Jesus taught the Real Presence. Read the Gospel of John, chapter 6.
Jesus*** is*** the Bread of Life who came from heaven.
What other Christians over the centuries have chosen to believe will never, in my mind, discredit what Jesus taught. Sadly, though, not everyone believes, and many didn’t even believe Jesus either, becasue the teaching was too hard.
This isn’t “a teaching”; the real presence of Jesus is my reality, and it is not only the main reason for attending church (as opposed to, say, reading the Bible under a tree in the yard), but is a main reason why I do many other things.
The tone of your question doesn’t suggest that you’re asking if I would still go to church without it; it suggests that you don’t believe in the concept and are making some sort of opinion against it, which doesn’t move me one iota.
No, I’m not sure I would go to church without the Eucharist. After all, we can worship God anywhere at any time without it.
A lot of people think that way, which is why many mainline churches are losing members–apart from the whole “I’m spiritual but not religious” idea that so many tout these days.
When Israel held worship services they gathered because they would hear the word of God, but also they were all related to one another. Gathering together was a reaffirmation of their identity as a people. Jesus intended that same fellowship among people of every nation in the partaking of his body and blood–which makes us all one people–relating us to one another in his real presence.
Without that the full relationship Jesus intended is lost. People no longer have the kind of cohesion Jesus intended us to have with one another. When the Protestants denied the real presence they severed that connection, dividing Christians into the spiritual “haves” and the “have nots”. Well, the “have nots” have strayed a great deal from one another, “each man going his own way,” as Scripture says.
So no, Bible reading, a sermon, a few prayers, and singing a few hymns is nice, but it’s not the full connection that Christ intended, and without that, there is no real family in Christ, but a fragmented gathering of disparate people who all just happen to believe the same things because they want to.
Well said, Della! Without the Eucharist it is just a service with Bible readings and song. All good, but without “the source and summit” so much less meaningful!
What I will add though, is that the cohesion you speak of in the Catholic faith is unfortunately lessened as so many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. Yes, we gather together as a family physically, but not as spiritually as it should be. If every Catholic believed from the very fiber of their being that what is occurring in the consecration is the greatest miracle that we could encounter how much more cohesion and relationship there would be!!
In my mind this is what is needed in the Catholic Church. We need an internal evangelization effort as a more “on fire” Catholic faithful will make evangelization to non-Catholics so much more effective. My opinion at least!!
I completely agree! Sadly, too many of our people follow the mores and beliefs of modern society, rather than those of the Church they claim as their own. Still, most of that isn’t their fault. I dare say that most Catholics of the last couple of generations received very poor catechesis stemming from the follies of the 60’s and 70’s. But, with orthodoxy returning to our seminaries and teaching staffs, we can turn that around.
The Church’s people have gone through, and still go through, many waxings and wanings of the true faith down through the centuries. Many of the Church’s enemies, on the outside and the inside, have tried to destroy the faith of Catholics, but the Church prevails because Christ promised she would. Still, we have to do our part to keep our people informed and faithful.
Let me first state that I believe in the Real Presence. However, I also love God, I enjoy worshiping God, and I love to worship God with others in the context of church. And so, if I only believed communion to be symbolic I am certain I would still go.
My wife is an adult convert. Over the course of our relationship, I often went with her to different Christian services on Sunday mornings. I then went to Mass later in the evening on the same day.
There’s nothing wrong with attending other services, so long as you recognize that the Real Presence via transubstantiation isn’t there (which is why things like Anglican services still don’t work…they don’t believe in transubstantiation nor do they have valid holy orders), meaning you’d have to still do your “Sunday obligation” to attending a Mass in person.
Well it is a (efficacious) sign, but also it is a cause of communion in the divine life and unity of the faithful.
Catechism 1325 "The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit."138
The Catechism also states that the Eucharist is called all of the following:
*]The Lord’s Supper
*]The Breaking of Bread
*]The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis)
*]The memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection
*]The Holy Sacrifice, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy Mass (Missa), “sacrifice of praise,” spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice
*]The Holy and Divine Liturgy, celebration the Sacred Mysteries
*]Holy Communion, the holy things (ta hagia; sancta)