Ancient Eucharistic Prayers-Real Presence

I’ve been on this site for a year, I love the Church and It’s Truths. However, for years now I have been struggling to firmly believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. I was raised Catholic but in recent years my faith in this Teaching has suffered. I know as early as 108 A.D. Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote letters concerning the Real Presence, but what about earlier? I turned to the Didache and found that Chapter 9 discusses the Eucharistic prayer. It seems that it many first century Eucharistic Prayers do not even feature the words of institution. Here I quote one of the prayers from the Didache:

“Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your Kingdom; for Yours is the glory and power through Jesus Christ forever.”

                          -Didache Chapter 9

In what way was Our Lord’s Body scattered over the hills and regathered? Does it some way refer to His Passion and Ressurection? What does it mean? I am in no way trying to sow dissention and I pray no one is scandalized by this question. I love our Eucahristed Lord and would be devastated if He weren’t in the Eucharist. If someone can answer this it would be very helpful. Lord, please save my wavering faith! Thank you in advance.

St. John Chrysostum, in his Homily on the Betrayal of Judas :

It is not man who causes what is present to become the body and blood of Christ, but Christ himself, who was crucified for us. The priest is the representative when he pronounces those words, but the power and the grace are those of the Lord. “This is my body,” he says. This word changes the things that lie before us; and just as that sentence, “increase and multiply,” once spoken, extends through all time and gives to our nature the power to reproduce itself; likewise that saying, “This is my body,” once uttered, from that time to the present day, and even until Christ’s coming, makes the sacrifice complete at every table in the churches.

Homily 2 on II Timothy:

The gifts which God bestows are not such as to be the effects of the virtue of the priest. All is from grace. His [the priest] part is but to open his mouth, while God works all. He [the priest] only completes the sign (symbolon). The offering is the same whoever offers it, Paul or Peter. It is the same one Christ gave to his disciples, and which priests now accomplish. The latter is in no way inferior to the former, because the same one who sanctified the one, sanctifies the other too. For just as the words which God spoke are the same as the ones the priest pronounces now, so is the offering the same, just like the baptism which he gave.

and

In this same sense, therefore, the Words of Institution are always consecratory, even when they are not recited, as in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. For they are consecratory not because they are a formula the priest repeats in the eucharistic prayer, but because Jesus’ pronouncing of them at the Last Supper remains efficaciously consecratory for every eucharist until the end of time. (Mass Without the Consecration? The Historic Agreement on the Eucharist Between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East", Robert F. Taft, SJ, Professor Emeritus of Oriental Liturgy, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome}

buh?? So, does this imply that the words of consecration are not necessary? I thought the Church’s Teaching is that it was? I’m confused. Please explain.

You might have a look at these CA tracts:The Real Presence (Fathers)
The Sacrifice of the Mass (Fathers)

The Didache gives only the prayer of thanksgiving (which is, FWIW, what the word “eucharist” means). It does not the words of Consecration.

There is no evidence that the very early Church standardized the form of the Mass. If anyone ever wrote a something such as a missal, it has not survived. But we know that the words of institution were well known (and were quoted by several Early Church Fathers).

That is not implied. It explains just how necessary they are.

When the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith ruled that the Assyrian Mass was valid, this is what they said in regards to the words of institution:

“the words of the institution of the Eucharist are in fact present in the anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in the form of a coherent narration and in a literal way but in a euchological and disseminated manner, that is to say they are integrated in the prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession which follow.”

You can read more on this here, in section 3.


At any rate, I guess I am not understanding the difficulty you are having with this.

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