Vi Verborum and the Real Presence

Credit for this argument goes to Fr. Robert Barron.

Those who say that Christ’s Eucharistic presence is merely symbolic rather than true and substantial miss something very important. This crucial point would be the power of His speech. Allow me to elaborate.

When we observe the very beginning of John’s Gospel, we see that the pre-incarnate Jesus is called the Word. He is the reason all creation is as it as, and He can change it as He pleases, being the Word responsible for all things. He is the definitive Word, the ultimate Word, the all-powerful Word and what He says goes.

Our Lord’s ability to affect reality by means of speech is seen time and time again throughout His public ministry. He says, “My son, your sins are forgiven” to the paralytic in Matthew 9 and from then on, the man’s sins are indeed forgiven. He says to the deceased Lazarus, “Come out!” (John 11:43) and sure enough, Lazarus comes out. He declares the centurion’s servant to be healed and sure enough, the servant is healed. He says that Jairus’ daughter isn’t dead; sure enough, she’s not dead. He tells the disciples that they’ll find fish by casting their nets as He directs, and sure enough, they find fish.

I’m sure by now you get the idea. Jesus can vi verborum, by the power of His words, affect the nature of things. If He says it to be so, then it is so.

At the Last Supper He said, “This is My body” and “This is the cup of My blood”. There was nothing in His speech to signify something other than literalness, just as there was nothing other than literalness in regard to His other miracles which changed reality. When the Lord performed the other miracles such as raising from the dead, everything He said was true at its face value. Why would that be different here? And you know that He does indeed have the power to change the reality of bread and wine into His own flesh and blood, so if He declares it, and He’s able, how could you deny that the Real Presence is true? As I said, His speech brought about  changes in other things. Is it likely that this is different?

The literalness of His declaration is made especially clear when He affects the change of the wine. He says not only, “This is the cup of My blood” but rather, He equates it in no uncertain terms with His very blood by saying “…which is poured out for many”. This is something which can only be said of the true, real, actual blood of Christ.

If the only argument that can be made against the Real Presence is “It’s gross” or “shocking” then I invite you to take a look at everything Jesus did. Sure, you could say, “No one in his right mind would want people to eat him”, but no one in his right mind would claim to be God, either. The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy for claiming to be God, an outlandish thing, and yet we know that He is God indeed. They took Him literally about that, and He took Himself literally. They took Him literally when He said in John 6 that eating His flesh and drinking His blood is necessary for eternal life, and He was opposed to those who said, “Gross!”…just like He was opposed to those who denied His divinity.

Is Jesus God, or isn’t He? Can He or can’t He?

Think about it.

His blessings to you,



4 thoughts on “Vi Verborum and the Real Presence”

  1. Great post! Loved your supporting evidence…not to get too intellectual or anything. But, I read somewhere (don’t remember where) that if Protestants were right about the whole communion symbolic thing, then God would be lying. He SAID He was present in the bread and wine. Thus, He is. And it’s awesome.


      1. I liked the article. Someone should compile a “Reasons From Reason Why the Real Presence is True” (reasons such as “vi verborum” and that which was spoken of in your post, for example).


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