I am presently reading Clement of Alexandria’s *The Instructor. *Overall it is a good book, but there are a few passages that seem to unnerve me more than a little because they tend to favor the figurative Protestant interpretation of John 6, rather than the literal interpretation used by Catholics.
Here is a link to the book:
The discussion of the “flesh” and “blood” in John 6 covers a few paragraphs, but it really begins about 1/3 of the way down the book with the paragraph beginning with, “Thus, then, the milk which is perfect is perfect nourishment, and brings to that consummation which cannot cease. Wherefore also the same milk and honey were promised in the rest.”
Could you please pay special attention to the following and tell me what you think:
Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: "Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood; " describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,–of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood. For in reality the blood of faith is hope, in which faith is held as by a vital principle.
Thus in many ways the Word is figuratively described, as meat, and flesh, and food, and bread, and blood, and milk. The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him. Let no one then think it strange, when we say that the Lord’s blood is figuratively represented as milk. For is it not figuratively represented as wine? “Who washes,” it is said, “His garment in wine, His robe in the blood of the grape.” In His Own Spirit He says He will deck the body of the Word; as certainly by His own Spirit He will nourish those who hunger for the Word.
Personally I have difficulty exactly understanding what Clement is trying to get across in these passages. He clearly references John 6, but he makes no comment on the Real Presence, or of the Eucharist. Could someone maybe explain what is going on here?