How to address my protestant friend about the Eucharist.

Hello,
I am a cradle Catholic who is in the process of learning my faith more deeply. I have recently engaged in dialogue with a protestant coworker of mine about Catholicism, and he raised an issue that I would like help in answering.

Background:
In his church, they celebrate the Eucharist, but only a few times per year. Unlike Catholics they don’t believe the Eucharist to be the Body and Blood of Christ, but rather a symbol of sorts. In his explanation he mentioned that the reason they don’t celebrate communion frequently is because they feel it’s more special to do it only on occasion, and that it is of utmost importance to prostrate oneself before receiving communion, and that it’s sinful if one is not in the right state of mind and spirit.

Comment:
He commented that his Pastor feels that since they must be in such a prostrated state to receive the communion, that if they received it daily or weekly like Catholics, that the Pastor would be putting the congregation in a position to sin if they did so often. I guess implying that it’s not reasonable to put ones self in the proper state so frequently.

My Question:
How can I effectively explain to him that this is flawed logic? Of course from a Catholic perspective. My goal is not to be argumentative, but rather shed light in a truthful way. A way that will hopefully begin to open his eyes to Catholic teaching.

Thank you and God Bless,
Bryan

Scott Hahn has compared receiving the Eucharist to the marital embrace. Do couples usually only come together a few times a year in order to keep it special? Or rather, does this union strengthen and deepen their relationship?

:heart: Love is Patient

I think I would first humbly ask him how putting yourself in this “state” of being with Christ can be done more often than Christ would want us to. I’m assuming the state is one which allows them to be closer to Christ.

In other words, IMHO Christ would want us to be in this state perpetually if we could. I’m just confused about the “state” your friend talks about.

But I think the main point is the difference between what we consider “communion” and what your friend considers communion. Maybe if he/she read Scot Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper” he/she would understand better how we perceive the Eucharist. It’s a reletively short read and very interesting whether you are catholic or not.

I hope this helps.

**Edit: I’m sure you’ll get a lot of great answers to your question. Hang on and you’ll have a lot of great advice.

Peace Be With You!

HC

Thanks. I understand fully the difference between our respective views of the Eucharist. i.e. we believe the bread and wine are made Jesus’ body and blood via transubstantiation, and the typical protestant view that it’s merely a symbol.

I’ve heard of it, and I’ll give him a copy of Scott Hahn’s Lamb’s Supper.

I notice he never told you what HE thought. Just the “they” and the pastor. Ask him what HE thinks/believes and then ask him to support it with scripture. Especially if he is Sola when it comes to the scriptures.

Dr. Hahn’s book Lamb’s Supper, I would be careful giving it to him. He maynot be ready and the section on The Blessed Virgin being the woman in Chapter 12, well it could turn him off to all that came before and have him not read anything past that point. The Blessed Mother is a “sticking” point with most protestants. If would be best to discuss things one at a time.

Do not try to convince him he is wrong. Tell him what you believe and why. Be positive and enthusiatic about what you believe. Do not say to him you are wrong. If you disagree, say “I believe…and here is why?” Not confrontational, neither of you have to be defensive.

I hope this isn’t too long. If your friend reads this and understands it, maybe he will want to participate in Eucharist at your church - and frequently. :slight_smile:

The fruits of Holy Communion

1391 Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."226 Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."227

On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, “Christ is risen!” Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ.228
1392 What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh "given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,"229 preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.

1393 Holy Communion separates us from sin. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us,” and the blood we drink “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:

For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord’s death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.230
1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins.231 By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:

Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world. . . . Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.232
1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.

1396 The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body.233 The Eucharist fulfills this call: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:"234

Another book to give him is Mark Shea’s This Is My Body:

amazon.com/This-My-Body-Evangelical-Discovers/dp/0931888484

Bryan,
May I suggest that you approach your friend from a “protestant” POV? There are lots of sites online that give Luther’s position on the Eucharist, including the real presence and the importance of high frequency of reception. Depending on his denomination, he may be no more disposed to Luther than to Catholic thought, but it might be worth a try.

On the “its more special if one takes it only infrequently”, which I hear even from some Lutherans ( :imsorry: ), I always respond by asking if scripture would be more special if we only heard it a few times a year. Why limit God’s attempts to provide us His grace?

Jon

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