October 10, 2007

Luther: The Food Devours the Eater

I continue to be fascinated by the depth of Luther's sacramental piety. In the Church Postil, there is (in the Lenker edition, volume II), a wonderful sermon in the Easter section, A Beautiful Sermon on the Reception of the Holy Sacrament, which includes this magnificent thought: When one eats the Sacrament, it in fact devours the eater. Though outwardly it is the communicant who appears to be performing the work, the Sacrament actually performs its own work: “Christ receives me and consumes me also.… Thus His godliness and riches swallow up my sins and misery, so that afterwards I am nothing but righteousness.” Beautiful indeed!


William Weedon said...

Beautiful. He speaks of something like this also in "This is My Body" (1527) where he writes:

And that is what this spiritual food does: when the body eats it physically, this food digests the body's flesh and transforms it so that it too becomes spiritual, i.e., alive and blessed forever as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, "The body will rise spiritually." To give a simple illustration of what takes place in this eating, it is as if a wolf devoured a sheep and the sheep were so powerful a food that it transformed the wolf and turned him into a sheep. So, when we eat Christ's flesh physically and spiritually, the food is so powerful that it transforms us into itself and out of fleshly, sinful, mortal men makes spiritual, holy, living men. This we are already, though in a hidden manner in faith and hope; the fact is not yet manifest, but we shall experience it on the Last Day. (AE 37:100,101)

Rev. Christopher S. Esget said...

That's one of my favorites!

richsheri1 said...

From CS Lewis: "On a Theme From Nicholas of Cusa"

But when the soul partakes of good
Or truth, which are her savoury food,
By some far subtler chemistry
It is not they that change, but she,
Who feels them enter with the state
Of conquerors her opened gate,
Of, mirror-like, digests their ray
By turning luminous as they.

Rev. Christopher S. Esget said...

That is nice - thanks.