The Real Presence

So tonight I went to me (CofE) church and there was a special service to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer. One of the key points the vicar made was that Jesus death on the cross was a once and for all sacrifice that we can add nothing to (i.e. the mass sacrifice) and also that Jesus is not physically present in the Eucharist. I got talking with him afterwards about the theological reasoning for the lack of the real presence. He said that Christ, in his human form, is subject to the normal constraints of human beings, and that given that he is in Heaven he can not at the same time be physically present on Earth in the Eucharist.

I’m left a little confused at this point. After believing all my life that the presence of Jesus in the brad and wine is just a spiritual notion, I have actually begun to start to accept the idea of real presence (after reading a lot of posts here and a lot of contemplation). But I can’t get my head around how Jesus can be bodily present in more than one place at a time if he is subject to the restrictions of ordinary human beings when in a human state.

It is simple. The above statement is incorrect.

Jesus is both human and divine. Plus, Jesus has a glorified body, not an “ordinary human body” and does not have the restrictions of an ordinary human body. He did, after all, walk through walls as recorded in the Gospels after his resurrection.

I thought the official position of the CofE was acceptance of the Real Presence, albeit perhaps not in the strictest sense as held by the Apostolic Churches, Catholic and Orthodox.

I recently had a priest (OFM, Ph.d. In theology) recently tell me that when reading or hearing scripture we are also in the “real presence” of Christ.

Any thoughts?

There are tons of things to say about this.

The protestant view is to object to everything the CAtholic Church teaches and professes, or so it seems. So, the rationalizations and counter-arguments abound.

On an intuitive and personal level, what would you have done if you had been at the “last supper” (not a biblical term, but you know what I mean?) Would you have taken the bread and thrown it on the ground and stomped on it? for example?

Would you have argued with Jesus, when he said, “this is my body”? There’s quite a leap of faith, but it was right there on Resurrection Sunday, when the apostles recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

There are so many levels to your question. The Bible is a book of faith. People stumble on it, every page, by reading it without faith. So reading it, anybody can doubt anything they want.

Historically, the Church teaching about the real presence was not permanently doubted by any group of christians, that I am aware of, until the Protestant reformation. They doubted most if not all of the sacraments, the priesthood, for example.

In general, doubt about the Eucharist is a trojan horse for doubting the Catholic Church, its teaching authority for 2000 years, and all of christian history and the early church fathers.

It’s all about faith. Protestants beat their philosophical drums about being saved by faith, but faith in exactly what? Faith that the Church was corrupt for 1500 years until the reformers?

As a Catholic, I believe there WERE problems in the Catholic Church, but the reformers were heretics and mislead many, many people. The Catholic Church stands up to scrutiny.

There is so much quality Catholic writing. These forums are so hit-or-miss. Don’t pass over reading Benedict XVI’s volumes on Jesus of Nazareth.

Let me help a little. First you need a correct understanding of the Eucharistic Presence, so you need to do a little reading in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part II, Section 2, Article 3. This will give you what Catholics have always believed about the Real Presence.

I am not sure if your Church believes in the Real Presence, certainly your pastor doesn’t. Only a validly ordained priest can confect ( make Christ present by pronouncing the words of consecration) so the priests in your church would have to have been validly ordained by a Bishop who was in the line of St. Peter. Only the Catholic Church can tell you if such is the case for your priesthood. That is the first and most crucial point. No matter how much you want Christ to be present, it cannot happen otherwise than under the circumstances I just explained.

Yes Christ is truely present in the bread and wine when a validly ordained priest ( generally Catholic or Orthodox priests) prnounces the words of consecration.

Christ becomes present in his glorified body which is not limited in the ways his physical, natural body was. Remember He walked through a wall ( or was it a door) twice when he appeared to the Apostles after his resurrection. That should tell you that his glorified body is quite different from his natural body. So he can be present in the bread and the wine, every molecule of the bread and every molecule of the wine.The bread could be divided in a hundred thousand pieces and Christ would be totally present in each piece. The same for each drop of the wine. And that is why when a hundred people take sip of the consecrated wine at Mass, Christ is totally present - body,blood, soul, and Divinity in each sip! Isn’t that wonderful!

Remember, Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit created the universe. Don’t you think if he said he would be present in the bread and wine he meant what he said and that he had the power to do what he said? Wasn’t he God? If he wanted to do something, he would do it.

Hope that helps. Have you considered becoming Catholic?


Just a thought…

“In the begining was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word WAS God…” Opening words of John’s Gospel

The Bible is the Word of God

“Were not our hearts burning within us, while He was talking to us on the road, While He was opening the Scriptue to us?” Luke 24:32

Well, God is present in the Holy Sacrament, in Holy Scripture, and in the believers, too.

To the OP about God being in heaven and therefore cannot be present in the Sacrament, certainly in the Catholic Holy Sacrament, God is present because God is not limited by time. Every Catholic Mass which has ever been held or ever will be held are happening in the same moment that Jesus offered His life to the Father, in the eternal Now.

Another thought to add. The Catholic Church does not teach that the Real Presence is physical as we understand it (subject to decay, limited in space and time) , but sacramental.

It echoes what has often been said, that people disagree with what they think the church teaches, not necessarily with what it actually teaches.

The Real Presence is of the glorified body of Jesus, not the physical body that walked in earth during His lifetime before the Resurrection, when He was indeed subject to pain and weariness.

I do not understand how the vicar can believe that Jesus rose from the dead but is limited by space and time. Surely, defeating death is a much more harder feat than being in heaven and being present in the Eucharist. But then again, they don’t exactly hold the same theological views that we Catholics have especially with the real presence.

Thank you for all your kind responses. I am actually trying to discern at the moment whether I should become a Catholic. And this is the latest issue I’ve had to consider. What you have all said makes so much more sense than what my vicar said. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for him, he’s a very sincere and well educated man who certainly means well, but I guess that doesn’t make him right. That’s another issue resolved for me then, I believe in the real presence.

Incidentally, I went to my first Catholic Mass today. I was quite nervous and missed the basket of missals on the way in. So I found myself trying my best to make the right responses. As I stood there mentally rebuking myself for the hundredth time for saying the wrong thing (like I kept on saying “And also with you”. Old habits die hard. ;)), I asked myself why I was doing this. And I immediately heard in my head “Because you want to be closer to me”. And I could feel Jesus presence.

I went to another mass at another church in the town center later in the day and followed along better this time. I then spent the rest of the afternoon there praying and reading my Bible. Quite a peaceful day…

While I was in town, I also got myself a copy of “Catholicism for Dummies”, which I saw recommended on this forum. I’ve been wondering recently if the question is not “should I convert”, but whether its whether in my heart I already have. Now if only I can shake this feeling of inadequacy and find a way to catalogue 24 years worth of sins for a general confession, I’m there. :smiley:

I’ll remember that next time I try to ascend into heaven, since apparently physically defying gravity to raise up into the clouds and physically transporting myself into heaven (all by my own power) falls into the category of “things within the constraints of human beings”…

It does not look to me like He was subject to those constraints after his resurrection and before the Ascension, He was not even subject to those constraints during the Transfiguration and when He walked on water. :confused:

The begining of John’s gospel is about Jesus, the Logos, word of God, and not the bible which is not God.

Please read the whole chapter, was the bible present in the beginning, no. Is the bible God, no.

If you read the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini by Benedict XVI you can have a better understanding of the implications. It is in the the section Verbum Ecclesia.

I do not have the book with me but there was a saint (St. Bernard???) that affirmed that too. I do not think that it is a new idea at all.

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