To "Be Eucharist" to others


#1

I am preparing a witness presentation for an upcoming Catholic women’s retreat. My topic is to give witness on Eucharist.

One of the questions which I’m supposed to answer in my testimony is, “What was your strongest experience of ‘being Eucharist’ to others?” I never really thought of Eucharist in this kind of context.

Any thoughts on how to approach this one? (Changing topics is not an option.)

I’ve often heard of “being Christ” to others, meaning to be generous, forgiving, helpful, considerate, compassionate, to teach, to turn the other cheek, to maintain a high moral standard and firmly ask that others do the same.

OTOH, I have always seen Eucharist as somewhat more extreme than just “being everyday Christ.” I perceive Eucharist as the ultimate connection with the divine, our connection with the ultimate sacrifice. The Catechism sums Eucharist up this way:

1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.

Maybe I’m just somewhat fixated on “Lord I am not worthy…” The Ultimate Anything is not me, and I’m certainly no summit. Usually I feel more like the publican who stood way in the back of the temple beating his breast and pleading, ‘O God be merciful to me, a sinner.’ Too often I’ve felt bitterness (and felt guilty for being bitter) when my attempts to be perpetually open and forgiving have inspired others to take advantage of me instead of inspiring them to be generous and forgiving themselves.

Some thoughts in the retreat’s Eucharist witness preparation material refer to the Real Presence of Christ, and to giving up our selfishness to be like Jesus to our neighbors.

[The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church](“http://www.vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html#The sacraments of Christian initiation”) has this to offer:

271. What is the Eucharist?
The Eucharist… is a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet, in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
274. What does the Eucharist represent in the life of the Church?
It is the source and summit of all Christian life… Communion with divine life and the unity of the People of God are both expressed and effected by the Eucharist. Through the eucharistic celebration we are united already with the liturgy of heaven and we have a foretaste of eternal life.
281. In what way does the Church participate in the eucharistic sacrifice?
In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, their suffering, their prayers, their work, are united to those of Christ… in reparation for the sins of all and to obtain spiritual and temporal benefits from God.
292. What are the fruits of Holy Communion?
Holy Communion increases our union with Christ and with his Church. It preserves and renews the life of grace received at Baptism and Confirmation and makes us grow in love for our neighbor. It strengthens us in charity, wipes away venial sins and preserves us from mortal sin in the future

I guess I’m kind of answering my own question here. But I still would appreciate whatever thoughts anyone has to offer. And if you have examples to share which I might relate to, I’d appreciate that too.


#2

For some reason the phraseology of that question concerns me.


#3

It shouldn’t.
The words of Teresa of Avila speak to what I believe the theme of this retreat is getting at.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

OP- this was quoted by a deacon I know in a homily years ago. At the time, I was really struggling with the whole idea of “Real Presence”, it helped me immensely. Maybe it can help you too! :stuck_out_tongue:


#4

When you are transubstantiated in your mind, heart and soul: you can take Jesus (even be Jesus) that they may be forever changed Through Him, With Him and In Him.

copiosa.org/sacraments/sacraments_sheen_eucharist.htm

peace


#5

[quote="Nan_S, post:1, topic:304956"]
I am preparing a witness presentation for an upcoming Catholic women's retreat. My topic is to give witness on Eucharist.

One of the questions which I'm supposed to answer in my testimony is, "What was your strongest experience of 'being Eucharist' to others?" I never really thought of Eucharist in this kind of context.

Any thoughts on how to approach this one? (Changing topics is not an option.)

I've often heard of "being Christ" to others, meaning to be generous, forgiving, helpful, considerate, compassionate, to teach, to turn the other cheek, to maintain a high moral standard and firmly ask that others do the same.

OTOH, I have always seen Eucharist as somewhat more extreme than just "being everyday Christ." I perceive Eucharist as the ultimate connection with the divine, our connection with the ultimate sacrifice. The Catechism sums Eucharist up this way:

Maybe I'm just somewhat fixated on "Lord I am not worthy..." The Ultimate Anything is not me, and I'm certainly no summit. Usually I feel more like the publican who stood way in the back of the temple beating his breast and pleading, 'O God be merciful to me, a sinner.' Too often I've felt bitterness (and felt guilty for being bitter) when my attempts to be perpetually open and forgiving have inspired others to take advantage of me instead of inspiring them to be generous and forgiving themselves.

Some thoughts in the retreat's Eucharist witness preparation material refer to the Real Presence of Christ, and to giving up our selfishness to be like Jesus to our neighbors.

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to offer:

I guess I'm kind of answering my own question here. But I still would appreciate whatever thoughts anyone has to offer. And if you have examples to share which I might relate to, I'd appreciate that too.

[/quote]

Forgive me but you really should not use the word papist to describe yourself. It is a derogatory anti-Catholic word.

See also:

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PAPIST. Opprobrious term used in English-speaking countries to designate a Catholic. Its origin goes back to the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-64) wrote polemics against the papacy.


#6

[quote="thistle, post:5, topic:304956"]
Forgive me but you really should not use the word papist to describe yourself. It is a derogatory anti-Catholic word.

See also:

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PAPIST. Opprobrious term used in English-speaking countries to designate a Catholic. Its origin goes back to the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-64) wrote polemics against the papacy.

[/quote]

I'm open to suggestions if they'll fit in the itty-bitty space given. Did you have something else in mind?

I embraced that label from dealing with the rabid anti-Catholics and the herd of "I'm Catholic but I don't have to abide by what the Pope says" pseudo-Catholics who show up at Sunday mass then openly disagree with the homilist.

You know the crowd... the ones who say, "I'm Catholic but I believe women should be priests, and artifical birth control is a social good, and homosexual love is beautiful, and we should just turn the other cheek when people lie, cheat, steal, and go to Sunday mass if it's convenient and there's no football game scheduled."

So when that bunch thought to insult me by labeling me Papist, I said, "Yes I am, and proud of it!"

And now back to the original topic of this thread...

Thank you all who replied for helping me think this through.

Hazcompat, thank you in particular for that link.

The example given about the military wife with the deployed husband clarified a lot. She had his picture and his letters, but she didn't have him, and she longed for him. We have statues, scriptures and prayers, but those are not enough. We long for more, and the Precious Body and Sacred Blood fulfill that need. Through Eucharist we transition from merely knowing about Him to having Him.

Building on that, being Christ for someone can be donating to the canned food drive, or writing a check for the missionary priest visiting this week, or supporting the Bishop's stewardship appeal, or arriving at church 15 minutes early to pray for the needs of the world. It's good, it's essential, but it can also be sadly impersonal.

Being Eucharist takes it one step further. Being Eucharist for someone means we get our own hands dirty. Being Eucharist for someone means putting James Chapter 2 into tangible effect: I will show you my faith by my works. Being Eucharist for people means they have us - personally - attending to the individual needs of the body, touching people, and anointing them.

We become Eucharist for someone when we become that part of Christ which makes personal contact with someone in need. We become Eucharist when we help build a Habitat for Humanity house, when we teach Sunday School, when we prepare meals at the soup kitchen, when we buy and wrap a gift for a poor kid and put it under the Christmas Angel tree, when we drive a homebound widow to the market.

The seven sacraments are not merely prayers and intellectual exercises. The sacraments also work through touch; they awaken all the senses with fragrant oils, water, food, and the laying of hands. Each of the seven sacraments has a personal component, through each we know Him and we also have Him.

Touch is an essential human need. We normally don't give it much thought, but when people are deprived of touch they are in pain. Newborn babies on the crack ward need someone to hold them; all the medicines and skilled nursing care are not enough unless someone rocks them to sleep. Condemned prisoners long to be able to touch their children one last time before they die; they can see them through glass, and hear their voices on phones, but one of their biggest regrets is to never touch their children one last time.

Being Christ encompasses all the ways people need help, direct and indirect, near and far, overt and hidden. Being Eucharist gets personal.


#7

I wonder if the following might be helpful? The source is
cureofarschurch.net/Definitions.pdf

The Holy Eucharist: Definition
The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearance of
bread and wine, the Lord Jesus Christ is contained, offered, and received. The whole Christ is really,
truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. Note: The word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving”.
[Baltimore Catechism, Question #343, p. 200.]
When Did Christ Institute the Holy Eucharist?
About a year before the Last Supper, Our Lord promised to give us the Holy Eucharist. See John 6:48-
59. The fulfillment of this promise took place at the Last Supper. It was then that Christ instituted the
Holy Eucharist. See Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 [Baltimore Catechism,
Question #344, pp. 200-201.]
Why Did Jesus Give Us the Holy Eucharist?
Jesus gave us the Holy Eucharist because He wanted to stay close to His followers until the end of
time to teach us, comfort us, strengthen us, and make us holy. [Basic Catechism, p.88.]
Christ gives us His own Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist: first, to be offered as a sacrifice
commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross; second, to be received by the
faithful in Holy Communion; third, to remain ever on our altars as a proof of His love for us, and to be
worshipped by us. [Baltimore Catechism, Question #356]
How Is the Eucharist Different from All the Other Sacraments?
The Eucharist is different from all the other sacraments because, under the appearances of bread
and wine, Jesus is completely present as both God and Man. In the other sacraments, He is present
only by His power and its effects. [Baltimore Catechism, pp. 88-89] Hence, the Holy Eucharist is often
referred to as the Most Blessed Sacrament. [Instructions in the Catholic Faith, p. 93.]
I have a tough time thinking of myself as sacrament or of my sacrifices as being on par with the Sacrifice made by Our Lord.
If that is a challenge for you also, then you might start with the question read aloud, the definition, and then discuss the problems you had grappling with how to respond. As you describe your problems, you will be offering a meditation on the Eucharist without placing yourself on the same level as Our Lord.
You might discuss attempts to sacrifice and your sense of unworthiness. You could talk about the difference between yourself and a sacrament. By offering contrasts, you might give your audience a sense of your gratitude for this most special Gift.
May God bless your good work. Amen.


#8

Then how about using terms like “being Christ’s hands and voice in the world” rather than “be Eucharist” if that is what the conference is about. I do not think St Teresa would have used that term.


#9

Except that Teresa of Avila scholars cannot find that poem anywhere in her collected works. See the discussion here, and one person’s attempt at finding the original authors here.


#10

There is some bad, bad stuff in this thread.

If the Eucharist is a particular thing, then I can’t be that thing any more than I can be a vase or a pooper-scooper or a transistor radio. I heard the phrase “be Eucharist” for years in bad homilies and it didn’t make any sense then’ either.

It is just a remnant of “equal presence” ideas taught in the 70s and 80s at seminaries that had a lot of other problems, too.

Me, and I have faced exactly this situation in the context of an ACTS retreat, refused to deal with the concept, and talked about what my faith in the real presence means to me. Stupid ignorant prodigal retreat directors couldn’t tell the difference anyway.

Good luck.


#11

[quote="Burdensome1, post:10, topic:304956"]
There is some bad, bad stuff in this thread.

If the Eucharist is a particular thing, then I can't be that thing any more than I can be a vase or a pooper-scooper or a transistor radio. I heard the phrase "be Eucharist" for years in bad homilies and it didn't make any sense then' either.

It is just a remnant of "equal presence" ideas taught in the 70s and 80s at seminaries that had a lot of other problems, too.

Me, and I have faced exactly this situation in the context of an ACTS retreat, refused to deal with the concept, and talked about what my faith in the real presence means to me. Stupid ignorant prodigal retreat directors couldn't tell the difference anyway.

Good luck.

[/quote]

What I read you to infer is that the phrase "Be Eucharist for others" is a product of modernist "relevance" theology instead of being a valid concept endorsed by the Church. Correct?

Being raised more along "old school" lines of thought, that would explain the confusion and discomfort I had which prompted me to open this thread.

So, even though I now understand what they were asking and how they meant to be interpreted, you would hold that the proper way to deal with the question is something like this: 1) Reference the official meaning of Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ, 2) Talk about how my faith is strengthened by having the Real Presence, and how I put faith in action to try to lead others to the Real Presence, and 3) Pointedly avoid making a connection between my having the Real Presence (good) and my being an extension of the Real Presence (bad).

My presentation is still in the initial development stage. The retreat won't be for another couple of months. I have time to get this right.


#12

And now I’ve found these quotes at the website belonging to Corpus Christi Parish in Mobile, Alabama, in a document called The Body of Christ

So maybe the concept of “Eucharist” is not as narrow as the Baltimore Catechism would have us view it, and maybe the concept of “being Eucharist” is not so modernist, when these two great theologians speak thusly.

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]“W[/FONT]hen we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we are assimilated into him. We become his Body, we take on his mind and heart, uniting ourselves to his love. When the host is offered to us as “the Body of Christ,” and we open our hand to receive it and say, “Amen,” we are saying yes not only to *receiving *Christ’s Body but to *being *his Body. We are saying, in effect, “Amen, yes, I believe that this is the Body of Christ, and that this is the Body I am called to be. *I receive him to become him, to be Eucharist for **others.” *

[LEFT][FONT=Arial,Bold]St. John Chrysostom (349-407)[/FONT][/LEFT]

[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]

[LEFT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]"St. Augustine tells those who are to receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist: ‘Be what you see, and receive what you are’ (Sermon 272). In another sermon he says, ‘If you receive worthily, you are what you have received’ (Sermon 227).”[/LEFT]

[FONT=Arial,Bold]United States Conference of Catholic Bishops[/FONT]
[/FONT]

[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]


#13

=Nan S;10011972]I am preparing a witness presentation for an upcoming Catholic women's retreat. My topic is to give witness on Eucharist.

One of the questions which I'm supposed to answer in my testimony is, "What was your strongest experience of 'being Eucharist' to others?" I never really thought of Eucharist in this kind of context.

Any thoughts on how to approach this one? (Changing topics is not an option.)

I've often heard of "being Christ" to others, meaning to be generous, forgiving, helpful, considerate, compassionate, to teach, to turn the other cheek, to maintain a high moral standard and firmly ask that others do the same.

OTOH, I have always seen Eucharist as somewhat more extreme than just "being everyday Christ." I perceive Eucharist as the ultimate connection with the divine, our connection with the ultimate sacrifice. The Catechism sums Eucharist up this way

None of us, by ourselves are "worthy":blush:

BUT consider this point: IF God choose ONLY "truly worthy" people would He have chosen Abram? Moses" Jacob? David? the Prophets? God would have had to rewrite or reinvent Church History.

God came for "Sinners"; not the select who have no need to be forgiven.:rolleyes:

To be "Eucharist" is to with God's Grace; struggle to emulate our God. Saint Theresa [The Little Flower] who like Mother Theresa of Calcutta; raised "loving to an art form" and is now a Doctor of the RCC, not because of what She taught; but because "She LOVED MUCH!". It's what WE DO; How we do it and the ability to constantly forgive ourselves and others that make "being Eucharist" passible.

GOD IS LOVE!

Indeed, I was once asked to describe the entire bible is a SINGLE WORD. For me; that WORD had to be LOVE! That is God's message to us in summary form. Everthing else floes from and through this capicity which ONLY humanity among the MANY BILLIONS of Ceated things can freely choose to do.

ONLY humanity emulates our God with a mind, intellect,and a FREEWILL all permnately attached to our Souls; which like God are Eternal Spiritual Things, and cannot be killed or die.

Isa.43 Verses 7 and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” [ALL of Isa. 43 is worth reading]

To be Eucharisted" means to me; to nolonger; ever bear the self imposed Cross of not forgiving myself or others; always, everywhere; everytime:)

God Bless and Good luck,

I'll offer a prayer for you!

Pat/PJM

I guess I'm kind of answering my own question here. But I still would appreciate whatever thoughts anyone has to offer. And if you have examples to share which I might relate to, I'd appreciate that too.


#14

Nice job, Nan S! :thumbsup:

I agree with some of the other posters that the phraseology “Being Eucharist” sounds a bit off … those of us who are products of the '60’s church heard plenty about “being Church” as well. (What’s wrong with using “the” in front of “Eucharist” and “Church”? :rolleyes:)

But having said that - I think you’ve done an excellent job in interpreting the phrase in more traditional ways, and with quotes from St. John Chrysostom (whose feast day is today BTW!) as well as from St. Teresa of Avila. And it sounds like you are thinking more deeply about the whole issue.:slight_smile:


#15

[quote="thistle, post:5, topic:304956"]
Forgive me but you really should not use the word papist to describe yourself. It is a derogatory anti-Catholic word.

See also:

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PAPIST. Opprobrious term used in English-speaking countries to designate a Catholic. Its origin goes back to the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-64) wrote polemics against the papacy.

[/quote]

Maybe that is exactly why we should all start to use it...defuse it, so to speak. :)


#16

If the OP was giving a talk to the Saints, I would not worry about it being misunderstood.

As it is, I renew my objection to the phrase.


#17

Please see the quotes in my Post # 12 from St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom and discuss them. This “modernist” Eucharist theology you deplore is not so “modernist” after all.

What am I missing?


#18

Nan S, I think part of the discomfort with the phrase "being Eucharist" is that, while the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, and the Church and her members are the Body of Christ, it does not therefore follow that the Church and her members are the Eucharist.

"Eucharist" means "thanksgiving" -- literally, it means "good grace" or "good favor". The Eucharist is the re-presentation of Christ's self-sacrifice under the forms of bread and wine. So "Eucharist" carries meanings of thanksgiving and self-sacrifice. To me, to "be Eucharist" means to be a sign of thanksgiving and self-sacrifice to others. It does not mean that I am the Eucharist. I am not the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine (last time I checked). But I am the Body of Christ; that is, I belong to the Body of Christ.

When Church Fathers like Augustine and John Chrysostom spoke of "being what you eat", they meant that what we receive in the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, and so we are the Body of Christ. I would be very surprised to find them saying that "we are (the) Eucharist". In fact, I am suspicious of the quote attributed to John Chrysostom. There is no source given for it, which is an immediate red flag. It's also an English quote, which means it's a translation, and we don't know what the Greek he used was, and we don't know if there are other English translations we could look for to find the source. When I Google a portion of the quote, I get seven documents which provide the exact same text, and none have a source.

All that said... three years ago Pope Benedict gave a homily on Corpus Christi in which he said (in the Vatican's English translation):
I address you in particular, dear priests, whom Christ has chosen so that with him you may be able to live your life as a sacrifice of praise for the salvation of the world. Only from union with Jesus can you draw that spiritual fruitfulness which generates hope in your pastoral ministry. St Leo the Great recalls that "our participation in the Body and Blood of Christ aspires to nothing other than to become what we receive" (Sermo 12, De Passione 3, 7, PL 54).

If this is true for every Christian it is especially true for us priests. To become the Eucharist! May precisely this be our constant desire and commitment, so that the offering of the Body and Blood of the Lord which we make on the altar may be accompanied by the sacrifice of our existence. Every day, we draw from the Body and Blood of the Lord that free, pure love which makes us worthy ministers of Christ and witnesses to his joy.
The pope gives a clear definition of what he means by "become the Eucharist". He means that, as the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, and we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion, we must be(come) the Body of Christ in our self-sacrifice. Note that in the new translation of the Mass, the priest says, "Pray brethren that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father." We are called to unite ourselves to the Eucharist, to participate in the Eucharist not only by offering and receiving it, but by joining our self-offering to Christ's self-offering. Then, just as the bread and wine are changed into the Body of Christ, so too we may be.

What I'd suggest you do is ask the organizers of the retreat what they mean when they say "be[ing] Eucharist". Then you'll know what to do.


#19

I say let’s take it as a word for ourselves, like Thomas Peter’s has: catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?show=papist

Just like the Americans were called “Yankees” in a derogatory name, and we took it as a nickname.


#20

We used to play a game in catechist orientation sessions where we would read random study questions from the books out loud to show that every single one could be answered with the word “baptism”. The point was that Catholics had surrendered to such meaningless and imprecise language that everything is everything else. Jesus is God. You are Jesus. We are Jesus. Jesus is love. We are love. God is Jesus is love is me is you. The Eucharist is Jesus. I am Eucharist. You are Eucharist. The homeless are Jesus. AIDS patients are Jesus. The Saints are Jesus. The Holy Souls are Jesus.

When you eat the Eucharist, you are eating me, yourself, homeless people, AIDS, and your dead relatives.

A loooong time ago, I said “enough”.

That’s what I’m on about.


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