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How the Eucharist is an “antidote” to death


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Philip Kosloski - published on 07/05/21

St. Ignatius of Antioch believed the reception of communion provided the "medicine of immortality."
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As humans, we often fear death, not knowing what will happen to us after we die. This is one of the reasons why many have sought for a “fountain of youth,” or the means to keep living forever.

Early Christians found that “antidote to death” in the Eucharist.

Second-century bishop St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote in his letter to the Ephesians about the power of the Eucharist and its ability to unite us to Christ and live forever in eternity.

[O]bey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ.

This does not mean that the Eucharist can somehow allow us to live endlessly on earth, but that it grants us the eternal bliss of Heaven.

Ignatius was a student ofSt. John the Apostle, who wrote a similar statement in his Gospel.

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you …This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

John 6:53, 58

The worthy reception of the Eucharist at Mass increases our love of God, thereby increasing our desire for him in eternity.

The Eucharist is our “food for the journey,” ushering us on toward the beatific vision of God, where death will be no more.

If we want true and lasting immortality, turn to Jesus in the Eucharist.

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