St. Francis of Assisi

On the Body of the Lord

The Lord Jesus says to His disciples: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well; in a little while will know Him and see Him.” Phillip says to Him: “Lord, show us the Father, and that will suffice for us.” Jesus says to him: “For so long a time I am with you, and you do not know Me? Phillip, he who sees Me, sees even My Father” (John 14:6-9).

The Father dwells in light inaccessible (cf. 1 Timothy 6:16), and God is spirit (John 4:24), and no one has ever seen God (John 1:18). Therefore He can be seen only in spirit, since it is the spirit which vivifies, the flesh brings forth nothing (John 6:64). But neither is the Son, because He is equal to the Father, seen in Him otherwise than the Father, otherwise than the Holy Spirit. Whence all who saw the Lord Jesus according to the Humanity and both did not see and believe according to the spirit the Divinity also, that He Himself is the true Son of God, have been damned; so even now all who see the Sacrament, which is sanctified by the words of the Lord upon the Altar by the hand of the Priest in the form of bread and wine, and does not see and believe according to the spirit the Divinity also, that this is truly the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, have been damned, since the Most High Himself testifies, who said: “This is My Body and My Blood of the new testament (which is poured forth for the many” (Mt. 14:22,24); and “He who eats My Flesh and drinks the Blood of the Lord.” All Others, who do not have according to this same spirit and presume to receive Him, eat and drink judgement upon themselves (cf. 1 Cor. 11:29). Whence: “Sons of men, how long with a heavy heart?” (Ps 4:3) So that you may know the truth and believe in the Son of God (cf. John 9:35))

Behold, every day He humbles Himself (cf. Phil 2:8), just as when from royal thrones (Wis. 18:15) He entered into the womb of the Virgin; every day He comes to us presenting Himself humbly; everyday He descends from the bosom of His Father to the Altar into the hands of the Priest. And just as to the holy Apostles in true flesh, so even now He shows Himself to us in the Sacred Bread. And just as when they gazed at his very own flesh they saw only His flesh, but contemplating with their spiritual eyes believed Him to be God, so even we seeing bread and wine with our bodily eyes, may see and firmly believe them even to be His Most Holy Body and Blood, living and true. And in such a manner the Lord is always His faithful ones, just as He says: “Behold I am with you even to the consumation of the age” (cf. Mt. 28:20)

  • Excerpt from The Writings of St. Francis (Admonitions). Translated from the Latin Critical Edition by Fr. K. Esser, O.F.M. on
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