NABRE Psalm 115 proclaims,
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
5 They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see.
6 They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell.
7 They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk; they produce no sound from their throats.
8 Their makers will be like them, and anyone who trusts in them.
I was struck from the first time I read this how it appeared to apply to the Blessed Sacrament, especially in the monstrance. I would like to have grounds to believe the Eucharistic Miracles I’ve heard about, e.g. the 2013 one in Poland, but so far evidence has been elusive. The most I’ve seen has been “a Department of Forensic Medicine confirmed it!” but simply being told that isn’t enough. (If it was a scientific investigation, I expect to see a scientific report. Where is their published work?)
Basically, from all my hours before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration, and receiving the Eucharist at Mass, my experience appears described by this psalm. How “lifeless” the Eucharist appears to be is underscored by reports I hear of people stealing the consecrated Host, etc.
Of course I don’t know what Jesus is actually doing, but why would my Father and Brother leave me in such painful suspense, with no direct answer from the Holy Spirit? (I always seem to just have my own thoughts, or else fall asleep, or else get frustrated.) Why would God force us to reject our senses? This seems in contradiction to the Church’s own teaching that God expects us to use our reason, which is based on trusting the senses.
Then you have the Quran, threatening endless torture for all Christians for regarding Jesus as God, and these threats serve to magnify my discomfort from this psalm. The Quran even goes so far as to declare that ignorance is no excuse, and that Christians will be blaming each other for misleading each other when God throws them into hell.
Now I am inclined to disregard the Quran because of how brutish and unoriginal it appears to be, but like the argument that “the Catholic Church is arrogant in claiming to be the sole religion free of error”, it’s either that, or it’s true. I don’t see clear grounds for asserting that the Church’s version of history (i.e. the Resurrection, etc) is correct (I can only say “spend as much time as you can studying it and see”), and I haven’t yet encountered God in a way that isn’t explainable by atheism.
It leads me back – I’ve discussed this before – to NABRE 1 Corinthians 11:
[quote=verse 29]For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
It sounds like Paul is saying we shouldn’t receive Communion unless we discern that it is Christ’s Body, which would be in agreement with the above. (The problem is that I try to tell myself it’s Christ’s Body, but it looks like a wafer and I experience it as a wafer.) The surrounding verses appear to be talking about scrutinizing one’s own conscience, but I can’t see how or why that language would be used for verse 29 if Paul’s not talking about Christ’s Body there – wouldn’t it be much more natural to say “without discerning one’s own body”?
I suppose I’m ultimately brought back to NABRE John 6:
[quote=verse 60]Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
63 It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
It looks like reception of the Eucharist is utterly a gift of faith, in complete opposition to reason. Perhaps I should say “natural reason”, but then I’m not sure what other sort there is. Logic about God (‘spiritual reason’?) basically becomes incoherent, e.g. the Hypostatic Union: “God doesn’t suffer, but Jesus suffered, and Jesus is God,” etc. /sigh
I would appreciate any help or clarity you could give me. I’ve spent like an hour on this post, perhaps more, including a bit of research on Eucharistic miracles. My pastor basically suggested I quit thinking about all my struggles with faith, if it’s frustrating me. (He said it’s a matter of the heart, not of the mind, that poor farmers don’t have the time to spend thinking about it, but they’re still Christian.) … but if I quit thinking about it, then I don’t see how I can continue being a Christian, or avoid turning into one of those “I do it because it’s what I’m supposed to do” lackluster “cultural Catholics”. I don’t see how I can stop seeking answers or an encounter with God, especially when Jesus appears to promise them! (‘seek and you will find’)