The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
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Augustine of Hippo
That chalice, or rather, what the chalice holds, consecrated by the word of God, is the blood of Christ. Through those elements the Lord wished to entrust to us his body and the blood which he poured out for the remission of sins. If you have received worthily, you are what you have received.
The cup of blessing which we bless. (1.) That is the wine in the chalice which is blessed by the priest, and hence the chalice itself, containing this consecrated wine, does it not communicate to us the blood of Christ? (2.) It may be called the cup of blessing, because it blesses us and loads us with grace, as Anselm and Chrysostom say. (3.) More accurately, it is called "the cup of blessing," because Christ blessed it before consecration, i.e, called down the power of God to afterwards effect a change both in the bread and in the cup (S. Matt. xxvi26).
1. We see from the accounts of the Last Supper in S. Matthew 26:20-32., S. Luke 22:14-22, and here and in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 that Christ, before consecration of the Eucharist, gave thanks to God thee Father, and, as He was wont, lifted up his eyes to heaven, as is enjoined in the Roman Canon of the Mass and in the Liturgy of S. James. Hence this sacrament is called the Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, because it is the greatest act ...
The chalice of benediction Which the priests bless or consecrate, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, (so called because of the outward appearance of bread) is it not the partaking or communion of the body of the Lord? See St. Chrysostom here, hom. xxiv. p. 396. and p. 400. See also the Annotations, Matthew xxvi. 26. (Witham)
Here the apostle puts them in mind of the partaking of the body and blood of Christ in the sacred mysteries, and becoming thereby one mystical body with Christ. From whence he infers, (ver. 21.) that they who are made partakers with Christ, by the eucharistic sacrifice, and sacrament, must not be made partakers with devils, by eating of the meats sacrificed to them. (Challoner)
And adds, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? ".
But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body.
Paul called it a cup of blessing, because as we hold it in our hands we exalt him in our hymns, wondering and marveling at his unspeakable gift, blessing him for having poured out this draft so that we might not abide in error, and not only for having poured it out but also for having imparted it to us all. This is what lovers do. When they see those whom they love desiring what belongs to strangers and despising their own, they give what belongs to themselves and so persuade them to turn away from the gifts of those others.
What do you say, O blessed Paul? When you would appeal to the hearer's reverence, when you are making mention of awful mysteries, do you give the title of cup of blessing to that fearful and most tremendous cup? Yea, says he; and no mean title is that which was spoken. For when I call it 'blessing,' I mean thanksgiving, and when I call it thanksgiving I unfold all the treasure of God's goodness, and call to mind those mighty gifts. Since we too, recounting over the cup the unspeakable mercies of God and all that we have been made partakers of, so draw near to Him, and communicate; giving Him thanks that He has delivered from error the whole race of mankind ; that being afar off, He made them near; that when they had no hope and were without God in the world, He constituted them His own brethren and fellow-heirs. For these and all such things, giving thanks, thus we approach. How then are not your doings inconsistent, says he, O you Corinthians; blessing God for delivering you from idol...