The Eucharist

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by neal4christ, Jan 25, 2003.

  1. neal4christ

    neal4christ
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    What is the Catholic view of the Eucharist? I am reading a book by a Protestant and it addressed the Eucharist, but I want to see how the Catholics here see it. What is it, what happens with it, what does it mean to you, etc.

    Thanks! [​IMG]

    Neal
     
  2. GraceSaves

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    The Eucharist, which means "thanksgiving" is "the most blessed Sacrament." It is the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, given and presented to the faithful for spiritual nourishment.

    As for what happens with it, a properly ordained priest speaks the words of Jesus Christ in which a re-presentation of the same sacrifice on Calvary occurs. Christ fulfills His promise to be with us until the very end of the age, as we participate in His offering of His own life to the Father.

    The bread and wine, at the instant of consecration (the saying of Christ's words by the priest), become for us the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the God and Creator of the universe in His entirity. The bread is no longer bread, but the Body and Blood of Christ. The wine is no longer wine but the Body and Blood of Christ. I say that both "body and blood" are present in each because Christ Himself cannot be seperated. We can't say that "part of Jesus is over here while the other half of Him is over there." Christ is fully present in the "bread" and fully present in the "wine." To receive either one or the other is receive Jesus wholly.

    Further, the Body and Blood are now present forever until consumed by man. Because of this, and since it is JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD AND GOD, then He it is wholly proper to worship and adore Him. Further, any of the Body of Christ that is not consumed is to be reserved in the tabernacle to later be taken to the sick or shut-in. And because Jesus is wholly present there in the tabernacle, it is right and fitting to spend time with Him there in prayer. That's something that I really enjoy doing several times a week (in addition to Eucharistic Adoration, when the Body of Christ is exposed in a monstrance, for anyone to come in and pray and spend time with Jesus).

    Please ask any further questions that you may have.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  3. GraceSaves

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    I might add that it was (to my memory) spending time in adoration of the Eucharist that I first felt my call to become Catholic. The overwhelming sense of peace and joy that radiated there was undeniable. Further, I look forward to EVERY Mass I attend (which is on average five times a week) because I will be receiving my Lord and Savior, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is the most personal and powerful gift that the Lord provides for us on this pilgrimage on earth.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  4. BrianT

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    Hi Grant,

    Like Neal, I am trying to better understand the Catholic view of the Eucharist. One thing you said raised a question in my mind:

    Why then do the Eucharistic passages (Mat 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24) only say the bread is the body, and not both. Similarly, the verses about the cup only say "blood", not both.

    One other question that I have: I understand why the reverence for the bread and wine after the consecration. But why do people genuflect it *before* it is consecrated?

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  5. neal4christ

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    Okay, Grant, I am not trying to start an argument, but I have a question about the Eucharist. The author I am reading says that the bread and wine are symbols of Christ, not the actual presence of Christ. Further, he says that the Eucharist contradicts John 19:30, "It is finished" and says Hebrews 9:24-28 shows that Christ's sacrifice was once and for all, and that the Eucharist contradicts this Scripture by saying that Christ is offered over and over. What do you do with this? I am just trying to understand Catholic thinking, not trying to fight. I just thought it would be best to get an answer from the horse's (not that you are a horse!) mouth, rather than from just one perspective.

    Thanks!
    Neal
     
  6. GraceSaves

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    It's possible that I misspoke. My intent, and this I AM sure of, is that you receive Christ completely in either the "bread" or the "wine." Christ cannot be seperated into parts, where you receive half of Him here, and if, say, they ran out of the "wine," you would still have received ALL of Jesus Christ. And because it is ALL Jesus, you perhaps could say that the blood is in the body and the body in the blood. If you can show me Catholic teaching in opposition to this, I'll be happy to recant. This is my understanding of it, though, and I do know that Catholic teaching says that you receive Jesus completely under either species.

    I'm not familiar with genulecting at the bread or wine before consecration. In all of the Masses I attend, the only "genuflecting" occurs when entering the sanctuary or perhaps before entering a pew. This genuflect SHOULD be designated towards the TABERNACLE, where the Body of Christ is retained before/after Masses. This is, obviously, consecrated. I see some people just do a general genuflection (is that a word?) towards perhaps the alter, which means they probably don't know why they're even doing it. That doesn't make them right.

    Other than that, we don't kneel until the prayer right before the words of consecration (right after the "Holy, Holy, Holy."

    Hope that answers your questions!

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  7. Carson Weber

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    Hi Brian,

    You asked, "Why then do the Eucharistic passages (Mat 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24) only say the bread is the body, and not both. Similarly, the verses about the cup only say "blood", not both."

    The signs of the Eucharist point to different realities in the same Eucharist. The bread is a better sign of the body, and so we call it "the body". The wine is a better sign of the blood, and so we call it "the blood". Since the Eucharist is the presence of Christ's glorified body (which is not dead, and death is the separation of the body from the blood), both the wine and the bread become the whole Christ (Christus totus). Of course, this is a mystery accepted on faith, but we can come to understand much of the mystery by our reflecting upon it through reason.

    One other question that I have: I understand why the reverence for the bread and wine after the consecration. But why do people genuflect it *before* it is consecrated?

    People do not genuflect before the bread and wine before the consecration. What you are probably referring to is when people genuflect to the tabernacle where extra consecrated hosts are stored from the previous liturgy.

    Hi Neal,

    The author I am reading says that the bread and wine are symbols of Christ, not the actual presence of Christ.

    If the author is attempting to represent the Catholic faith, he is incorrect.

    Further, he says that the Eucharist contradicts John 19:30, "It is finished" and says Hebrews 9:24-28 shows that Christ's sacrifice was once and for all, and that the Eucharist contradicts this Scripture by saying that Christ is offered over and over. What do you do with this?

    The Eucharist is a representation in time and space of the once-for-all sacrifice that Christ offered upon the Cross on Golgatha/Calvary.

    Stephen K. Ray, a former Baptist, explains this very well here:

    http://www.catholic-convert.com/writings/mass1.html

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  8. GraceSaves

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    The author, assuming he lives in America, is free to say whatever he wants to say. ;) This is the commonly held Protestant belief (excluding Lutherans, Episcopal, Anglican), so I can understand why he's saying it, but without legitimate reasons, I don't really have anything to refute here. If you're just trusting him for the sake of him saying it, you can trust me for saying that it is NOT symbolic but ACTUAL. [​IMG]

    It is finished; the actual sacrifice was done once and will never again be repeated. But the APPLICATION of that sacrifice will continue to take place until Christ comes again in glory. Do you think it is a foolish statement to say that the application of Christ's perfect sacrifice needs to be ongoing so that it reaches all Christians in all times? I don't.

    Further, the Church teaches QUITE clearly that it is not a re-sacrificing, but a re-presentation of the one and same sacrifice. For anyone to say that Catholics believe in a resacrifice or even a continual sacrifice, they're wasting their breath. It's never been taught by the Church.

    Neeeeehhhh! (or however you'd write a horse sound)

    Thanks for honestly asking and seeking answers, and even more than that, listening.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  9. neal4christ

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    Sorry if I wasn't clear, Carson. The author (John Armstrong, "The Catholic Mystery") is saying that the bread and wine are symbols, not the real presence. He is representing the Protestant view.

    Thanks for the info, Carson.

    Now this is for all Catholics. Does the sacrament itself save you or give you grace, or is it Christ doing it? This is another issue in the book that I have gotten to.

    Thanks,
    Neal
     
  10. neal4christ

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    Grant,

    No, I am not trusting him just for him saying it. Actually I am investigating the whole issue. He argues that it is clear Christ meant it as symbolic because His glorified body is now in heaven, so it can't be in the Eucharist. He says they are to remember Christ's sacrifice, but not for His actual presence now.

    That is what I thought the Catholic stance was when I was reading the Catechism. Let me think of that question. My first inclination is that I agree with you. But let me think about it for a bit.

    Again, from reading the Catechism, this is what I gathered from it.

    And thanks for answering. There will probably be many more questions while I look into what the Catholic Church teaches.

    Thanks,
    Neal

    [ January 25, 2003, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: neal4christ ]
     
  11. LaRae

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    Receiving the Eucharist is a Grace. When you are in the presence of the Eucharist you are in the presence of Christ....the Real Presence. Christ is "doing it" because it IS Christ.

    LaRae
     
  12. neal4christ

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    That is what I was gathering from a quote of the Catechism in this book. The Catechism states:

    "Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify. They are effcacious because in them Christ himself is at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in the sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies."

    After quoting this, though, the author turns around and then says, "the thing is actually accomplished by the sacrament." In another spot he says, "It [referring to the sacrament] is the reality; it actually effects in the heart of baptized believers something of God's grace." (Emphasis in original)

    Now correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that the author is saying that the sacrament itself is working, but the Catechism clearly states that it is Christ working through the sacrament.

    I am just wondering, because I often hear the argument against Catholics that they do works and take sacrements because they think the works save them. But if I understand this correctly, Catholics are actually pointing to Christ in the sacraments and say that He is the one working. Would this be an accurate representation of what (true) Catholics believe?

    Trying to sort this all out,
    Neal :rolleyes:

    [ January 25, 2003, 11:19 PM: Message edited by: neal4christ ]
     
  13. LaRae

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    "Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify. They are effcacious because in them Christ himself is at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in the sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies."

    After quoting this, though, the author turns around and then says, "the thing is actually accomplished by the sacrament." In another spot he says, "It [referring to the sacrament] is the reality; it actually effects in the heart of baptized believers something of God's grace." (Emphasis in original)

    Now correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that the author is saying that the sacrament itself is working, but the Catechism clearly states that it is Christ working through the sacrament.

    I am just wondering, because I often hear the argument against Catholics that they do works and take sacrements because they think the works save them. But if I understand this correctly, Catholics are actually pointing to Christ in the sacraments and say that He is the one working. Would this be an accurate representation of what (true) Catholics believe?

    Trying to sort this all out,
    Neal :rolleyes: [/QB][/QUOTE]

    Christ is the working in the Sacraments. Without Christ they would be meaningless. Why bother?

    Catholics do not believe works save you. Works (acts of charity) are an extension of a person who is "in Christ" .... it is something that a Christian should want to do, are called to do.

    LaRae
     
  14. GraceSaves

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    Neal,

    I'm not afraid to say that a lot of Catholics are ignorant of the faith with which they are intrusted. I'm 19 years old, and my mother told me last month that I study the Catholic faith more than any Catholic she's ever met (and I wasn't even Catholic at that point). There's a real lack of zeal these days, and that's something I daily try to change. I try to get people excited about their faith in God. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm not. But there are still a lot of people who are clueless as to what "they believe."

    Catholics do not believe that that works or sacraments saved them except in the fact that it is Christ working through them and Christ working through the Sacraments that salvation is obtained. Salvation is of Christ, not us. God is the cause of salvation, and God is the cause of the means of salvation. The sacraments are means in which special grace is imparted to us so that we have the strength (the strength that only God can give) to live IN HIM, for life in Christ gives us eternal life.

    I'm sure I didn't word that to everyone's satisfaction, but again I stress: individual works do nothing; Christ does all.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  15. GraceSaves

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    P.S.

    Neal, you keep finding that the Catechism says one thing, but this author says another...something that is clearly in contradiction with what the Church herself says she teaches. I question why you continue to trust this author as any sort of reliable source if he is clearly stating things that the Catholic Church doesn't teach AS Catholic teachings.

    Why must he deceive you to prove his point?

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  16. neal4christ

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    It is not that I am trusting him, Grant, but it was the only book I had on Catholicism at the time I decided to really look into it. I am going to read books from both sides of the fence, Protestant and Catholic. I am merely running what he says by you guys to see what you really think about it. I hate to say it, but many things we Protestants accuse you Catholics of is not really based on what I understand the Church teaches, at least the very little I have looked into so far. And that is a shame to me. I have no problems looking at the facts and making a decision from there, but these half truths must stop! There is some from the Catholic side too, I am sure, but I was really disappointed when I read the part of the Catechism quoted in his book and understood where the Church stands, and then he turned around and said that Catholics believed something totally different, when it is plainly laid out in the part of the Catechism he quoted. Am I saying that I totally agree with the Catechism? No, I have not really had time to ponder it, but I have to chew on what the Church really believes before I can make a clear decision. Thanks for your patience and I will be running more by you.

    Grant, nothing against you, but that truly is a shame you know more about your faith at age 19 than most do. I am afraid that is prevelant in most churches now, both Catholic and Protestant.

    Neal
     
  17. GraceSaves

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    Neal,

    God bless you for your objective study. Those on this board who openly propogate these half-truths...I dunno...I guess the best word would be disheartenment (if that is a word!).'

    This is why most people don't hate the Catholic Church...they hate what they think she is. And rightly so - if she was an idolotrous, blasphemous church who elevated herself about Christ and God Himself, would I, who love Christ so dearly, LOVINGLY be a part of it, and recommit myself to that faith on a daily basis? I highly doubt it. Even if she is wrong (which I do not believe is the case), when I put my faith in God to lead me closer to Him, He would not lead me into something that is by nature anti-Christian.

    Therefore, I have always logically concluded that even if the Church was wrong, she was not anti-Christian; it makes no sense to make such a claim, especially when you objective read what she has to say.

    Keep reading, brother, and keep praying. God will not lead you astray.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  18. GraceSaves

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    Neal,

    Just thought I'd add onto your comment and LaRae's response on something. I'm really not sure how one could even suggest that the Sacraments are "works" in and of themselves. Grace is from God; we are in complete agreement on that I'm sure. Therefore, since I believe (and my Church teaches) that grace is FROM GOD and GOD ALONE, then if the Sacraments provide grace, then that grace from the Sacrament is provided by God. Therefore whatever grace a sacrament gives us is given to us by God. Further, since we both agree that grace is UNDESERVED, we could never WORK to obtain it. Therefore, the grace received from a Sacrament is unmerrited, which means we didn't work for it.

    Also, please note that a sacrament cannot be considered a work unless accepting a gift is considered work. Christ baptises us and confers that grace. It is done by human means, but the supernatural gift is all of God. Same for the Eucharist; Christ does the work. Same for Confession; Christ does the work. Etc, etc, etc.

    Just wanted to offer my two cents on that issue!

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  19. neal4christ

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    Grant, why do Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ? Is it not enough to be just symbolic? I must admit, at first it sounds a bit grusome.

    Thanks,
    Neal
     
  20. GraceSaves

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    Why? It's always been believed. Just look at the first centuries of Christendom, when people were not even allowed to be in the presence of Eucharistic celebration because of its sacredness and what was ocurring there. Christians were getting slain left and right for their beliefs, and often people would infiltrate (or try to) to take out the Christians and desecrate the Eucharist. There is even a parallel in modern Catholicism for this; those who are in the conversion process (at least with our program) leave once the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins and go out to study the Word of God and ask questions. You can also see in Justin Martyr's apologies why it is to be taken literal. Leaders and officials were hearing rumors of canabalism from the Christians. For one, why would anyone take a symbolic act as canablism?

    I realize that the above is a bit scatter-brained. Although it's a Lutheran book (and presents some Lutheran biases), "The Eucharist in the First Four Centuries" was a great read. It's VERY VERY scholarly in nature, and relies on a lot of the original Greek writings. Plus, Lutherans still believe in a real presence of the Eucharist, although not to the full extent that Catholics do (consubstantiation versus transubstantiation), so it still applies.

    Non-historically speaking, we take it literal for a number of reasons. John 6. The fact that Jesus says "This IS my body. This IS my blood." Jesus makes no reference to symbolism. He doesn't say that it's like His body, or that it represents His body. He says IS. Further, the original Greek word for "remembrance" has sacrificial meaning in every other usage in the Bible.

    Further, it makes sense to be literal. Christ gave Himself completely on the cross, but actually continues to give Himself to us in the Eucharist. What relationship is more personal than the Eucharist? I encourage you to just sit in the back row of a Mass, and listen INTENTLY to the words of the prayers and the responses. It is extremely intimate.

    Hope that somewhat answers what you are looking for. If you need clarification (I'm sure you will), just gimme specifics and I'll do my best.

    God bless,

    Grant
     

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