Accepting the Eucharist


#1

I went to Mass today (well, yesterday, as it’s after midnight) at Savannah’s beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which was my first civilian Mass, all others having taken place in Iraq or on post at the chapel. As the priest was praying about the bread and wine becoming the actual body and blood of Christ, I was again struck by the fact that this is probably the issue with which I still have the most trouble. I have read the quotes of the early Church fathers and the passages in Scripture which Catholics cite in support of the doctrine. All evidence I have seen seems to support the Catholic position. Somehow, however, I have trouble letting the obvious conclusion sink into my mind. Can any converts tell me how they managed to accept the doctrine of transubstantiation?

I was looking through an old post of mine, in which I had posted the following quote from Paul Thigpen, found in the book Surprised By Truth:

“…Protestant ways of thinking were so deeply ingrained in my mind that I found it impossible to reason my way out of them.”

I find myself faced with the same problem. My reason is telling me that Catholicism is true, and that it is indeed ludicrous for me to suggest otherwise. My Protestant mindset, however, is a bit stubborn, it seems. I greatly appreciate any help on this issue, as well as your prayers.

On a related note, I actually went to Paul Thigpen’s Bible Study this morning. Thanks to CA forums member hurst for pointing out that Paul Thigpen goes to church at the cathedral and telling me about his website. And, Church Militant, I should tell you I actually requested one of those Catholic home study courses you have long been recommending. Thanks to all of you for all of your help! God bless!


#2

Pray about it. This is the number one thing you can do.

Secondly, I can offer one suggestion from my experience. Go to Mass and bow before Him in the consecrated Eucharist. When you do this, think about what it would mean if that really was Christ up there. You should have no problem thinking about how amazing and incredible it would be if that were Him. At some point while you are doing that (though not necessarily on the first day, of course) you will be struck with the awe of it. This happened for me. I can only hope it will for you as well.

But pray.

Also, pray about it.

One more thing: pray.

:slight_smile:


#3

[quote=The Iambic Pen] And, Church Militant, I should tell you I actually requested one of those Catholic home study courses you have long been recommending. Thanks to all of you for all of your help! God bless!
[/quote]

If it’s We Worship: A Catholic Guide to the Mass, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. My copy just came this week. :thumbsup:

And a thanks from me too, Church Militant. I’m pretty certain it was through a link you posted that I found them as well.


#4

+JMJ

I accepted by the grace of God and an act of the will. Like you, I saw that all of the evidence pointed to the Catholic teaching, but it refused to become real for me. I expressed to a Catholic friend that I thought I had come to believe in the real presence. But when he asked if I would bow down and worship the Eucharist as God, I couldn’t say yes. I was stuck. God helped me move my will to follow what I had come to understand through sheer logic. I knew the truth in my mind, and contented myself in believing that my heart would follow (St Augustine has said something to that effect, I think). After all, that which we feel is often deceptive, so stained by the Fall.

Spend time in prayer. Find an adoration chapel and spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Throw yourself into faith, trusting in God, and He will reward you. Ask Christ to reveal himself. Ask His Blessed Mother to work on your heart.

God bless.


#5

Dear Iambic Pen, I have been seeing your journey towards the Catholic Church for many months, although I have never addressed you directly here on the forum. It’s really great to see you question things and reflect on the answers given, and then come back later with another thoughtful question on something else.

From here it is very exciting to see the path of discovery you are on! One can see the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

All I can say is that if you can see that the CC is the original, true church, (and I guess that you are 98% there already), then how could She teach the Real Prescence for 2000 years and be wrong about it?

Yes, it is just the Protestant mindset holding you back from believing. God can fix that, if you let Him. He did for me.

I have just prayed for you to be helped in this area of doubt, and I hope that very soon you will see the Eucharist as it really is, with full confidence - God Himself, giving us his of his very self to eat and drink!

Isn’t He beyond words!


#6

IP:

What you are experiencing in natural. Your mind has accepted the logic, the blueprint, but the reality is yet to sink in. Approach the Holy Eucharist from a different angle; given that what we see is not a thing but a being…it is Christ utterly veiled under the humble appearance.

Man being both spirit and body to enter deeper into our relationship with God must have both connected to him…as a Christian it would be safe to assume that you have a spiritual communion with Christ, now in the modality of your body this reality is also coming to a communion with Him.

Give Him time to seep in. I would suggest doing a Holy Hour in Perpetual Adoration at a specific time of the week. Try to get used to being around His body in the Eucharist. Also, great books by St. Julian Eymard like Eucharistic Retreats may assist your meditation while in there. St. Julian is a great guide and will help you get deeper and deeper into the mystery of the body of Christ transubstantiated.

Lastly, think of it as a love story between your whole being (soul, mind and body) and Christ, that you are getting to know another aspect of your King in a new way. There is a certain dynamic similar to the beginning stages of a relationship between man and woman that you will experience internally.

God bless your continued growth Iambic.

in XT.


#7

:clapping: :dancing: You’re a CIVILIAN! How great to have you back Stateside and safe!

It seems you have already wrapped your HEAD around the Real Presence. The best advice given here has been: Pray.

Lord, increase my faith. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.

These things come as grace – not that your head is uninvolved, but ultimately (as your good Protestant roots should have taught you), it is the relationship with Christ that will increase your faith.

Godspeed.


#8

IP,

It’s great to see you here again. Thank you for sharing so much of your journey with us!

I’m not a convert, but only came to really know and understand Catholic teaching while in college, and while considering invitations from well-meaning protestant friends to join them in worship at their churches. The Eucharist is a big reason I stayed…

One part of my conversion of belief came with a very simple belief. Like you, I had seen all the common historical and Biblical support for the teaching. What I didn’t really understand, though, was why God would choose to make it reality. Why was it important for God to give us Jesus’ real flesh and blood? The answer to that question was important for my belief, just because I’m an inquisitive sort. :o

Now, many may have very good answers to that question that are completely different than what I came to see, and that is fine. Here is what helped it all come together for me, personally. I hope it helps you.

It started with the understanding that God wants to make us holy – transform us. But that can only happen through contact with Him, because only He is truly Holy. So, He gives us Himself in order to transform us.

I understood that we are made up of three things: our mind, body, and soul.

  • The Holy Spirit is how our spirit is touched by God and made holy.
  • Sacred Scripture is how He transforms, and makes holy, our thoughts and minds.

Both of these were common ideas even among protestants that I had fellowshipped with. Nothing strange or earth-shattering there.

But what of our bodies? I’ve talked with all sorts of people covering the gamut on that one. There are Christians who believe, essentially, that the body is base and defiled, constantly pulling us from God. There are others who believe our bodies are holy. Most seem to be somewhere in between.

From Genesis, where we are created in God’s image, and made good, to the epistles where our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, I really think that our bodies are made to be holy. When has God ever come to be in a place that is not, then, holy? (The ark of the covenant, the “holy ground” around the burning bush, the ancient temple and holy of holies, Mary, etc.)

To cut to the point, I just didn’t find anything except the Eucharist that added that last piece of the puzzle – how God transforms our bodies into something worthy of being a temple for His own presence to live inside us. Certainly nothing of this world is capable of making our bodies holy – in fact, most things of this world have the opposite effect.

When I contemplated how God desires to transform and make holy our very flesh through contact with His (“you are what you eat”), the “why” of it all finally made real sense to me.

His Spirit for ours
His Word for ours
His Body for ours

The total gift of Himself to us
The total transformation into that which He intends us to be

A simple concept really, and one you have probably considered. But just in case it helps your faith as it has mine, I am glad to share it.

Peace,
javelin


#9

Dear Brother in Christ, I have two thoughts for you: 1) pray and fast, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to you 2) spend time in prayer and quiet meditation by the Tabernacle in a Catholic Church - Christ is there, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament that is reserved in the Tabernacle - ask the Lord to show you His Truth - He will. God Bless, A Fellow Convert


#10

:thumbsup: Excellent!

I would like to add that innumerable physical healings have been received by partaking of the Eucharist.


#11

I just happened to be scanning some channels on the t.v. and stopped at EWTN. A childrens program was on, I’m gonna say geared toward young children, say 8-9 years old (not that I’m saying you need to be talked to like a child of that age. My husband has told me I tend to do that.(can’t help it I’m a mom!!) There was a young priest and 4-5 children and he was explaining to them about how to understand the real presence in the Eucharist. One of the girls was holding the cutest puppy. The priest went on to pet the puppies head and then state, “I believe I’m holding the puppy” and yet the truth is he was not holding the puppy. He then stated " I think I’m holding the puppy" and yet the Truth still remained that he was not holding the puppy. So what we believe or think does not change the truth, it is still the truth. I thought it was quite eloquent. just a thought.


#12

Peace be with you!

First let me say welcome home (to both the US and the Church!). Think about this: you have no problem accepting that Jesus Christ is God and became a man and died for our sins and then on the third day he rose again. Well, I don’t know about you, but my “reason” certainly tells me that’s impossible! But we believe it anyway. Is it really all that more unbelievable that God could be present under the species of bread and wine than He could have become man and was born of a virgin?

Hopefully this helps. Good luck on your journey!

In Christ,
Rand


#13

I always make a point to read your posts because it’s nice to see someone who is so sincere. I am not a cradle Catholic myself, and it is great watching someone else on their journey. I hope you find all your answers. I think one of the Catholic Home Study books is “The Priviledge of Being Catholic”. It was really helpful to me. The author does a great job of explaining something called “the Sacramental Principle”. It eliminated a lot of issues. Sometimes it’s so hard to get others to understand why things, such as baptism, are not just a symbol to us. I hope you decide to read it- maybe even before you read some of the other books.
Good Luck- Tamara


#14

mercygate:

You’re a CIVILIAN! How great to have you back Stateside and safe!

Well, I won’t be a civilian for another couple of years or so, but it is good to be back in the U.S. Definite improvement, I must say. :slight_smile:

Thanks to all of you for your ideas! They have been extremely helpful. Rand Al’Thor, your idea has occurred to me several times. I shall have to think on that.

I actually have EWTN here, so I’ve turned it on from time to time. It has proved very useful, and I’m sure it will continue to be so.

I think one problem is that Protestants tend to have a rather neutral view of the physical world. They don’t see the physical world as evil, as I believe the Gnostics did, but they don’t really see it as having any importance when it comes to spiritual matters. Interesting, most interesting…

God bless!


#15

Catholic spirituality is definitely “incarnational”.* “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” * The Word becoming flesh is not without significance for Catholics that strive to be like Christ!


#16

IP, Check out the website below. It may help your faith. It contains documentations of Church-approved miracles in which the consecrated bread and wine have actually visibly turned into Christ’s body and blood before the faithful.

therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html


#17

IP, I’m a convert and admittedly sometimes I struggle with having solid faith in the Real Presence. But we all have doubt sometimes, that’s just a part of faith. Pray for a perfect faith in Jesus’ Real Presence in Holy Communion. Go to church, preferably during Eucharistic Adoration, and make an Act of Faith: no matter what the condition of your heart, just say, “Ok, Jesus. I believe that you are really substantially here with us, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.” This is advice I was given by my priest and I think its pretty good. Remind yourself of God’s ability to transcend the ordinary-surely you’ve heard of medical miracles that were inexplicable by doctors? If God can perform such miracles, why can’t He perform the miracle of making Himself substantially present in the Eucharist? If God can create the universe, surely He can replace the bread and wine with His Body and Blood? Just remember that even in the days when Jesus walked the earth, His apostles didn’t always understand Him or find everything He said easy to accept, perhaps most notably when He told a large crowd that they must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood to have eternal life, and many of his disciples left Him. But the Twelve accepted His teaching, with Peter saying, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69). When at the Last Supper Jesus told them that the bread and wine were His Body and Blood, I’ll bet it took faith on their part to accept it. Its hard for me to believe that their faith was unfounded-all but one of them went on to be martyred for what they believed. Faith is what its going to take from you; that’s what it takes from all of us.


#18

When I was young, during the elevations after the consecration, I was taught to say in my mind ‘My Lord and my God’. Next time you’re at Mass, try saying this in your mind, slowly, as the Body of our Lord and then Blood of our Lord are elevated. It’s such a simple meditation, but it is one that will work on your heart.


#19

That is interesting indeed! Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine–physical and spiritual–visible and invisible–matter and spirit.


#20

[quote=Mickey]That is interesting indeed! Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine–physical and spiritual–visible and invisible–matter and spirit.
[/quote]

I love the quote
’God works through the natural to do the supernatural’.


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