From “An Exposition on the Church Catechism” (1685)
O God Incarnate, how the bread and the wine, unchanged in their substance, become your body and your blood ; after what extraordinary manner you, who are in heaven, are present throughout the whole sacramental action, to every devout receiver; how you can give us your flesh to eat and your blood to drink, how your flesh is meat indeed and your blood is drink indeed, how he who eats your flesh and drinks your blood dwells in you, and you in him, how he shall live by you, and shall be raised up by you to life eternal, how you who are in heaven are present on the altar, I can by no means explain. But I firmly believe it all, because you have said it, and I firmly rely on your love and on your omnipotence to make good your word, though the manner of doing it I cannot comprehend.
I believe, O crucified Lord, that “the bread which we break” in the celebration of the holy mysteries, is the communication of your body, and the “cup of blessing which we bless,” is the communication of your blood ; and that you do as effectually and really convey your body and blood to our souls by the bread and wine, as you did your Holy Spirit, by your breath to your disciples; for which all love, all glory, be to you.
Lord, why do I need to labor in vain, to search out the manner of your mysterious presence in the sacrament, when my love assures me you are there? All the faithful who approach you with prepared hearts well know you are there; they feel the virtue of divine love going out of you, to heal their infirmities, and to inflame their affections; for which all love, all glory, be to you.
O holy Jesu, when at your altar I see the bread broken, and the wine poured out, O teach me to discern your body there. O let those sacred and significant actions create in me a most lively remembrance of your sufferings, how your most blessed body was scourged, and wounded, and bruised, and tormented; how your most precious blood was shed for my sins; and set all my powers at work, to love you and to celebrate your love in so dying
Thomas Ken (1637-1711) was an Anglican bishop and theologian, the author of several much-loved hymns, including the text commonly known as “the Doxology.” He was chaplain to King Charles II, and became Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1684. He resigned his see in 1688, believing he could not break his oath of allegiance to King James II, and was an important leader in the Nonjuring Movement. His Exposition on the Church Catechism was published early in his episcopate. He is commemorated on March 21 on the calendar of several Anglican churches.