Trouble with Eucharist


#1

Hi everybody. As some of you may remember, I am a recent convert and I have never had a perfect faith in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. I pray daily that my faith will be strengthened and I think I am moving closer to attaining a strong faith in this miracle, however. I think that one of my biggest stumbling blocks in accepting it is that the Church teaches that the bread and wine are completely changed into Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity and do not remain bread and wine at all, but at the same time I’ve had priests tell me that if a chemist were to analyze the bread and wine in a lab he would find that its still bread and wine. The problem for me is not so much accepting the miracle of transubstantiation, but accepting that there has been a complete change in the elements when this can be empirically disproven. Its almost as if the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation, that the bread and wine are bread and wine and Christ at the same time, would be easier to accept. I would really appreciate anyone’s constructive comments on how I could try to get past this obstacle to my faith.


#2

Why are you trying to look for a scientific answer? If you do not literally believe that it is the Real Presence then you are missing the whole part of our Faith as a Catholic. All you have to remember is that Jesus explains that the bread of life is literally His flesh and if we follow Sacred Scripture then we must accept His clear words.


#3

Here is an interesting link to the eucahristic miracle of Lanciano.
therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html

Tell me what you think!
(by the way, the rest of the website is pretty good too, it seems).


#4

First of all the priest is wrong to say this. Instead he should have said:

“That if a chemist were to analyze Holy Communion in a lab he would find that it has the same physical properties as bread and wine.”

Christ said that His Body was real food and His Blood real drink. Therefore Holy Communion looks, feels, tastes and smells like real food!


#5

Catholic belief is that Christ is really present under the appearances of bread and wine. He does not take on the appearances of bread and wine.

You are thinking as if the appearances equal the underlying reality, and this is not the case. In everyday life, yes, the appearances of a thing tell us what it really is–what it’s underlying reality is (which we can only get to through the appearances.)

But in the case of the Eucharist, the appearances remain, but those appearances–taste, touch, quantity, dimension–do not inhere either in the bread and wine, which are gone, or in the body and blood of Christ, which is now present but hidden under those appearances.

This change can never be empirically demonstrated, since all that our senses or any scientific instrument can detect are the appearances of a thing–those things that are perceptible to the senses.

If in fact, some test showed that there had been a change in the appearances of the bread or wine, that would indicate that Jesus was NOT present. Because his presence in the Eucharist remains only so long as the appearances of bread and wine remain.


#6

Remember that the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation teaches that the “accidents” remain. By “accidents”, philosophers mean aspects of a subject. For example, the “accidents” of an apple would include its color, its sweetness, etc. But these are not an apple’s “essence”—if it is red, red also applies to other objects, and sweetness is found in other things as well. The accidents are attached to a subject (in this case, the apple). In the Eucharist, the accidents remain but are unattached to a subject, as the “essence”, if you will, has been changed to the body, blood, souls and divinity of our Lord. That’s probably what the priest was geting at, but he didn’t put it well.


#7

[quote=CollegeKid]Hi everybody. As some of you may remember, I am a recent convert and I have never had a perfect faith in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. I pray daily that my faith will be strengthened and I think I am moving closer to attaining a strong faith in this miracle, however. I think that one of my biggest stumbling blocks in accepting it is that the Church teaches that the bread and wine are completely changed into Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity and do not remain bread and wine at all, but at the same time I’ve had priests tell me that if a chemist were to analyze the bread and wine in a lab he would find that its still bread and wine. The problem for me is not so much accepting the miracle of transubstantiation, but accepting that there has been a complete change in the elements when this can be empirically disproven.
[/quote]

Were you a convert from Lutheranism by any change? All I can say is that it has been the constant teaching of the Church from the beginning. You might read the patristic writings of those first christians taught directly by the Apostles.

God Bless


#8

You know, I feel a sense of joy at seeing the above posts – faithful catholics able to describe accurately the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.:smiley:

And this on the optional memorial of St. Peter Julian Eymard, the great apostle of the eucharist!! :clapping:


#9

I think your faith in True Presence of Jesus could be strengthened if you frequently spent some moments during Mass and outside of Mass before the tabernacle or monstrance adoring the Holy Eucharist. Keep saying this prayer: “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.” Say that prayer during communion, too. When the priest elevates the host and the chalice during Mass, silently pray, "My Lord and my God. My Lord and my God."
Find some Eucharistic prayers in a prayerbook and pray them before Mass and after receiving communion. My favorite prayer (obviously) is the Anima Christi:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within thy wounds hide me. Permit me not to be separated from thee. From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to thee, that with thy saints I may praise thee, forever and ever.
I hope this helps . . . keep praying!!


#10

[quote=Anima Christi]I think your faith in True Presence of Jesus could be strengthened if you frequently spent some moments during Mass and outside of Mass before the tabernacle or monstrance adoring the Holy Eucharist. Keep saying this prayer: “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.” Say that prayer during communion, too. When the priest elevates the host and the chalice during Mass, silently pray, "My Lord and my God. My Lord and my God."
Find some Eucharistic prayers in a prayerbook and pray them before Mass and after receiving communion. My favorite prayer (obviously) is the Anima Christi:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within thy wounds hide me. Permit me not to be separated from thee. From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to thee, that with thy saints I may praise thee, forever and ever.
I hope this helps . . . keep praying!!
[/quote]

I think you just gave excellent advice to ALL of us! thank you!


#11

Hi, CollegeKid,

Hope this helps:

In the philosophy of Aristotle, an object is spoken of as
having substance and accidents.

“substance” is that which cannot be removed,
without an object ceasing to be that thing.

A quick example:

A human being has eyes eyes="substance"
Blue eyes = “accident”

Bread = "substance"
brown bread or white bread, loaf, slice, round, square= “accidents”

In the Eucharist, the “accidents” remain…shape,
color, texture
The “substance” changes:
what was “bread” [substance] is now the body of Christ
[substance]

That’s why the act of consecration is referred to as
"trans-substanciation" trans =crossing over “substance”

It’s a lot less complicated than it sounds.:slight_smile:

I like the way that Christ said it, better: This is My Body.

reen12


#12

I’m going to try something that I heard a priest say to help small children with this very same issue. It may not fly so y’all tell me what you think. CollegeKid, I hope I don’t mess you up!

So, here goes: Say you have a can of Coke sitting on a table. You pick up the can of Coke and taste it. It tastes like Coke. So it must be what it looks like.

Now, that same can of Coke is still sitting on that same table but I have replaced the contents of the can with chocolate milk.
It looks like a can of Coke from outside appearances but the actual substance in the can has changed and is not coke anymore but something entirely different. You can’t tell from the outside appreance that it’s not really coke.

Same with the Eucharist. It looks like bread and wine from outside appearances (called accidents) but it’s actually something else altogether.

Just a thought - I think that God gave us the bread and wine partly because we are human and we perceive things with our senses. How unpleasant would it be to actually eat a piece of flesh and drink someone’s blood? ugh!!! Bread and wine is perceptively much more acceptable to eat and drink. God knows what we need better than we do!

Think with the spirit and not with the flesh. Jesus told his disciples that, “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63) In other words, you cannot understand this if you think only with your human brain. You must think with faith - the spirit - to understand this. Jesus knew this was going to be hard to understand, that’s why He said that. Alot of people stopped following Him at this point - they were thinking only with their minds and had no faith in what He said. He asked if the Apostles were going to leave Him too. Peter answered Him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are to Holy One of God.” You must have faith in what Jesus tells you as truth and not analyze it to death (as those who fell away did) or put it to a microscope.

I hope that analogy worked and didn’t confuse you more!


#13

[quote=reen12]Hi, CollegeKid,

Hope this helps:

In the philosophy of Aristotle, an object is spoken of as
having substance and accidents.

A quick example:

A human being has eyes eyes="substance"
Blue eyes = “accident”

Bread = "substance"
brown bread or white bread, loaf, slice, round, square= “accidents”

In the Eucharist, the “accidents” remain…shape,
color, texture
The “substance” changes:
what was “bread” [substance] is now the body of Christ
[substance]

That’s why the act of consecration is referred to as
"trans-substanciation" trans =crossing over “substance”

It’s a lot less complicated than it sounds.:slight_smile:

reen12
[/quote]

This is a great break down! Thanks!


#14

[quote=CollegeKid]Hi everybody. As some of you may remember, I am a recent convert and I have never had a perfect faith in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. I pray daily that my faith will be strengthened and I think I am moving closer to attaining a strong faith in this miracle, however. I think that one of my biggest stumbling blocks in accepting it is that the Church teaches that the bread and wine are completely changed into Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity and do not remain bread and wine at all, but at the same time I’ve had priests tell me that if a chemist were to analyze the bread and wine in a lab he would find that its still bread and wine. The problem for me is not so much accepting the miracle of transubstantiation, but accepting that there has been a complete change in the elements when this can be empirically disproven. Its almost as if the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation, that the bread and wine are bread and wine and Christ at the same time, would be easier to accept. I would really appreciate anyone’s constructive comments on how I could try to get past this obstacle to my faith.
[/quote]

If the ciborium contained bloody, human flesh, would you be able to stomach looking at it, let alone eating it every Sunday?

God does what He does for a reason. Everyone can eat the bread.


#15

Hi, DianJo,

You’re welcome! :tiphat:

reen12


#16

I second the motion of the poster who advised spending time before the Blessed Sacrament praying for faith in the words of Christ. Keep in mind that the problem with this doctrine is not with Scripture but with reason and it is over this doctrine that “many no longer walked with him” and over this doctrine Judas fell away.

In this year of the Eucharist, I have been making it a point to stop for a few minutes (few) on the way home from work – if I can find an open Church – and just BE with the Lord in the Tabernacle. Praying to have both my faith and my understanding deepened . . . I think it’s working.


#17

Of course, the beauty of the Eucharist is that
it was offered to human beings during the Passover
meal, where unleavened bread and wine were/are consumed.
"Blessed art Thou, Lord God of the universe, through You
we have this bread…and wine…"
I’ll bet those words come right from the Passover ritual.

So, to me, it’s not so much a question of “what if” it
looked like flesh, but that the “elements” of the Passover
ritual were employed by Christ, lending an emphasis to
the continuity of a 2500 year old ritual, changed now
into a new meaning.

reen12


#18

Thanks guys. DianJo, your reply didn’t confuse me, I actually thought it was a good analogy. I did find these responses helpful, and I think, as some of you said, that the surest way to gain a more perfect faith in Christ’s real presence is probably through spending time at Eucharistic Adoration (I haven’t done that yet), and remembering that at the last supper Christ told the apostles, “This is my body.”


#19

[quote=CollegeKid]and remembering that at the last supper Christ told the apostles, “This is my body.”
[/quote]

Absolutely.

Unlike us, we must conform our words to reality, whereas reality conforms itself to God’s Word.

See Isaiah 55:8 and following:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.


#20

I’d like to second Anima Christi’s suggestions, especially in regards to saying the “Anima Christi”. I began saying that after every Communion about a year or so ago (I memorized it in English first, and then the Latin), and I have found, without really thinking about it or consciously trying, that my faith and belief in the Sacrament deepened and is now very firm indeed.


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