The Sacrament of the Altar
As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.
Where is this written?
The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: ‘Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.’
“In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ ”
[Matthew 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; Luke 22:19–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–25]
What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?
These words, “Given, and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Indeed, it is not the eating and drinking that does them, but rather these words: “Given, and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament; and whoever believes these words has what they say, namely, the forgiveness of sins.
Who, then, receives this Sacrament worthily?
Fasting and bodily preparation are indeed a fine outward discipline; but that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
But whoever does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and ill-prepared; for the words “For you” require nothing but believing hearts.