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

ARTICLE 4: On the Eucharistic fast.
Utrum hoc sacramentum a non jejunis licite sumi possit.SUBQUESTION 1:Whether this sacrament may be licitly received by those who are not fasting.
Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod hoc sacramentum a non jejunis licite sumi possit.Proceeding to the fourth, it seems that this sacrament may be licitly received by those who are not fasting.
Hoc enim sacramentum a domino in coena institutum est. Sed Ecclesia observat ea quae dominus servavit in sacramentorum traditione, sicut formam et materiam. Ergo et ritum deberet servare, ut jam pransis hoc sacramentum traderetur.1. For this sacrament was instituted by the Lord during a supper. But the Church, in handing down the sacraments, carefully observes what the Lord himself preserved, such as the form and matter [of the sacraments]. Therefore the rite, too, ought to be preserved, such that this sacrament be handed over to those who have just eaten.
Praeterea, 1 Corinth. 11, 33, dicitur: dum convenitis ad manducandum, invicem expectate. Si quis autem esurit, domi manducet. Loquitur autem de manducatione corporis Christi. Ergo postquam aliquis domi manducaverit, potest in Ecclesia corpus Christi manducare licite.2. Further, it says in 1 Corinthians 11:33: "When you come together to eat, wait for one another. If any one is hungry, let him eat at home." Now he is speaking [at first] of the eating of the body of Christ. Therefore after someone has eaten at home, he may then licitly eat the Body of Christ in church.
Praeterea, de consecratione, dist. 1 dicitur: sacramenta altaris non nisi a jejunis hominibus celebrantur, excepto uno die anniversario, quo coena domini celebratur. Ergo ad minus illo die potest aliquis post alios cibos corpus Christi sumere.3. Further, it says in On Consecration, Dist. 1: "The sacraments of the altar are not celebrated except by men who are fasting, except on the day on which the anniversary of the Lord's Supper is celebrated [Holy Thursday]. Therefore, at least on that day, someone may consume the Body of Christ after other food.
Sed contraOn the contrary:
est quod dicitur de Consecr., dist. 2: placuit spiritui sancto in honorem tanti sacramenti prius in os Christiani dominicum corpus intrare.is that which is stated in On Consecration, Dist. 2: "It pleased the Holy Spirit, in honor of so great a sacrament, that the Body of the Lord should be first to enter the Christian's mouth."
Praeterea, hoc sacramentum cum magna reverentia sumendum est. Sed post cibum non est aliquis ita sobrius et modestus sicut ante. Ergo non debet post cibum sumi.Further, this sacrament should be consumed with great reverence. But a person after eating is not as sober and modest as he was before. Therefore he ought not to consume it after eating.
Response:
Respondeo dicendum ad primam quaestionem, quod hoc sacramentum a jejunis tantum percipi debet, nisi propter necessitatem imminentis mortis, ne contingat sine viatico ex hac vita transire: quod oportet in reverentiam tanti sacramenti, praecipue propter tria institutum esse. Primo propter ipsam sanctitatem sacramenti; ut os Christiani, quo sumendum est, non sit alio cibo prius imbutum, sed quasi novum et purum ad perceptionem ejus reservetur. Secundo propter devotionem quae exigitur ex parte recipientis, et attentionem quae ex cibis acceptis impediri posset, fumis a stomacho ad caput ascendentibus. Tertio propter periculum vomitus, vel alicujus hujusmodi.It should be said that this sacrament ought to be received only by those fasting, except on account of a necessity due to imminent death, lest it happen that someone depart this life without viaticum. It was appropriate for this to be instituted out of reverence for so great a sacrament, chiefly for three reasons. First, on account of the very holiness of the sacrament, so that the mouth of the Christian, by whom it is consumed, be not filled up with prior food, but be kept, as it were, new and pure for its reception. Second, on account of the devotion that is required on the part of the recipient, and the attention that might be impeded by food already taken in, with the fumes rising from the stomach to the head. Third, on account of the danger of vomiting or other things like that.
Replies to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod forma et materia sunt servata a domino instituente hoc sacramentum quasi essentialia sacramento; et ideo oportuit quod Ecclesia haec retineret. Sed ordinem sumendi servavit dominus quasi convenientem institutioni sacramenti; unde non oportet quod Ecclesia servet: quia non oportet quod illud quod convenit principio vel generationi alicujus rei competat ei quando jam est in esse perfecto; et similiter quod competit sacramento quantum ad sui institutionem, non oportet quod competat ei quantum ad suum usum.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that form and matter are preserved from the Lord who instituted this sacrament in the manner of essentials to the sacrament, and thus the Church must retain these things. But the Lord observed an order of consuming that was fitting for the institution of the sacrament, hence the Church need not preserve it, because it is not necessarily the case that that which befits the beginning or generation of some thing remain suited to it when it has attained perfect being; and in like manner, it need not be the case that what is suited to a sacrament as regards its institution remain suited to it as regards its [subsequent] use.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod apostolus non intendit quod fideles post cibos sumptos domi in Ecclesia corpus Christi sumant; sed illos redarguit quia hunc cibum volebant aliis cibis commiscere, quos in Ecclesia sumebant.2. To the second, it should be said that the Apostle did not intend that the faithful, after having eaten food at home, should then consume the Body of Christ in church; but rather he argued against them, because they were wanting to mingle this [regular] food with the other [sacramental] food that they were consuming in church.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod forte Ecclesia aliquo tempore sustinuit in die coenae sumi corpus Christi post alios cibos in repraesentationem dominicae coenae; sed nunc abrogatum est decretum illud per communem consuetudinem: vel loquitur quantum ad astantes qui non sumunt.3. To the third, it should be said that perhaps the Church for a certain time sustained the custom of eating the Body of Christ after other food on Holy Thursday in representation of the Lord's supper; but now that ordinance is abrogated by common custom; or it [i.e., what is found in the text] is said in regard to assistants [at the liturgy] who are not partaking of the Eucharist.
SUBQUESTION 2: Whether it is the taking of any food that impedes the reception of this sacrament.
Ulterius. Videtur quod non quaelibet cibi sumptio perceptionem hujus sacramenti impediat.Moreover, it seems that it is not the consumption of any food whatsoever that impedes the reception of this sacrament.
Quia sumptio cibi et potus in parva quantitate in nullo sobrietatem diminuit, immo magis auget naturam confortando. Sed ideo oportet a jejunis sumi, ut cum reverentia sumatur et sobrietate. Ergo non quaelibet sumptio cibi impedit perceptionem hujus sacramenti.1. For the consumption of food and drink in small quantity diminishes sobriety in no way; nay, by causing strength, it rather promotes nature. But the reason why the Eucharist should be consumed only by people who are fasting, is in order that they may consume [the Body of Christ] with reverence and sobriety. Therefore it is not any consumption of food that impedes the reception of this sacrament.
Praeterea, ad perceptionem hujus sacramenti exigitur quod homo sit jejunus. Sed quaedam sunt quae non frangunt jejunium, sicut aqua, et medicinae quaedam. Ergo videtur quod post earum sumptionem homo possit hoc sacramentum percipere.2. Further, for a man to receive this sacrament it is required that he be fasting. But there are things that do not break the fast, such as water and medicine. Therefore it seems that after consuming them a man may receive this sacrament.
Praeterea, corpus Christi sicut in os intrat, ita in ventrem trajicitur. Sed si aliquae cibi reliquiae in ore remaneant, et postmodum de mane in ventrem trajiciantur, non impeditur quis a sumptione corporis Christi: quia hoc posset sacerdoti accidere etiam dum est in ipsa celebratione sacramenti, quando non deberet a sumptione corporis Christi desistere. Ergo nec cibus in os missus debet perceptionem hujus sacramenti impedire, in parva quantitate sumptus.3. Further, just as the Body of Christ is received into the mouth, so too is is transported into the stomach. But if fragments of other food remain in the mouth, and afterwards, in the morning, are transported into the stomach, this does not count as an impediment to consuming the Body of Christ, because this can happen to a priest even while he is occupied in the very celebration of the sacrament, when he ought not to desist from consuming the Body of Christ. Therefore neither should food placed into the mouth, if taken in small quantity, count as an impediment to the reception of this sacrament.
Sed contraOn the contrary:
est quod ex hoc ipso sacramento reverentia exhibetur quod prius in os corpus domini sumitur a Christianis. Sed quicumque cibus praeponeretur, et in quacumque quantitate, non esset corpus domini prius acceptum. Ergo quaelibet sumptio cibi impedit a perceptione hujus sacramenti.Reverence is shown to this sacrament by the very fact that Christians consume the Body of the Lord in their mouths first [, prior to anything else]. But whatever food is placed before that, and in whatever quantity, the Body of the Lord would not be taken first. Therefore any consumption of food impedes the reception of this sacrament.
Response:
Ad secundam quaestionem dicendum, quod, sicut dictum est, in reverentiam sanctitatis hujus sacramenti institutum est quod os Christiani suscipientis corpus Christi quasi novum ad ipsum sumendum accedat. Quantalibet autem cibi assumptio hanc auferret novitatem; et ideo quaelibet cibi sumptio impedimentum praebet Eucharistiae sumptioni.It should be said that, as was said [before], out of reverence for the holiness of this sacrament, it was instituted that the mouth of the Christian receiving the Body of Christ should approach that consuming as if new. Now any taking in of food, no matter how much, removes this newness; and so any consumption of food whatsoever counts as an impediment to the consumption of the Eucharist.
Replies to objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod legis praecepta se habent ad ea quae agenda sunt sicut universalia ad singularia, ut dicitur in 5 Ethic. Quia enim legislator non potest ad omnes eventus attendere, oportet quod ad ea quae in pluribus accidunt attendens, universalem legem constituat, ut lex universalis sit. Et quia ut frequenter per cibum turbatur hominis discretio et sobrietas, quae praecipue in hoc sacramento exigitur, ideo universaliter prohibitum est post cibum corpus Christi sumi, quamvis aliqua cibi sumptio non impediat rationem; praecipue cum nihil periculi accidat, si post cibum sumptum abstineatur a perceptione hujus sacramenti, quia in articulo necessitatis licet sumere post alios cibos.1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that commandments of the law stand to the things that are to be done as universals to particulars, as is said in Ethics 5. Now, since the legislator cannot attend to every outcome, it is necessary that, attending to the things that happen for the most part, he set up a universal law so that the law may be universal [in extent]. And since what a man consumes frequently disturbs his discretion and sobriety, which qualities are especially required for [the worthy reception of] this sacrament, therefore consuming the Body of Christ after other food, even if the consumption of some food does not interfere with reason, was universally prohibited - especially seeing that no harm befalls if, after partaking of such food, one abstains from the reception of this sacrament, since, in a case of true necessity, one is permitted to consume it even after eating other food.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod duplex est jejunium; scilicet naturae et Ecclesiae. Jejunium naturae est quo quis jejunus dicitur ante cibum sumptum illa die, etiam si pluries postea comesturus sit: et quia hoc jejunium dicitur ex privatione cibi praeassumpti, ideo quaelibet cibi sumptio hoc jejunium tollit. Jejunium autem Ecclesiae est quo dicitur jejunans secundum modum ab Ecclesia institutum ad carnis afflictionem; et hoc jejunium manet etiam post unicam comestionem, nec solvitur nisi per secundam sumptionem illorum quae in cibum et refectionem de se consueverunt assumi; et ideo ea quae propter alios cibos accipi consueverunt, vel digerendos, sicut electuaria, vel deducendos per membra, sicut potus vini aut aquae, hujusmodi jejunium non solvunt quamvis etiam aliquo modo nutriant. Ad debitam ergo sumptionem dominici corporis non exigitur jejunium Ecclesiae, quia etiam praeter dies jejunii hoc sacramentum celebratur; sed requiritur jejunium naturae propter reverentiam sacramenti; et ideo secundum communem sententiam electuaria et vinum praeassumpta impediunt a perceptione Eucharistiae. 2. To the second it should be said that there are two kinds of fasting, namely of nature and of the Church. The fasting of nature is that by which someone is said to be fasting prior to the consumption of food that day, even if he will eat several times afterwards; and since this is called "fasting" [simply] from the lack of food taken beforehand, any consumption of food takes away this kind of fasting.1 But the fasting of the Church is that by which someone is said to be fasting according to the manner instituted by the Church for the affliction of the flesh; and this fasting remains even after a singular instance of dining, nor is it dissolved except by a second consumption of those things that are customarily taken as food and refreshment; and therefore those things that are customarily taken [not as food, but] for the sake of other foods - either things to help in digesting food, such as electuaries, or to help the food to pass through to the body's members, as wine or water is drunk for this purpose - such things do not dissolve the fast even though they in some way nourish. Accordingly, for the proper consumption of the Lord's Body the fasting of the church is not required, because this sacrament is celebrated even outside of the prescribed days of fasting, but what is required is the fasting of nature, out of reverence for the sacrament; and so, according to the common judgment, electuaries and wine taken beforehand count as impediments to receiving the Eucharist.
Sed de aqua, diversa est opinio. Quidam enim dicunt, quod quia nullo modo nutrit, non solvit neque jejunium naturae neque jejunium Ecclesiae. Sed quamvis aqua in se non nutriat, tamen commixta nutrit. In stomacho autem oportet quod aliis humoribus admisceatur; et ideo in nutrimentum cedere potest; et propter hoc alii probabilius et securius dicunt quod etiam post aquae potum corpus Christi non sumendum est.But concerning water there are various opinions. For some say that since it does not provide nutriment in any way, it dissolves neither the fasting of nature nor the fasting of the Church. But although water does not provide nutriment in itself, nevertheless mixed [with other things] it does nourish. In the stomach, however, it has to be admixed with other humors, and hence it is capable of yielding nutriment; and on account of this, others say, with greater probability and security, that even after drinking water, the Body of Christ should not be consumed.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod jejunium naturae dicitur per privationem actus comestionis, secundum quod comestio etiam potionem includit. Comestio autem principalis dicitur a sumptione exterioris cibi, quamvis terminetur ad trajectionem cibi in ventrem, et ulterius ad nutritionem; et ideo quae interius geruntur sine exterioris cibi sumptione, non videntur solvere jejunium naturae, nec impedire Eucharistiae perceptionem, sicut deglutitio salivae; et similiter videtur de his quae intra dentes remanent, et etiam de eructationibus: tamen propter reverentiam, nisi necessitas incumbat, potest sine periculo abstineri.3. To the third it should be said that the "fasting of nature" is so called because of the privation of the act of dining, according to which "dining" includes drinking, too. Now dining chiefly refers to consumption of external food, although it has for its goal the transference of food into the stomach, and beyond that, the nourishment it affords; and therefore things that are carried inside, without the consumption of food from outside, do not seem to dissolve the fasting of nature, nor to impede the reception of the Eucharist, e.g., the swallowing of saliva; and it is considered to be so, likewise, with whatever remains between the teeth, and even the results of heartburn - although on account of reverence one can [in such circumstances] abstain without danger, unless necessity presses.
SUBQUESTION 3: Whether a man may eat other food immediately after receiving the Body of Christ.
Ulterius. Videtur quod homo non statim debet comedere post corporis Christi sumptionem, per hoc quod dicitur de Consecr., dist. 2: si mane dominica portio editur, usque ad sextam ministri jejunent qui eum consumpserunt, et si in tertia vel quarta hora acceperint, jejunent usque ad vesperam.1. Moreover, it seems that a man ought not to dine immediately after consumption of the Body of Christ, according to what is said in On Consecration, Dist. 2: "If the Lord's portion has been eaten in the morning, the ministers who consumed it fast until Sext; and if they took it in the third or the fourth hour, they fast until Vespers."
Praeterea, non minor reverentia exhibenda est sacramento jam sumpto quam sumendo. Sed ante perceptionem non est aliquis cibus sumendus. Ergo nec post, quousque in ventre remaneat.2. Further, no less reverence should be shown to the sacrament once received than was shown in receiving it. But prior to reception there is not to be any consumption of food. Therefore neither afterwards, as long as it remains in the stomach.
Sed contraOn the contrary:
est contraria consuetudo totius Ecclesiae.is the opposite custom of the entire Church.
Response:
Ad tertiam quaestionem dicendum, quod secundum consuetudinem Ecclesiae propter reverentiam tanti sacramenti, post ejus sumptionem homo debet in gratiarum actione persistere; unde etiam in Missa oratio gratiarum actionis post communionem dicitur, et sacerdotes post celebrationem suas speciales orationes habent ad gratiarum actionem; et ideo oportet esse aliquod intervallum inter sumptionem Eucharistiae et aliorum ciborum. Sed quia non requiritur magnum intervallum, et quod parum deest, nihil deesse videtur, ut dicitur in 2 Phys., ideo possemus sub hoc sensu concedere quod statim potest aliquis cibos alios sumere post Eucharistiae sumptionem.To the third it should be said that according to the Church's custom, on account of reverence for so great a sacrament, after its consumption a man ought to spend time in thanksgiving; hence in the Mass, too, a prayer of thanksgiving after communion is said, and the priests after the celebration have their special prayers for the purpose of thanksgiving; and so it is necessary that there be some interval between the consumption of the Eucharist and that of other food. But because a great interval is not required, and that which is lacking a little seems to be lacking in nothing, as is said in Physics 2, therefore it could be conceded in this sense that after the consumption of the Eucharist one may immediately consume other food.
Response to the Objections:
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod illud decretum loquitur secundum consuetudinem primitivae Ecclesiae, quando propter paucitatem ministrorum rarius Missarum solemnia celebrabantur, et cum majori praeparatione. Unde Dionysius narrat de Carpo in suis epistolis quod nunquam Missam celebrabat nisi aliqua divina revelatione prius percepta; et ideo nunc per contrariam consuetudinem abrogatum est.1. To the first therefore it should be said that that decree is phrased according to the custom of the primitive Church, when, on account of a dearth of ministers, solemn Masses were more rarely celebrated, and [so] with greater preparation. Hence Dionysius in his letter tells of Carpo that he never celebrated Mass unless he had received some divine revelation beforehand; and therefore this is now abrogated through contrary custom.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod sacramentum post sui sumptionem, effectum proprium causat; et ideo oportet actualiter in ipsa sumptione cor hominis in devotione persistere: sed post perceptionem sufficit quod habitu devotio teneatur, quia non potest semper in actu esse; et ideo ea quae possunt actum impedire, prohibentur magis ante sumptionem sacramenti quam post.2. To the second it should be said that the sacrament, after its consumption, causes its proper effect; and hence it is necessary that in that consumption [as such] the heart of man persist actually in devotion; but after reception it suffices that devotion is maintained habitually, since it cannot always be in act; and hence the things that can impede this act [of devotion] are prohibited rather prior to the consumption of the sacrament than afterwards.


Endnotes

1. Compare the English term "breakfast." (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)