QUESTION 81: OF THE USE WHICH CHRIST MADE OF THIS SACRAMENT AT ITS INSTITUTION
We have now to consider the use which Christ made of this sacrament at
its institution; under which heading there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether Christ received His own body and blood?
(2) Whether He gave it to Judas?
(3) What kind of body did He receive or give, namely, was it passible or
(4) What would have been the condition of Christ's body under this
sacrament, if it had been reserved or consecrated during the three days
He lay dead?
Article 1: Whether Christ received His own body and blood?
Objection 1: It seems that Christ did not receive His own body and blood,
because nothing ought to be asserted of either Christ's doings or
sayings, which is not handed down by the authority of Sacred Scripture.
But it is not narrated in the gospels that He ate His own body or drank
His own blood. Therefore we must not assert this as a fact.
Objection 2: Further, nothing can be within itself except perchance by reason
of its parts, for instance. as one part is in another, as is stated in
Phys. iv. But what is eaten and drunk is in the eater and drinker.
Therefore, since the entire Christ is under each species of the
sacrament, it seems impossible for Him to have received this sacrament.
Objection 3: Further, the receiving of this sacrament is twofold, namely,
spiritual and sacramental. But the spiritual was unsuitable for Christ,
as He derived no benefit from the sacrament. and in consequence so was
the sacramental, since it is imperfect without the spiritual, as was
observed above (Question , Article ). Consequently, in no way did Christ partake
of this sacrament.
On the contrary, Jerome says (Ad Hedib., Ep. xxx), "The Lord Jesus
Christ, Himself the guest and banquet, is both the partaker and what is
I answer that, Some have said that Christ during the supper gave His
body and blood to His disciples, but did not partake of it Himself. But
this seems improbable. Because Christ Himself was the first to fulfill
what He required others to observe: hence He willed first to be baptized
when imposing Baptism upon others: as we read in Acts 1:1: "Jesus began
to do and to teach." Hence He first of all took His own body and blood,
and afterwards gave it to be taken by the disciples. And hence the gloss
upon Ruth 3:7, "When he had eaten and drunk, says: Christ ate and drank
at the supper, when He gave to the disciples the sacrament of His body
and blood. Hence, 'because the children partook [*Vulg.: 'are partakers'
(Heb. 2:14)] of His flesh and blood, He also hath been partaker in the
Reply to Objection 1: We read in the Gospels how Christ "took the bread . . . and
the chalice"; but it is not to be understood that He took them merely
into His hands, as some say. but that He took them in the same way as He
gave them to others to take. Hence when He said to the disciples, "Take
ye and eat," and again, "Take ye and drink," it is to be understood that
He Himself, in taking it, both ate and drank. Hence some have composed
"The King at supper sits,
The twelve as guests He greets,
Clasping Himself in His hands,
The food Himself now eats."
Reply to Objection 2: As was said above (Question , Article ), Christ as contained under
this sacrament stands in relation to place, not according to His own
dimensions, but according to the dimensions of the sacramental species;
so that Christ is Himself in every place where those species are. And
because the species were able to be both in the hands and the mouth of
Christ, the entire Christ could be in both His hands and mouth. Now this
could not come to pass were His relation to place to be according to His
Reply to Objection 3: As was stated above (Question , Article , ad 2), the effect of this
sacrament is not merely an increase of habitual grace, but furthermore a
certain actual delectation of spiritual sweetness. But although grace was
not increased in Christ through His receiving this sacrament, yet He had
a certain spiritual delectation from the new institution of this
sacrament. Hence He Himself said (Lk. 22:15): "With desire I have desired
to eat this Pasch with you," which words Eusebius explains of the new
mystery of the New Testament, which He gave to the disciples. And
therefore He ate it both spiritually and sacramentally, inasmuch as He
received His own body under the sacrament which sacrament of His own body
He both understood and prepared; yet differently from others who partake
of it both sacramentally and spiritually, for these receive an increase
of grace, and they have need of the sacramental signs for perceiving its
Article 2: Whether Christ gave His body to Judas?
Objection 1: It seems that Christ did not give His body to Judas. Because, as
we read (Mt. 26:29), our Lord, after giving His body and blood to the
disciples, said to them: "I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit
of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the
kingdom of My Father." From this it appears that those to whom He had
given His body and blood were to drink of it again with Him. But Judas
did not drink of it afterwards with Him. Therefore he did not receive
Christ's body and blood with the other disciples.
Objection 2: Further, what the Lord commanded, He Himself fulfilled, as is
said in Acts 1:1: "Jesus began to do and to teach." But He gave the
command (Mt. 7:6): "Give not that which is holy to dogs." Therefore,
knowing Judas to be a sinner, seemingly He did not give him His body and
Objection 3: Further, it is distinctly related (Jn. 13:26) that Christ gave
dipped bread to Judas. Consequently, if He gave His body to him, it
appears that He gave it him in the morsel, especially since we read (Jn. 13:26) that "after the morsel, Satan entered into him." And on this
passage Augustine says (Tract. lxii in Joan.): "From this we learn how we
should beware of receiving a good thing in an evil way . . . For if he be
'chastised' who does 'not discern,' i.e. distinguish, the body of the
Lord from other meats, how must he be 'condemned' who, feigning himself a
friend, comes to His table a foe?" But (Judas) did not receive our Lord's
body with the dipped morsel; thus Augustine commenting on Jn. 13:26,
"When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon the
Iscariot [Vulg.: 'to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon]," says (Tract.
lxii in Joan.): "Judas did not receive Christ's body then, as some think
who read carelessly." Therefore it seems that Judas did not receive the
body of Christ.
On the contrary, Chrysostom says (Hom. lxxxii in Matth.): "Judas was not
converted while partaking of the sacred mysteries: hence on both sides
his crime becomes the more heinous, both because imbued with such a
purpose he approached the mysteries, and because he became none the
better for approaching, neither from fear, nor from the benefit received,
nor from the honor conferred on him."
I answer that, Hilary, in commenting on Mt. 26:17, held that Christ did
not give His body and blood to Judas. And this would have been quite
proper, if the malice of Judas be considered. But since Christ was to
serve us as a pattern of justice, it was not in keeping with His teaching
authority to sever Judas, a hidden sinner, from Communion with the others
without an accuser and evident proof. lest the Church's prelates might
have an example for doing the like, and lest Judas himself being
exasperated might take occasion of sinning. Therefore, it remains to be
said that Judas received our Lord's body and blood with the other
disciples, as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. iii), and Augustine (Tract.
lxii in Joan.).
Reply to Objection 1: This is Hilary's argument, to show that Judas did not
receive Christ's body. But it is not cogent; because Christ is speaking
to the disciples, from whose company Judas separated himself: and it was
not Christ that excluded him. Therefore Christ for His part drinks the
wine even with Judas in the kingdom of God; but Judas himself repudiated
Reply to Objection 2: The wickedness of Judas was known to Christ as God; but it
was unknown to Him, after the manner in which men know it. Consequently,
Christ did not repel Judas from Communion; so as to furnish an example
that such secret sinners are not to be repelled by other priests.
Reply to Objection 3: Without any doubt Judas did not receive Christ's body in
the dipped bread; he received mere bread. Yet as Augustine observes
(Tract. lxii in Joan.), "perchance the feigning of Judas is denoted by
the dipping of the bread; just as some things are dipped to be dyed. If,
however, the dipping signifies here anything good" (for instance, the
sweetness of the Divine goodness, since bread is rendered more savory by
being dipped), "then, not undeservedly, did condemnation follow his
ingratitude for that same good." And owing to that ingratitude, "what is
good became evil to him, as happens to them who receive Christ's body
And as Augustine says (Tract. lxii in Joan.), "it must be understood
that our Lord had already distributed the sacrament of His body and blood
to all His disciples, among whom was Judas also, as Luke narrates: and
after that, we came to this, where, according to the relation of John,
our Lord, by dipping and handing the morsel, does most openly declare His
Article 3: Whether Christ received and gave to the disciples His impassible body?
Objection 1: It seems that Christ both received and gave to the disciples His
impassible body. Because on Mt. 17:2, "He was transfigured before them,"
the gloss says: "He gave to the disciples at the supper that body which
He had through nature, but neither mortal nor passible." And again, on
Lev. 2:5, "if thy oblation be from the frying-pan," the gloss says: "The
Cross mightier than all things made Christ's flesh fit for being eaten,
which before the Passion did not seem so suited." But Christ gave His
body as suited for eating. Therefore He gave it just as it was after the
Passion, that is, impassible and immortal.
Objection 2: Further, every passible body suffers by contact and by being
eaten. Consequently, if Christ's body was passible, it would have
suffered both from contact and from being eaten by the disciples.
Objection 3: Further, the sacramental words now spoken by the priest in the
person of Christ are not more powerful than when uttered by Christ
Himself. But now by virtue of the sacramental words it is Christ's
impassible and immortal body which is consecrated upon the altar.
Therefore, much more so was it then.
On the contrary, As Innocent III says (De Sacr. Alt. Myst. iv), "He
bestowed on the disciples His body such as it was." But then He had a
passible and a mortal body. Therefore, He gave a passible and mortal body
to the disciples.
I answer that, Hugh of Saint Victor (Innocent III, De Sacr. Alt. Myst.
iv), maintained, that before the Passion, Christ assumed at various times
the four properties of a glorified body ---namely, subtlety in His birth,
when He came forth from the closed womb of the Virgin; agility, when He
walked dryshod upon the sea; clarity, in the Transfiguration; and
impassibility at the Last Supper, when He gave His body to the disciples
to be eaten. And according to this He gave His body in an impassible and
immortal condition to His disciples.
But whatever may be the case touching the other qualities, concerning
which we have already stated what should be held (Question , Article , ad 3; Question , Article ), nevertheless the above opinion regarding impassibility is
inadmissible. For it is manifest that the same body of Christ which was
then seen by the disciples in its own species, was received by them under
the sacramental species. But as seen in its own species it was not
impassible; nay more, it was ready for the Passion. Therefore, neither
was Christ's body impassible when given under the sacramental species.
Yet there was present in the sacrament, in an impassible manner, that
which was passible of itself; just as that was there invisibly which of
itself was visible. For as sight requires that the body seen be in
contact with the adjacent medium of sight, so does passion require
contact of the suffering body with the active agents. But Christ's body,
according as it is under the sacrament, as stated above (Article , ad 2; Question , Article ), is not compared with its surroundings through the
intermediary of its own dimensions, whereby bodies touch each other, but
through the dimensions of the bread and wine; consequently, it is those
species which are acted upon and are seen, but not Christ's own body.
Reply to Objection 1: Christ is said not to have given His mortal and passible
body at the supper, because He did not give it in mortal and passible
fashion. But the Cross made His flesh adapted for eating, inasmuch as
this sacrament represents Christ's Passion.
Reply to Objection 2: This argument would hold, if Christ's body, as it was
passible, were also present in a passible manner in this sacrament.
Reply to Objection 3: As stated above (Question , Article ), the accidents of Christ's
body are in this sacrament by real concomitance, but not by the power of
the sacrament, whereby the substance of Christ's body comes to be there.
And therefore the power of the sacramental words extends to this, that
the body, i.e. Christ's, is under this sacrament, whatever accidents
really exist in it.
Article 4: Whether, if this sacrament had been reserved in a pyx, or consecrated at the moment of Christ's death by one of the apostles, Christ Himself would have died there?
Objection 1: It seems that if this sacrament had been reserved in a pyx at the
moment of Christ's death, or had then been consecrated by one of the
apostles, that Christ would not have died there. For Christ's death
happened through His Passion. But even then He was in this sacrament in
an impassible manner. Therefore, He could not die in this sacrament.
Objection 2: Further, on the death of Christ, His blood was separated from the
body. But His flesh and blood are together in this sacrament. Therefore
He could not die in this sacrament.
Objection 3: Further, death ensues from the separation of the soul from the
body. But both the body and the soul of Christ are contained in this
sacrament. Therefore Christ could not die in this sacrament.
On the contrary, The same Christ Who was upon the cross would have been
in this sacrament. But He died upon the cross. Therefore, if this
sacrament had been reserved, He would have died therein.
I answer that, Christ's body is substantially the same in this
sacrament, as in its proper species, but not after the same fashion;
because in its proper species it comes in contact with surrounding bodies
by its own dimensions: but it does not do so as it is in this sacrament,
as stated above (Article ). And therefore, all that belongs to Christ, as He
is in Himself, can be attributed to Him both in His proper species, and
as He exists in the sacrament; such as to live, to die, to grieve, to be
animate or inanimate, and the like; while all that belongs to Him in
relation to outward bodies, can be attributed to Him as He exists in His
proper species, but not as He is in this sacrament; such as to be mocked,
to be spat upon, to be crucified, to be scourged, and the rest. Hence
some have composed this verse:
"Our Lord can grieve beneath the sacramental veils But cannot feel the
piercing of the thorns and nails."
Reply to Objection 1: As was stated above, suffering belongs to a body that
suffers in respect of some extrinsic body. And therefore Christ, as in
this sacrament, cannot suffer; yet He can die.
Reply to Objection 2: As was said above (Question , Article ), in virtue of the
consecration, the body of Christ is under the species of bread, while His
blood is under the species of wine. But now that His blood is not really
separated from His body; by real concomitance, both His blood is present
with the body under the species of the bread, and His body together with
the blood under the species of the wine. But at the time when Christ
suffered, when His blood was really separated from His body, if this
sacrament had been consecrated, then the body only would have been
present under the species of the bread, and the blood only under the
species of the wine.
Reply to Objection 3: As was observed above (Question , Article , ad 1), Christ's soul is in this sacrament by real concomitance; because it is not without the body: but it is not there in virtue of the consecration. And therefore, if this sacrament had been consecrated then, or reserved, when His soul was really separated from His body, Christ's soul would not have been under this sacrament, not from any defect in the form of the words, but owing to the different dispositions of the thing contained.