A question about the Eucharist.

I understand what happens in the Catholic Mass from the point of view of the consecration and the Eucharist.

I understand that the person receiving must receive worthily, and be in a state of grace.

The Eucharist really is the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine, is ingested by the participant.

What happens then?

I hope this doesn’t read as offensive to any, or too ignorant a question.

But once you have received God, in the form of Jesus in the Eucharist, what happens to you?

I ask because I’ve been pondering this aspect of Catholicism, and the very idea is so fantastic to me. I can’t imagine what that is like, to actually, truely, really, receive God into you. It must be an overwhealming experience.

Does anyone care to try to explain what it’s like to me?

Do you feel different afterwards?

How?

Sarah x :slight_smile:

The phrase “as long as the species subsist” means as long as the appearances of bread and wine, after the Eucharistic consecration, persist, which means when dissolved and unrecognizable.

**Catechism of the Catholic Church

1377** The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.207

What Happens to You

The teaching of the Church is that if you receive while in a state of sanctifying (habitual) grace, then that sanctifying grace is increased, as well as actual graces. These help us to be like Christ, and to avoid sin, in every situation. It strengthens our will to do good and avoid sin, it is not natural but supernatural. We need it to avoid sin! This grace persists long after the species no longer subsist, in fact until we commit a serious sin.

Usually, the tears flow. On one occasion, I received a flash of revelation about the hypostatic union of Jesus’ human and divine natures. Reception of the Eucharist cleanses of venial sin, and is the fulfillment of the sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. Even more fantastic is that we are present at the foot of the cross, as well as at the last supper in the upper room at the consecration. Time, in essence, stands still, even though our watches record the passage of time. For those who receive, it is both physical, and spiritual, an exact analog of Christ Himself. But, it must be received with faith that it is what our Lord declared it to be.

“It is a fusion. Like two candles that melt together and can no longer be distinguished.”

It is the mystical union between Christ the Bridegroom and the soul, His bride. “The two become one flesh.”

We give ourselves fully to Christ, in body and soul.

He does the same. However, He also gives us a share in His divinity. Then we can say, like the apostle: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”.

The experience is like no other.

While the species of the bread and wine remain the same in the appearance of the senses, the spirit discerns the presence of the Lord, and rejoices. That is not always the case, of course, but it is not uncommon, either, for Christ to let His divine presence be felt.

Someone who felt this cannot explain it by words, but he, despite being a man, believes that the closest human feeling he could relate to was that of a mother who knows that a life is inside her, and lives through her. How does that feel? Perhaps it is a purely spiritual feeling that entirely trascends the physical.

This person also recalls that after over 10 years of life away from the Church, having felt one morning the urgency to confess, was later lead by the priest in front of the Blessed Sacrament, which he had never seen before, and Christ made him feel his presence to the point of leaving him spellbound. He would only feel something similar in another occasion: when at Confirmation the bishop placed his hands over him and the others and prayed: “All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ …] send your Holy Spirit upon them…”.

He gives thanks to God for those undeserved experiences, not for the experience in itself but because now he can say, like the evangelist:

The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

''I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus began to argue with one another, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Then many of his disciples, when they heard these things, said, “This is a difficult saying! Who can understand it?” When Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining about this, he said to them, “Does this cause you to be offended?
Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before? The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) So Jesus added, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”
After this many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer.
So Jesus said to the twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you? JOHN 6: 51-67

“Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’’ Matthew 26: 27-28
So Moses took the blood and splashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24: 8

Most of the time, few people feel different after receiving Jesus, even though they are aware that He is present within them. Sometimes people will feel some emotion. Some weep tears. Others may feel awe at the presence of God within them. But such reactions are not usual. They are like sweeties to children - helping us to appreciate the presence of Jesus in our souls, most commonly given early in our conversion or reversion, to help strengthen us. It is to be expected that, when our faith is strengthened, such experiences will become very rare, as we must live by faith and not depend on sweet experiences.

As stated above, it is difficult to express in the human tongue what it feels like to receive God into you in this way.
For myself there is a great peace that comes over me. I suppose partly because there is great anticipation as I go up to receive. But the indwelling of Love, the strengthening of that Love, the recognition that, no matter how “good” I’ve been, I really don’t deserve this gift…All of these things flow over me as I return to my pew and kneel in gratitude.
I have cried after having received.

In my journey back to the Church, I can truly say that it was the Eucharist, and the entirety of the mass, that drew me and now, I can’t understand how I could have left it for so long.

I hope this helps in some small way…

Peace
James

In the Old Testament, when the tenth plague was about to descend upon an Israel in bondage, God, through Moses, stipulated that the Jews would have to take an unblemished male lamb, slaughter him, sprinkle his blood on their doorpost, roast that lamb, and eat that lamb. Now if a family did all of that but didn’t eat that lamb, in accordance with the tenth plague, they would find their firstborn son dead the following morning. You see, it wasn’t enough to kill that lamb, they had to eat that sacrificial lamb.

And if Jesus is coming to perfect the Old Testament types, which he does, then he really is the Passover Lamb. He is slain, his blood is sprinkled but if he is the Lamb of the New Covenant, it isn’t enough for the Lamb to die. It isn’t enough for his blood to be shed. We have to eat that Lamb. We have to consume sacrifice for communion to be reached.

Atheist Girl,
I just want to say that you made my morning. So often we are dealing with “contentious” questions and attitudes here.
You asked an excellent question and did so in a way that is open and inviting.
It has given us an opportunity to think about and try to express (pitifully I’m afraid) the shear joy of receiving our Lord into our bodies.
Thank you.

Peace
James

Atheistgirl;
It is an overwhelming gift when received sincerely and in the “State of Grace.” (having been sorry for and forgiven of all serious sin.) In this we share in the Divine Life of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. The bread and wine truly become the Body, Blood , Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, true Son of God. Jesus said it would and we believe Him. Jesus gave us seven Sacraments to aid us in our journey thru life, from birth to death. He established a Church, the Catholic Church, (the only church that can trace it’s beginning to Jesus), and promised He would be with it till the end of time. and that the “Gates of Hell” would never prevail against it.
You seem to have a good knowledge of this and I pray you will continue in your search for the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Life and the Truth.”

Your question was a great one and I hope you will keep in touch here and ask more questions, please. And don’t feel they are not important. My prayers are with you, God Bless, Memaw

Truly a sublime post.

-Tim-

I’m a convert so I really wondered about this too in the past. :slight_smile: It’s really hard to explain this… it’s like you just ‘recognize’ Christ, it is Him, though you cannot see Him. You can feel Him in you and He is united to you. It’s really not like anything else… it can be a very intense experience. Often there is a lot of consolation, joy, etc, - the person might feel how Christ loves them. What is most special is knowing that He’s not just before you, but actually in you. So He gives Himself fully to the person, and the person gives themselves to Him. Then during the day, He is still with you spiritually, and on those days I’ve found that there is more understanding of spiritual things, it’s way easier to love others and be patient, etc, there is also more peace. This is all when a person receives Jesus after having confessed and been forgiven of their sins. Only then can they open up to Him. Being unable to open up to God while feeling Him there is extremely painful, it’s a horrible experience…God’s love doesn’t change, but the person blocks Him out and can’t properly receive Him or respond. But if a person does receive in a state of grace, it’s the greatest thing. The whole day tends to feel different, it’s like it’s always being with Him and being guided by Him.

Even though I’m talking about the times when a person might feel something after Communion, there are other times when you don’t feel as much but you still know it’s Him, and you still see that you receive many graces to love God, to love others, etc. It really helps to see that love is not a feeling. Even if you don’t experience something extraordinary, you still know that God loves you and that your will is to love Him, so you still know you are united to Christ.

“It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight.” (St Therese, Story of a Soul).

What I found interesting personally was reading about the lives of the Saints, because many of them experienced something miraculous after Communion. For example, St Gemma experienced it like fire, which at the same time brought her intense spiritual joy. She waited every night for Communion in the morning. She said “Every morning I go to Holy Communion: The greatest and only comfort I have, although I in no way possess what is needed to worthily approach Jesus. The loving treatment that Jesus gives me every morning in Holy Communion inspires within me unutterable sweetness and draws to Himself all the weak affections of my miserable heart.” (Life of St Gemma Galgani, by Ven. Fr Germanus, C.P., TAN publishers).

St Padre Pio, who was a priest, could often see the spiritual reality of the Mass. He saw the Angels, Mother Mary, etc. His Masses usually lasted hours because he would just be lost in all that he was seeing :slight_smile: here’s an article about that: ewtn.com/padrepio/priest/Mass.htm

Here, St Therese describes her first Communion which is I think a great description of what Communion is :slight_smile: crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/750/My_First_Communion_St._Therese.html

Hope that helps!

Here’s a very moving quote from Jesus to a saintly nun, Sr Josefa Menendez. It might seem incredible that - it’s actually a quote from Jesus to someone, but she had many visions of Him and wrote what He said under obedience to her superiors. I think that while it doesn’t describe what it’s like to receive Communion from our point of view, it shows what Jesus is like there, so it can help to understand more about Communion. So if we imagine what it’s like to be united with Someone like this, that brings us closer to imagining Communion, though - I don’t think my imagination really did it justice before :slight_smile: there’s this idea that God actually longs to show us His love and for us to be united to Him, and this is seen in a great way in Communion. It reminds me also of how love is a self gift.

"It is love for souls that keeps Me a Prisoner in the Blessed Sacrament. I stay there that all may come and find the comfort they need in the tenderest of Hearts, the best of Fathers, the most faithful friends, who will never abandon them.

The Holy Eucharist is the invention of Love…Yet how few souls correspond to that love which spends and consumes itself for them!

I live in the midst of sinners that I may be their life, their physician, and the remedy of the diseases bred by corrupt nature. And in return they forsake, insult and despise Me!..

Poor pitiable sinners, do not turn away from Me…Day and night I am on the watch for you in the tabernacle. I will not reproach you…I will not cast your sins in your face…But I will wash them in My Blood and in My wounds. No need to be afraid…come to Me…If you but knew how dearly I love you."

And you, dear souls, why this coldness and indifference on your part?..Do I not know that family cares…household concerns…and the requirements of your position in life…make continual calls upon you? But cannot you spare a few minutes in which to come and prove your affection and your gratitude? Do not allow yourselves to be involved in useless and incessant cares, but spare a few moments to visit and receive this Prisoner of love!..

Were you weak or ill in body surely you would find time to see a doctor who would cure you? …Come, then, to One who is able to give both strength and health to your soul, and bestow the alms of love on this Divine Prisoner who watches for you, calls for you, and longs to see you at His side. When about to institute the Blessed Sacrament, these were My feelings , do not forget that My Heart loves you…and, do you love Me?..

(From the book: **“The Way Of Divine Love”; **Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur)

and similarly, Jesus said to Gabrielle Bossis (a Catholic lay woman who lived last century)

“In the Host My heart is beating as it did on earth, as it does in heaven. There are not many hearts of Christ. There is only one. Believe without the shadow of a doubt in My Presence here before you and comfort Me by bringing your heart close to Mine. Look how alone I am and this empty church. I knew it would be like this. And yet I instituted the Eucharist. I would feed even a single soul. Speak with the Host as with your most gentle and intimate friend. The Host is listening to you, and you may be sure that you are most dearly loved…”

(He and I, Imprimatur).

When I’ve had a few minutes free, I’ve been trying to write up my parayer experience. I keep running into difficulties in the sense that I’m finding it really difficult to get across in words some of the experience - at least in a way that would be interesting to read and informative.

So I really appreciate the replies, as I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to describe the experience of taking in Jesus in the form of the Eucharist, what that feels like, and what it does to the person, during and after.

Thanks to all who’ve given me some insight into this.

Sarah x :slight_smile:

Oftentimes it is best to pray without words. It must come from the heart, not from the mind.

You might Google the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano also if you have a few minutes.

Posts 2 and 6 are the over all best. Consolations may be present at times but these are rare gifts. One should not build one’s spiritual life on consolations. We live by faith not by consolations. Mother Teresa live for 30 years by faith alone. :thumbsup:

What you are describing is not at all uncommon. Human language is a very crude instrument indeed when it comes to trying to express things spiritual. I have been given insights in an instant that I could not explain in many pages…
In a very real sense it is the problem that we face as believers in trying to communicate with non-believers.
Even amongst ourselves it can be difficult to adequately express…

That said…I hope you will fell free enough to share some of your experiences - at least as much as you are able. Who knows, someone here may have experienced something similar and perhaps could help you to understand and express it better.

So I really appreciate the replies, as I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to describe the experience of taking in Jesus in the form of the Eucharist, what that feels like, and what it does to the person, during and after.

Thanks to all who’ve given me some insight into this.

You are most sincerely welcome.

Peace
James

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