Belief in the Real Presence Necessary?

I’m having a discussion with a friend that I hope someone can help me with.

He was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools through college. About the Eucharist he says that he can’t wrap his mind around Jesus being more with Catholics than with Protestants who don’t believe in the Real Presence. Why do we need to believe that the Eucharist is really Jesus? Why are Catholics special?

I mentioned the miracle of Lanciano and he said that if the monk believed in the Real Presence and needed his faith bolstered, then it was cool of Jesus to do that for him.

How can I explain to my friend that the Reformation was people leaving the Church and deciding to make their own way and believe their own thing…and that doesn’t mean they were completely right? He has family who are converts and some who are still Protestant, so the idea that Jesus is less with them in their worship is what’s bothering him, I think.

And do I have an obligation to get him to change his mind? I don’t want to push too hard and lose his friendship. He has a theology degree from a Catholic university, and I’m just a convert…he already knows all the reasons…or I’d like to think so.

As a Lutheran, I would answer the bolded by saying because Jesus said it was.

Jon

What question are you asking?

***Why do we need to believe that the Eucharist is really Jesus? ***

Because it is Jesus. Christ said that apart from him we can do nothing, so we unite ourselves to him in any way we can - through his word, through prayer, through the sacraments and through the Eucharist.

Why are Catholics special?

We are not special. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required (Luke 12:48)

How can I explain to my friend…?

Do less explaining and more being an example. Be whom you receive. Be Christ. If we preach the Gospel but don’t demonstrate it then we are just hypocrites. The word hypocrite in Greek means actor.

do I have an obligation to get him to change his mind?

No. You have an obligation invite him. You have an obligation to offer. You are not obligated to convince him. Convincing him might not be possible. God does not expect the impossible. Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet and walk away if his word was not received.

You have an obligation to love him without regard to his religious choices.

-Tim-

This makes me think of the John 3:13 verse that gets used so much outside of the Church. My take is this… If he said believe in me, that means believe in everything he said, did, and is. So if we must believe everything he said so that we may go to heaven, we have to believe the bread becomes Jesus’s body. How this happens, we do not know, and it is not for us to know at this point in history; so, just believe it.

As far as what it is, it is an outpouring of Jesus into us. And he said more will be required of us; yes, much more is required of the King’s court than of the common folk in the kingdom. Have you received any orders from the King yet? We are servants, but yet his burden is light.

Two reasons:

  1. Because Jesus said unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we have no life in us.
  2. And because St. Paul said that eating and drinking the Eucharist without discerning the body of Christ (i.e. unbelieving) or unworthily (i.e. in mortal sin) eats and drinks his own condemnation.

Jesus is with all of us, no matter who we are or how much we acknowledge His presence with us. However, the only true way to Him is through His Catholic Church, the One and only Church that He founded about 2,000 years ago. Otherwise, one CANNOT find Jesus and the fullness of the Truth in the proper manner. We need to believe that Jesus is truly the Holy Eucharist because Jesus told us this Himself. “For My Flesh is true food and My Blood is true drink” (John 6:55).

I mentioned the miracle of Lanciano and he said that if the monk believed in the Real Presence and needed his faith bolstered, then it was cool of Jesus to do that for him.

Like all protestants, your friend doesn’t make one ounce of sense. How can he sit there and say that it was nice that Jesus proved Himself being the Eucharist once again through the miracle at Lanciano but then still not believe?

And do I have an obligation to get him to change his mind? I don’t want to push too hard and lose his friendship. He has a theology degree from a Catholic university, and I’m just a convert…he already knows all the reasons…or I’d like to think so.

Yes, you do have an obligation to present to Him the Truths of Catholicism that he has unfortunately left (I don’t know how he has a theology degree from a Catholic university and still doesn’t believe in the Truths of the faith). You don’t have to actually change his mind, you just have to present to him the Truths of Catholicism and let the Holy Spirit guide him from there.

May God bless you and your friend and may He lead him to Catholicism! :slight_smile:

The devil believes in God. He did his own will. He didn’t stick around in Heaven for as long as the other angels.

Lots of people believe in God or an afterlife, but don’t believe in the Eucharist even though they have been taught about it. These people more than likely don’t know Jesus, and if you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know the Father. These folks are likely lukewarm.

How do you get to know Jesus? Confessing, receiving the Eucharist, and doing good works which bring charity back to the soul.

To be a Catholic in good standing one must believe in the Real Presence. To receive the Sacrament or any Sacrament while not believing what the Catholic Church teaches in faith and morals would be a sacrelage. See the Catechism,

" 1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.” You need to read the entire section discussing the Eucharist.

If you are on good terms with your friend you can help him understand what the Church teaches. But if he puts his foot down all you can do is pray.

Linus2nd

your obligation is to God alone, not any organization! Look for yourself, organizations adopt books to explain what they want or insist that YOU believe. Yet NONE of the authors were alive in Christ day. But it is in agreement with scripture. The Mormons have a book too , and theirs also jives with the scriptures. No … ONLY the Gospel IS Gospel, everything else … IS opinion!

I think your just kinda getting caught in a web. You see Christ made no denomination, he made believers. Denominations were created by Theologians. You see Theologians have a real hard time admitting that they do not understand certain scriptures, so the form counsels and decide what they are going to believe and what they will not believe, what is fact, what is fiction, what is spiritual, what is theological, what is literal and what is symbolic. Now stop for just a moment! Think, of the books written by EVERY theologian or counsel … HOW MANY were present WHEN Christ walked the earth? How many walked beside the Apostles after Christ ascended? Pray that God show you the way. ONLY God has Authority to answer the question your asking, why ask theologians? The very idea that ANYONE could presume to SPEAK for Christ and say WHO he’s MOST with is silly! Christ hung with sinners the righteous had no need of saving! You want to know what the scriptures say? Read the scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to descern where he will. Don’t be discouraged when some scripture seems elusive, I assure you, when the time is right he will make it known.

I’m not trying to be rude, and you do make a few good points. But, Christ desires unity in his Church. We are to be in union with God and one another. The Church is a community and there exists only one truth. I believe you have heard it said before, but I’ll repeat it here, the books were written long after Pentecost, long after the organization of the Church by the Spirit, and way long before the institution of the Eucharistic celebration.

The books are great (old and new), but all they do is support sacred tradition. In order to be in union the Church must have continuity in its teaching about the truth. The continuity comes from the Eucharistic Celebration.

I’m sure you know as well that the printing press was developed in the 15th century. It seems the print press has made more theologians, including yourself.

Research shows that a large number of people who consider themselves Roman Catholic do not believe in the real presence. Personally, I have trouble believing in it. I mean, the Torah expressly condemns eating human flesh and now the God of the Jews wants his people to eat the body of the Mashiach? Hard to believe sometimes.

Christ himself held to no tradition, in fact violated them himself for what was truly important. The Eucharist is sacred and I’ll not besmirch it. I would like to hear your views on the points I did make, and no I did not perceive you as rude. :slight_smile:

It’s not a matter of Catholics being “special”, but of our obedience to what Christ Himself ordained.

I cover all of the best reasons why in an article on my blog called The Eucharist IS Scriptural. You may feel free to print it and give it to your friend[s]. It always makes me wonder about people who say that they believe the Bible and even assign it as absolute authority for all they believe and yet deny something so heavily laid out in that very Bible.

The New Testament teaches it and the Catholic Church has maintained that same teaching for 2,000 years.

Ignatius of Antioch was adamant about it and Justin Martyr clearly describes it his apology to the Emperor. (See What Was Authentic Early Christian Worship Really Like?) Both of these post apostolic era Catholics gave their lives for this.

Don’t let his degree slow you down. Some of the stuff they teach in some universities is a scandalous disgrace to the Catholic faith.

The Real Presence is one of the main reasons that many convert to the Catholic faith.

There was a wonderful man in our parish who used to attend daily Mass often and I knew that he had actually been the pastor of a local n-C congregation for many years prior to his conversion. One morning at breakfast after Mass I had the blessed honor to sit with him and we chatted. I finally asked him what it was that finally made him want to convert. He looked at me and very earnestly said, “Michael, I had to have the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” I will never forget that or the way my eyes filled with tears (and still do) with the rich sense of the presence of Our Lord.

He passed away sometime back, but he left a deep impression upon me, which honestly, is not easily done.

The lack of religious faith and/or catechesis is a separate issue from the belief itself.

Jesus Himself was aware of the prohibition against eating human flesh. Rather than avoid offending the crowds, He instead wades right into it in the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John:

47 “Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

As you may imagine this caused quite a stir.

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

The word translated in verse 53 as “eat” means literally “gnaw”. It doesn’t get more literal and insistent than that.

Needless to say not everyone found this teaching to his liking.

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” 66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.

Given the prohibition in the Torah, we can imagine the scandal this teaching created coming from a rabbi.

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Because Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood”–and added (John 6) that unless you eat his flesh and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

Why are Catholics special?

Because we kept the tradition of the sacraments, along with the Orthodox Churches, when other Christians rejected them and split off to form their own communities.

. . .
How can I explain to my friend that the Reformation was people leaving the Church and deciding to make their own way and believe their own thing…and that doesn’t mean they were completely right? He has family who are converts and some who are still Protestant, so the idea that Jesus is less with them in their worship is what’s bothering him, I think.

I’d look at the contemporary experience: Catholics have most of what most Protestants have, songs and prayers and preaching, but we also have, beyond that, a firm belief in the presence of God with us in the Real Presence. This is why, for example, we have sanctuary lamps–to remind us that, when we enter our church, we come into the presence of God. I’ve gone into various Protestant churches, and they don’t have that presence.

And do I have an obligation to get him to change his mind? I don’t want to push too hard and lose his friendship. He has a theology degree from a Catholic university, and I’m just a convert…he already knows all the reasons…or I’d like to think so.

No. All you can do is invite him to change, present your faith–best with as few words as possible–and pray for him.

Faith. Belief. Love of God.

To believe in Jesus and what he said is the true meaning of Love of God. To take the Body and Blood of Our Lord is being one with God.

Consuming the host is NOT cannibalism.

Read this:

catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-catholics-believe-about-john-6

I found the responses to this topic a bit disturbing. We as Catholics are no better than anyone else. We should remember this always. Sometimes I feel that we are acting much like the Pharisees. The reason the Reformation came to be is that our Church was selling indulgences for money. At least, this was the one thing that set Martin Luther into motion. Martin Luther anguished over his decision but it was the right thing to do. Protestants did not want a God to fit into their lifestyle, they wanted to serve God as best as they knew how. Clearly, the selling of indulgences needed to change.

I do not think he wanted to splinter Christianity into so many religions but sin does have consequences. I am not referring to Martin Luther either. Yet God can write straight with crooked lines. Over the years the Catholic Church did not behave as God would want us to - the crusades, the inquisition, bad popes, selling of indulgences, child sexual abuse etc. Yet, Jesus himself assured us that the gates of hell would never prevail against his church. His church being the christian people and all members and churches of the Christian faith.

One post quoted St. Paul about receiving the Eucharist unworthily. Yes, this is correct but was taken way out of context. He was speaking to the Corinthians who had lavish banquets and at the end of these banquets they celebrated the Eucharist. It was basically a tag along to their banquet and did not stand out as being anything different. This is what he is talking about. I cannot help but think that the majority of Catholics and Protestants do discern before receiving Communion.

The Church speaks of apostolic succession and without this there is no real Eucharist. I would be careful here. If a Christian Church offers a sacrifice to God, it is up to God and God alone if he finds the sacrifice to be pleasing.

We should always die to self and show love and grace to everyone on a daily basis. Sometimes hard to do but Jesus requires this of all.

I think any Christian Church founded with the correct biblical beliefs as set by Jesus has a valid Eucharist. The presence is as real in a Protestant church as it is in the Catholic Church.

The crusades were not a bad thing . Did individual crusaders do bad things? Probably. The inquisition was a governmental procedure. Did individual inquisitors do bad things? Probably. Child sexual abuse… Once again, not condoned by the church by any means, but an aberration of individuals. And the Real Presence? Only in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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