Friday, February 29, 2008
Large Catechism, The Sacrament of the Altar (Food of Souls)--Martin Luther
“Now examine further the effectiveness and benefits that really caused the Sacrament to be instituted. This is its most necessary part, so that we may know what we should seek and gain there. This is plain and clear from the words just mentioned, ‘This is My body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.’ Briefly, that is like saying, ‘For this reason we go to the Sacrament: there we receive such a treasure by and in which we gain forgiveness of sins.’ ‘Why so?’ Because the words stand here and give us this. Therefore, Christ asks me to eat and drink, so that this treasure may be my own and may benefit me as a sure pledge and token. In fact, it is the very same treasure that is appointed for me against my sins, death, and every disaster.’
On this account it is indeed called a food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man. For by Baptism we are first born anew (John 3:5). But, as we said before, there still remains the old vicious nature of flesh and blood in mankind. There are so many hindrances and temptations of the devil and of the world that we often become weary and faint, and sometimes we also stumble (Hebrews 12:3).
Therefore, the Sacrament is given as a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself (Psalm 23:1-3) so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger.”