Believe that Jesus Himself is present in the Eucharist - enough to remain Catholic?


#1

I am a convert who has been Catholic now for about eight years. To be honest, sometimes the only thing that keeps me going to Mass is my absolute belief that Jesus Himself is present in the Eucharist in a way that He isn’t in any part of any other church or religion on earth. When I say that’s the only thing…I really do mean that’s the only thing.

For one, I am not from any of the predominantly Catholic cultures in the Church (Irish, Italian, Mexican, Filipino, etc.). I pray that God will show me a way to deepen my faith outside of the predominantly European (and even when it’s not, always someone else’s) traditions, saints, and culture of the Church in the country where I live (US). But my weekly (Mass in a parish) experience of the faith is limited to always feeling like an outsider to everyone except for Jesus. I can live with that, to an extent…but…when I try to discuss my experience as a woman of color, I’m told to “stop focusing on the negative” and just believe that “Jesus is greater” than all of the pain and suffering my people have endured for centuries and continue to endure today…yes, this may be true, but Jesus created us in the bodies that He did in the world that He did. I do believe that He cares about each and every one of our experiences (this extends, too, to those who are SSA and others with crosses that place them outside of much of the Church)…but the Catholic Church of our times does not care about these things. The Catholic Church of our times (at least in the US) is dominated by European and politically conservative cultures and histories and worldviews and these things simply do not resonate for me the way they do for those who come from those cultures.

Anything about culture or race or gender or sexuality is dismissed as “identity politics” or even the work of the devil…but “we’re all the same in the eyes of God” to me does not mean that we dismiss and ignore difference, especially when that difference is used by forces of evil in our world to inflict suffering. We are human beings living in a fallen world. We need to show up for each other and show compassion. I do not see this in the predominantly European-descended, politically conservative Catholic Church in the US, many of whose members stick to their political affiliations and do not even attempt to enter into conversation about anything that does not fit within their ascribed beliefs.

I’m not saying that the Church needs to be “perfect” (which is a common response when so much as a question is raised about these issues). But I do wonder how much I can grow in faith within the US Church life which is the only one I have access to on a daily basis. Can I really be who Jesus created me to be in this kind of Church with just the Eucharist? If the answer is yes, then it’s yes…but only God knows what His work is with me here because I am not seeing it.

The reason I’m writing all of this is that I’ve tried and tried to see if others out there have similar experience, so far without much success. If I continue not to be able to have these kinds of conversations anywhere, at all, remaining Catholic is going to be a very, very difficult road.


#2

Have you thought about starting a group at the parish level that addresses your needs? I’m sure there are others who feel this way whether they are in your parish or in nearby parishes that could meet together. Parishes often combine support programs, such as bereavement programs, in order to pool enough to keep the program going. Have you looked at the diocesan level? I’m sure there is an appropriate contact at the diocesan offices to speak to about such a subject if necessary. Or talk to your pastor about your concerns, and possibly looking into starting a group or program.


#3

Yes you can!

Do people in the church; have the power to stop you being the person that Jesus intends you to be? Who really has the power? It has to be Jesus.


#4

Yes, Jesus is enough. And, I say that as a woman of color. Search for other things outside of mass that feed your desire for cultural connections be it music, ministries, or devotions to saints of your same ethnic background.

By the way, you are welcome to PM me and I’ll be happy to chat with you more specifically about this issue.


#6

If I was not sure that Jesus is alive and also present in the Eucharist I would not belong to any Christian faith. Paul the Apostle put it quite well. Without Christ our faith is moot.
And since HE IS alive and the Church HE founded is one, I will continue to belong to it until the day I die. For there is one Peter and we know were he sits. His see can be traced without the shadow of a doubt. He is the rock and we know were was planted head first when crucified.
The Church is perfect, now the members that’s a different story. Only 1 part of her is actually perfect.
Remember the Church is divided in 3 parts: The Militant Church (We are now active duty on this one). The Church Penitent (those in Purgatory being made perfect to enter Heaven). And finally the Church Triumphant (The Saints in Heaven) those ARE actually perfect.
We are all joined together by the Body and Blood of Christ. We are one body. And Jesus is perfect. While we are down here on earth there will be tares among the wheat. Jesus said so. So don’t fret or despair HE is in charge. As St. Paul said persevere to the end.


#7

Not to sound harsh, but this sounds more like an issue with the demographics of your particular parish. I’m familiar with US parishes where there are many people of color, conservatives do not dominate, and your experience would not be dismissed.
Of course, since I move around a lot, I’ve also seen parishes where there are few or no people of color and most of the parish is indeed conservative.
Is it an option for you to check out some other parishes that might be more friendly to your viewpoints?


#9

You joined 3 days ago and you’re telling people to “get over it” already? I think the moderators expect us to be a bit more charitable, FYI.


#10

Believing Jesus is in the Eucharist is one thing but do you believe all the teachings of Jesus as passed on to His Church, the Catholic Church? Or at least give assent to the Church that these teachings are true even if you don’t understand? Yes the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our life but as Jesus Himself said…if you love me you will obey my commandments.

The key mission given to the Catholic Church by Christ is the salvation of souls and the identification and condemnation of sin is necessary in carrying out that mission. When Jesus said ‘go and sin no more’ that was just as compassionate as ‘neither do I condemn you’…

As far as politics…it’s pretty clear that the liberal political ideology as put forth by the democratic party lays waste to the life teachings of Jesus.

And I disagree with your statement about dialogue. To me it is the liberal political ideology that shuts down dialogue. No matter how charitable one is in proclaiming the Truth of Jesus Christ and His Church they will still be called hater, bigot, intolerant, homophobic and any other name that looks to bury the Truth in relativism. The name calling is designed to shut down dialogue.


#11

I am sorry you feel that way. However, I do also think it may be the particular parish you attend. I can’t help but think some people at your church that belong to one of the nationalities you describe (ie Irish, Mexican, Filipino etc) may not feel welcome themselves. They may think their nationality is of a particular mentally they disagree with, but they put on an act and don’t question it because they are expected to play along.

And I also understand talking to a Catholic and feeling like they are practicing a totally different religion for me. The only recommendation I have is to pray for friends you can share with


#12

Well, it must be said that the Real Presence does sort of transcend everything else, doesn’t it? I mean it really does point our focus upwards first of all and simply cannot be ignored in any case, once we know that it’s true. And I really think you’ll find way less bigotry as well as conservatism on political and social justice issues in the CC than in the Religious Right out there. Except where conservatism belongs, on right to life issues, for example. Study the Church’s teachings on social justice and on labor, to start with.


#13

I’m sorry this has been your experience. You will find very compassionate and dynamic catholics out there as part of the new evangelization. Find them and take comfort in them. Is there really any malady of the spirit that cannot be cured by a Father Mike video?!:grinning:

I feel out of place sometimes at my parish for economic reasons. The more involved I get, the more I realize these families are quite a few income brackets above how we live. Despite their friendliness it divides us in ways they cannot understand. I imagine race and culture are infinitely more divisive if people are unwilling to hear how it affects you or how you feel alone.

I’m so upset for you as I read this. It takes no effort at all to listen to someone’s experience without cutting them off. Maybe in time, your love of the Eucharist will draw more people like you to the church and soften the hearts of those who just aren’t hearing it. God Bless you!


#14

I can see how you would feel that way in a lot of parishes as I have felt very similarly (albeit temporarily) in my roles as “ignorant recent revert raising children,” and “sudden and unexpected about-to-be-ex-wife,” etc.

I don’t have any answers for you, except that this is why we have Jesus–He is totally there for us. The ways we grow spiritually have nothing to do with marital status, race, language, etc.

We have saints from every continent: maybe you can find some with whom you can relate better?

Also mental prayer ( http://catholicism.org/talk-mentalprayer.html ) has been engaged in by every saint, and the specific method is fairly similar, just described differently by different saints.

You may find that reading works by or about Catholics of your background might help.


#15

I just want to thank you for your well written post. It is difficult for me to appreciate what people like yourself suffer. Yesterday I was listening to the radio and heard

> the story of Father Augustus Tolton for the first time.

I was so saddened by the racial oppression he had to endure, and amazed with his patience and fortitude.

He was so effective in his parish that whites started sneaking into his church, and the white Pastor down the street got angry. He went on a campaign to get rid of Fr. Tolton, and finally, he had to leave town. Jesus must be so grieved that we react the way we to do skin color.

Of course you are right, your experiences do matter, and you carry centuries of racial pain in yourself that should not be dismissed.


#16

The Church and many Catholics do indeed use the term “real presence” as a cop out many times to push other faults of the Church aside. Abuse crisis? But, we have the real presence! Poor, uninspiring liturgies? But, we have the real presence? If the presence is indeed real, we need to act like it. The real presence should inspire reverence and piety, but many times the term is just tossed around like a trademark or slogan.


#17

What you have presented is very important. As Christians, Catholic or non-Catholic, if we were facing the death sentence for being a Christian, would our lives present enough evidence to convict us?


#18

The image of Moses and the burning bush is something I put in my mind when I am at mass.
Sometimes feeling like an outsider can be lessened if we look at how we can serve in the community. Even something as simple as handing the bulletin at the back of the church to people coming in, and offering a handshake and smile will help you connect.

Try to remember that there are people who
a) have a special needs child and feels no one knows what they are going through or
b) is struggling with alcoholism and every day is a fight to be sober and who can relate to this in the parish or
c) has recently went through a difficult setback of job loss, a bad turn in health, a separation from spouse, a child in trouble…

We are all in a struggle of some kind. It is part of the human condition.

Your hour with Jesus, the King of kings is only 1 hour. Set your eyes on him.
We say in the Eastern rite… Let us lay aside all cares of life!
You have 7 days a week to deal with the world. Make the most with your 1 hour with the King of glory.
burning-bush-exodus-moses


#19

I had IHS recently tattooed on my arm, so when they come to kill the Christians I reckon I’ll be first to go.


#20

Maybe if your lucky that will throw them off because they would think real Christians would not have tattoos! (Hope you recognize I am joking).


#21

I don’t think this is a charitable response to an honest expression of feeling.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.