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The Real Presence

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by VOW, Mar 17, 2002.

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  1. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    Okay Shane!

    We're all familiar with the Last Supper. Without haggling over whether or not it was the Passover meal (it says Passover in several places, but I've heard arguments otherwise), or some other religious gathering, Jesus and His Disciples went to Jerusalem, and gathered together in the Upper Room. Let's go to the Gospel of Mark.

    Mark 14: 22-24

    At a Catholic Mass, when the priest raises first the bread, and then the chalice of wine, and says those words from the Gospel, a MIRACLE occurs!

    That bread, which still looks, feels, and tastes like bread, has been changed into the actual Body of Christ.

    And that wine, which still looks, smells, and tastes like wine, has been changed into the actual Blood of Christ.

    The Church calls this miracle, "Transubstantiation." Fancy word or no, it still is a miracle.

    In Protestant churches, the crackers are still crackers, the grape juice is still grape juice. Communion is looked upon as still a very solemn, holy occasion. But it is completely symbolic. After the services, any leftovers are simply disposed of.

    But in Catholic Churches, we have JESUS with us. We actually TOUCH GOD. We take our Lord inside our bodies, and allow Him to physically transform us from the inside out. I look upon it as little tiny building blocks, so God can re-make me into the person He wants me to be.

    After the Mass, the wine is completely finished by either the Priest or the Ministers of the Eucharist. The consecrated Host is carefully stored in the Tabernacle, where it can be used at a Communion service, or taken to shut-ins or those hospitalized. The little crumbs of bread are carefully swept up and eaten. Nothing is left to be defiled. Sometimes at Mass it looks like the Priest is spending an incredible amount of time "washing dishes." He's not a neat-freak, he's making sure that all the consecrated bread and wine is carefully cleaned up and consumed.

    I cannot impress upon you the AWE that being able to experience the Real Presence places in me. Sometimes, at the Consecration, my breath is literally swept away, and I want to weep in gratitude. We poor humans are so weak, so pitiful. And yet Our Lord KNEW this, and He left us this incredible Sacrament, to allow us to focus completely on Him, while nourishing both our bodies and our souls.

    And that, my Friend, is the Real Presence.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
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  2. Shane Roach

    Shane Roach Well-Known Member

    +1,229
    Christian
    No one ever taught me Real Presence but I have known in my heart since my first communion that it was something more than wafers and grape juice. What you have described here is so beautiful that I am hesitant to say a word after it, but as you know I am still very ignorant of Sacred Tradition, and I notice that there is no hint here of the Transubstantiation happening at the blessing. I had always felt the taking in of Christ into the believer was more or less at the moment of physically eating and drinking. At least, that is when I feel the sense of communion with our Lord.

    What a beautiful explanation though VOW.
     
  3. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
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    Ahhhhh, Shane!

    Please, though, there's MORE!!

    You ready for more??



    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  4. Shane Roach

    Shane Roach Well-Known Member

    +1,229
    Christian
    Yes. Hey don't wait for me!
     
  5. PrinceJeff

    PrinceJeff Well-Known Member

    +0
    :scratch:
     
  6. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
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    To Prince Jeff:

    Wine can spill, wine can evaporate, wine can spoil. It's not saved. It must be completely consumed, every drop, and the containers rinsed with water, which is ALSO consumed.

    Remember, it's the BLOOD OF CHRIST!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  7. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To Shane:

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean, feeling that "something is going on" during Communion. I remember when I first began to study the Catholic Church, and was taught about the Real Presence. My first confusion was, "You mean EVERYONE doesn't believe that?"

    Okay...

    Remember what Jesus's first miracle was? The Wedding at Cana, he turned water into wine. Wow. Then another one of his pretty spectacular miracles (not that they ALL weren't something magnificent!) was the feeding of the multitude with just a small amount of bread. Those two miracles were precursors to the "biggie" which was to occur, at the Last Supper.

    I want to direct you to John 6: 22-71. It's often called the "Bread of Life Discourse." Let's focus on verses 47-58:

    WOW.

    That's POWERFUL stuff. Re-read it and see how many times Jesus actually said, "eat my flesh, drink my blood." Not once, not twice, not even three times. This point was so important, he repeated himself five times, by my count.

    According to Jewish dietary laws, consuming blood is unlawful. Rabbis must be present at the slaughter of food animals, to insure the blood is completely drained away. And, also, cannibalism is absolutely abhorrent. Jesus really upset people with his message here. So much so, people left him.

    Continuing with John 7: 66-68

    Note that Jesus did NOT run after the disciples who left. He didn't flag them down and say, "Hey, wait a minute guys! I was only talking symbolically!" He LET them go. And then he asked the Twelve, "Are you going to leave, too?" His message was so powerful, he risked losing all of his followers to say it.

    Incredible!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  8. Shane Roach

    Shane Roach Well-Known Member

    +1,229
    Christian
    John 6:65 "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given unto him of my father. "

    Romans 8:28 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

    I don't know why that felt important for me to say here, except to make a point, that Jesus never loses.
     
  9. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To Shane:

    Jesus never loses. But mankind sure can. If we don't accept the message, we lose.

    What do you think of the Real Presence? Pretty Scriptural, hmmm?

    This also ties into what we discussed earlier, about the office of Priesthood. The authority to perform this miracle at the Mass is something that an ordained priest has. He is granted this authority through the Apostolic succession. When the Bishop lays his hands upon the head of the priesthood candidate and anoints him with the chrism, the Bishop's authority to do so is given to him in a continuous line that goes all the way back to the Apostles. This isn't some tricky little geneology stunt, the unbroken line of Apostolic Succession is for more than just the Chair of St Peter, it's also to convey the priesthood authority to the priest who is saying Mass at your local Church.

    This authority is what gives the priest the ability to hear confession and absolve sins (Sacrament of Reconciliation), the ability to Baptize, the ability to Marry people, and the ability to Anoint the Sick. But the most incredible function of the parish priest is to Consecrate the Host and the Wine into the actual Body and Blood of Jesus.

    The Real Presence is, in my mind, the MAIN difference between Catholic and Protestant. Sure, there are others, but that's the BIGGIE.

    Episcopalian ministers and Lutheran ministers practice what I believe is called "Consubstantiation," which means the Bread and the Wine are still bread and wine, but also have the characteristic of being the Body and Blood of Christ. (I'm a little fuzzy on how that works; if I've erred in any way, somebody please step forth and we'll get it fixed here.)

    However, the further you get from Luther on the Protestant breakaway, the further you get from the Real Presence. I have a book called "Creeds of the Churches," where all the creeds of the major Christian denominations are found. And once you get to Calvin and beyond, the creeds state that communion is ONLY symbolic, and often emphasize that "transubstantiation is abhorrent."

    I nearly cried when I read that. You have no idea how I grieve for my Protestant brothers and sisters, that they do not have the Real Presence, that their creeds state "transubstantiation is abhorrent." How HEARTBREAKING!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  10. BeanMak

    BeanMak Veteran

    +93
    Protestant
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    Vow, you have Lutherans pegged right about believing in the true presence. Consubstantiation holds that the body and blood of our Lord exists in and with the bread and the wine. Jesus remained God while in an earthly body without changing the substance of the earthly body. In the same way, the bread and wine remain bread and wine in substance, while the miracle of the Eucharist occurs.
     
  11. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To Bean:

    From what I understand about Consubstantiation, the bread and wine are still considered to be bread and wine, with the additional attributes of Jesus's body and blood. It's something about the reverence placed upon the actual substances of the consecrated Eucharist.

    To Catholics, the Bread, the Wine, is ACTUALLY Jesus, His heart, His soul, His life, His Divinity. When the consecrated Eucharist is carried by you, you are to bow in respect. When you pass the tabernacle holding the consecrated Eucharist, you are to bow in respect.

    One of the most incredible traditions I've ever participated in is called "The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." A consecrated Host is placed in a special glass case, which is then inserted into the center of a very beautiful Cross. This Cross is then placed at the front of a chapel (or on the Altar in the main Church) and people "sign up" to be present, to make sure that someone is with the uncovered consecrated Host, essentially, with Jesus.

    Now, at first look, this seems like horrendous idolatry. But after you hear the tradition behind it, I'm sure you'll change your mind.

    In the Garden of Gethsemane, after the Last Supper, Jesus went to pray. Our Lord KNEW what would happen the following day; He knew He was going to die. I believe He felt the beginning of the separation between Him and His Father, and He was feeling incredibly alone. He was 100% human, remember, and I'm sure that his humanity was very, very frightened. He asked some of the Disciples to join Him, to keep Him company while He prayed.

    The emotional, the mental, the spiritual agony He was enduring had to be almost beyond bearing. If you've ever been seriously sick, or in a tremendous amount of pain, you know how you are strengthened by having someone with you. Just holding your hand, rubbing your back, you receive comfort in knowing you are not alone. Jesus asked His friends to be with Him in his agony.

    They fell asleep.

    In the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus asks you to spend an hour with him, or more. So He is never alone.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
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