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

ARTICLE 3: The necessity of instituting this sacrament, and at what time.
Utrum aliqua fuerit necessitas instituendi hoc sacramentum.SUBQUESTION 1: Whether there was any need for instituting this sacrament.
Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod nulla fuit necessitas instituendi hoc sacramentum.Proceeding to the third, it seems that there was no need for instituting this sacrament.
Veniente enim veritate debet cessare figura. Sed hoc sacramentum agitur in figuram dominicae passionis, quae jam realiter venit. Ergo non debuit hoc sacramentum institui.1. For when the truth has come, the figure ought to cease. But this sacrament is enacted as a figure of the Lord's passion, which has already really come. Therefore this sacrament ought not to have been instituted.
Praeterea, eadem in actione aliquid instituitur et a contraria dispositione removetur. Sed ad eamdem actionem non debet institui nisi unum sacramentum, sicut unum instrumentum est unius actionis. Cum ergo per Baptismum mundemur a malo, videtur quod non oportuit institui aliquod sacramentum per quod in bono confirmemur, scilicet Eucharistiam, ut in littera dicitur.2. Further, in the same action, something is instituted and is removed from a contrary disposition. But for accomplishing the same action there ought only to be instituted a single sacrament, as there is a single instrument for a single action. Since therefore we are cleansed from evil through baptism, it seems that there ought not to have been instituted a sacrament through which we are confirmed in good, namely the Eucharist, as the text describes it.
Praeterea, ex eisdem ex quibus sumus, et nutrimur, ut in 2 de Generat. dicitur. Sed per Baptismum, qui est spiritualis regeneratio, acquirimus esse spirituale, ut Dionysius dicit. Ergo per gratiam reficimur baptismalem; et ita non oportet hoc sacramentum institui ad spiritualiter reficiendum, ut in littera dicitur.3. Further, it is by the same things that we both have our existence and are nourished, as is said in On Generation and Corruption II. But through baptism, which is spiritual regeneration, we acquire spiritual being, as Dionysius says. Therefore through baptismal grace we are refreshed;1 and thus this sacrament need not have been instituted for spiritual refreshment, as the text describes it.
Sed contra,On the contrary:
ad perfectionem corporis exigitur quod membra capiti conjungantur. Sed per hoc sacramentum membra Ecclesiae suo capiti conjunguntur; unde Joan. 6, 57, dicitur: qui manducat carnem meam, et bibit sanguinem meum, in me manet, et ego in eo. Ergo necessaria fuit hujus sacramenti institutio.1. The body's perfection requires that the members be joined to the head. But through this sacrament, the members of the Church are joined to its head; hence in John 6:57 it says: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him." Therefore this sacrament's institution was necessary.
Praeterea, caritas non est minus necessaria quam fides. Sed habemus unum sacramentum fidei, scilicet Baptismum. Cum ergo caritatis sacramentum sit Eucharistia, unde et communio dicitur; videtur quod ejus institutio fuerit necessaria.2. Further, charity is not less necessary than faith. But we have a single sacrament of faith, namely baptism. Since therefore the sacrament of charity is the eucharist (hence it is also called "communion"), it seems that its institution was necessary.
RespondeoResponse:
dicendum ad primam quaestionem, quod in quolibet genere actionum in quo inveniuntur plures actiones ordinatae diversis agentibus ordinatis distributae, oportet quod principalis illarum actionum attribuatur principali agenti, cujus virtute secundarii agentes operantur secundarias actiones; sicut patet in artibus quae sub invicem continentur, ut militaris, equestris, et frenorum factrix. Et quia invenimus diversas actiones sacramentales diversis sacramentis distributas, quae in virtute verbi incarnati agunt, oportet ad perfectam actionem hujus generis esse aliquam sacramentalem actionem quae ipsimet principali agenti attribuatur, quod est verbum incarnatum; et ideo oportuit esse sacramentum Eucharistiae, quod ipsum verbum incarnatum contineret, ceteris sacramentis tamen in virtute ipsius agentibus; et ideo convenienter in figura cibi hoc sacramentum institutum est: quia inter alios sensus solus tactus est cui suum sensibile realiter conjungitur, similitudinibus tantum sensibilium ad alios sensus per medium pervenientibus: gustus autem tactus quidam est: et inter alia quae ad tactum pertinent, solus cibus est qui agit per conjunctionem sui ad cibatum, quia nutriens et nutritum fit unum; alia vero tangibilia agunt efficiendo aliquas impressiones in eo quod tangitur, sicut patet de calido et frigido, et hujusmodi.It should be said that in any genus of actions in which are found many ordered actions distributed among a variety of ordered agents, the chief of those actions must be attributed to the chief agent, by whose power the secondary agents enact their secondary actions, as is evident in arts that are contained one beneath the other, as the military, equestrian, and bridlemaking arts [where in each case the latter takes orders from the former]. And since we find a variety of sacramental actions distributed among a variety of sacraments, which act by the power of the incarnate Word, for a perfect action of this genus [to take place] there must be some sacramental action that is attributed to the chief agent himself, namely the incarnate Word; and thus there had to be the sacrament of the Eucharist, which would contain the very Word incarnate, with the remaining sacraments as agents [acting] by his power. And thus, fittingly was this sacrament instituted in the likeness of food,2 since among all the senses touch alone is really joined to its sensible, with only the likenesses of sensibles reaching the other senses through a medium; but taste is a kind of touch, and among the things that pertain to touch, only food acts by its being joined to the one fed, since the nourishing and the nourished are made one, whereas other tangible items act by bringing about some impressions in that which they touch, as is evident with hot and cold, and such [qualities].
Et ideo cum omne sacramentum in figura alicujus rei sensibilis proponi debeat, convenienter sacramentum in quo ipsum verbum incarnatum nobis conjungendum continetur, proponitur nobis in figura cibi, non quidem convertendi in nos per suam conjunctionem ad nos, sed potius sua conjunctione nos in ipsum convertens, secundum quod Augustinus ex persona verbi incarnati dicit: non tu me mutabis in te, sicut cibum carnis tuae; sed tu mutaberis in me.And thus, since every sacrament ought to be proposed in the likeness3 of some sensible thing, it is fitting that the sacrament in which the very Word incarnate, as to be joined to us, is contained, is proposed to us in the likeness of food, not indeed as being converted into us through its conjunction with us, but rather we ourselves being converted into it by conjunction with it, according to what Augustine says, speaking in the person of the incarnate Word: "You shall not change me into you, as food of your flesh, but you shall be changed into me."
Replies to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod secundum Dionysium nostra hierarchia est media inter caelestem et eam quae in veteri lege erat. Tempore enim legis erat veritas promissa tantum; sed in statu novae legis est veritas inchoata per Jesum Christum; in patria autem erit veritas consummata. Et ideo in veteri lege figurae sine rebus proponebantur; in nova autem proponuntur figurae cum rebus; in patria autem res sine figuris. Et ideo orat Ecclesia ut quod nunc spe gerimus in via, rerum veritate capiamus in patria.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that according to Dionysius our hierarchy is in between the heavenly and that which was in the old law. For in the time of the law there was the promise alone; but in the state of the new law there is the dawning of truth4 through Jesus Christ; while in the fatherland there will be consummate truth. And so, in the old law, figures were proposed without the realities [to which the figures pointed]; while in the new, figures are proposed along with realities; but in the fatherland, [there will be] realities without figures. And so the church prays that "what we now carry by hope along the way, we may take hold of in the fatherland by the truth of the realities."
Ad secundum dicendum, quod objectio illa procedit de perfectione illa qua aliquid ad formam receptam perficitur, qualis perfectio fit per Baptismum; non autem de illa quae est per conjunctionem ad principium perfectionis, quae fit per Eucharistiam, ut supra dictum est.2. To the second, it should be said that this objection holds concerning that perfection by which something is perfected in that it receives a form - the kind of perfection achieved through baptism; but it does not hold for that which occurs through union with the [very] source of perfection, a union achieved through the Eucharist, as was said above.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod de nutrimento corporali verum est nos eisdem nutriri ex quibus sumus, quia oportet cibum carnis nostrae in nos transmutari, et ideo oportet quod nobiscum in materia conveniat; secus autem de cibo spirituali, qui nos in seipsum transmutat.3. To the third, it should be said that it is true of bodily nutriment that we are nourished by the same things from which we have our existence, since the food of our flesh must be transmuted into ourselves; and so it must agree with us in matter. It is otherwise with spiritual food, however, which transmutes us into itself.
SUBQUESTION 2: Whether [the sacrament] ought to have been instituted prior to the coming of Christ.
Ulterius. Videtur quod ante adventum Christi debuerit institui.Moreover, it seems that [the sacrament] ought to have been instituted prior to the coming of Christ.
Christus enim est caput hominum justorum qui fuerunt a principio mundi, ut in 3 Lib., dist. 13, qu. 2, art. 2, quaest. 2 ad 4, dictum est. Si ergo per hoc sacramentum membra capitis mystico suo capiti conjungantur, videtur quod debuerit a principio mundi institui.1. For Christ is the head of the just men who have existed from the beginning of the world, as was said in Book III, Distinction 13, q. 2, a. 2, qa. 2 and 4. If therefore the members of the head are joined to their mystical head through this sacrament, it seems that it ought to have been instituted from the beginning of the world.
Praeterea, populus Israel fuit populus Deo dilectissimus; unde dicitur Exod. 4, 22: filius meus primogenitus Israel. Sed hoc sacramentum est sacramentum caritatis, ut dictum est. Ergo debuit institui adhuc priore populo habente statum.2. Further, the people of Israel was the people most beloved to God; hence it is said in Exodus 4:22: "Israel, my first-born son." But this sacrament is the sacrament of charity, as was said. Therefore it ought to have been instituted yet prior to the people having such a status.
Praeterea, hoc sacramentum dicitur viaticum, quia tendentes ad patriam in via confortat, et quotidianos etiam lapsus reparat. Sed patres qui erant ante adventum Christi, ad patriam tendebant, hospites et peregrinos se vocantes super terram, ut dicitur Hebr. 11, et etiam quotidianis peccatis impediebantur. Ergo ante adventum Christi debuit hoc sacramentum institui.3. Further, this sacrament is called "viaticum," because it strengthens those who are striving along the way towards the fatherland, and it also repairs daily faults. But the fathers who existed before the coming of Christ were striving toward the fatherland, calling themselves "strangers and sojourners upon the earth" (as is said in Hebrews 11), and they were also hampered by daily sins. Therefore before the coming of Christ this sacrament ought to have been instituted.
Sed contra,On the contrary:
hoc sacramentum continet verbum incarnatum realiter. Ergo institui non potuit ante incarnationem verbi.This sacrament really contains the incarnate Word. Therefore it could not have been instituted prior to the incarnation of the Word.
Praeterea, hoc sacramentum continet gratiae plenitudinem; unde et Eucharistia dicitur. Sed tempus plenitudinis incepit ab incarnatione Christi. Ergo ante incarnationem hoc sacramentum institui non potuit.Further, this sacrament contains the fullness of grace; hence it is also called eucharistia [i.e., "good grace"]. But the time of fullness commences with the incarnation of Christ. Therefore prior to the Incarnation this sacrament could not have been instituted.
Response:
Ad secundam quaestionem dicendum, quod sicut dictum est, in hoc sacramento ipse Christus, qui est sanctificationis principale agens, realiter nobis proponitur. In veteri autem lege non exhibebatur, sed promittebatur, incarnatione nondum facta; et ideo in veteri lege hujus sacramenti institutio esse non potuit. Unde sacramenta veteris legis habebant se ad modum sensibilium quae per medium cognoscuntur, quae quidem realiter sentienti non conjunguntur, sed suas similitudines ad sensus a longinquo transmittunt. Sacramenta vero alia novae legis, in quibus virtus Christi operatur, cum ipsum realiter non contineant, assimilantur sensibilibus jam dictis, quae quidem non incorporantur sentienti, sed secundum aliquam qualitatem immutant. Hoc autem sacramentum, ut dictum est, quasi majoris perfectionis, similatur illi sensibili quod incorporatur sentienti, scilicet cibo; unde magis distat a modo sacramentorum veteris legis quam sacramenta novae legis.It should be said that, as was said earlier, in this sacrament the very Christ who is the principal agent of [our] sanctification, is really put before us. Now, in the Old Law he was not presented but rather promised, the Incarnation not yet having happened; and so in the Old Law the institution of this sacrament could not be. Hence the sacraments of the Old Law functioned in the manner of sensible things that are known through a medium, which nevertheless are not really joined to the thing sensed, but rather transmit their likenesses to the sense-power from afar. Now indeed, the other [six] sacraments of the New Law, in which the power of Christ is at work, since they do not really contain him, are likened to the sensibles just mentioned, which are not incorporated into the one sensing, but do bring about change according to some quality [they have upon contact]. But this sacrament, as was said, as having a greater perfection, is likened to that sensible object that is incorporated into the one sensing, namely food. Hence it stands further from the mode of the sacraments of the Old Law than the other sacraments of the New Law do, [and so much less should it have been instituted prior to the coming of Christ].
Replies to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod Christus ab initio mundi erat caput sanctorum, non quasi habens actu conformitatem in natura cum membris Ecclesiae, incarnatione nondum facta, sed solum secundum fidem incarnationem expectantium; et ideo conjunctio corporis mystici ad suum caput pro tempore illo non poterat fieri per aliquod sacramentum realiter continens ipsum caput membris conforme, sed poterat per aliqua sacramenta figurari.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that Christ was the head of the saints from the beginning of the world, not as if actually having a conformity in nature with the members of the Church, the Incarnation not yet having happened, but only according to the faith of those who were looking forward to the Incarnation; and therefore the union of the mystical body with its head could not have been accomplished at that time through some sacrament really containing the very head conformed to the members, but was able to be prefigured through some sacraments.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod populus Israel erat dilectissimus pro tempore illo comparatione aliorum populorum, qui idolis serviebant, non autem comparatione populi novi testamenti, de quo dicitur 1 Petr. 2, 9: vos estis gens sancta, populus acquisitionis. Vel dicendum, secundum apostolum Rom. 9: non qui sunt secundum carnem, sed qui ex promissione, hi computantur in semine. Unde populus novi testamenti non excluditur ab illo privilegio amoris ratione cujus Israel primogenitus Dei dicebatur.2. To the second, it should be said that the people of Israel was the most beloved during that time, in comparison with other peoples who served idols - not however in comparison with the people of the New Testament, of whom it is said in 1 Peter 2:9: "You are a holy nation, a people for his possession." Or it should be said, with the Apostle in Romans 9: Not they who are according to the flesh, but they who are of the promise: These are reckoned in the 'seed'."5 Hence the people of the New Testament is not excluded from that privilege of love by reason of which Israel was called "firstborn of God."
Ad tertium dicendum, quod quamvis antiqui patres in via essent, tendentes ad patriam, non tamen erant in statu perveniendi ante Christi incarnationem; et ideo non competebat pro tempore illo viaticum esse, quo statim ad patriam perducimur.3. To the third, it should be said that although the fathers of old were [walking] along the way, striving for the fatherland, they were nevertheless not in the state of having attained it prior to the Incarnation of Christ; and thus it was not suitable at that time that there be viaticum, by which one is immediately led into the fatherland.
SUBQUESTION 3: Whether [the sacrament] ought to have been instituted after the Passion of Christ.
Ulterius. Videtur quod post passionem institui debuit.Moreover, it seems that it ought to have been instituted after the Passion of Christ.
Quia hoc sacramentum est in memoriam dominicae passionis, ut patet 1 Corinth., 11. Sed memoria praeteritorum est. Ergo et praeterita passione Christi institui debuit.1. For this sacrament is in memory of the Lord's Passion, as is clear from 1 Corinthians 11. But memory is of things past. Therefore it ought to have been instituted in view of the Passion of Christ already past.
Praeterea, Eucharistia non nisi baptizatis debet dari. Sed Baptismus fuit institutus post Christi passionem, quando dominus discipulis formam baptizandi dedit, Matth. ult. Ergo et post passionem institui debuit Eucharistia.2. Further, the Eucharist ought to be given only to the baptized. But baptism was instituted after the Passion of Christ, when the Lord gave the formula of baptism to the disciples, as we read in the last chapter of Matthew. Therefore the Eucharist, too, ought to have been instituted after the Passion.
Praeterea, in his quae sibi invicem continue succedunt, ultimum primi debet conjungi primo secundi. Sed dominus voluit in coena ostendere terminationem veteris legis, et continuationem novae legis ad ipsam, ut ex littera habetur. Ergo debuit post coenam paschalem statim instituere primum sacramentum novae legis, et alia per ordinem; et sic post passionem Eucharistiam, quae est ultimum.3. Further, in things that succeed one another continuously, the last [part] of the first [element] ought to be joined to the first [part] of the second [element]. But the Lord wished to show in the Last Supper the termination of the Old Law and the New Law's continuity with it, as it says in the text. Therefore after the paschal supper he ought to have instituted at once the first sacrament of the New Law, and then the others in order; and thus, after the Passion, the Eucharist, which is the last.
Sed contra,On the contrary:
videtur quod debuerit institui a principio praedicationis Christi. Quia quae primo capiuntur, arctius memoriae imprimuntur, ut patet de his quae homo a pueritia capit. Sed dominus voluit ut hoc sacramentum arctissime memoriae commendaretur. Ergo debuit a principio hoc instituere.4. It seems that it ought to have been instituted from the beginning of Christ's preaching. For the things that are grasped from the first are etched more stringently upon the memory, as is clear in the things that a man grasps from the time of his childhood on. But the Lord wished that this sacrament be most stringently entrusted to memory. Therefore he ought to have instituted this from the beginning.
Response:
Ad tertiam quaestionem dicendum, quod propter quatuor rationes hoc sacramentum in coena institui debuit, et non ante. Prima apparet ex ipsa necessitate sacramenti assignata: quia ad perfectionem nostram exigebatur ut caput nostrum etiam nobis realiter conjungeretur; et ideo quamdiu sub propria specie cum hominibus conversatus est, non oportebat hoc sacramentum institui, sed quando ejus corporali praesentia destituenda erat Ecclesia; et haec ratio tangitur in littera ab Eusebio: quia, inquit, corpus assumptum ablaturus erat et cetera. Secunda sumitur ex ejus figura. Christus enim quamdiu in mundo conversatus est, figuras legis observare voluit, factus sub lege, ut eos qui sub lege erant redimeret. Et quia veniente veritate cessat figura, ideo non debuit hoc sacramentum institui nisi Christo ascendente per mortem, quando figurae veteris legis terminandae erant. Tertia ratio sumitur ab ipsa repraesentatione hujus sacramenti. Est enim repraesentativum dominicae passionis; et ideo congrue jam passione imminente instituitur. Quarta ratio sumitur ex ritu quo frequentandum est hoc sacramentum, ut ultimo traditum magis memoriae teneretur.It should be said that this sacrament ought to have been instituted at the Last Supper and not before, on account of four reasons. The first is apparent from the very necessity of the sacrament that was earlier assigned, for it was required for our perfection that our head be joined to us even in a real manner [and not just by a profession of faith]; and so as long as he conversed with men in the proper appearance of a man, he did not need to institute this sacrament, but when the Church was being deprived of his bodily presence; and this reason is touched on in the text by Eusebius: "For," he says, "the body assumed was about to be taken away," etc. The second is taken from its figure. For Christ as long as he was living in the world wanted to observe the figures of the law: "made under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law" (cf. Gal. 4:4-5). And since the figure ceases when the truth is come, therefore this sacrament ought not to have been instituted except by Christ mounting up through death, when the figures of the Old Law were being brought to their end. The third reason is taken from the very representation of this sacrament. For it is representative of the Passion of the Lord; and so it was congruously instituted right when the Passion was at hand. The fourth reason is taken from the rite by which this sacrament is to be frequented, so that the last thing handed down might be held in greater remembrance.
Responses to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod imminente passione corda discipulorum magis erant affecta ad passionem, quam passione jam peracta, quando jam erant immemores pressurae passionis propter gaudium resurrectionis; et ideo memoriale passionis magis erat eis proponendum ante quam post. Nec tunc erat memoriale, sed instituebatur ut in memoriam in posterum celebrandum.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that the hearts of the disciples were more affected regarding the Passion when the Passion was about to occur than by the Passion already accomplished, when they were already forgetful of the oppression of the Passion on account of the joy of the Resurrection; and so the memorial of the Passion was better put before them before than after. Nor was it at that time a memorial but it was instituted so that later on it might be celebrated in memory [of the Passion].
Ad secundum dicendum, quod Baptismus etiam ante passionem institutus est quantum ad aliquid, ut supra dictum est; et praeterea non oportet quod sit idem ordo institutionis sacramentorum et perceptionis: quia ad finem qui nobis praestituitur, ultimo pervenimus. Sed Eucharistia est quodammodo finis Baptismi: quia per Baptismum aliquis consecratur ad Eucharistiae perceptionem, sicut per ordinem ad ejus consecrationem. Et ideo ratio non procedit.2. To the second, it should be said that baptism, even before the Passion, was instituted in a certain respect, as was said above; and further, it is not necessary that there be the same order in the institution of the sacraments as there is in their reception, since the end that is determined in advance for us is what we arrive at last of all. But the Eucharist is, in a certain sense, the end of baptism, since through baptism someone is consecrated for the reception of the Eucharist, as by Holy Orders one is consecrated for the consecration of the Eucharist. And so the argument given does not follow.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod quamvis hoc sacramentum sit quasi ultimum in perceptione, est tamen primum in intentione. Institutio autem ordini intentionis respondet; et ideo terminatis sacramentis legalibus hoc primo instituendum fuit.3. To the third, it should be said that although this sacrament is, as it were, the last in reception, it is nevertheless the first in intention. The institution, however, corresponds to the order of intention; and therefore, upon the termination of the sacraments of the Old Law, this was the first to be instituted.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod ratio illa procedit de illis quae a principio quis capere potest. Apostoli autem a principio non tanti capaces erant mysterii; et ideo in fine hoc eis proponendum fuit. Et praeterea ratio illa procedit de illis quae memoriae imprimuntur propter seipsa; in illis autem quae memoriae imprimit affectio ad dicentem, secus est: quia tunc firmius imprimuntur quando affectionis motus ad dicentem major sentitur. Quanto autem aliquis ad amicum diutius conversatur, fit major dilectio; et quando ab amicis separatur, sentitur motus dilectionis ferventior propter dolorem separationis; et ideo verba amicorum a nobis recedentium finaliter dicta magis memoriae imprimuntur.4. To the fourth [the sed contra], it should be said that that argument works for the things that someone was able to grasp from the beginning. But the Apostles from the beginning were not so capable of [receiving] mysteries; and so, this [mystery of the Eucharist] was put before them at the very end. And further, that argument works for things that are imprinted on the memory on account of themselves; but in those things that affection for the speaker imprints on the memory, it is otherwise; for they are then imprinted more firmly when a greater motion of affection is felt for the speaker. Now the longer someone keeps company with a friend, the greater love becomes; and when he is separated from the friend, the motion of love is more fervently felt on account of the pain of separation; and thus the words spoken at the last by friends departing from us are the more imprinted upon the memory.


Endnotes

1. reficimur, literally rebuilt, restored - a term often used in connection with eating and drinking as "restoratives." Compare the derivative "refectory." (return to text)

2. figura cibi (return to text)

3. figura (return to text)

4. veritas inchoata. One could say "the beginning of truth" or "an entering upon truth" or even "inchoate truth," but all of these suggest somehow either that Christ does not bring the fullness of grace and truth with him, or that he started something that he did not bring to completion. Thomas is more interested in how Christ's truth reaches us: is it a promise of salvation for us, the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise, or the eternal consummation of this promise? Thus "dawning" suggests that the truth has really come with Christ, he is the promise fulfilled, but there is still full daylight ahead for us who believe and are not yet bathed in the light of heavenly glory. (return to text)

5. Rom. 9:8 (RSV): "It is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants [of Abraham]." (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)