John 6:56

Ignatius Matthews
Catholic Maryland Unknown
GTM.000002, American Catholic Sermon Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Georgetown University


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Caro enim mea vere est cibus; et Sanguis meus vere est potus.


My flesh is meet indeed, and my blood is drink indeed (John 6:56) .


To make a discourse [dear Christians] suitable to the subject of my Text so that none be ignorant of what is their duty towards the holy sacrament of the altar whom they behold & believe by the unerring Eye of faith to be in the the body & blood of Jesus Christ, is a work, tho’ the most to be desired in this world yet the most difficult, by reason of the great the extreme dignity of the Mystery above all others, about which tho I had the Tongue of an Angel I yet never should be able to speak with so much reverence as the subject deserves, or lay before your Eyes sufficiently that reverent, that, humble, that chaste & holy disposition which is required in every one who not only prepare them selves to approach to this tremendous table [*14] but also who presume to come the house or Chapel of


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god which is Sanctified with the corporal presence of god himself. a few short reflections however I will propose to you today Reminding you at the same time that after I have said all that divine & human Rhetoric teaches yet it will be but little in Respect of the great majesty & dignity of this Mystery, and I shall be after all obliged to remind cry out to you, tis god himself, tis the holy of holies whom you adore, that so I may by this thought alone, which is sufficient of itself, make you inculcate to you a due devotion to this adorable mystery. But great god & Merciful Savior whom we infallibly believe & know to be corporally present in this sacred Mystery teach us Yourself to believe firmly, to adore humbly, to love sincerely and to spare no pains to prepare ourselves most worthily when we come in Your divine presence, that we may not deserve that dreadful that never too much to be feared condemnation of the unworthy receiver (1 Corinthians 11:27) qui manducat etc. (John 6:55) grant I say dear lord thro the intercession of your ever most blessed &


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chaste Mother, whom we entreat to pray for us that we may understand what we are to practice & practice it when we come to this dreadful yet this life giving Mystery. Ave Maria.


The whole frame & beautiful architecture of this world & all that in it, the whole work, drift, method, & finishing stroke of our Redemption. The descending down of God the Son the second person of the most blessed Trinity, his clothing himself with human flesh. his poor, and to the world, mean & abject birth in a poor open and forlorn stable bereft of all comfort & in want of every thing, his flight into Egypt for fear of Herod, his being found in the Temple at the age of 12 Years. his silent & hidden life from that time till the age of 30 during which time holy Scripture Recounts nothing of him only erat subditus illis, he was subject to them (Luke 2:51) , that is to his parents. after that his life of preaching & miracles in fine his cruel passion sufferings & dying on the cross between two thieves like a public malefactor


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his glorious Resurrection & ascension after remaining forty days on earth to establish that faith which his followers profess and for which he suffered so much and founded built his holy his sacred church on a rock built on the infallible promise of his ho own unerring word when he said the gates of hell should not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18) , all these ineffable mysteries, I say, if we’ll consider challenge our praise esteem admiration & thanks for to that divine wisdom & & bounteous unerring hand of god has done & performed them for us & has left nothing undone that could redeem lost Man from perdition or keep him from the like [longer] for the future. 1 But that which above all surpasses our comprehension, yet no less true then all the others, is the adorable the most sacred & precious gift of his own most sacred Body & blood which to complete to consummate & enforce still more strong to us the character of god & Savior to us he has left to his church in the tremendous Mystery of the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, which he himself


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instituted at his last supper, by those strong true & never to be altered or changed words. ‘This is my body this is my blood (Matthew 26:26-28) . and again. My flesh is etc. (John 6:56) verily verily I say unto you except you eat etc. (John 6:53) I could here [dear Christians] prove to you by elaborate discourse and Argument from many other passages of old & new testament, from Antique writing of the old fathers and from the doctrine of all Ages down from our savior's time to this very day, the truth of the real presence in the blessed Sacrament, but I know I am discoursing to a catholics who almighty God has taught to believe firmly this great truth who know how to submit their Judgments & understanding to that infallible that [*] unerring rule of faith which their holy mother, the Church teaches & which Jesus Christ taught & established on earth & which she has received from him and his successors. Tis this faith this submission of our Judgments, which we all from the lowest to the highest, from the priest to the prophet profess & which makes the true character of


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a believer and constitutes the true Member of Christ's individual church on earth. faith would not be faith if reason & our senses were to be consulted on every occasion, & we should be subject every moment to innumerable errors & mistakes, as we find we are in all those occasion where faith does not [interfere]. almighty God’s power wisdom & veracity is concerned & his unerring word given, and that is sufficient. God's holy infallible word is to be credited and he does not depend on man to limit his power as to time, place, Manner, form, sight, taste extension Magnitude or any other sensible quality, [**] he created the word & all that is in it out of nothing. He became Man we believe it, he turned the Rivers of Egypt into blood as the holy scripture tells us (Exodus 7:20) . & we believe it. he changed Moses' rod into a serpent (Exodus 7:10) & the dust of the earth into Lice (Exodus 8:16) . in fine he changed lot's wife into a pillar of Salt (Genesis 19:26) , all which we believe because the holy scriptures tells us it was so


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who therefore, dare question his power or will to change what before was but bread & Wine into his most precious body & blood, since him that is all powerful & cannot deceive has said it. this is etc. (Matthew 26:26-28) Caro vero etc. (John 6:56) & my words are verity and truth itself. Yes my god You have said it and I believe your holy church teaches it & I am determined till my last moment to hear her. I [hardly] go to convince you but to excite, when you come into church & approach etc. & 2 But alas Christians will [leave] faith alone do in this great this dignified this adorable mystery in which god himself alone is present. No Christians You will still be under the sentence of perishing eternally unless, believing as You do, You take care to correspond to the dignity of this Mystery leading lives worthy of the holy faith You profess and 3 unless you are careful in rendering due homage and adoration to Your god & Savior at all times but particularly when You make your visits to the house of god & the place of his abode. did Christians but only reflect on this and that it was is god himself who remains for them, I am sure they


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would return a larger share of love & gratitude, & be more cautious in recollecting themselves with due reverence & devotion when they come to and enter into the place where god Majesty & power dwells, Yes did they but endeavor to stir themselves up by this thought alone as they enter or come to the house of god, to wit, tis god himself, tis Jesus Christ that dwells there, it would certainly [operate] a different effect in all Christians then what is too often the case. reverence & devotion would then flourish. a frequent use of this great & powerful preventative against Sin & relapses would then be in more in vogue. the subject of my second point.


2 point


When the Lord god of hosts (as we read in The 19 chapter Exodus lib. 2) proposed to speak to the people of Israel, he first spoke to their Leader and high priest Moses and ordered him to denounce to them a day and that they should prepare them selves for 3 days abstaining from all uncleanness & their wives & that they should wash their clothes (Exodus 19:14-15)


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and Moses should purify them that they might keep themselves pure & holy & in readiness to hear & receive the word of god, and that no one of them should come up to the mount or touch the holy Mount but that there should be bounds set to them, which if they transgressed, or any of these rules in that moment they should die (Exodus 19:12) . give me leave [dear Christians] to apply this holy passage of scripture to this most sacred & holy Mystery of which we are treating. Let compare the Mount of Sinai to the sacred altar, and set which demands the greatest respect, lets compare the Voice of god out of the Mount to the soul & corporal presence & divinity of that god who then spoke, and then see which requires the most reverence which the most preparation to come to, and then make an estimate of what we ought to do; the Jews were only to stand at a proper distance from the Mount & hear the word of god, and they were ordered a preparation of three days; Catholic not only hear the voice


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of God but also are admitted to come up to the holy mountain & into the house and sanctuary of god and to receive him corporally into their body & hearts, he making himself the their food of their body & souls; And Yet, dare I say it, Yes my god I fear I dare, they do not make one half nay one 6th part of the preparation to receive him whom the Jews only heard. Yes is not it too true that many who call themselves Catholics, come, enter into the house of god more out of custom than devotion, and like dogs to the stake, excuse the word I am obliged to make use of. that only when they are obliged under a strict precept to do so, & this just before service begins & never make any visit before prayers to their god & savior to adore & acknowledge him in whom & by whom alone they must save their souls, as if god was to be served by compulsion or would give them a reward for that which they would not offer if they were not obliged. Christians Audience do you


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do you [really] reflect upon your duty in this point & the faith You profess, is not there a greater devotion due to a god made man who for love of you & for Your sake alone is obedient of the words of his Ministers & remains from day to day upon our altar to expect You to give You all You ask. Tis not a threat of immediate death in case of transgression but of everlasting perdition he that despises denies me before man I will deny him before my father (Matthew 10:33) . he that eats & drinks the body etc. (1 Corinthians 11:27) But for fear I should frighten the timorous & weak Christian, let me propose to you Christians before You I conclude a frequent use of this holy Sacrament & preservative against sin. for this is the true the only intent of Christ leaving us his body are not we all sinners? don't we all even the most pious & fervent fall into many sins and imperfections. does not almighty God why then does not those who acknowledge the great


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benefit of frequent communion deprive themselves of this great & comfortable Treasure of god's house church. Come to me, says our Savior, all you that labor and are heavy burdened & I will Refresh You (Matthew 11:28) for my flesh is meat indeed & my blood drink (John 6:55) . We’re all members of god’s holy church. But alas can those Christians who be [really] in the true sense of the word be called true Members who refuse to make use of the conditions [** gutter] to make them true Members or at least never to it but when forced to do it for fear of cut off as Rotten Members or rotten branches which serve only to burden the tree. May they not with reason fear that dreadful saying of christ when they come to knock at the door. depart from me I know you not (Matthew 7:23) . or this other cut down that barren & fruitless tree when does it oc occupy the ground (Luke 13:7) . before I I c conclude therefore christians, suffer me to propose to you all, to


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You, I say, whose souls I have charge of and must answer for this charge at that dread tribunal where no excuse will be admitted suffer me, I say, to propose to you a more frequent use of this holy sacrament. throw off all [human] respects whatsoever and let the world see you design to love your souls & value your soul's devotion before all things else. a frequent use of this sacrament is necessary for the ferverous Christian to keep him in the state of fervor without which he will by little & little come to fall. if a frequent use of confession & communion is useful for good & pious people how much more for tepid & even [wicked] [men's] sin tis only by the sacraments & repentance that they may reform their lives & [* illeg.] their souls, libertines [**] abandon’d sinners and all you who make a practice of neglecting the sacraments what do you say to this, [**] are you a mind to lose your souls. a frequent use of this sacrament is necessary for the weak & tepid Christian that so that fire may be kindled in him which Christ [came] to bestow. a frequent communion in fine is necessary for the great and & relapsing sinner that so he may gather new strength from this great preservative agains any such fall which tis he won't long avoid if he neglect this powerful Means. In a word


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recommend a more frequent use than that of the [bare] times of Indulgence. Those who the Catholic church calls her special children and members never miss once a month at least and particular feast of the most blessed [Virgin Mother] of god. And in a word who can be call pious or ferverous who stay away longer, since thousand there are who go much oftener [**] from the experience they have found of its benefit to the sanctification of their souls & filling them with that holy that chaste Joy & peace of mind in all afflictions of this life which is no where else found. for the truth of this I need only appeal to yourselves. Nay I’ll appeal to that libertine, to [*] the sinner, [**] to the tepid and weak [*] or afflicted person. have not you Yourselves found that after You have been to your devotions, that you have found a sweetness & heavenly comfort in Your soul


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never to be found but at this time, and which could come from none but god, and which has strengthened and fortified Your Soul so strongly against Sin & all that is not god that you verily proposed rather to die & suffer all the torments in the world than offend god [*] [**] or neglect Your duty again. did not you then look down upon the word with contempt & all that you before esteemed have You not more over found the contrary of all these pious inspiration the moment you relented & fell back into sin from your duty? call then to the test Your courage and practice that again which is so beneficial to your soul & which god & your Conscience tells You will make you both happy here and hereafter. etc.


Amen


but remember remember the efficacy of the Sacrament is to give you grace to keep from sin for the future & if you soon fall again & perhaps the same day You ought to doubt to suspect your preparation & fear those threats of god & return soon with a better preparation & use caution for the future


Footnotes