"We become what we recieve"
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,472
    I hear these words in many hymns or words to that effect. I am suspicious about this phrase being orthodox. I once asked a preist,
    And he said that this idea is found in Augustine. Comments?
  • advocatusadvocatus
    Posts: 85
    “If we receive the Eucharist worthily, we become what we receive.” (St. Augustine, Easter Sermon, 277)
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,999
    Perhaps this isn't clear, but the best summation of Augustinian thought is not a phrase of Augustine himself but a modern English idiom: You are what you eat. That is, you are moved by what you love and the degree to which you love it, and you then become like it in the same degree that you love it. There was no law of gravitation, so things fell in proportion to weight, and Augustine applied that to love.

    So for instance in the Eucharist we love Christ and are moved by our love, which should be above all things, and through grace we become like God, though not substantially of course. (The same is true of eating too much junk food, actually.)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Out of curiosity, was this prompted by Fr. Schiavone's "Amen! El Cuerpo de Cristo?"
    Thanked by 1Ben
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,999
    No, I just assumed the OP was referring to a contemporary eucharistic hymn. My way of understanding it comes from a “Duh!” moment I had while reading the first four or so chapters of Confessions, with my teacher explaining his physics. He talks about food a fair bit, so the connection is obvious...
  • Considering that our diet shapes our health and mind and intelligence in powerful ways, and that an unhealthy diet is destructive of all the above, and that some things ingested by unwise folk destroy their minds and lives, and so on an so forth, Greg's question, in whatever form, can only be answered in the affirmative. Further, we have it on the testimony of the Son of God that eating his flesh and drinking his blook will make us, if we cooperate, into his likeness eternally. No one of true faith, none of his sons and heirs, questions this. It is indeed awe-ful to think about.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 258
    There is also the corporal element. By celebrating and receiving the sacrament, the church becomes more fully what she is already, the Body of Christ.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 388
    To take it even further, the Church Fathers are constantly saying that "God became man so that man might become God." In receiving the Grace of God, the gift of His Divine Life, we come to share in that life and truly become God. What God has by nature, we have by participation.

    His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[b] his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
  • This is one of the most beautiful of all truths of the Catholic faith.

    United to Jesus through faith and love, the communicant “is transformed into him and becomes his member,” says Aquinas, “for this food is not changed into the one who eats it, but turns into itself the one who takes it . . . This is a food capable of making man divine and inebriating him with divinity.”[1] In the Sentences, Thomas simply states: “the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, that it might be said with the Apostle, ‘I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.’”[2]

    [1] Super Ioan. 6, lec. 7, §969; cf. ST III, q. 73, a. 3, ad 2. In these places Thomas goes on to cite a passage from the Confessions in which Augustine describes how he heard Christ saying to him: “You will not be changing me into you, as food becomes your flesh; it is rather you who will be changed into me” (Confessions 7.10; cf. Pine-Coffin, 147). Commenting on Ps. 22:5, Aquinas writes: “This [goodly] cup is the gift of divine love which inebriates, since one who is drunk is not in himself . . . for he is made to be in ecstasy”; “the cup means the blood of Christ, which ought to make us drunk” (Super Ps. 22, n. 2).

    [2] In IV Sent., d. 12, q. 2, a. 1, qa. 1.
  • Priestboi
    Posts: 155
    In short, Theosis, or in Latin terms Divinization...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Just as orthodox teaching out of context can be understood in an unorthodox manner, here we have the lowering of God masquerading as orthodox Christian teaching.

    It is true that when we receive Christ it is we who are transformed, not Christ.
    It is further true that Christ, being God, condescended to be among us and to become food for our souls.

    It is nevertheless not true that receiving Christ is, always and everywhere, good for us. St. Thomas Aquinas, echoing St. Paul, tells us that if we receive unworthily, we commit an awful sin against God.

    When the Church architecture reminds us of the awesomeness of God, and raises our thought to contemplate the divine, all the teaching advanced that "we become what we receive" is in its proper place. But if the building screams "Bauhaus", and if the faith that Christ is transsubstantially present under the appearance of bread and wine is absent, then "we become what we receive" merely reinforces the anthropocentrality of modern worship.

    Exhibit A in this case, in musical terms, is Michael Joncas' ditty "I have loved you with an everlasting love" -- which I have spoofed as "I have loved you with such narcissistic love". Scripture isn't the problem, and neither is the proper exposition of doctrine.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 333
    No silver lining so bright that it can't be wrapped in a big dark cloud.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,771
    Overheard yesterday: "I can't even remember the last time I left church feeling this guilty."
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    Just as orthodox teaching out of context can be understood in an unorthodox manner, here we have the lowering of God masquerading as orthodox Christian teaching.

    Where? Were you referring to something actually mentioned in the thread earlier? The actual song or situation mentioned by the OP or another poster? Your own assumption about what someone might mean when they utter the words in the thread title?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,169
    This series of quotations sounds even more daring than the one from Augustine:
    The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":78
    "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79
    "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80
    "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81

    And to think the editors had the nerve to footnote them all:
    78 2 Pt 1:4.
    79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
    80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
    81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.

    If anyone wants to investigate this further, here's where I got the list.

    On the other hand, to be fair to CGZ, it is possible that someone might present the quotation from Augustine in an exaggerated form: e.g., to suggest that the faithful should give latria one to another; that would be an error.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,999
    I could also see this in the context of receiving the other person and being kind and merciful towards him, chonak, which in this day and age would probably underemphasize the next step, that of theosis, even though it’s a correct application of Augustine’s view of love.