Bread of Life

 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.


Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010



St. Thomas Aquinas maintained a doctrine of predestination, according to which “invincible ignorance”-- that ignorance in which some reside in which it is impossible for them to come to a belief in the Catholic Faith -- is an adequate means to contribute to the accomplishment of the purpose of the universe, which is the manifestation of the goodness of God.

How We shall Approach the Question.

To properly understand the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas regarding invincible ignorance, we have to place it within the context of his teaching regarding:

i) The finality of creation, that is, the purpose for which the universe exists, and the universal cosmological principles that this purpose entails;

ii) How that purpose is achieved, that is, the origin and execution of the universe which is in accordance with this purpose and these universal principles.

Only then can we properly understand the cosmological and teleological place of invincible ignorance from the Thomist perspective.

All quotes from the Summa Theologica will be taken from the Benziger Brothers edition of 1947, translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province and available on the internet at

The End of the Universe and Invincible Ignorance.

So let us begin by considering the finality of creation. We shall see: i) the purpose of the universe and the universal cosmological principles that purpose entails; ii) then how these principles apply to men; and iii) how this all inform us as to the place of invincible ignorance.

So, what is the purpose of the universe? God freely created the universe to manifest His goodness as far as possible, as we shall see in a moment.

And what cosmological principles does this entail? Firstly, since His goodness cannot be present simply in the creature, it is necessary that He produce a variety of creatures, each of which represents the divine goodness in some way; thereby what is lacking in the manifestation of His goodness in one creature, might be present in another:

“Hence we must say that the distinction and multitude of things come from the intention of the first agent, who is God. For He brought things into being in order that His goodness might be communicated to creatures, and be represented by them; and because His goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, He produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided and hence the whole universe together participates the divine goodness more perfectly, and represents it better than any single creature whatever.” (Summa Theologica 1, 47, 1)

So God is concerned primarily with the perfection of the universe as a whole, in which His goodness is represented better by a variety.

Further it is necessary for the perfection of the varied universe that there be an inequality in creatures, which is caused by God, so that the unequal creatures might variously manifest the goodness of God:

“Hence in natural things species seem to be arranged in degrees; as the mixed things are more perfect than the elements, and plants than minerals, and animals than plants, and men than other animals; and in each of these one species is more perfect than others. Therefore, as the divine wisdom is the cause of the distinction of things for the sake of the perfection of the universe, so it is the cause of inequality.

For the universe would not be perfect if only one grade of goodness were found in things. It is part of the best agent to produce an effect which is best in its entirety; but this does not mean that He makes every part of the whole the best absolutely, but in proportion to the whole; in the case of an animal, for instance, its goodness would be taken away if every part of it had the dignity of an eye. Thus, therefore, God also made the universe to be best as a whole, according to the mode of a creature; whereas He did not make each single creature best, but one better than another.” (1, 47, 2)

Moreover, in order that the perfection of the universe be achieved, that a variety of unequal things manifest complexly the simple goodness of God, it is also necessary that some things fail in their good, so that there be all grades of goodness, including those that fail in their good:

“The perfection of the universe requires that there should be inequality in things, so that every grade of goodness may be realized. Now, one grade of goodness is that of the good which cannot fail. Another grade of goodness is that of the good which can fail in goodness, and this grade is to be found in existence itself; for some things there are which cannot lose their existence as incorruptible things, while some there are which can lose it, as things corruptible.

As, therefore, the perfection of the universe requires that there should be not only beings incorruptible, but also corruptible beings; so the perfection of the universe requires that there should be some which can fail in goodness, and thence it follows that sometimes they do fail. Now it is in this that evil consists, namely, in the fact that a thing fails in goodness.” (1, 48, 2)

And it is necessary for the perfection of the universe that some things fail in their good, also so that some other goods may be, which would otherwise not be possible. Hence God allows certain creatures to fail in their good for the perfection of the whole:

“God and nature and any other agent make what is best in the whole, but not what is best in every single part, except in order to the whole, as was said above. And the whole itself, which is the universe of creatures, is all the better and more perfect if some things in it can fail in goodness, and do sometimes fail, God not preventing this. This happens, firstly, because "it belongs to Providence not to destroy, but to save nature," as Dionysius says; but it belongs to nature that what may fail should sometimes fail; secondly, because, as Augustine says, “God is so powerful that He can even make good out of evil.”

Hence many good things would be taken away if God permitted no evil to exist; for fire would not be generated if air was not corrupted, nor would the life of a lion be preserved unless the ass were killed. Neither would avenging justice nor the patience of a sufferer be praised if there were no injustice.”
(1, 48, 2)

So, we have seen the purpose of the universe, namely that it manifest the goodness of God as far as possible; and we have seen the universal cosmological principles that this purpose entails, namely that there be a variety of unequal creatures, some of which fail in their end. We shall now consider how this purpose and these principles apply to men.

Men, too, are part of the creation, and are therefore subject to the same purpose and the same universal cosmological principles as the rest of the universe. Men exist to manifest the goodness of God. And so it is that men must variously exist as a part of the universe, with inequalities of grade of being, that the goodness of God might be variously and adequately manifested in and through them. Likewise, it is necessary that some men fail in their good, that the perfection of the varied universe may be achieved. These are the reasons for the predestination and reprobation of men.

God both predestines and reprobates men for the purpose of the completion of the universe, which is the manifestation of His goodness. That goodness is variously manifested in men as the presence of the good of His mercy and the good of His avenging justice.
His goodness would not be manifested as far as it could be, if there were only the good of His mercy present in the fate of men; His goodness is manifested better in the variety afforded by the presence also of the good of His avenging justice. His goodness would not be manifested as far as it could be, if there were only the good of His mercy present in the fate of men; His goodness is manifested better in the variety afforded by the presence also of the good of His avenging justice.

Thus it is required for the perfection of the universe, that it might manifest His goodness in the full variety which it contains, that some men obtain their end in salvation. And it is likewise required that others fail to attain to their end, and are rather damned; for otherwise the good of His avenging justice could not be realised, if some men did not die in their sins. This is the cosmological purpose of the salvation of the elect and of the damnation of the reprobate.



daveg4g said...

Augustine on the Original Grace of Adam and that Given through Christ

Like other Augustinian theologians, the Jansenists made the distinction between the grace given to Adam at his creation and that given to the elect through Christ after the fall.

Adam in his original state received the possibility of persevering in justice but he did not thereby receive perseverance.

The elect receive not only the capacity but the will to do good and are thus given perseverance even unto salvation.

Using the language of Augustine, Augustinian theologians term the grace of the Creator the gratia sine qua non, the grace without which Adam could not have done any good thing or persevered; this grace would not suffice for fallen man due to the influence of the concupiscence that remains even after justification, the earthly desire that draws him into sin.

The grace of Christ is termed gratia qua, the stronger grace which does not merely give the capacity to do good, but by which the will is given; the influence of concupiscence is thus overcome by an efficacious love of God.

Augustine in his book Rebuke and Grace
discussed explicitly and at length the difference between these two graces; Jansenists and other Augustinians make particular reference to that text in this regard.

The full text may be examined elsewhere on the internet; we have provided below the portion in which the distinction is discussed.

Anonymous said...


St. Augustine

In the beginning the writer sets forth what is the Catholic faith concerning law, concerning free will, and concerning grace.

He teaches that the grace of God by Jesus Christ is that by which alone men are delivered from evil, and without which they do absolutely no good; and this not only by the fact that it points out what is to be done, but that it also supplies the means of doing it with love, since God bestows on men the inspiration of a good will and deed.

He teaches that the rebuke of evil men who have not received this grace is neither unjust—since they are evil by their own will—nor useless, although it must be confessed that it is only by God's agency that it can avail.

That perseverance in good is truly a great gift of God, but that still the rebuke of one who has not persevered must not on that account be neglected; and that if a man who has not received this gift should relapse of his own will into sin, he is not only deserving of rebuke, but if he should continue in evil until his death, he is moreover worthy of eternal damnation.

a93greenway said...


A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.

The crowds were amazed and said,
"Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." But the Pharisees said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons."

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then he said to his disciples,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." (Matthew 9:32-38)