For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
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Ambrose of Milan
Thus every soul which receives the bread which comes down from heaven is a house of bread, the bread of Christ, being nourished and having its heart strengthened by the support of the heavenly bread which dwells within it. Hence Paul says: “We are all one bread.” Every faithful soul is Bethlehem, just as that is called Jerusalem which has the peace and tranquility of the Jerusalem on high which is in heaven. That is the true bread which, after it was broken into bits, has fed all humanity.
The one who is properly said to eat the body of Christ and to drink his blood is the one who is incorporated into the unity of his body. Heretics and schismatics can receive the sacrament but to no avail—in fact, to their harm—since the result is to increase their pain rather than to curtail the length of their punishment.
So by bread you are instructed as to how you ought to cherish unity. Was that bread made of one grain of wheat? Were there not, rather, many grains? However, before they became bread, these grains were separate. They were joined together in water after a certain amount of crushing. For unless the grain is ground and moistened with water, it cannot arrive at that form which is called bread. So, too, you were previously ground, as it were, by the humiliation of your fasting and by the sacrament of exorcism. Then came the baptism of water. You were moistened, as it were, so as to arrive at the form of bread. But without fire, bread does not yet exist.
For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. As one loaf is made out of many grains of wheat, so of many faithful is made one holy and living bread, the one mystical body of Christ, the Church. Not only generally and mystically, but properly and substantially, because all are really united to the body of Christ, and become one with it, in the Eucharist, just as food becomes one with him that eats it. Hence it may be rightly argued against Protestants that we all eat really the same body of Christ. They, however, say that in the Eucharist all Christians become one, because they eat the same sacramental bread, which is a type of the body of Christ. But who share in it one, merely because they sit at the same table and eat of the same bread? It would be a statement at once untrue and foolish. It Isaiah , however, true when applied t the body of Christ, because we all feed on what is numerically one, especially because this holy bread, as S. Au...
We being many, are one bread. Or, as it may be rendered, agreeably both to the Latin and Greek, because the bread is one, all we, being many, are one body, who partake of that one bread. For it is by our communicating with Christ and with one another, in this blessed Sacrament, that we are formed into one mystical body; and made, as it were, one bread, compounded of many grains of corn, closely united together. (Challoner)
From the sacrament of the real body of Christ in the eucharist, he passeth to the effect of this sacrament, which is to unite all those who partake of it, as members of the same mystical body of Christ, which is his Church: and from hence he presently draws this consequence, that such as are members of that body, of which Christ is the head, cannot have any communication with idolaters, or with those that offer sacrifices to idols and devils. (Witham)
The body of Christ is not many bodies but one body. For just as the bread, which consists of many grains, is made one to the point that the separate grains are no longer visible, even though they are still there, so we are joined to each other and to Christ. But if we are all nourished by the same source and become one with him, why do we not also show forth the same love and become one in this respect too? This was what it was like in ancient times, as we see in Acts [:]: “For the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul.”
For we, who are many, are one bread, one body. For why speak I of communion? says he, we are that self-same body. For what is the bread? The Body of Christ. And what do they become who partake of it? The Body of Christ: not many bodies, but one body. For as the bread consisting of many grains is made one, so that the grains no where appear; they exist indeed, but their difference is not seen by reason of their conjunction; so are we conjoined both with each other and with Christ: there not being one body for you, and another for your neighbor to be nourished by, but the very same for all. Wherefore also he adds,
For we all partake of the one bread. Now if we are all nourished of the same and all become the same, why do we not also show forth the same love, and become also in this respect one? For this was the old way too in the time of our forefathers: for the multitude of them that believed, says the text, were of one heart and soul. Acts 4:32 Not so, however, now, but altogether t...