WARNING: You may turn Catholic if you read this!!

The early Church Fathers were so clear about the Eucharist, Transubstantiation, and the Real Presence -- how could any Christian reading Justin Matyr or St. Ignatius of Antioch NOT become Catholic?? John Calvin loved the Church Fathers, so how can modern-day Calvinists believe that the Eucharist is only symbolically the body and blood of Christ?

I have been hearing a lot of conversion stories recently of people becoming Catholic after reading the Church Fathers. Some of these were former-Calvinists who had thought they had read the Church Fathers in seminary or elsewhere. However, they had only been provided misleading excerpts. The following quotes probably didn't make it into the "Protestant Anthology of the Church Fathers [Abridged Version]":

Saint Justin Martyr: Obvious, Early Understanding of Transubstantiation

From Saint Justin Martyr's First Apology addressed to Emperor Antoninus Pius, ca. 150AD, from Chapter 66, "Of the Eucharist":
And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by TRANSMUTATION are nourished, IS THE FLESH AND BLOOD OF THAT JESUS WHO WAS MADE FLESH.
... "Well, clearly St. Justin Martyr meant the Eucharist was only symbolically the flesh of Christ," said nobody ever.

One common complaint you'll hear with regard to the doctrine of transubstantiation is that the word "transubstantiation" is not found in Scripture. This is a silly argument, easily dismissed, as neither "Trinity" nor even the word "Bible" is found in the Bible. 

However, sometimes you'll hear a more sophisticated argument, that the doctrine of transubstantiation was a recent invention of the Church, or that transubstantion wasn't doctrine until the Council of Trent. The above 2nd century quote from Justin Martyr knocks this "recent doctrine" argument OUT OF THE PARK!  

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Obvious Belief in the Real Presence

If John 6 isn't clear enough, here's a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of St. John the Apostle, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 6-7 (ca. 110 AD), written on his way to martyrdom:
But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God.
  • They have no regard for love; 
  • No care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty. 
  • They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because THEY CONFESS NOT THE EUCHARIST TO BE THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.
Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public.
Just like Justin Martyr's quote, above, St. Ignatius is demonstrating an obvious belief in the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  What more is there to say? These amazing men and saints say it all. 

Here, St. Ignatius of Antioch demonstrates not only a belief in the Real Presence but he also instructs the faithful on what to do with people that "confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh" of the resurrected Jesus Christ. St. Ignatius says "keep aloof" from such non-believers! Don't even "speak of them"! How's that for ecumenical dialogue?

 Thanks for reading! St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Justin Martyr, Pray For Us!

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