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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Saint questions/ The Mystery of the Eucharist

Why does the statue of St. Paul have a sword?

           Often, statues or other art works that show saints will include things that tell us more about their life, or as it is with Paul, their death.  For example, you may have also noticed how the statue of Peter has a rooster (remembering how the rooster crowed after he denied Jesus), and that he is holding keys (reminding us of the authority that Jesus had given him, saying “I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.”). For St. Paul, it is said that he died as a martyr, by way of a sword cutting off his head.  Furthermore, we can imagine Paul in his preaching about Jesus and His Gospel as though he carried a sword of the Truth.

 Please explain the turning of bread into Jesus’ body.

 The changing of bread into Jesus’ body at Mass (during the “consecration”) is a great mystery; that is, by God’s power which is beyond our human ability to fully understand, the bread changes through the working of the Holy Spirit and through the priest’s saying of the words that Jesus himself 

spoke at the Last Supper as an unseen miracle.  You and I cannot fully understand this change; however, it is believed in faith according to what Jesus himself said both at the Last Supper and in John 6, when he says that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, that are true food and true drink, so that we might have life within us.

 Who are the saints mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer #1?  Clement, Sixtus, Cyprian, etc.?  Why are they honored in this prayer?

           Eucharistic Prayer #1 (that is also called “The Roman Canon”) goes back to as early as the late 4th century, with some parts of this prayer already being found in use during the 2nd century.  Those saints mentioned, which include the apostles, some early Church popes (Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, and Cornelius) along with several other martyrs (both male and female) whose following among the people was notable in these early times (Cyprian, Lawrence, Ignatius, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, etc.) were included in the development of this prayer as their lives and deaths were well known in Rome among the early Christians.

Today, many of these saints are still invoked by peoples throughout the world – in part because their names have remained in this prayer all these centuries (please note – from about the year 600 to 1970, this was the “only” Eucharistic Prayer that the Church used; other options that we now have, though some of these new options are said to go back to the 4th-5th centuries, have only been commonly used since 1970).  While the named saints may be unfamiliar to us, we can find more information by way of some lives of saints books that have information on several of their life stories, and how they witnessed to Jesus in life and in death.



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