Once again, from The Byzantine Anglo-Catholic:
Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) Response to Cardinal Bellarmine
Christ said “this is my body.” He did not say “this is my body in this way”. We are in agreement with you as to the end; the whole controversy is as to the method. As to the “This”, we hold with firm faith that it is. As to the “this is in this way”, (namely by the Transubstantiation of the bread into the body), as to the method whereby it happens that it is, by means of In or With or Under or By transition there is no word expressed [in Scripture]. And because there is no word, we rightly make it not of faith; we place it perhaps among the theories of the school, but not among the articles of the faith…We believe no less than you that the presence is real. Concerning the method of the presence, we define nothing rashly, and I add, we do not anxiously inquire, any more than how the blood of Christ washes us in Baptism, any more than how the human and divine natures are united in one Person in the Incarnation of Christ.
Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) The Holy Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent
…while I believe the consecrated elements to become, by virtue of his consecratory words, truly and really, yet spiritually and in an ineffable way, His Body and Blood, I learnt also to withhold my thoughts as to the mode of this great Mystery, but as a Mystery to adore it. With the Fathers, then, and our own great Divines…I could not but speak of the consecrated elements as being what, since He has so called them, I believe them to become His Body and Blood…
M. R. Carpenter-Garnier (The Divine Guest)
The principal underlying the Incarnation is that spirit is expressed through matter, the inward through the outward, the invisible through the visible. So God became man. So Christ entered into human life, and lived and loved as a man…It is in line with this that, when he gives to his people this divine gift, this gift of himself, he should use the same method. As once at Bethlehem he hid the divine glory through uniting with it the weakness of our nature, so now that self-same life he hides under simple material forms. It is, then, to God Incarnate that we come in Holy communion.
Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) Worship
In the Christian sacrifice, the Logos enters the time-series and is self-given under fugitive species to the creature, that by feeding on Reality the creature may be transformed: receiving by infusion the gift of charity to strengthen, purify, and at last supernaturalize his own imperfect love, and thus bring a little nearer that transfiguration of the world in Christ which is the creative goal of Christian worship.
Rowan Williams (1950- ) Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel
The Eucharist demonstrates that material reality can become charged with Jesus’ life, and so proclaimed hope for the whole world of matter. The material, habitually used as a means of exclusion, of violence, can become a means of communication. Matter as hoarded or dominated or exploited speaks of the distortion and ultimate severance of relationship, and as such can only be a sign of death…The matter of the Eucharist, carrying the presence of the risen Jesus, can only be a sign of life, of triumph over the death of exclusion and isolation…If the Eucharist is a sign of the ultimate Lordship of Jesus, his “freedom” to unite to himself the whole material order as a symbol of grace, it speaks of creation itself, and the place of Jesus in creation.
Marilyn McCord Adams (1943- ) Christ and Horrors
God’ unitive aims in creation lead not only to the evolution of the material into the personal, but also to Incarnation, to God’s expressing divine love for material creation by becoming a human being. But God loves material creation by loving us. The Inner Teacher is omnipresent and ever helpful but difficult for personal animals to recognize or pay attention to. As animals we focus easily on what is sense-perceptible, on what we can see and touch and handle, on what is concrete and locatable in space and time. To grow up and flourish as human beings, we need embodied persons to care for us, to be role models of how to be embodied persons, of how to personify matter in wholesome ways. In the Incarnation, God enters into personal intimacy with material creation, not just through His Divine nature and across the metaphysical size-gap, but through His human nature. Jesus relates to Peter, James and John, to the women suffering from hemorrhage and spinal curvature, to blind men and lepers, embodied person to embodied person…Christ’s earthly career climaxing in His passion, death, and resurrection…does not bring an end to our need or the benefit to us as human beings of contacting God, embodied person to embodied person–of seeing, touching and handling God in a determinate place and time. Our need for concrete interaction is all the more urgent given that our being embodied persons in a material world such as this exposes us to horrors. To suppose that God–even God Incarnate–is aloof from horrors while we continue to be exposed to them is alienating. If we are vulnerable to God and to the world, but God is now impassible in all His natures, then God is no longer meeting us on our own level as He once did.
Wouldn’t, why wouldn’t, a God Who loved material creation, and who loves us as a way of loving material creation, want–in Luther’s language–to continue the Incarnation by becoming really present for us in the very sacrament that rivets our attention on horrors by showing forth the Lord’s death?