The Rule, Article 4

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Admonitions I – THE BODY OF CHRIST

St. Francis of Assisi

The Lord says to his disciples: I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except though me. If you knew me, you would also know my Father, and from now on, you do know him and have seen him. Philip says to him: Lord, show us the Father and it will be enough for us. Jesus says to him: Have I been with you for so long a time and you have not known me? Philip, whoever sees me sees my Father as well. (Jn 14:6-9)

The Father dwells in inaccessible light, and God is spirit and no one has ever seen God. (1Tim 6:16; Jn 4:24; Jn 1:18) Therefore, He cannot be seen except in the Spirit because it is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh has nothing to offer. (Jn 6:63)  But because He is equal to the Father, the Son is not seen by anyone other than the Father or than the Holy Spirit.

All those who saw the Lord Jesus according to the humanity, therefore, and did not see and believe according to the Spirit and the Divinity that He is the true Son of God were condemned. Now in the same way, all those who see the sacrament sanctified by the words of the Lord upon the altar at the hands of the priest in the form of bread and wine, and who do not see and believe according to the Spirit and the Divinity that it is truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are condemned. This is affirmed by the Most High Himself Who says: This is my Body and the Blood of my new covenant which will be shed for many; and Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. (Mk 14: 22,24; Jn 6:55)  It is the Spirit of the Lord, therefore, That lives in Its faithful, That receives the Body and Blood of the Lord. All others who do no share in this same Spirit and presume to receive Him eat and drink judgment on themselves. (1 Cor 11:29)

Therefore: children, how long will you be hard of heart? (Ps 4:3) Why do you not know the truth and believe in the Son of God? (Jn 9:35)  Behold, each day He humbles Himself as when He came from the royal throne (Phil 2:8; Wis 18:15)  into the Virgin’s womb; each day He Himself comes to us, appearing humbly; each day He comes down from the bosom of the Father upon the altar in the hands of a priest.

As He revealed Himself to the holy apostles in true flesh, so He reveals Himself to us now in sacred bread. And as they saw only His flesh by an insight of their flesh, yet believed that He was God as they contemplated Him with their spiritual eyes, let us, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, see and firmly believe that they are His most holy Body and Blood living and true. And in this way the Lord is always with His faithful, as He Himself says: Behold I am with you until the end of the age. (Mt 28:20)

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

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