Hi, I’m a seeker trying to get a thorough understanding of Catholic liturgy.
I’m trying to get a better understanding of what transpires in the eucharist, and I have a problem. I hope I can pre-empt people from just citing the catechimus, or explain what happens spiritually. All that is interesting, and I encourage citations as long as they help solve the problem I have.
The communion wafer, at the moment its hitting a catholic believers tongue (presented by a priest in the proper ceremonial context) is the body of Christ. As far as I understand it, the bread isn’t just symbolically or spirtually Christ’s body, but the bread substance becomes completely part of Christ. Physically as well. Its awe inspiring, but I have a hard time thinking it through systematically. The bread is ingested, and starts to get digested. The matter of the bread becomes part of the human body, some of it participating in respiration, some of it becomes part of new cells and proteins, and the rest returns to the natural cycle.
Does this mean, and I’m just trying to understand the doctrine concretely. That if I kneeled and recieved communion at such a Catholic ceremony, and took the wafer I would be… biting into Christ? Chewing Christ? Swallowing Christ? Digesting Christ? Having Christ become part of my body? His bio-molecules against mine? Flesh against flesh? Blood along blood? Breathing with me? Feeling with me? A union like that would be far closer than anything sex can accomplish.
Somehow I think the chain of thought has become uncoupled from the true catholic picture somewhere. Either I’m not understanding the nature of such a physical union (because the way I laid it out was obscene). Or this is not what’s transpiring and Christ doesn’t physically become part of my body? Or perhaps something I haven’t thought of.
Can anyone better schooled in Catholic liturgy (which I suspect is most people here), shine some light on this confusion of mine?