Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Words can't describe"

Here are some recent comments from anonymous bloggers about the Eucharist:

"It is a gift from God to be able to experience and partake in the Eucharist as it was intended. And not everyone gets it, which is something that is hard for me to understand."

"From lots of entries on this blog about the Eucharist etc, this takes some (Catholics) many years, if ever, to actually 'get.'"

"I don't get the whole real presence thing."

Thank you all for your comments. Firstly, it is very good that we are discussing this on here because we are at least trying to process one of the great mysteries of our faith. Something has registered in our minds and hearts that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is REAL. For many people, nothing ever registers, as some of you have acknowledged.

Secondly, there is a difference between BELIEVING THAT and UNDERSTANDING HOW the Eucharist is truly Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. When I write about people 'getting it' about the Eucharist, I am usually referring to them BELIEVING THAT it is true. I don't understand HOW it is true, but I believe THAT it is true. It comes down to four words: "This is my body". Jesus says it, and I believe it. He doesn't tell us that we need to understand the Eucharist, and he knows we never will because of our finite, limited intellects. But, he does tell us to believe and receive the Eucharist.

Thirdly, why is it that so many don't 'get it' about the Eucharist? As I've mentioned before, statistics from years ago revealed that 70% of Catholics don't believe in the Real Presence; they believe it is a symbol only of Christ's flesh and blood. I truly believe this is the case because so many Catholics don't know the teaching. Culpability about the ignorance of most Catholics about the Eucharist lies with both clergy and laity.

By and large, people don't know a) what Christ taught about the Eucharist (John 6), b) what the Church teaches (transubstantiation), and c) what really happens at Mass (Consecration). In scores of conversations with people over the years, I have found that when people hear these things, the "light" goes on, and they "get it". And when they "get it", it doesn't just stay in their minds: it leads them to a real encounter with the Real Presence. It leads them to receive the Eucharist in their heart, body, and soul.

The Mass is the greatest encounter we have with the Eucharist because we become one with the Risen flesh of our Lord (in much the same way a husband and wife become one flesh). If we open our hearts and minds to what is said and done during Mass, then we will have a deep and profound encounter with our Lord in Holy Communion. We will be inundated by his Grace - whether we feel it or not - and be one with Love, Peace, Joy, and Mercy. Whether the Grace will be fruitful in us does require our openness. Grace builds on nature; for the grace of the Eucharist to be fruitful, we have to be open to it. I would recommend attending a weekday Mass for those who are struggling with the Eucharist.

Another great way to experience Christ's presence in the Eucharist is Adoration. This generally means praying in front of the tabernacle in Church; some times, however, the Eucharist is brought out of the tabernacle and exposed in a monstrance. We do this "exposed Adoration" every Friday night here at St. A's for an hour (7-8 pm). It is a moving and awesome experience! Words can't describe what it's like to be in the presence of Christ, and to be able to see Him. Like daily Mass, I would recommend Adoration to anyone who desires to have a stronger faith and love for Jesus in the Eucharist.


At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Christine Regan said...

I was talking about the Eurcharist with Elizabeth after Confirmation and I told her my personal way of believing in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I know it's a little sacrilegious, but I always liked to compare the concept of believing in the Eucharist to a scene from "The Santa Clause" with Tim Allen. It's the scene when a psychologist is trying to convince the little boy, Nick, that Santa Claus isn't real, when Nick truly believes that he is. Nick challenges the psychologist, asking, "have you ever seen a million dollars?" The psychologist answers "no". Nick responds "Seeing is not believing. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not real." I always thought that was a perfect explanation for belief in the Eucharist, and in God in general.

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

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At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Kat.

Adoration and Daily Mass make a tremendous difference and have become vitally important in my life. A thing can't call us closer to God, but 'someone' can and that someone I know to be Jesus. Some days His presence can be so palpable that I become absorbed in it and loose track of time. But, my acceptance required patience, prayer and being open to Him.

'Open my eyes Lord, help me to see'


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous without caffeine said...

"Some days His presence can be so palpable that I become absorbed in it and loose track of time."

WOW! My trouble is sitting that long.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat, if I can ask (and I'll accept no answer!) how and why did you return to the Sacraments? And how did you come so far in just a few months? I'm trying and feel like I'm getting nowhere and fear that my absence was too long to overcome.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

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At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat -- yes, thanks

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I knew Christ had me in a bear hug."


At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus is so precious. How can we not adore Him?

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Christmas lover said...

Ditto Anon! I feel the same way!

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throughout the ages God has bestowed his grace on some but not others examples include the picking of the Israelites over the other nations of world as his chosen people . I understand that we have free will to reject Gods grace once he gives it to us but the Bible is clear that God does not give it to everyone. The most classic example is the damning of Esau before he was even born. There is nothing wrong with this as it is God’s grace to give to whom ever he chooses. And it is not up to us to understand the divine nature of God. In truth he gives us all grace in the world we live and the beauty around us but grace of persistence is only given to few.
This is not just an Old Testament issue Paul and Augustine and some of the other early church Apostles teach this.
My question is I have strong doubts that I am one of those that God has elected to give the grace of persistence. I was OK with this concept and was happy to serve God anyway through the mass prayer and good towards my fellow man just realizing that sometime in the future something will happen that will block the goal of heaven because it is Gods decision and if I am wrong then all the better. But at Fathers talk on Eucharist I realize that I have committed grave sin in receiving the host at mass (almost daily) as the Eucharist is reserved for the chosen. But now I feel incomplete in my attendance at mass. What council can you offer that will help me get more out of the mass without receiving the Eucharist?

1 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

(New Testament | Romans 9:11 - 14)
Malachi 1:2

have loved you," says the LORD.
"But you ask, 'How have you loved us?'
"Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD says. "Yet I have loved Jacob, have loved you," says the LORD. but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals."

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anonymous 11
God is already telling you in you discomfort stop going to mass. Mass is for the faithful

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Hoping FG will answer........... said...

To anon (right after Christmas Lover), I am trying to understand why you feel unworthy of going to daily mass. Persistence or fortitude is a gift of the Holy Spirit? Unless you are in a state of mortal sin, I have never heard that receiving the Eucharist daily is only for the "select." Sorry just not sure what you mean. I think Father Greg needs to answer your concerns BIG TIME!

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

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