“Do You WANT The Eucharist to be True?”

This past Sunday, an Evangelical friend joined me for Mass (he’d lost a bet).  Mass was at St. Mary’s in Alexandria, and it was characteristically great: there was a solid homily about the need to take Jesus as Eternal Judge seriously, good music, a palpable reverence during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the works.  My friend seemed to be attentive to the whole thing.  Afterward, on our way to brunch, I asked him, “You know that we Catholics believe the Eucharist to literally be the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.  Do you want that to be true?”

My friend started to explain how his church understood the Lord’s Supper as a symbolic remembrance, so I clarified my question: “I’m not asking if you believe that Catholics are right about the Eucharist.  I’m asking if you want Catholics to be right about the Eucharist.” 

At this point, my friend admitted that no, he didn’t really see the point.  After all, he reasoned, the primacy of “the word” was important, and in any case, Christ already dwells among us whenever we gather in His Name (Mt. 18:20).  After thinking about it for a moment, he conceded that the Real Presence could be helpful for those struggling with their faith: something like what St. Thomas experienced with the Resurrected Christ (John 20:24-29).

I’ve been thinking about this conversation for the last couple days, and I’m thankful for my friend’s forthrightness, because I think it exposes something fundamental.  For some converts, the Eucharist is one of the first Catholic doctrines they believe, because of the overwhelming Scriptural and Patristic support for the belief.  But for others, it’s one of the last, and I’ve been curious as to why.  (The same is true in reverse: some fallen away Catholics lost faith in the Eucharist right away, while for others, it was the only thing keeping them in the Church at all).

I have a few theories as to why this might be, so I thought I’d tee them up here as food for thought:

I. Prioritizing Faith Over Communion

My friend’s comment that the Eucharist might be a useful aid to faith strikes me as completely backwards.  While there’s a sense in which he’s right (the Eucharist does fortify our faith), that’s not the point.  Where he treated the purpose of Communion as leading us to faith, the reality is that the purpose of faith is to lead us to Communion.

Matthias Gerung, John’s Vision of Heaven (1532)

After all, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).  That is, faith is a virtue for us now, not one for Heaven.  St. Paul explains, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).  This is why Paul tells us that faith is inferior to love, since love will still exist in Heaven (1 Cor. 13:2, 13).

Heaven, for its part, is Communion.  The Scriptural imagery is of a Jewish wedding, which takes place in stages.  The couple weds, then the husband prepares a home for his new bride, and the move into together, at which point there’s a great feast.  Jesus uses this imagery in  John 14:2-4, to explain that He goes before us to Heaven to prepare a place for us. The angel in Revelation describes what we’re waiting for as the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9), while Christ is depicted as both the Bridegroom, and as the slain Lamb (Rev. 5:6).  In other words, Scripture presents faith as the thing that brings us to Heavenly Communion.  The Eucharistic meal gives us a foretaste of this Heavenly banquet now.

Elevating faith to such an extent that you diminish Communion would be like elevating driving so much that you diminish arriving at your destination.  It misses the point.

II. Fear of the Flesh

Paolo de San Leocadio, Christ with the Host (15th c.)

Christianity has been plagued by recurrent heresies treating the flesh as evil, and treating the spiritual as the absence of the flesh: the Gnostics, the Manichaeans, the Albigensians, and so forth.  Protestantism, and I would suggest Calvinism in particular (given its views on total depravity), sometimes flirts with this idea.  This would certainly explain why intangible and invisible things (like faith and proclamation of the word) are viewed as the highest goods, while tangible things (like the Eucharist and other visible sacraments, religious art, etc.) are viewed with suspicion.

If there is some of that going on, I’d suggest that the answer comes through Christ Himself, and in particular through the Incarnation.  If God Himself can take on flesh without becoming any less God, then flesh cannot be evil.  Christ makes this clear through public ministry: look at the manner in which He performs His miracles.  A great many of them involved direct physical contact (e.g., Luke 22:51, Matthew 9:29, Mt. 17:7, etc.), and at least two (Mark 7:33; John 9:1-7) involve Jesus healing people with His spit.  But most of all, He makes this clear through His Resurrection, and the glorification of His Flesh.  St. Paul tells us that, because of Christ’s Resurrection, glorified bodies (1 Cor 15:20-21, 35-44), and indeed, glorified Creation (Rom. 8:19-23), await us.

After all, consider my friends’ suggestion that the Eucharist is unnecessary, since Christ already makes Himself spiritually present to believers.  If the sort of spiritual presence that Christ spoke of in Mt. 18:20 is the most we can hope for, this wouldn’t just be an argument against the Eucharist, but against the Second Coming and the Resurrection of the Body, and against the very idea of Communion with God in Heaven.  But of course, Christianity is unambiguous that there’s more, and that we look forward to this more.

So Christ embraced Flesh in the Incarnation, establishing that it is not inherently evil; but then He glorified it, and promises to do the same for us.  Participation in the Eucharist is Communion with this glorified Flesh of Christ, and raises us to become Christ-like.  As St. Gregory of Nyssa explained, back in 385 A.D.:

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Since, then, that God-containing flesh partook for its substance and support of this particular nourishment also, and since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified, for this end it is that, by dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption. He gives these gifts by virtue of the benediction through which He transelements the natural quality of these visible things to that immortal thing.

That is, just as when you eat bread and wine, you turn them into your body, when we partake of the Bread and Wine, Christ turns us into His Incorruptible Body.

Conclusion

My intention here isn’t to pick on Protestants, much less on my friend.  Understanding the role of flesh in salvation is something that many Catholics struggle with, as well.  Instead, I offer this just because I think that, for Protestants, this is a question worth asking.  Do you WANT the Eucharist to be True?  If not, why not?  

It’s fitting that the Eucharist should be a sign of contradiction and a stumbling block.  Many of the doctrines dividing Catholics and Protestants are far removed from the day-to-day lives of Christians.  After all, whether Catholics or Protestants are right about justification, you should still behave the same way: believe in God, and obey Him.  But the Eucharist impacts how we behave at every Mass.  Are we worshiping and communing with the One True God, or a piece of bread?  That’s an important distinction, and necessarily entails more than intellectual assent one way or the other.

God knows that the Eucharist rubs some people the wrong way on a basic level: that no matter how clear the Scriptures and Church Fathers are, some folks will have trouble understanding how it could be true.  In Scripture, for example, when Jesus’ Jewish audience finally realizes that He’s not being figurative about the Body and Blood Eucharistic imagery, they’re shocked, and abandon Him in droves (John 6:60, 66).  We shouldn’t be like that.  Christ, the Image of the Invisible God (Col. 1:15), presents Himself to us as the Eucharist.  We should address and reject whatever keeps us from accepting this with our full hearts.

24 Comments

  1. As a convert I’ll weigh in. The Eucharist was one of the easier things to take in.

    If I take the Church at its word that Jesus walked out of that tomb 2000 years ago, then I might as well take it at its word when it says the following:

    “τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου” Luke 22:19
    “τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου” Matthew 26:26
    “τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου” Mark 14:22

    (All those literally say: “This is the body of mine”)

    Those don’t say: “This represents my body” or “This is symbolically my body”. Jesus knows that words have meanings, and he chose them carefully.

    And:

    “ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς”
    “I am the bread of the lift.”

    Jesus was pretty clear that he was not being symbolic, in John 6. He even let people who took him literally walk away.

    In fact in John 6 Jesus first uses the Greek word “φάγῃ” which means “to eat”.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=fagh&la=greek

    That word CAN be taken symbolically — But another word comes up later on.

    Then to solidify his literally meaning he uses the word “τρώγων”, which means “to gnaw on, bite , or nibble”.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=trwgwn&la=greek

    That last one is NOT a symbolic term. He is basically saying:

    I love you so much, I want to be a part of you, literally. That means put me between the teeth that I gave you, bit down on me, then swallow me down the esophagus that I gave you, sending me to be digested in your stomach acids to become a part of you in a more intimate way than you could ever possibly imagine Almighty God ever doing.

  2. What helped me is that when I was really getting Spiritually sorted out, I was too scared to pray the Rosary, so I did the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

    One day it clicked that:

    Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

    meant the Eucharist.

    Now I like to describe the Presence this way: The Body, Blood, Bone, and Nerves, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth is actually physically literally present.

  3. I, too, was a convert, and I agree this was one of the easier doctrines to swallow (no pun intended).

    The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if I want it to be true or not. It either is or is not, and my desire is to understand the truth and align myself with it–that’s what I want.

    As for the benefits, I don’t see how someone could want it not to be true. It’s like saying, no thanks, God, I don’t need this awesome grace. I’m good. Wha???

  4. Fantastic post. This really illuminated things for me – thank you for writing it!

    “Elevating faith to such an extent that you diminish Communion would be like elevating driving so much that you diminish arriving at your destination. It misses the point.”

    So many Christians do exactly this! Actually not only Christians – many people in our culture have a habit of glorifying the idea that the journey is more important than the destination. Maybe we have simply began to absorb and Christianize this mindset. It made me remember Devin’s blog post “Living the Questions”.

    I also have to say that, although I would answer your question with a resounding yes, the thing that made me feel unsettled about the Eucharist is worshiping a God that allows you to eat Him. It is a profoundly humble thing. Maybe to some, it seems to weaken God.

    Sometimes it is easier to worship the “strong & mighty” aspects of God and forget the “humble & meek” side. Especially when you have such strong feelings in certain Protestant communities about the “masculinity” of Christianity.

  5. This isn’t an issue I struggle with either. It’s not a matter of “want” or “don’t want.” Either it’s true or it isn’t.

    Even for the issues that are more of a struggle (icons, prayer to/with/through saints), it’s not that I don’t “want” them to be true. It’s harder to see that they ARE true.

  6. I’ve really appreciated all of the responses from converts here — it’s a perspective I can’t speak to personally, and I’m always fascinated by the way that it’s so natural for some people, and such a struggle for others. I suspect that individual disposition, and one’s ecclesial background matter. For example, is it a denomination that emphasizes the reality of modern-day miracles, or are miracles treated like something that happened in days of yore?

    Ambrose and C.J.,

    I agree that the truth of the Eucharist isn’t contingent upon our desires one way or another. We should believe because it’s true, not because we want it to be or not.

    But I got to thinking about this question because of conversations with atheists. I’m always struck by the number of self-proclaimed atheists who hate God. They don’t want Him to exist, and are mad at Him (despite claiming not to believe in Him).

    This strikes me as radically unhealthy, and evidence that they don’t really understand God at all, even conceptually. If we were transported tomorrow to a world in which the God of Judeo-Christianity didn’t exist, that would be an indescribable loss. Likewise, if we were transported tomorrow to a world without the Eucharist, the loss would be unspeakable.

    Think of it this way: atheists who don’t want God to exist don’t understand God. And Protestants who don’t want the Eucharist to be true don’t understand the Eucharist.

    Without equating the two, let me just say that atheists and Protestants should each mourn that they don’t believe the indescribably beautiful things described by Catholicism. After all, what sane Protestant wouldn’t want Heaven on Earth? If you don’t, the problem isn’t your understanding of the Eucharist or specifically-Catholic doctrine, but something deeper. I’m hopeful with this post that it might cause some Catholic-interested folks to reflect on the root causes of some of their struggles, because they’re often rooted in things other than the Scriptural and Patristic evidence.

    I.X.,

    Joe

    P.S. Elizabeth, glad to see you’re alive and well in Ecuador! You’re right about the scandal of God’s humility. Fr. Cantalamessa has a great reflection on this in Sober Intoxication of the Spirit, in which he explains the degree of Divine humility it takes simply for God to express Himself to our simple minds: to, for example, voice the Tetragrammaton in ancient Hebrew.

    Think of how degrading it would be to try to speak to your dog by barking at it, and you’ve got a sense of this. But God’s love for us is obviously much more than simply a desire to speak to us, which means that His love is infinitely more humble. It’s fitting that the father-child relationship is the closest thing we have to understanding God’s relationship with us. As a mother, I imagine you can relate to the humility that loving child-rearing requires, from changing diapers to baby talk. We get that Christ appearing as Bread and Wine is His voluntary humiliation, but Scripture says that the same is true of His taking on Human Flesh (Phil. 2:6-8). So yes, God’s humility (even apart from the Eucharist) is shocking, but bless Him for it!

  7. You hit the nail on the head. If humility is a virtue, then God is its exemplar. It’s in His Humility that we see His Glory and His Sovereign freedom. His Humility is as boundlessly deep as his Love. His smallest creation is as important to Him as Himself. Pride is for those who have something to compare themselves to. It’s really a measure of what we lack and box with which we confine ourselves. God lacks nothing and can be compared nothing. He’s not bound within a container of pride. Pride has no place in His existence, He simply is. That’s why the realities of the Incarnation, His passion and death and the Eucharist should not be a surprise, but an expectation. This is a fundamental failure of Islam, to think God would find Himself incapable of what we Christians know He has done.

  8. Joe,

    A question regarding this: “After all, he reasoned, the primacy of ‘the word’ was important…”. When “the word” is spoken of in the Gospels, what concept is actually being put across most of the time? I know, for instance, that St. John wrote logos, and that “word” is not a very good translation. I wonder sometimes if simplistic or biased Bible translations are getting in the way of non-Catholics understanding what God really intended. Non-Catholics seem to think that Christ came in order to give us a book through which to relate to God, and that’s it.

    Your conversation with your non-Catholic Christian friend perfectly demonstrates the contrast between Catholic Christianity and the various Christianities which grew out of protestantism. The more I read and the more conversations I have with non-Catholics, the more I believe that there is, at root, very little common ground to build on. The degrees vary, such that Anglicans wouldn’t have to change very must but those from a “Reform” background would need to practically re-build their faith from the ground up.

    God bless,
    Tele

  9. I do want the “Real Presence” of Christ at communion. I believe in the Real Presence of Christ at communion. You are right to connect the Real Presence of Christ at communion with the power (kingdom) of God breaking into this world. Understanding that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist leads us to understand how we can have the kingdom present (a realized eschatology) and still have the promise of the greater gift of God (a proleptic understanding of the kingdom). The power and mystery of communion is how God can be simultaneously breaking into this world through his risen Son and still be a foretaste of the feast to come. I love the both/and qualities of the Christian faith. Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Eucharist is both fully Christ’s presence and but a taste of the feast to come. It is more than just a symbol. Christ in the Eucharist is the means of grace and food for the mission.

  10. Dr Beckwith once had a lively discussion with our Protestant brethren on his facebook page. after about 30 comments by others of why the Eucharist ISN’t the Body of Christ, he said simply: “Why wouldn’t you want the Eucharist to be the body and blood or Christ?” Hmmmm… silence fell over the discussion.

  11. Speaking as a (more or less) rational Protestant, I have to agree with you all … sorta. I mean, I don’t think that the “bread” or the “word” should be concentrated upon inordinately. Of course, that is INCREDIBLY hard to do, because they are the words of God and his very presence … but there IS a point that protestants have, that the Eucharist is hardly any good to individuals if they themselves do not in the same way take on Christ. What is it to you if the living God has come in flesh to the land of the dead if, well, you don’t think that – so the process starts with the evidence of the word of God, and then by that faith we understand the presence of God, and then by those two WE become also the presence of God, and then we all to the presence of God are drawn, and then everyone is happy. Yay.

    I am starting to feel guilty for not wondering enough at this miracle. All that Christo-Platonism has got me like “oh, the accidents remain? Sure! Ok! Anything else?”

    :/

    Course, personal salvation probably matters a lot less than we like (or a lot more. People are annoying like that.)

  12. Note, in a sense the bread too is like Faith, in that it is not the entire point of the end – communion is the bread and wine that is CHRIST, not Christ that is BREAD. I think. Well… CHRIST IN BREAD IN US maybe more like it.

    I’m wondering even what point I’m trying to make now.

  13. As a convert to the Catholicism, I have to admit the literal meaning of eating flesh and drinking blood does not have the same appeal as it has to those brought up in the Catholic faith.
    It was therefore with some measure of relief that I read the Gospel of Philip which repeats what is said in the Gospels, but elucidates upon it. From the third century up until 1945, this Gospel was unknown.
    “Flesh [and blood can] not inherit the Kingdom [of God]. What is this which will not inherit? That which is on us. But what is this which will inherit? That which is of Jesus and of his blood. Therefore he said: ‘The one that does not eat my flesh and drink my blood does not have life in him.’ What is it? His flesh is the Logos, and his blood is the Holy Spirit. Whoever has received these has food and drink and clothing.”
    I have to confess this conveys greater meaning to me, personally, as a way to inherit the Kingdom. After all, any atheist can participate in the Mass, but no atheist can accept his Logos and the Holy Spirit. However, I also recognize that those taught differently will prefer their original teaching.

  14. Montague: “… but there IS a point that protestants have, that the Eucharist is hardly any good to individuals if they themselves do not in the same way take on Christ.”

    Nevertheless, that does not diminish the reality of His presence in the Eucharist; just as the reality of Jesus walking the Earth was not diminished by the unbelief of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus came to them too, but was rejected. As I’ve read in some of the writings of the saints, if we ignore a guest that we have brought into our house, how long do you think He will stay? I say ‘brought’ vs ‘invite’, because an invite presupposes a belief that they are dealing with a someone real, whereas brought does not regardless of whether they actually have. I think Jesus is clear that He actually comes into our house in the Eucharist. Are we going to ignore Him or offer Him our hospitality?

  15. I was drawn by the title of this post, for as a lifelong Protestant who has felt the call toward Rome, I have found myself desperately wanting the doctrine of the Real Presence to be true. If one loves Jesus Christ and thought that maybe, just maybe, He might actually be around the corner, then what a wonderful thing that would be.

    I would, however, like to hear someone’s reaction to what a good friend and pastor once said after I laid out the Scriptural and historical support for the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist. He wrote, “I’ll be honest. I get all this. And have studied it (long ago in Bible School no doubt). But, at the end of the day, have never thought that whether literal or metaphor  it actually changed me or my view of Jesus or the significance of the practice of the Eucharist.”

    What would any of you say in response? Thanks.

  16. Magister, I guess my personal anecdote is this- I don’t necessarily “feel” anything when I receive Christ in daily Mass, yet according to my wife, I am a different person , in a good way, since becoming Catholic. I have to believe it has to do with the grace I have received through frequent reception of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of reconciliation.
    That being said, you may want to ponder why many of the greatest saints in history had one thing in common: their love and devotion to the Eucharist. Each of them claimed that the Eucharist was their life, simply because it was their way to apprehend God and for Him to apprehend them. (But I suspect, you probably already knew this) God bless
    russ

  17. Magister, I just got back from leading a group of teenagers in Adoration at a Confirmation Retreat, so allow me to offer my $0.02…

    How does it change my view of Jesus? It blows my mind to think that at the Last Supper He instituted something which would allow His followers to forever after feed on His flesh. The humility of God, to offer Himself daily as food for me!

    How does it change the practice of the Eucharist? It’s worship! Not bread, Jesus. Not wine, Jesus. My Lord and my God…

  18. If God Himself can take on flesh without becoming any less God, then flesh cannot be evil.

    Yes I agree,but I reflected HEREUNDER first on the burning Bush,which means that although God became flesh He never lost devinity no matter what,like the tree absorbed in fire but remained intact.

    Also: LIGHT SHINES IN DARKNESS

    Also: Hebrews 4:For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow,

    Which means that God can be separated,from all evil even if through Him sustains all evil.SINCE IN HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST

    And these scriptures hereunder and I asked:

    Always the flesh was not evil?

    consiering that Jesus Said:

    John 3:14-21For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    So if the world was already condemned,and the only hope was the belief in Jesus,is it not a proof that the world was generally evil including the flesh,apart from the select since they were the Holy Spirit work???

    Also in Colossians 1:Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. 17 And he is before all, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: 19 Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; 20 And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.

    Since in: 17 And he is before all, and by him all things consist.

    and in 20:And through him to reconcile all things unto himself,

    It isn’t clear enough that although the flesh was evil through Adam’s sin,but since all was created by,with,and for Jesus,it was All reconciled unto Himself through His death on the cross and resurracted All with Him anew, not only flesh not evil,but the entire of our creation is not evil,since Jesus said:

    but that the world might be saved through him.

    Jesus said also Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

    Isn’t clear that since :

    Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell;

    Jesus meant that when they kill Him and destroys His Body, which in Him ALL FULNESS DWELL,All would be raised in three days with Him anew.

    SO WE ARE GENERALLY NOT EVIL SO LONG WE BELIEVE IN JESUS.WHO DOESN’T BELIEVE IN JESUS IS EVIL THROUGHOUT.

    Peace and love in Jesus truth.

  19. No! Evil is a deficiency or lack of the good that should be there, it’s non-existence. That’s why God has no part of it. Our bodies exist for the glory of God. They always have. What’s evil is the big gap between how God intends us to use our bodies and what we chose to do with them. This is a hole we have not the power to fill ourselves, but only through God’s grace as won by Jesus on the cross. All things work for good in God’s plan. There is nothing that is evil throughout. Even Satan himself unwittingly serves God’s unseen all good plan and so gives Glory to God.

  20. Magister,

    I have to admit that I’m a bit baffled by your pastor’s response, since he seems to saying that whether it’s a symbol of Jesus, or really Jesus doesn’t matter. But that strikes me as a wild view to take. Think about it this way: if you walked into a darkened Catholic church and saw either (a) a statue of Jesus, or (b) Jesus Himself, would you care whether it was really Jesus or just a symbol of Him?

    Because if it’s (b), you should fall down in worship and adoration. But if it’s just a symbol, worshiping and adoring it would be idolatry. That’s no less true of the Eucharist than of a statue of Christ. As my pastor once said, “statues of Christ look like Him but aren’t. The Eucharist doesn’t look like Him but is.” That distinction seems to be important if Christianity is going to be something other than paganism.

    That to one side, if you start taking the clearly-literal parts of Scripture (like the perpetual Institution of the Eucharist) as merely symbolic, where do you stop? Because there are some liberal Protestants who view the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection just as symbolically. All that said, I’d just second what the others have said here.

    Lambhythe,

    1) The so-called Gospel of Philip is a second or third century Gnostic forgery. Not only was it not written by the Apostle Philip, it’s not even a representation of orthodox Christianity.

    2) The early second century Gnostics were rebuked soundly by St. Ignatius of Antioch for their heretical views on the Eucharist. He ordered the Christians to avoid them, since the Gnostics “abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes.”

    That is, not only were Christians to treat anyone holding the Gnostic views as being outside of communion, he also treated their views as damnably heretical.

    In other words, if you’ve found yourself comfortable with Catholic Eucharistic theology by jettisoning it in favor of Gnostic Eucharistic theology, reconsider.

    I.X.,

    Joe

  21. Joe H..I love your comments…I fully agree, Im not that expressive this morning.

    I am a convert and Im embarrassed to not have anything profound to say other than when it was all explained to me, I thought “well of course He could be present in that bread/wine if He wanted to and since said He was then there it is”.

    I find it reorienting to consider that the Host on my tongue is more powerful than ALL my troubles put together.

  22. This is an excellent post. I’ve never thought of it in terms of, do people WANT it to be true or not? And I’m guessing that because of the reasons you gave, most Protestants are NOT wanting it to be true.

    As a former Protestant (now Catholic) myself, the Eucharist was actually NOT a difficult doctrine for me to accept. I had long thought that Protestantism did not ascribe enough mystery or reverence to the Lord’s Supper, so upon reading the Catholic interpretation of various Bible passages, it seemed like a no-brainer to me.

    It’s still definitely hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that the bread and wine are literally Jesus, but oh my goodness, I feel SO blessed to be able to receive Him at each and every Mass!!!

  23. John Holmquist

    Since English is not my native language, I am sure that I am always subject to general err, or poor and wrong explanation, therefore humbly speaking, permit me to give my perspective regarding GOOD AND EVIL.

    Quote:

    No! Evil is a deficiency or lack of the good that should be there, it’s non-existence.

    Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. for in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.

    THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL!!

    Is there Good in the tree, YES! SO GOOD EXISTS

    Is there Evil in the tree, YES! SO EVIL EXISTS
    Quote:

    There is nothing that is evil throughout. Even Satan himself unwittingly serves God’s unseen all good plan and so gives Glory to God.

    No there’s no good in Satan. He is complete darkness

    Genesis1:2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep;

    So Genesis is clear DARKNESS WAS UPON THE FACE OF THE DEEP. And darkness is THROUGHOUT.

    John14:30 I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, AND IN ME HE HATH NOT ANY THING.

    So there’s not a speck of goodness in Satan!! HE IS COMPLETE DARKNESS!

    Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day of thy creation, until iniquity was found in thee.

    YOU WAS PERFECT: So Lucifer himself established evil not he was created with a lack of goodness.
    Our loving God, since evil established itself and became TOTAL DARKNESS, total evil, never annihilated it, but counterbalanced it, He enhanced it, and provided the perfect source of goodness as a reversible path through the sacrifice of His genuine Spirit of His Son He loves.

    Genesis 1: 3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made.

    Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, LOVE YOUR ENEMY : do good to them that hate you:

    So God, our loving God supplied the light to shine in darkness.

    John1:5 And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

    It is clear enough, he was so darkness, that he couldn’t believe that God through Jesus spirit was shining in him to put him back on track.

    Therefore, through His Son’s spirit, as the only perfect source of goodness, God mysteriously and unfathomably started a process. Through this process of our creation, without Lucifer’s awareness, since he was completely blind, He not only found the solution to recover the lost sheep, but also, His Son humbly and meekly, would be within and among these evil spirits hidden to lead them to perfection. Also He himself would become one of them but sinless in order to redeem them, and maintain for them eternal life. All within a loving conflict between good and evil.

    So to clarify the only speck of Goodness which there was in the darkness, it was from God through His Son Spirit, the only begotten Son He loves.

    Quote:

    Our bodies exist for the glory of God

    All our creation in all its various bodies is for the glory of God, since like us through it the virgin Mary, Jesus’ flesh substance, became human. Creation itself is the manifestation of the endless process of establishing humans, both in flesh and soul ,positive and negative, but not in mortal substances since ADAM was created in God’s image and likeness .God is not mortal!! God is not matter!! If our present body is for the glory of God, like Adam was, when he was created, He wouldn’t have sent His Son to transform it into the appropriate glorious body.

    1 Corinthians15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God: neither shall corruption possess incorruption.

    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality

    Quote:

    If God Himself can take on flesh without becoming any less God, then flesh cannot be evil

    For God all is possible:

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