Okay, this is probably something I’ll later delve into with a book, but I wanted to mentally spitball this out on the forum.
I can remember the very first time I heard about the idea of the bread and wine being the body and blood of Christ, it was on another forum a couple years ago when I was an undergraduate in college, long before I gave Catholicism any thought, and I remember my reaction being “So what?”.
Obviously from my religion title my views have changed since then and I believe everything the CC teaches now, but I think that initial reaction to the Eucharist from several years ago is still lingering in me somewhat.
In one sense, I can accept the fact that the Eucharist is vital simply because God said so, and obedience to God out of love is really the only essential. Still, it seems to be the case in the way the universe is created that in all things, obedience to God is not simply some arbitrary action that bears no good or ill fruit. As a person or a people stray from God’s holiness, they find ruin. As a person or people move towards it, they find joy and freedom. Because of that, I have the impression that there ought to be some kind of damaging, corporal effect for a person to believe that communion is simply a commemorative act, as opposed to a holy sacrament. This is something that I can readily envision when it comes to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is a powerful therapeutic and cleansing nature to having to spill your guts out to the priest sitting in as Christ. So in addition to the sacramental forgiveness taking place, I can readily see how removing this from Christianity would also be damaging in the temporal world. So how would a shift in doctrine on the Eucharist severe a people’s relationship with God in a visible way?
I have a few thoughts on some of this, but I’ll just leave it open to responses.