Something that upset me during the Eucharist


#1

Hello everyone. I have recently come to the conclusion that the bread and wine has to be the literal flesh and blood of our savior. However I need help with one thing to clear my conscience…

Last Sunday I went to my very first mass, and I rather enjoyed it. But when it was time for the Eucharist everyone lined up, took the bread and walked back down the aisle. What bothered me is some people took it like it’s no big deal. It seemed like some teenagers were chewing it like it was gum. I thought that being physically with our savior would be more intimate. Does anyone have any way to explain this to help me? I suppose I just didn’t like the way everything happened.


#2

Well, for me, I can say that if you looked at me i would probably outwardly look like “no big deal” because what is going on is going on inside not outside.


#3

If by ‘literal’ you mean ‘sacramental’, yes; however, if you mean ‘physical’, no. :wink:

Last Sunday I went to my very first mass, and I rather enjoyed it. But when it was time for the Eucharist everyone lined up, took the bread and walked back down the aisle. What bothered me is some people took it like it’s no big deal. It seemed like some teenagers were chewing it like it was gum. I thought that being physically with our savior would be more intimate. Does anyone have any way to explain this to help me? I suppose I just didn’t like the way everything happened.

Well, I could point out that Paul had the same problem with the Corinthians (cf 1 Cor 11), and he asserted that such a cavalier or unworthy attitude is something that God will take up with them, at the judgment…


#4

There is a very sad reality that some Catholics don’t actually know that it is Christ they are receiving. There is also the factor of some people having become accustomed to the reception of Eucharist and the “awe” of it has worn off. Some may be focused on the wrong thing, etc…

What you should focus on at that moment is, not what everyone is doing or not doing, but on YOUR relationship with your Savior, who is there in front of you during this time. Don’t let the ingratitude or ignorance of someone else distort the reality of what is.

As to chewing…well…that could be a whole different debate. While we want to honor our Lord during the Eucharist, we have to remember that He did say, “accipite, et manducate”…“take and eat [chew]”. John recorded Him as clarifying to the Jews that they should “phago” and “trago” [eat and gnaw/chew]. His Flesh is “true food indeed”. And how do humans eat food? We chew. There are some who say it is respectful to simply break the host within our mouth and let the pieces dissolve…while others say that it is proper to do it just as Christ said it. But…that’s a whole new can of worms altogether.


#5

It sounds like you were seeing others treating the Eucharist the way you used to.
We crucified Jesus, not realizing what we were doing.
It seems not unreasonable to consider that many people participate in communion without fully appreciating what is happening.


#6

Yes, it can be distressing to see the Eucharist treated so shabbily. But there is nothing you can do about the sins and foibles and follies of others. They must answer for them at Judgment, not you. My suggestion would be to do what I do and keep your eyes lowered throughout Mass, the better not to be distracted by others.


#7

Just to be clear, the bread and wine become the entire substance of Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity.

Make no mistake - it is the Lord. Jesus is truly present. But but nowhere does the Church teach the literal presence. The Church teaches the real presence. There is a subtle distinction.

Ike is right. As an extraordinary minister, I can tell you that people come forward with tears.

-Tim-


#8

Yes, that’s another important factor. Many people, during Communion, are focusing inwardly at this moment because they have just recieved Christ within them…literally. It is at this moment that many people contemplate our Lord as they return to their pews and may appear, by outward appearances, to be aloof. I propbably fit into this category as well.

Ya know, dronald, a more conservative Parish may suit you more…such as one with Communion Rails where the whole congregation recieves kneeling and on the tongue as opposed to standing and in the hand. (Yet another whole new can of worms that is hotly debated.)


#9

Everyone is in a different place spiritually. The better our prayer life gets, the more reverence and appreciation for the Lord in the Eucharist.


#10

When I came over, I, too, was put off with some people’s casualness. It wasn’t unusual to see someone start talking to someone who was obviously praying and this bit about leaving the pew before the organ stopped playing the recessional was mind boggling.

BUT - I had to make this journey, I am glad I did and I’ll do the best I can to set a good example to others.


#11

You are making judgments based on what you think people are feeling. You really don’t know - it’s just guessing on your part based on facial/body expressions.

I am very poker-faced (pity I don’t play poker!) and have had complete strangers tell me to smile and be happy. Other times I smile for no reason at all, or because I’m nervous. There is no way you could tell what was going on inside of me based on what you see.


#12

What exactly were they doing or not doing that made you think they thought it was no big deal? Chewing? Sorry, that is what we do with food, and Jesus taught very clearly the Eucharist is food. As, one poster posted, the word used implies a gnawing on his flesh.

Is it possible that you are unfairly judging what is another’s heart and mind? Are you able to point at a person and say “This one is reverent, this one is not?” I think how you deal with this is to concentrate on your own spiritual life and not make suppositions about others. Maybe someone just had a terrible personal tragedy and is terribly distracted at Mass and looks like he is not paying attention. I want to tell you that the most pious-looking and acting person I know turned out to be a sexual predator. You would have never guessed it. I learned a big lesson from that one.

It is always best to assume the best, not the worst, about people, and to mind our own spiritual lives. That is what the Saints did. And that is really what Jesus would prefer. Let Him be the judge of people’s interior dispositions.


#13

Parishioners are 100% composed of human beings. Not everybody in the church is going to be very far along on their spiritual journey. Other people will be stalled.

When I attended my first mass I felt the same way. In fact I ended up stuck behind two older women that literally talked throughout the mass, including during the songs and the homily. Their complacency drove me up a wall. I wanted to backhand them. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I was expecting everybody to be like Davidian giants in the faith. Why wouldn’t they? It was the original church Jesus Christ founded after all! :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s a silly expectation though and you need to crush the feeling asap before it becomes a stumbling block for you. Do a reality check and think back to your own past, long before your conversation period. Were you always so reverent and serious towards God? Probably not. In the church my mom took me to growing up, I once grabbed the flagpole as I was angrily taken downstairs. It almost crashed to the floor before somebody grabbed it. Not exactly the equivalent of Jesus in the temple when he was a youth. The doctrine in a parish will be (theoretically) solid, but you’re still going to find it full of human beings just like any other congregating group of people. Just focus on how you can make the Church better in your own spiritual journey through life and be gracious.


#14

Sacramental YES, Physical, YES!. The Host is no longer bread, IT IS the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the “appearance” of bread only. Christ said His Flesh is Food indeed and His Blood is Drink indeed and that’s why HE left the appearances. So it would be possible for us to receive HIM. Read up on some of the Eucharistic Miracles. God Bless, Memaw


#15

Some like to make the point, all too modern and fashionable!, that “what’s on the inside is more important than what goes on on the outside.” (How many times have we heard that on commercials or in self-help books?)

That is reasonable and probably very true. However, what gets people, what slips out, is also something to the effect of, “…and what goes on on the outside doesn’t really matter,” as if someone’s interior disposition absolutely, positively and definitively somehow cancels, masks, annihilates, overrides or overwrites what happens on the outside. If that isn’t said explicitly, it is usually implied.

Of course, this is ridiculous. What goes on on the outside absolutely matters. Whether it is the “most important thing” is not the point. It is incumbent upon us as humans, usually being civilized creatures, to act and conduct ourselves in a manner commensurate with our inward disposition, within reason. It is natural and good for us to treat the Eucharist in an outwardly reverent manner.

I am sure that the same people who say or imply that it is fine to treat the Eucharist in any which manner–which is exactly the effect of saying, “It’s more important to have a reverent attitude,” because that is besides the point, because since when are reverent attitudes and reverent actions incompatible?–would not treat diamonds in any which manner, or a golden necklace, or a Porsche that someone lends them, or even a rented Motel 8 room.

Besides all that, there is a social value to movements, postures, bows, and other such actions during the liturgy. Even if one is not feeling the awesome majesty of God in the Eucharist, one knows–hopefully–that it is, indeed, Christ, and so one should still conduct oneself with the same reverence as last Sunday or whatever. We don’t say, “Hmm, I’ve had a bad week, I’m not feeling the presence of God particularly well, so I think I’m going to treat the Eucharist less reverently than last weekend.” No, we should do it in a consistently reverent manner because, even if our inward disposition varies, our example to others, especially children, should remain constant.

So this assertion–explicit or implied–that a reverent inward disposition routinely and as a matter of course cancels out any need to have an outwardly reverent manner of composure and action is not valid. I am sure someone would like to chime in and say, “Well, what about Johnny who has Parkinson’s?” Well, Johnny who has Parkinson’s can not be held to the same standards as everybody else because Johnny’s motor skills are probably quite compromised. It’s a bit like biology class where somebody says, “But there’s an exception, see?!” Yes, there are exceptions, but they are not the norm, hence they are exceptions.

I imagine a conversation: “So, we can do what we want on the outside?” “Yes, of course, as long as you love Jesus on the inside!” “Oh, so I can casually stick out my hand and walk off to consume the host?” “Oh, no, of course not!” “But I thought you said we can do what we want?” “Well…”


OP, my point is that what we do on the outside, our outward actions, do matter. They are not the be-all end-all of Catholicism, but they do matter, they serve social roles, ways for us to show some holy virtue or attitude, and they also serve as ways for us to check ourselves when we might be becoming inattentive or irreverent on the inside.

I do not advise becoming a self-appointed Sacrament Police. However, what we do on the outside is important. Just because X is more important than Y does not mean that “Y doesn’t matter because, see, X!”


#16

I think this is wonderful advice.


#17

This does happen, I cringe every time I see it and I know for converts it is insanely confusing and painful because it is such a long process to get to the Eucharist and people treat it so cavalierly. It is wrong,WRONG, really really SUPER wrong, people need to handle the Eucharist reverently they were probably poorly Catechized. The Judas Shuffle is also wrong, really really wrong too! Please Read Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home it is a conversion story and it goes over this exact problem.


#18

Hi dronald! I don’t know why your conscience should bother you from what you’ve posted above. You would know better than I.

If the case is you feel bad for judging others suspiciously … that too. But it looks like your intention was just a further discerning of (what must be admitted) is one of the most profound mysteries in the world.

I have an explanation for what you saw that may be true in some cases: You saw the communicants in “Martha mode” when you wanted to see them in “Mary mode.” I call the
“work” necessary to receive the Eucharist a prerequisite or “Martha mode”. One must line up, process, physically receive the Eucharist, negotiate one’s way back to their seat, remembering which aisle they were sitting in and if they need to step over legs to get to their spot etc, etc. Martha refers to SAINT Martha (who was very good generally in having invited Jesus to her home … but made some mistakes in her priorities once He GOT there).

Mary mode would be sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him … communion if you will. Usually the deep part of communion begins when the Martha mode tasks are done, and one can kneel and focus JUST on Christ and the Eucharist within them for a few minutes.

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQPtk5z8gqzVmrU-UqlM_qUD9KIOQVo9O-1-YgvamXEfdunejGQ

***“Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” ***

Christ making Himself so small and humble challenges us. Like he always has challenged humanity. The Kings who came to Bethlehem had to accept Him as a poor family’s baby. Not the child of Herod in a castle. The apostles who walked with Him day by day also had
an “in and out” level of awe that could run to ethereal heights or down to the point that He might have seemed so familiar to them that they sometimes became themselves (and not always their best selves) in His presence.

At a first communion service, the children, if well instructed, may mirror the appropriate reverence you were hoping to see. Or the joy. Inspiration. Deep Sincerity. Awe. Thoughtfulness. And after the 100th time you have received communion, yes, you can do it sloppily, thoughtlessly, not so sincerely or with something else on your mind. :sad_yes:

When you make your first communion, you will be more aware than most that others might be watching you. Which will be an inspiration to develop the habit of focusing on the wonder of our being able to (commanded to!) come to the Lord Himself in this intimate way and letting your face, posture, etc. reflect that.

I am a Communion Service Leader (and music minister) who sometimes presides at Communion Services in a Children’s Home where Catholic Children aren’t released to go to Mass offsite on Sundays (and there is only a priest one Sunday per month). Whatever my duties are … I am inspired to remember to make a very good reception of the Eucharist, kneel afterwards and actually try to open myself deeply to the Lord in some way (while remembering that I am being watched, especially by the unchurched kids we invite to join us who have not received the Eucharist yet). Sometimes this feels like an act. It should NOT be though.

My advice is to try to locate the person who most reverently receives the Eucharist, and think upon him or her. If you must watch others that is. It could be that you have a deeper sense of the holiness of the moment than many who already receive communion.

The Lord often brings great life to the Church through the transfusion of the “new converts” who often come with excitement, dedication, zeal, and the freshness of having been just instructed on the basics of the faith … which some people forget or take for granted over time.

I’m glad you posted this dronald. And that you enjoyed your first mass. < That could have gone the other way … bad sound system, bad airconditioning, uncomfortable seats,
sitting next to fidgety people who seem never to pay attention to the Mass other than being there etc., etc.

The day may come when mass seems like a personal sacrifice (as with the apostles being asked “Could you not watch one hour with me?”). And even then, when it is less enjoyable, we must soldier on. :smiley:

Thinking about all this will help me Sunday, I think. And at daily mass when I go. :thumbsup:


#19

=dronald;11165058]Hello everyone. I have recently come to the conclusion that the bread and wine has to be the literal flesh and blood of our savior. However I need help with one thing to clear my conscience…

Last Sunday I went to my very first mass, and I rather enjoyed it. But when it was time for the Eucharist everyone lined up, took the bread and walked back down the aisle. What bothered me is some people took it like it’s no big deal. It seemed like some teenagers were chewing it like it was gum. I thought that being physically with our savior would be more intimate. Does anyone have any way to explain this to help me? I suppose I just didn’t like the way everything happened.

WELCOME my friend!:slight_smile:

The Real Presence is biblically provable by the TESTIMONY of FIVE seperate NT Authors.

Mt. 26:26-28
Mk.14: 22-24
Lk.22:19-21
Paul 1st. Cor. 11: 23-29

AND ALL of John 6 but notably verses 41 through 56
" The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.

[56] For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me

Jesus could not be more precise in the words HE as our perfect God Choose to use!

LOOK at verse #56 above:

My dear friend there is NO disrespect in “chewing” the Sacred Host; BUT unbelief [even among catholics] is noteably widespred: and WOE to those who hold the positions of Teaching thee FAITH, and fail at conveying fully, this the very “Sum and Summit” Theology of Catholism, and to those who for what ever reason deny this Reality.

Know my fried that persoanl Piety is JUST THAT:… PERSONAL:) each of is is obligated to Know
to Love
to Fully Obey
to Serve God as our rightly informed Conscince dictates to us, so long as it is in ACCORD with Magisterium Teachings.

God Bless you,
PATRICK [PJM] here on CAF :thumbsup:


#20

Welcome to the modern world. :rolleyes:

I don’t think it is just the Eucharist - I think it is everything.

One thing disturbs me about contemporary society, and many agree, people today have no conscience. They treat everything with disrespect and have no manners. An acquaintance of mine has a t-shirt that says, ‘I didn’t forget, I just didn’t care enough to remember.’ That just about sums people up today.

Teenagers? Who can blame them when such a bad example is set for them by their elders in many respects. People cut each other up on the road, mow each other down with shopping trolleys in supermarkets, have their faces permanently stuck in a screen of some sort or description and in addition, push each other out of the way on the pavement, and are generally rude and anti-social.

My children attend a Catholic school. The parents of several children my son invited to his birthday party lied to him, two years running, their children were coming. Yes, they lied and I am certain they lied. There was no mistake. Imagine how my son felt when two years running, no one turned up at his party and the parents of these children told him the day before their children would definitely be there. Then, they turn up at Mass and behave like nothing happened, no explanation. His Godparents flatly refused to come to his first Holy Communion. I heard a priest say at Mass there are people who go to the hotel for dinner and drinks at a wedding and baptism, yet will not attend the church.

Recently, I was out socializing and got into conversation with someone. I trained as a teacher for two years before deciding on a career change - long story. However, during the discussion this person asked me if I taught Religious Education in a Catholic school? I tried to explain as a student teacher part of my training was to teach a certain number of RE lessons. However, he just kept saying, ‘Do you teach RE in a Catholic School’ so I just said yes. He stormed off and said, ‘I’m not even going to look at you.’ I live in a small town and when I encounter this person, which from time to time I do, he makes a big deal of ignoring me and looking disgusted.

If that is the example 'elder’s set, should we be surprised teenagers have little respect for the Eucharist?


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