so we who believe, obey Jesus’ command to eat His Body and to drink His Blood, for me, because He commanded such and I believe that Jesus Christ is Who He says that He is.

    ” 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelon 22: 13.

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