Last night I was visiting with an acquaintance, a Baptist. I had mentioned that I had been over at our Church earlier in the evening, and he asked if our church was open 24 hours. I explained about our Adoration Chapel, and then felt called to share what it meant: the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ being truly present in the ‘host’, and that someone was there 24 hours a day. (That took a DEEP BREATH, because I knew it would be met with some resistance, at the least. But God had provided me with another answer that my friend had asked just moments before…so I trusted in Him.) He was amazed at our dedication but then, keyed in on the Eucharist, asking about it.
I explained that the Eucharist is the actual Body of Christ. He *laughed *and said, “What? You think that Jesus Christ is here in XXXXXX (city)?” Firstly, I said Jesus Christ is with us ALWAYS spiritually; why not His Body? He is in every Catholic Church, physically. I called over to another Catholic, expecting him to back me up (since this is a BIG DEAL and big part of being Catholic, at least to me!); he told me that he doesn’t really know, because he doesn’t remember his catechism class! WHAT??? I’d seen comments here and there about some Catholics not believing in the Body and Blood of Christ, but hadn’t really encountered one in the ‘wild’. (TBH, my dad also told me he wasn’t sure; that startled both me and my mother; he’s an adult convert but has been Catholic at least since I was a small child, 40 years.) The person I asked considers himself a fairly devout Catholic. However, some comments he has made over the past few weeks concern me, when he says in a group about picking and choosing certain Catholic doctrine, but not others. But I still didn’t expect his response of not being sure…I almost fainted! In fairness, this gentleman is definitely socially challenged; he may also be challenged in other non-apparent ways, but also puts himself out there as being a devout Catholic. I’ve had many ‘gentle’ conversations, at his instigation, in front of others.
I don’t know if I was there to witness to the Catholic or the Baptist last night; perhaps both. I’ve never been ‘laughed at’ before regarding this, but I’ve never really shared it either; and I definitely expected a different answer than the one I got from the fellow Catholic! While each of us sins, and clearly acts against God and the Faith when sinning, we should still believe in the Catholic Church, in God and His Teachings. Why would you be Catholic and not believe in the Catholic Church? Am I incorrect in thinking that believing in the Body and Blood of Christ is a MAJOR part of Catholicism? This is My Body! This is My Blood!
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. I also believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I truly believe that Jesus Christ is with us and we are receiving His, not the priest’s, Forgiveness. But I think there are even more Catholics who don’t believe in that, either.
Father, please help me to explain the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, not only to non-Catholics, but my fellow Catholics, in a way that is easy to understand. Please especially help my friends A and D to understand and believe in Your Body. Help me to be a good witness to Your Word. Thank you Lord for your gifts to us. Thank you for allowing me to share my Faith, Your Good News, with others. Help me to be a good model of Catholicism. Amen.