ambrose_of_milanMoses was holding a rod, he cast it down and it became a serpent. Again, he took hold of the tail of the serpent and it returned to the nature of a rod.

[…] The people of the Hebrews were shut in on every side…; Moses lifted up his rod, the water divided and hardened like walls, and a way for the feet appeared between the waves.

Jordan being turned back, returned, contrary to nature, to the source of its stream.

[…] We observe, then, that grace has more power than nature, and yet so far we have only spoken of the grace of a prophet’s blessing.

But if the blessing of man had such power as to change nature, what are we to say of that divine consecration where the very words of the Lord and Saviour operate?

For that sacrament which you receive is made what it is by the word of Christ.

But if the word of Elijah had such power as to bring down fire from heaven, shall not the word of Christ have power to change the nature of the elements?

You read concerning the making of the whole world: “He spake and they were made, He commanded and they were created.”

Shall not the word of Christ, which was able to make out of nothing that which was not, be able to change things which already are into what they were not? For it is not less to give a new nature to things than to change them.

But why make use of arguments? Let us use the examples He gives, and by the example of the Incarnation prove the truth of the mystery.

Did the course of nature proceed as usual when the Lord Jesus was born of Mary? If we look to the usual course, a woman ordinarily conceives after connection with a man. And this body which we make is that which was born of the Virgin.

Why do you seek the order of nature in the Body of Christ, seeing that the Lord Jesus Himself was born of a Virgin, not according to nature?

It is the true Flesh of Christ which crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body.

The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: “This is My Body.” Before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the consecration the Body is signified.

He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood.

And you say, Amen, that is, It is true. Let the heart within confess what the mouth utters, let the soul feel what the voice speaks.

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): On the Mysteries, 9, 51-54.

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