St John Chrysostom (347-407) was an outstanding preacher. In the year 398 he was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople and fast became popular with this Flock through his example of preaching and courage in front of the imperial power. In one of his homilies, he stated that the union with Christ is more that can be achieved by faith and love. Those who partake of Christ become his very body-"members of his flesh and of his bones"- like Paul says in Ephesians 5:30. For Chrysostom, the reality of the body of Christ in the Eucharist both causes and patterns the real union of the Church with Christ and the real unity of its members with each other.
Chrysostom insists that the whole Church celebrates the Eucharist. WE are all offering it, but it is in the priest who acts as Christ's representative, yet above all, it is the activity of Christ in the sacred and awe-inspiring mystery, it is the poser of God that makes the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. : This is my body"-he says, this transforms the elements.
Chrysostom sees no contradiction in ascribing the consecration both to Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit completes the sacrifice, and the effect of the Eucharist, Chrysostom describes as the "the grace of the Spirit." The Spirit transforms not only the gifts on the altar, but also the recipients, who become a new creation and Christ becomes a model for imitation. Christ intends to unite us to himself in the Eucharist.
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