IV Sententiae, d. 8, q. 1
Concerning the Eucharist

ARTICLE 2: On the prefiguration of this sacrament.
Utrum huic sacramento figurae assignari debeantSUBQUESTION 1: Whether figures ought to be assigned to this sacrament.
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod huic sacramento figurae assignari non debeant.Proceeding to the second, it seems that figures ought not to be assigned to this sacrament.
Nihil enim disponitur per aliquid sui generis; albedinis enim non est albedo, nec motus est motus. Sed sacramentum est signum. Ergo sacramento non debet aptari aliqua figura, quia in infinitum iretur.1. For nothing is disposed through something of its own genus, for white is not the subject of whiteness, nor motion of motion. But a sacrament is a sign. Therefore a figure ought not to be adapted to a sacrament, since this would go on to infinity.
Praeterea, sacramenta veteris legis dicuntur sacramentis novae legis respondere, in quantum signant ipsa. Sacramentis autem novae legis quae sunt maximae perfectionis non respondebant aliqua sacramenta in veteri lege, ut quidam dicunt. Cum ergo hoc sacramentum sit maximae perfectionis, videtur quod non debeant ei aliquae figurae assignari.2. Further, the sacraments of the old law are said to correspond to the sacraments of the new law, insofar as the former signify the latter. But to the sacraments of the new law that are greatest in perfection no sacraments of the old law correspond, as certain ones say. Since, therefore this sacrament is greatest in perfection, it seems that various figures ought not to be assigned to it.
Praeterea, sicut praefigurata Eucharistia est in agno paschali, ita et Baptismus in transitu maris rubri, ut dicitur 1 Corinth., 10. Cum ergo Magister non assignaverit aliquas figuras Baptismi, videtur quod nec Eucharistiae figuras assignare debeat.3. Further, as the Eucharist is prefigured in the passover lamb, so is baptism prefigured in the crossing of the Red Sea, as is said in 1 Corinthians 10. Since therefore the Master did not assign any figures to baptism, it seems that neither should he have assigned figures to the Eucharist.
Sed contra,On the contrary:
hoc sacramentum memoriale passionis Christi est specialiter. Sed passionem Christi praecipue oportebat praefigurari, per quam nos redemit, ut fides antiquorum ad redemptorem ferretur. Ergo praecipue oportebat hoc sacramentum figurari.1. This sacrament is, in a special way, a memorial of the passion of Christ. But it was necessary to prefigure especially the passion of Christ, through which he redeemed us, in order that the faith of the ancients might be borne toward the Redeemer. Therefore it was especially necessary that this sacrament be prefigured.
Praeterea, hoc sacramentum est dignissimum, et difficillimum ad credendum. Sed talia maxime consueverunt praefigurari. Ergo et cetera.2. Further, this sacrament is the worthiest, and the most difficult to believe in. But things of such a kind are most of all accustomed to be prefigured. Therefore, etc.
RespondeoResponse:
dicendum ad primam quaestionem, quod sacramenta novae legis tripliciter se habent ad veterem legem. Quaedam enim essentialiter fuerunt in veteri lege, quamvis non ut sunt sacramenta novae legis, sed magis secundum quod sunt in officium vel actum virtutis; sicut poenitentia, ordo, et matrimonium. Quaedam fuerunt secundum aliquid eis respondens non essentialiter, sicut Baptismus et Eucharistia. Quaedam autem nihil respondens habuerunt in veteri lege, sicut confirmatio et extrema unctio. Cujus ratio est, quia prima tria sacramenta non solum sunt sacramenta; sed poenitentia est actus virtutis; ordo autem pertinet ad officium dispensationis sacramentorum; matrimonium autem ad officium naturae; et ideo in qualibet lege requiruntur. Baptismus autem et Eucharistia sunt sacramenta tantum gratiam continentia; et ideo ante tempus gratiae esse non debuerunt. Sed quia sunt sacramenta necessitatis, Baptismus quidem quantum ad effectum, Eucharistia autem quantum ad fidem ejus quod repraesentatur per ipsam; ideo oportuit quod in lege Moysi haberent aliquid respondens: sed confirmatio et extrema unctio sunt sacramenta gratiam conferentia; et ideo in veteri lege esse non debuerunt. Et quia non sunt sacramenta necessitatis, sed cujusdam superabundantis perfectionis; ideo non oportebat quod haberent aliquid respondens, cum non esset tempus plenitudinis gratiae; et ideo haec duo non fuerunt praefiguranda aliquibus expressis figuris, similiter neque prima tria, sed tantum duo media, scilicet Eucharistia et Baptismus.It should be said that the sacraments of the new law stand in a threefold relationship to the old law. For some were essentially in the old law, although not as they are sacraments of the new law, but rather as they were for an office or were the act of virtue, such as penance, order, and marriage. There were some that corresponded, not essentially but according to some aspect, such as baptism and the Eucharist. Finally there were some that had nothing corresponding to them in the old law, such as confirmation and extreme unction. The reason for this is that the first three sacraments are not only sacraments, but penance is an act of virtue, while order pertains to the office of the dispensing of sacraments and marriage to the office of nature; and hence they are required in any law whatsoever. But baptism and the Eucharist are sacraments alone, containing grace;1 and thus before the time of grace they ought not to have existed. But since they are sacraments of necessity - baptism in regard to its effect, and the Eucharist in regard to the faith of that which is represented by it - it was thus necessary that in the law of Moses they should have something corresponding to them. Finally, confirmation and extreme unction are sacraments [alone], conferring grace,2 and thus they ought not to have existed in the old law. And since they are not sacraments of necessity, but of a superabundant perfection, it was therefore unnecessary that they have something corresponding to them, since it was not yet the time of the fullness of grace; and therefore these two were not prefigured by any express figures; nor, similarly, were the first three; but only the middle two, namely the Eucharist and baptism.
Replies to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod oppositae relationes possunt inesse eisdem respectu diversorum, eo quod esse relativi est ad aliquid se habere, non autem proprietates absolutae; et ideo in relativis contingit aliquid disponi per aliquid sui generis per accidens, et non per se; sicut filii est filius, non inquantum filius, sed inquantum pater; et similiter signi potest esse signatum. In absolutis autem non contingit hoc; unde qualitatis non est qualitas nec per se nec per accidens.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that opposite relations can exist in the same things with respect to different things, because relative being is to stand toward something, but absolute characteristics cannot; and so in relations it happens that something is disposed through something of its own genus per accidens, as there is a son of a son, not insofar as he is a son, but insofar as he is a father; and similarly, there can be a sign of a sign. But in absolute [characteristics] this cannot happen; hence there can be a quality of a quality neither per se nor per accidens.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod una perfectio dicitur alia minor dupliciter: aut simpliciter, aut secundum statum; sicut praemium essentiale quod aurea dicitur, est simpliciter majus quam praemium accidentale, quod dicitur aureola; sed aureola est major quantum ad statum habentis, quia non cuilibet datur, sed tantummodo illis qui sunt in statu perfectionis. Et similiter dico, quod perfectio Eucharistiae est simpliciter major quam perfectio confirmationis et extremae unctionis, sed illae sunt majores secundum statum: quia perfectio Eucharistiae, quae est per conjunctionem ad principium sanctitatis est omnibus de necessitate salutis; sed perfectio spiritus sancti ad robur quae est in confirmatione, vel perfectio purgationis a reliquiis peccati, quae est in extrema unctione, non sunt omnibus necessaria; et ideo perfectioni Eucharistiae debet aliquid respondere in qualibet lege, non autem perfectioni confirmationis et extremae unctionis nisi in lege in qua est status perfectionis, quae est lex gratiae.2. To the second, it should be said that one perfection is called lesser than another in two ways: either simply speaking, or according to state; as the essential reward, which is called "gold crown," is simply speaking greater than the accidental reward, which is called the "aureole";3 but the aureole is greater with respect to the state of the haver, because it is not given to just anyone, but only to those who are in the state of perfection. And similarly I say that the perfection of Eucharist is simply speaking greater than the perfection of confirmation and of extreme unction, but that of those is greater according to status. For the perfection of the Eucharist, which is by way of union with the very source of holiness, is a matter of necessity for everyone's salvation, while the perfection of the Holy Spirit for strengthening, which is given in confirmation, or the perfection of cleansing from the remnants of sin, which is given in extreme unction, are not necessary for everyone; and so in the old law something ought to correspond to the perfection of the Eucharist, but not to the perfection of confirmation or of extreme unction; these are reserved for the law in which the state of perfection is found, namely, the law of grace.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod praefiguratio Eucharistiae erat magis necessaria quam Baptismi, tum ratione dignitatis, tum ratione difficultatis, tum propter necessitatem fidei ejus quod figuratur in Eucharistia. Tamen Magister supra aliquas figuras Baptismi posuit, scilicet circumcisionem et Baptismum Joannis.3. To the third, it should be said that the prefiguration of the Eucharist was more necessary than that of baptism, by reason of its dignity, by reason of its difficulty [for faith], and on account of the necessity of faith in that [mystery] which is figured in the Eucharist. Nevertheless, above the Master did set down some figures of baptism, namely circumcision and the baptism of John.
SUBQUESTION 2: Whether the Master assigns the figures of this sacrament fittingly.
Ulterius. Videtur quod Magister inconvenienter assignet figuras hujus sacramenti.Moreover, it seems that the Master assigns the figures of this sacrament unfittingly.
Hoc enim sacramentum post Baptismum datur. Sed agnus paschalis praecessit transitum maris rubri, in quo Baptismus est praefiguratus. Ergo non est congrua figura hujus sacramenti.1. For this sacrament is given after baptism. But the paschal lamb preceded the crossing of the Red Sea, which crossing prefigures baptism. Therefore it [the lamb] is not a congruous figure of this sacrament [of the Eucharist].
Praeterea, in hoc sacramento aliquid offertur Deo. Sed Melchisedech non legitur Deo obtulisse, sed homini, scilicet Abrahae, cui obtulit panem et vinum, ut dicitur Gen. 14. Ergo illa oblatio non est conveniens figura hujus sacramenti.2. Further, in this sacrament something is offered to God. But we do not read [in Scripture] that Melchisadech offered something to God, but rather to man, namely to Abraham, to whom he offered bread and wine, as is said in Genesis 14. Therefore that oblation is not a fitting figure of this sacrament.
Praeterea, idem non est signum sui ipsius. Sed sanguis qui consecratur in altari, est illemet quem Christus in cruce fudit pro nobis. Ergo ille non est signum vel figura istius.3. Further, the same thing is not a sign of itself. But the Blood that is consecrated upon the altar is the very same as that which Christ shed upon the cross for us. Therefore the latter is not a sign or figure of the former.
Praeterea, manna habebat in se omnem saporis suavitatem, ut dicitur Sap. 16. Sed hoc sacramentum non habet in se omnem saporem spiritualem: quia sic haberet effectus omnium sacramentorum, et alia sacramenta superfluerent. Ergo manna non est figura hujus sacramenti.4. Further, manna "was having in it every sweetness of taste," as is said in Wisdom 16. But this sacrament does not have in it every spiritual taste; for thus it would have the effect of every sacrament, and the other sacraments would be superfluous. Therefore manna is not a figure of this sacrament.
Praeterea, nobilioris rei nobilior debet esse figura. Sed Eucharistia est nobilius sacramentum quam Baptismus. Cum ergo Baptismus habuerit figuram quae praebebat remedium ex ipso opere operato contra originale, scilicet circumcisionem; supradictae autem figurae non fuerunt tales; videtur quod fuerunt incompetentes.5. Further, the nobler a thing, the nobler its figure ought to be. But the Eucharist is a nobler sacrament than baptism. Since therefore baptism had a figure that provided a remedy against original sin by the very fact of its being accomplished [ex opere operato], namely circumcision, yet the aforesaid figures [of the Eucharist] were not such [in power], it seems that they were inadequate [as figures].
Praeterea, in canone Missae fit mentio de sacrificio Abrahae et Abel; et similiter omnia sacrificia legalia hujus veri sacrificii figura fuerunt. Ergo insufficienter posuit Magister figuras hujus sacramenti.6. Further, in the Canon of the Mass mention is made of the sacrifice of Abraham and Abel; and in like manner all the legal sacrifices were figures of this true sacrifice. Therefore [having omitted such,] the Master set down the figures of this sacrament unfittingly.
Response:
Ad secundam quaestionem dicendum, quod aliquid potest figurari dupliciter. Uno modo per id quod est signum et causa: et hoc modo effusio sanguinis et aquae ex latere Christi fuit figura hujus sacramenti. Alio modo per id quod est signum tantum; et sic quantum ad id quod est sacramentum tantum in Eucharistia, fuit figura ejus oblatio Melchisedech; quantum autem ad id quod est res et sacramentum, scilicet ipsum Christum passum, fuit figura agnus paschalis; quantum autem ad id quod est res tantum, scilicet gratiam, fuit signum manna, quod reficiebat, omnem saporem suavitatis habens.It should be said that something can be represented by a figure in two ways. In one way, through that which is [both] sign and cause; and in this way the outpouring of blood and water from the side of Christ was a figure of this sacrament. In another way, through that which is sign alone; and in that way, as far as that which is sacrament only [sacramentum tantum] in the Eucharist, the oblation of Melchisadech was its figure; as far as that which is both sacrament and reality, namely the very Christ who suffered [for us], the paschal lamb was the figure; and as far as that which is reality alone [res tantum], namely grace, the manna that refreshed, having every sweetness of taste, was the figure.
Replies to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod ratio illa valeret, si Baptismi et Eucharistiae tantum esset una figura: sunt autem plures; et ideo non est inconveniens quod aliquam figuram Baptismi praecedat aliqua figura Eucharistiae, et ab aliqua praecedatur; sicut praecedit agnus paschalis transitum maris rubri, et sequitur circumcisionem.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that that argument would prevail if there were but a single figure of baptism and the Eucharist. There are, however, many; and so it it is not unfitting that some figure of baptism should precede some figure of the Eucharist, and be preceded by some [other]; even as the paschal lamb precedes the crossing of the Red Sea, but follows circumcision.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod Eucharistia offertur Deo in sanctificatione hostiae, et offertur populo in ipsius sumptione; et hoc significatum fuit in oblatione Melchisedech, qui obtulit Abrahae panem et vinum, et benedixit Deo excelso.2. To the second, it should be said that the Eucharist is offered to God in the consecration of the host, and is offered to the people in the consumption of the same; and this was signified in the oblation of Melchisadech, who offered to Abraham bread and wine, and blessed God in the highest.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod nihil sub eadem specie manens est signum sui ipsius; sed aliquid secundum quod est in una specie, potest esse signum sui secundum quod est sub alia specie; et similiter est in proposito dicendum, quod aqua fluens de latere Christi figurabat populum, qui ejus sanguine redimendus et reficiendus erat; et ideo significabat aqua sanguini admixta hujus sacramenti usum.3. To the third, it should be said that nothing, as long as it remains under the same appearance, is a sign of itself; but something, according as it is in one appearance, can be a sign of itself according as it is under another appearance. And something similar should be said of the case at hand, for the water flowing from the side of Christ was a figure of the people that was to be redeemed and refreshed by his blood; and so the water admixed with blood signified the use of this sacrament.4
Ad quartum dicendum, quod sacramentum habet omnem suavitatem, inquantum continet fontem omnis gratiae, quamvis non ordinetur ejus usus ad omnes effectus sacramentalis gratiae. Vel dicendum, quod etiam quantum ad effectum habet omnem suavitatis effectum in reficiendo, quia hoc solum sacramentum per modum refectionis operatur. Vel dicendum, secundum Dionysium, quod omnium sacramentorum effectus huic sacramento possunt ascribi, inquantum perfectio est omnis sacramenti, habens quasi in capitulo et summa omnia quae alia sacramenta continent singillatim.4. To the fourth, it should be said that the sacrament has every sweetness, insofar as it contains the source of all grace, although its use is not ordered to every effect of sacramental grace. Or it should be said that even with regard to effect it has every sweetness of effect in terms of refreshing, because this sacrament alone operates in the manner of refreshment. Or it should be said, following Dionysius, that the effect of all sacraments may be ascribed to this sacrament, inasmuch as it is the perfection of every sacrament, having in principle and in totality, as it were, all that the other sacraments contain one by one.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod Baptismus est sacramentum necessitatis quantum ad effectum, quia delet peccatum originale, quo manente non est salus; et ideo oportebat quod in veteri lege responderet sibi aliqua figura, quae contra originale remedium praeberet, scilicet circumcisio. Sed Eucharistia est sacramentum necessitatis quantum ad fidem ejus quod repraesentat, scilicet opus nostrae redemptionis; et ideo non oportuit quod haberet figuras remedium praebentes, sed signantes tantum.5. To the fifth, it should be said that baptism is the sacrament of necessity as regards its effect, because it wipes away original sin, the remaining of which bars salvation; and therefore it was necessary that in the Old Law there should correspond to it some figure that was provided as a remedy against original sin, namely circumcision. But the Eucharist is a sacrament of necessity as regards faith in that which it represents, namely the work of our redemption; and therefore it was not necessary that there should have been figures providing a remedy, but rather [that there be figures] serving exclusively as signs [of the redemption to come].
Ad sextum dicendum, quod quamvis in veteri lege fuerint figurae plures materialiter, tamen omnes ad has reducuntur: quia in omnibus sacrificiis et oblationibus antiquorum significabatur illud quod est res et sacramentum in Eucharistia, quod etiam significatur per agnum paschalem, scilicet ipse Christus qui obtulit se Deo patri pro nobis oblationem et hostiam. Vel dicendum, quod istae figurae repraesentant corpus Christi secundum quod est in usu fidelium per esum, quod patet de oblatione Melchisedech, qui panem et vinum edendum obtulit Abrahae; et similiter agnus paschalis edendus a populo occidebatur; et etiam manna ad esum populi a Deo providebatur: aqua etiam sanguini admixta in passione Christi populum significat Christi sanguine communicantem. Non autem ita est in aliis sacrificiis; et ideo quamvis sint figurae Christi passi, non tamen sunt propriae figurae hujus sacramenti. Fit autem in canone Missae mentio de oblatione Abrahae et Abel magis propter devotionem offerentium quam propter figuram rei oblatae.6. To the sixth, it should be said that although in the Old Law there were many figures materially [considered], nevertheless all of them are led back to these [that the Master mentions]: since in all sacrifices and oblations of old, there was signified that which is the reality and sacrament in the Eucharist, which indeed was signified by the paschal lamb, namely the very Christ who offered himself an oblation and victim to God the Father on our behalf. Or it should be said that those figures represent the body of Christ according as it is for the use of the faithful by way of eating, which is evident in the offering of Melchisadech, who offered Abraham bread and wine for the purpose of eating it; and in like manner the paschal lamb was slain in order to be eaten by the people; and the manna, too, was provided by God with a view to the feeding of the people. The water, too, mixed with blood in the Passion of Christ signifies the people sharing in the blood of Christ. But it is not so in other sacrifices; and therefore although they are figures of the Christ who suffered, they are not appropriate figures of this sacrament. In the Canon of the Mass mention is made of the oblation of Abraham and Abel, however, more on account of the devotion of the ones offering than on account of the figurative nature of the thing offered.
SUBQUESTION 3: Whether this sacrifice was more expressly prefigured in the law of Moses than in the law of nature
Ulterius. Videtur quod in lege Moysi expressius fuit figuratum hoc sacrificium quam in lege naturae.Moreover, it seems that this sacrifice was more expressly prefigured in the law of Moses than in the law of nature.
Quia, secundum Hugonem, quanto magis appropinquavit passio salvatoris, tanto signa fuerunt evidentiora. Sed ea quae fuerunt in lege Moysis, fuerunt propinquiora. Ergo expressiora.1. For, according to Hugh [of St. Victor], the more the Passion of the Savior drew near, the more evident were the signs. But the things that were [contained] in the law of Moses were nearer. Therefore they were more express.
Praeterea, in sacrificiis legis Moysi fiebat sanguinis effusio. Sed oblatio Melchisedech fuit sanguinis sine effusione. Ergo legalia sacrificia expressius figurabant sacramentum passionis Christi quam oblatio Melchisedech.2. Further, in the sacrifices of the law of Moses there occurred the shedding of blood. But the oblation of Melchisadech was of blood without the shedding [of blood]. Therefore the legal sacrifices more expressly prefigured the sacrament of the passion of Christ than the oblation of Melchisadech.
Sed contra,On the contrary:
Christus dicitur sacerdos secundum ordinem Melchisedech, non autem secundum sacerdotium legis Moysi, quod est sacerdotium leviticum, ut patet Hebr. 7. Ergo oblatio Melchisedech magis convenit cum sacrificio Christi quam sacrificium legis Moysi.Christ is called a priest "according to the order of Melchisadech" - not according to the priesthood of the Mosaic law, which is the levitical priesthood, as is clear from Hebrews 7. Therefore the oblation of Melchisadech has more in common with the sacrifice of Christ than a sacrifice of the Mosaic law.
Response:
Ad tertiam quaestionem dicendum, quod quantum ad id quod est signum tantum in hoc sacramento, expressior figura hujus sacramenti fuit oblatio Melchisedech quam figurae legis Moysi; sed quantum ad id quod est res et sacramentum; expressior fuit figura legis Mosaicae, qua expressius Christus passus significabatur. Et quia ritus sacramenti consistit in signis exterioribus; ideo sacerdotium Christi quantum ad ritum magis convenit cum sacerdotio Melchisedech quam cum sacerdotio levitico; et etiam quantum ad alias conditiones Melchisedech, quas apostolus plenius prosequitur.It should be said that as far as that which is sign alone in this sacrament, the oblation of Melchisadech was the more express figure of this sacrament than the figures of the law of Moses; but as far as that which is both reality and sacrament, the more express was the figure of the law of Moses, by which the Christ who suffered was more expressly signified. And because the rite of the sacrament consists in exterior signs, therefore the priesthood of Christ as regards the rite has more in common with the priesthood of Melchisadech than it has with the levitical priesthood - and also as regards other aspects of Melchisadech, which the Apostle describes more fully [in that letter to the Hebrews].
Et per hoc patet solutio ad objecta.And through this [response] the solution to the objections becomes clear.


Endnotes

1. tantum gratiam continentia (return to text)

2. gratiam conferentia. What Thomas seems to be saying is that confirmation and extreme unction add to grace already possessed, whereas one receives grace for the first time in baptism, and Christ who is the fullness of grace is present in the Eucharist. Hence there are three categories here: the sacraments that are sacraments as well as something else; the pure sacraments that contain grace as in its root; and the pure sacraments that confer additional grace. (return to text)

3. Note that aureola, which is almost impossible to translate ("crownlet"?), is a diminutive form of aurea, "gold crown." (return to text)

4. That is, the blood shed physically on the cross, and mixed with water from Christ's side, signified the nourishment of the Church with Christ's blood present in the Eucharist. (return to text)


© Peter Kwasniewski
(pak@wyomingcatholiccollege.com)

My thanks to Joseph Bolin for his careful review of an earlier draft of this translation


The Aquinas Translation Project
(http://www4.desales.edu/~philtheo/loughlin/ATP/index.html)