Tag Archives: Eucharist

St. Paul Street Evangelization — Cave Junction, Or. Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church

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EDITORS NOTE: Welcome to St. Paul Street Evangelization, Cave Junction, Or. Chapter!  If you have any questions concerning the faith or your journey home, you may e-mail me (Jimmy Evans) at Jamestevans0@yahoo.com 

Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church

Rome is Where the Heart is

If you once were a practicing Catholic and have been away from the Catholic Church for a while — no matter how long — you’re always welcome back. Your companion in this journey is our Lord Jesus Christ. He will walk alongside and guide you. Place your trust in Him; He will lead you home.

1. Reconciliation (Confession)

If you’re thinking about coming back, it’s very important to go to Confession (the “Sacrament of Reconciliation” or “Penance”). Jesus Christ Himself instituted Confession and He desired that His followers have a place to go to be absolved of their sins. He, in turn, gave authority to men to forgive sins.

“Jesus … said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (Jn 20:21–23).

All parishes around the world have set times for Confession, and finding out these times is a Google search away. You also have the right under Canon Law to ask the parish priest for an appointment for Confession. You should explain to the priest prior to your confession that you haven’t been to church for a while and haven’t been attending Confession. If you need a refresher, the priest will happily guide you through the steps of Confession.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).

2. The Communion of Saints

You may remember from your childhood that if you lost something, you’d pray to St. Anthony of Padua. If you were studying for a test, you’d pray to St. Joseph of Cupertino or St. Thomas Aquinas. Whatever your intention is, there is a saint to call on to pray with you.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1).

This “cloud of witnesses” cheers us on as we walk with Christ. The faithfully departed — the Church in Heaven — are ever concerned about the Church on earth.

“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. … They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 956).

The communion of saints helps us by praying for us for we are joined in Christ’s Body, the Church, and it is our joy to bear one another’s burdens (cf. Gal 6:2) and to encourage one another (cf. 1 Thess 5:11).

3. The Eucharist

The Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). The Eucharist is Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

At the Last Supper, the final meal Christ shared with His beloved disciples, He left them the means in which He would be physically present in the world.

“When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. ‘As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which “Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed” is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out’” (CCC 1364).

The Mass makes present the one sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. As He took bread and gave thanks, He said, “This is my body which is given for you” (Lk 22:19). Jesus speaks of the same Body in John 6: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:56). The sacrifice of Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass are one and the same sacrifice; only the manner in which they are offered differs.

Therefore, weekly Mass attendance is important. As outlined in CCC 2042, the three precepts of the Church are:

1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.

2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.

3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.

One must be in a state of grace in order to receive the Eucharist. This means we must not have any unconfessed mortal sin. The Eucharist is participation in Christ’s Body and Blood (cf. 1 Cor 10:16). To receive Holy Communion in such an unworthy manner is to profane against the Body and Blood of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 11:23–29) and is objectively a mortal sin, as is deliberately not attending Mass.

“Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance” (CCC 1415).

“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin” (CCC 2181).

The Eucharist is food for the journey, through which grace is conferred. Through the Eucharist, we are also physically united with Christ. Therefore, we must walk and grow in holiness in order to become vessels that give a witness of Christ to the world.

4. The Joy of Salvation

The mission of the Catholic Church is to bring the reality of God and salvation to all.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:16–17).

The Catholic Church offers to all the means of salvation, and the fullness of faith. She also unites the faithful with Christ. God’s gift is freely offered to us; we don’t deserve it, yet it is offered anyway. We must respond accordingly, in faith, to His free grace, so that we can be led by Him, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to walk in faith and to do the will of God, so that we may be perfected by Him (cf. Mt 7:21; Jas 2:14–26; Mt 5:48).

“In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that … doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor” (CCC 2013).

When Christ ascended into heaven, He left His disciples a final instruction.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19–20).

No matter what you’ve done (provided you truly repent of it, confess, and receive absolution), you have a home in the Catholic Church. By Christ’s work on the Cross and through the Sacraments that Christ Himself instituted, your heart will be made new.

“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17).

“For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God” (CCC 816).

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future” (Oscar Wilde).

5. The One True Church

What is it that sets the Catholic Church apart? Why not just go to the non-denominational church nearby? The answer is simple: no other church in the world (though they may possess much truth and a share of God’s grace) can claim that their founder is God: Jesus Christ Himself.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:18–19).

Jesus declared here with divine authority that the Catholic Church would teach all nations the Good News and would bring the hope of salvation to all. The Church would be a visible sign to the world that Christ remains with the world until the end of the age. When the Catholic Church teaches and speaks, it does so with the authority of Jesus Christ.

Christ bestowed upon St. Peter the authority to lead the visible church (thus setting in motion the office of the papacy), and the authority to (preeminently) “bind” and “loose.” These ancient rabbinical terms mean to “forbid” and “permit,” that is, to interpret the Law in special circumstances. Jesus, in John 20:22–23 extended the Church’s authority to include absolving sins or issuing penance for them.

The Church is known as the “pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Tim 3:15) because the Holy Spirit guides it into all truth (cf. Jn 14:26; 16:13). When the Church teaches, it does so because the Holy Spirit has enabled it to. Not all Christians have this special protection, and some are even counterfeit “Christians.”

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’” (Mt 7:21–23).

So why should you consider returning to the Catholic Church? The Catholic Church is built on a rock-solid foundation and Christ Himself promised, “the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”

“Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Mt 7:24–25).

Author bio

Stephen Spiteri is a happily married and proud Catholic husband and father. He currently teaches Religious Education at Irene McCormack Catholic College (Perth, Western Australia), sharing his knowledge and love for Christ and the Catholic Church. Stephen Spiteri is also the founder and author of the apologetics blog ‘The Spirit Magnus’ and has been answering questions and helping people learn more about the Catholic faith online in this way since late 2008. He has been a guest speaker at Catholic conferences, speaking on the topic of apologetics: defending the Catholic faith. Stephen Spiteri also taught a course on apologetics at the ‘Acts 2 Come’ Catholic Bible College in 2012. He is currently working on other projects that will help bring the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith to those interested in learning more about Catholicism.

Written by: Stephen Spiteri

Edited by: Dave Armstrong

Further Reading:

Biblical Evidence for the Communion of Saints
Biblical Catholic Eucharistic Theology
Biblical Catholic Salvation: “Faith Working Through Love”
Biblical Proofs for an Infallible Church and Papacy

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Extraordinary Form Coming to Southern Oregon

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 UPDATE — The first quarterly Mass in the Extraordinary Form offered at Our Lady of the River will be this Sunday, February 10th 2013, at 6 PM.

ROGUE RIVER: It’s confirmed… What was previously known as the Tridentine Mass, or Traditional Latin Mass, and most recently, the “extraordinary form” of the Mass, will be periodically offered to worshipers at Our Lady of the River Catholic Church in Rogue River, Oregon.

The first Mass is scheduled for Feb 10th,2013, at 6 pm.

ADAMKOTAS420035_306336446081758_565442446_nAs you may recall, Pope Benedict XVI liberalized celebration of the extraordinary form in September of 2007 in his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, which lifted restrictions on celebrations of the Mass according to the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII.

According to my Pastor, Fr. Bill Holtzinger–who authorized the periodic Mass–announcements and details concerning the new offerings are forthcoming.

But, here’s what we know:

The celebrant will be Father Adam Kotas, from the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crescent City, California.

After messaging Father Kotas myself on his Facebook page to confirm him as celebrant of the new offering, he replied and affirmed. And most kindly, offered up some helpful suggestions for those of us unfamiliar with the traditional form. He highly recommends reading up on it to familiarize ourselves with the mass before attending, in order to help us appreciate it a lot more.

I’ve provided the suggested links, as well as a bio on Fr. Kotas below.

On a final personal note: I would like to thank both Pastors, Fr. Holtzinger and Fr. Kotas for the opportunity for our family to experience the extraordinary form. 

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE LATIN MASS

“What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” — Pope Benedict XVI’s Moto Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, 2007.

· The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is our opportunity to stand on Calvary with our Lady, St. John and the holy women and offer ourselves to Jesus just as He offers Himself for us on the cross.

· At Mass we unite ourselves with Christ, who offers us with Himself to God the Father. It is the way that we render perfect adoration unto the Father. And we do this as a community, not simply as individuals gathered together. In this process the priest represents all of us and presents all of us to God.

· Thus, the priest offers this form of the Mass facing the same direction as the people, because he is taken from among the people to render sacrifice to God. He is not excluding the people, but rather he is leading the faithful in offering worship and sacrifice.

· All face ad orientem (to the East) because the East, according to St. Augustine, is where Heaven begins (symbolized by the rising sun), and it from the East that Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Thus we face the East in joyful anticipation of our salvation.

· The Traditional Latin Mass is divided into two main parts: The Mass of the Catechumens (the purpose of which is to offer prayer and to receive instruction) and The Mass of the Faithful (by which we re-offer the sacrifice of Calvary and receive Holy Communion).

TIPS FOR ATTENDING YOUR FIRST LATIN MASS (Low Mass)

1. While at first glance the Extraordinary Form of the Mass may seem very different from the Mass you are used to attending, it is helpful to realize they each have a similar structure. Mass begins with prayers, moves through the readings (or lessons), the Gospel, the liturgy of the Eucharist, reception of Holy Communion, and closing prayers with a blessing.

2. Don’t worry if you can’t “keep up” with what the priest is saying, or you can’t find the right page of your missal or booklet. It may take a few times before things start to feel comfortable and you become familiar with the flow of the Mass. If you get lost, just keep giving thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice and prepare your soul to receive Him in Holy Communion.

3. The readings (lessons) and the Gospel are first read in Latin, and then repeated again in English before the priest begins his homily.

4. The daily readings and certain prayers are not included in the red Mass booklets. If you decide to come to the Latin Mass on a regular basis, you will probably want to buy a full Latin Missal, which has all the readings and prayers for any Mass you might attend.

5. The Pater Noster (Our Father) is prayed aloud by the priest, with the congregation joining only for the final line: sed libéra nos a malo (but deliver us from evil).

6. To receive Holy Communion, approach the altar and kneel at the next empty spot at the altar rail. The priest will place the sacred Host on your tongue while saying the words, “Corpus Dómini nostri Jesu Christi custódiat ánimam tuam in vitam æternam. Amen.” (May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul unto life everlasting. Amen.). You do not need to say “Amen”. When the person next to you has finished receiving Communion you may rise and walk back to your seat.

7. After the final blessing the priest will read the Last Gospel (the beginning of the Gospel of St. John). Afterwards, he will kneel before the altar and lead the congregation in the prayers after Mass. These include: the Hail Mary, Hail Holy Queen, the Prayer to St. Michael, and the prayer “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us” (3 times).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LATIN MASS

Q. I don’t know Latin. How am I supposed to know what is happening during Mass?

A. Easy-to-use booklets are available at the back of the church for you to borrow for the duration of Mass. These red booklets have the words in Latin on the left and in English on the right. They also include illustrations to help you follow the movements of the Mass, as well as brief explanations about the parts of the Mass.

Q. Why is it so quiet during Mass? I can’t hear what the priest is saying!

A. During most of the Mass the priest prays to God on our behalf in a low voice. It is not necessary to hear what he is saying, however, you may follow along in the Mass booklet or Missal. This silence means there are less distractions and more time to meditate on the mysteries of our Faith and on Christ’s love for us.

Q. Why don’t we get to say anything? I want to participate in the Mass, too!

A. Since Vatican II, many people have become used to the idea of the laity having specific verbal or physical opportunities to participate in the liturgy. This idea comes from the Latin term participatio actuosa. However, the actual meaning of this “active participation” specifically refers to an interior participation by being attentive during Mass, praying, and giving thanks to God for His many gifts. Our prayers are joined with the entire Communion of Saints who are worshiping God along with us during the Mass. While we cannot see or hear them, they are there – actively participating, too. So, while you may be quiet and still on the outside, your mind and soul should be very active during Mass.

Q. Why do some women wear veils? Do I need one?

A. Women traditionally were required under canon law to cover their heads during Mass. While this tradition fell out of practice after Vatican II, it is still appropriate for women to veil their heads, but not required. Many women view it as a way to give honor to God present in the Holy Eucharist, and also as an act of humility.

MORE LATIN MASS RESOURCES

Una Voce America – Support and resources for the Latin Mass

St. Sylvia Latin Mass Community – A PDF tip sheet for attending the Latin Mass

The Catholic Liturgical Library – Latin and English prayers of the Latin Mass

Sancta Missa.org – more Latin Mass resources & educational material

adamstf_oxzhuxFather Adam Kotas was born in Poland on November 15, 1984 and moved to Chicago, IL when he was eight years old. He lived in Chicago with his family in Polish neighborhood and attended a Polish Church in Chicago where thousands of recently arrived Polish immigrants gathered to worship in their native tongue. From an early age Father Adam felt a calling to the priesthood as he admired his parish priest in Poland and the priests he came in contact with at his parish in Chicago. At the age of 14, Father Adam entered Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago in August of 1999 where he graduated in 2003. Father Adam always wanted to be a missionary to spread the Good News of the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it. He wanted to particularly work with the poor. Right after attending the high school seminary he spent a year with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a missionary group of priests and brothers whose main mission is to spread the Good News to the poor, in their pre-novitiate program in Miramar, FL where he attended St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, FL. St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami, FL is a bilingual seminary (English-Spanish) and this is where Father Adam first came into contact with Spanish. He studied Spanish diligently and ministered in the Spanish speaking parish in Miramar as well as at other nearby Spanish speaking parishes. After spending a year discerning whether the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were the right fit for him, Father Adam decided he was not called to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and left the pre-novitiate program. He returned to Chicago where he sought admission to St. Joseph College Seminary on the campus of Loyola University Chicago. Father Adam was accepted into the seminary formation program and at the same time he was accepted into the undergraduate program at Loyola University Chicago. Because Father Adam had accumulated many Advanced Placement college credits while in High School and because he took many more than the required minimum credits per semester while at Loyola University Chicago he graduated Cum Laude after only spending 2 years at Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy and Spanish in May of 2006.

Upon his graduation from College Father Adam entered the graduate theological seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago in Mundelein, Illinois where he spent a year. After one year at Mundelein Seminary Father Adam transferred to Ss. Cyril and Methodius seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Ss. Cyril and Methodius seminary is a Polish-American theological seminary whose main mission is train priests for missionary service in the United States of America. Priests who graduate from Ss. Cyril and Methodius seminary serve in places around the United States where there is a lack of priests. While at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary Father Adam met Father Thomas Diaz who was at the time the vocation director for the Santa Rosa diocese within whose boundaries St. Joseph Parish in Crescent City is located. St. Joseph Parish is the last parish in the diocese of Santa Rosa going north. The diocese of Santa Rosa is comprised of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties. During his three years at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary Father Adam was ordained a deacon at the seminary on April 23, 2009. For one year while at the seminary Father Adam served as deacon at St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Father Adam graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in May of 2010 with a Masters of Divinity degree. He was ordained right after his graduation to the priesthood by the former bishop of the diocese of Santa Rosa, the Most. Rev. Daniel F. Walsh. The ordination took place on May 22, 2010 at St. John the Baptist parish in Napa, California.

During his time at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary Father Adam was given the opportunity to study at the University of Detroit Mercy. He pursued a Masters of Arts degree in Religious Studies. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the University of Detroit Mercy in May of 2010. Thus Father Adam not only has a Masters of Divinity degree (M.Div) but also a Masters of Arts degree (M.A.).

Father Adam is fluent in English, Spanish and Polish. He also reads and understand Latin as he studied Latin for four years. Because he knows fours languages from different language families he is able to communicate and read and comprehend many other languages.

Father Adam was appointed right after his ordination to the priesthood as Parochial Vicar (Assistant Pastor) at St. Francis Solano Catholic Church in Sonoma, CA. While at St. Francis Father Adam was responsible for the growing and ever expanding Hispanic ministry. Under Father Adam’s leadership the Hispanic community grew dramatically and many ministries were started at St. Francis including 3 different youth groups.

Father Adam was appointed interim administrator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Calistoga in February of 2012. He remained in that post unit June 18, 2012 when Bishop Robert Vasa appointed him as Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crescent City, California. St. Joseph Church is the only Catholic Church in Del Norte county and this makes Father Adam the only priest in the entire county.

Father Adam leads St. Joseph’s with a passion for the Gospel. He is focused on strengthening the parish with Bible studies, retreats, missions, and engaging liturgies that call attention to the need to be re-evangelized as Catholic Christians in the 21st century. Father Adam is known for his humor and infectious laughter. He is very approachable and easy to talk to and always available to anyone that seeks his guidance and input. Do not hesitate to call on him for spiritual help. Father Adam emphasizes that he is a priest for all people whether they are members of St. Joseph Church or not. Father Adam is a very welcoming and loving priest who tries to make the Masses he celebrates welcoming celebrations of God’s loving presence in our lives.

Dear Benedict: Go to hell!

This print from Martin Luther’s Wider das Bapstum zu Rom vom Teuffel gestifft, (Against the Papacy founded by the Devil, 1545) depicts the Pope with ass’s ears sitting on a pyre erected in the mouth of Hell, represented by an enormous monster. The Pope, with hands held together in prayer is surrounded by demons who fly around him and hold the papal tiara above his head.

Reform minded blindness

It is Holy Thursday.  The day during Holy Week that the church commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Ordination. I will spend the entire evening and into the early morning hours of Good Friday alone in the church praying with Jesus Christ–body, blood, soul, and divinity truly present within the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar–The Eucharist.

This morning I learned who I’ll be praying for: Pope Benedict The XVI and all who have validly received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. But, particularly those who have strayed from the promises they made at ordination.

I will also be praying for this terribly misguided soul who just today wrote on the Facebook page of the dissident group, Call To Action, these very words:

Dear Benedict: Go to hell!

Note: As of 5pm P.S.T. Call To Action has yet to delete the offensive remark… To leave a charitable protest you can find their site here.

His-2-Reap — Controversy in Middle Ages over ‘real presence’

CREDIT: REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Just discovered for the first time over on Alive! the origins of the word ‘transubstantiation’.

Controversy in Middle Ages over ‘real presence’

By Bro. Stephen Brackett

During the Middle Ages a major controversy about the Blessed Eucharist was stirred up by a French priest called Berengarius. Eventually it led to a big development in Eucharistic devotion, including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Born at Tours in 999, Berengarius studied theology in Chartres and in 1029 took charge of the theology school in his home city of Tours.

Soon his reputation for learning was spreading throughout France and attracting some of the best minds of the time to his school. But already his views were causing concern.

In a much earlier controversy, in the 830s, the monk Radbert Paschasius had maintained that at the consecration of the Mass the bread is converted into the real body of Christ and the wine into the real blood of Christ.

Another monk in the same abbey, Ratramnus, denied this, saying that Christ was present in a spiritual way in the Eucharist, but there was no conversion of the bread and wine.

Berengarius sided with Ratramnus,but his views were condemned as false and heretical at a council being held in Rome in 1050.

The condemnation was repeated at several local councils, such as Paris and Tours, in the coming years. In 1059 Berengarius retracted his views at a council in Rome and signed a profession of faith.

On his return home, however, he attacked the formula he had signed. At this point his supporters began to desert him.

It was in this controversy that the word ‘transubstantiation’ was first used to stress the true and full presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

It was a bid to make sure that the meaning of the Lord’s words when he said, “This is my body, this is my blood,” would not be watered down in any way.

Coined by the theologian Hildebert of Lavardin in 1079, transubstantiation meant that the whole substance of the bread and of the wine were changed into the body and blood of Christ.

The important theologians at the time were united in opposing the views of Berengarius, but the controversy continued for decades. Finally, in 1080, he was reconciled with the Church.

Pope Gregory VII gave instructions that no penalty should be imposed on him nor that he should be called a heretic.

The turmoil and confusion he had caused, however, continued for many years to come and were recalled at the time of the Protestant reformation.

On the other hand, the dispute led to a more explicit presentation of Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and to new devotion.

In time, to protect Catholic faith in the Eucharist, the Church instituted the feast of Corpus Christi.

The custom of raising the host and the chalice after the consecration of the Mass was also introduced, allowing the faithful to profess their faith in the real presence of Christ.

END OF POST

Even Demons Believe and Tremble – A Story about the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

It was almost 15 years ago. I was At Old St. Mary’s here in D.C. celebrating Mass in the Latin (Extraordinary Form). It was a solemn high Mass. I don’t suppose I thought it any different than most Sunday’s but something quite amazing was about to happen.

As you may know the ancient Latin Mass is celebrated “ad orientem” (towards the Liturgical East). Priest and people all face one direction. What this means practically for the celebrant is that the people are behind him. It was time for the consecration. The priest is directed to bow low, his forearms on the altar table the host between his fingers.

As directed I said the venerable words of Consecration in a low but distinct voiceHoc est enim Corpus meum (For this is my Body). The bells rang as I genuflected.

But behind me a disturbance of some sort, a shaking or rustling in the front pews behind me to my right. And then a moaning or grumbling. What was that? It did not really sound human, more like the grumbling of a large animal such as a boar or a bear, along with a plaintive moan that did not seem human. I elevated the host and wondered, “What was that?” Then silence. I could not turn to look easily for that is awkward for the celebrant in the ancient Latin Mass. But still I thought, What was that?

But it was time for the consecration of the chalice. Again, bowing low and pronouncing clearly and distinctly but in a low voice: Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti; mysterium fidei; qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem pecatorum. Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis (for this is the cup of my Blood, of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith; which will for the many be shed unto the remission of sins. When so ever you do this, you do it in my memory).

Then, I heard another sound this time an undeniable moan and then a shriek as some one cried out: “Leave me alone Jesus! Why do you torture me!” Suddenly a scuffling as some one ran out with the groaning sound of having been injured. The back doors swung open, then closed. Then silence.

Realization – I could not turn to look for I was raising the Chalice high over my head. But I knew in an instant that some poor demon-tormented soul had encountered Christ in the Eucharistic, and could not endure his real presence displayed for all to see. And the words of Scripture occurred to me: Even Demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).

Repentance – But just as James used those words to rebuke the weak faith of his flock I too had to repent. Why was a demon-troubled man more aware of the true presence and astonished by it than me? He was moved in the negative sense to run. Why was I not more moved in a positive and comparable way? What of the other believers in the pews? I don’t doubt that any of us believed intellectually in the true presence. But there is something very different and far more wonderful in being moved to the depth of your soul! It is so easy for us to be sleepy in the presence of the Divine, forgetful of the miraculous and awesome Presence available to us.

But let the record show that one day, almost 15 years ago, it was made quite plain to me that I held in my hands the Lord of Glory, the King of heaven and earth, the just Judge, and Ruler of the kings of the earth. Is the Lord truly present in the Eucharist? You’d better believe it, even demons believe that!

HAT TIP/BREAD FROM HEAVEN

Bishops — Non-Communion Means No Communion… Now!

In an op-ed Sunday in the New York Daily News, Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn, called on members of his diocese “not to bestow or accept honors, nor to extend a platform of any kind to any state elected official, in all our parishes and churches for the foreseeable future.”

This we presume extends to Catholic lawmakers who made the shack-nasty marriage of same-sex couples the law of the land in New York.

And what greater bestowal or acceptance of honor can one give or receive than that of the presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar?

The only sound of reason I’ve found today on this subject is the voice of The American Papist, and his father.

The time for using “pastoral reasoning” as an excuse in failing to deny Holy Communion to sinful Catholic politicians has long past. As “fishers of men” you have a responsibility…

Fish, or cut bait.

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American Catholic Council — Before and After…

No, Sophia is not presenting herself for Holy Communion, she's snoring...

In April of 2009 I posted an article warning about a small dissident group from Minnesota calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and its support for the formation of the American Catholic Council. The article was entitled “St. Joan of Arc Mpls. – Dialogue on difficult church issues, or advertisement to subvert the Catholic Church in America?“. In it I said:

“Simply put, there will be no effective American Catholic Council if reformers can’t somehow hoodwink laity and bishops into believing that their illegitimate goals are, well, legit…”

They weren’t, they couldn’t , and the council was…well, ineffective.

With the exception of a 78-year-old Priest from someplace called Ferndale, (not sure if this isn’t the name of a local retirement home or suburb of Detroit), the visible-active presence of any hierarchal authority capable of providing momentum for the movement was non-existent. After 2+ years of long hard planning and promoting the event  by various dissident groups throughout the country, this “spirit driven” council celebrating the 35th anniversary of the now infamous Call To Action Conference led by the late Cardinal John Dearden, former Archbishop of Detroit, would in the end produce a whopping 1500 participants…

Snore.

Behold, your spiritual mother…

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:25-27).

The Catholic Church: Gift of Love, Truth and Life

By F. K. Bartels
1/23/2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
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It was bishop Fulton J. Sheen who said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” It is helpful to contemplate how the Church came to exist, and the price our Lord paid to give birth to her.
GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) — Although it is fashionable in some circles to view the Catholic Church as merely one institution among others, it is vital to properly understand who and what the Church is, for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sacrificed his sacred humanity on the cross for the sake of his holy Bride. It was therefore God himself who willed that the Church should exist. As the sacrament of salvation and the gateway to eternal life, the Church exists as a definite and specific institution, invisible and visible, divine and human — a gift of love, truth and life. 

There is in fact a great deal of misunderstanding in contemporary society about Mother Church. It would not be an exaggeration to state that if Christ had not founded her as a definite and specific Church, then the fullness of truth our intellects so thirstily crave would be inaccessible: we would be doomed to grope in a world of darkness without hope of understanding the reality of those things which are beyond what is readily apparent to the senses. In absence of the Church, we could not know with certainty the truth about salvation and redemption, grace and free will; nor of the eschatological realities each man must eventually face; nor could we even understand what a human person is. Christ, of course, knew all this. Therefore, the Way, the Truth, and the Life who is our Savior (see Jn 14:6) founded his Church as an apostolic institution of unity, holiness, and catholicity.

Though it is the Church who dispenses the words of truth and the sacraments of life, and who carries the faithful in her womb as they journey along in God’s providential plan, there are some who willingly isolate themselves from such beautiful gifts. For some view her through sterile, calculating eyes as an human institution only; one who ceaselessly attempts to shackle modern man with ever-tightening moral constraints. In this way, she is viewed with suspicion, and thus whatever moral word she may proclaim with love for the freedom and safety of her children is dismissed as an undue, legalistic imposition that stymies freedom.

Others see the Church in an entirely abstract way, as if she did not exist as Mother Church whose words transmit the fullness of truth, but rather as a vague concept that simply and only refers to the manner in which Christians share a relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ. In this view, the Church is seen as a non-institution, indefinite and unspecific: the word Church is reduced to “church,” and with that reduction the fullness of its meaning is lost. Consequently, the words “church” and “Christian” are often thought to be synonymous. However, being a member of the latter group does not necessarily imply full communion with the former. While it is true that by virtue of their baptism all Christians are incorporated into the Church, it is important to distinguish between full and partial communion. In order for one to be in full communion with Christ’s Bride, it is necessary to be a practicing Catholic who gives assent to all that the Church teaches.

There are still others who view the Church through the warped lens of indifferentism. The fullness of truth transmitted by the Church is regarded with cold disinterest; ruled by pragmatism, the fleeting events of contemporary society are given the utmost priority, and thus worshiped as idols; truth and religion are seen as distant, trivial issues hardly worth fretting over, for there is little time for it all. The ramification of such an insane attitude is that the breadth and depth of religious truth is madly considered to be mere inconsequential clutter.

Jesus Christ Suffered And Died For The Church

It was bishop Fulton J. Sheen who said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” It is helpful to contemplate how the Church came to exist, and the price our Lord paid to give birth to her.”Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:25-27).

Many theologians see in this sacred moment on Calvary the formation of the first cell of the Church. Hans Urs Von Balthasaar commented on the fruits of the relationship conferred on Mary and John by our Beloved Savior: “From this original cell of the Church established at the Cross will come everything which will form the organism of the Church” . It is there, at the base of the cross, in an act of unwavering faith confronted with intense emptiness, pain and sorrow, that the gift of Church as a community bound in Love is conferred upon the Virgin Mother and the beloved disciple. This new way of life is immediately and fully embraced, for the disciple takes Mary into his home “from that hour”.

“In order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, . . . the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (Jn 19:31-34).

In his book, God Is Near Us, then Cardinal Ratzinger writes, “From his side, that side which has been opened up in loving sacrifice, comes a spring of water that brings to fruition the whole of history. From the ultimate self-sacrifice of Jesus spring forth blood and water, Eucharist and baptism, as the source of a new community.” Thus this Cardinal who would soon become Pope Benedict XVI was able to say, “The Lord’s opened side is the source from which spring forth both the Church and the sacraments that build up the Church.”

In this sacred, incomparable event on the cross, the Person of Jesus Christ is revealed: The Son of God and Son of Man willed to die for humanity, and, in that astonishing moment which will forever leave men speechless, he has lovingly formed in the midst of a chaotic world an island of truth and security: his Bride, the Catholic Church. This gift of love, truth and life flowed forth in divine abundance as an organic, living reality of oneness, whose beating heart is Christ himself.

The Church: Monarchical And Hierarchical Authority

Our understanding of the Church would be incomplete if we overlooked St. Matthew’s gospel. After Simon Peter confessed that Jesus is the “Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Jesus replies, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (16:17-19).

In Matthew’s gospel we clearly see that the Church is founded by Christ as a definite and specific institution; i.e., Christ founded the Church — not “churches”. Authority is conferred on St. Peter as leader, who is given the “keys to the kingdom,” and the power to “bind” and “loose”. The implication of this fact is that Peter had a primacy or special place among the apostles. Here, with St. Peter as earthly head, we see the visible monarchical structure of the Church. It stands to reason that Christ would install a leader at the helm of his Church, for without one she would quickly fall into division and disarray. Analogies always fall short; nevertheless, we should note that any business or corporation would not long survive without a leader. In Matthew 18:18, Christ gives the authority of binding and loosing to the other apostles — though Peter remains at the helm — forming the hierarchical structure of the Church.

Some object to the claim that St. Peter was First Bishop of Rome and leader of the Church. There is the notion that Christ founded his Church on St. Peter’s faith only; that Peter had no actual leadership role, and that he was but merely a figurehead. Some presently treat the office of the papacy in such a manner. But no one gives the “keys to the kingdom” to faith; no one confers the power to “bind” and “loose” on faith. Christian faith is the theological virtue by which the mind and will assents to God’s revelation: it is a movement of the intellect and choice of the will to love the God of infinite goodness with all one’s heart. Faith is saying “yes” to the Word. Faith in itself cannot possess the authority to “bind” and “loose”. Authority is granted to people. In this case, it is conferred on the Church, an authoritative monarchical and hierarchical institution, who is the Body of Christ and who possesses the fullness of truth.

The early Church Fathers were firmly convinced of the primacy of Peter and of a definite and specific Church instituted by Jesus Christ. Thus, on looking into history, we find the notion of a vague, non-institutional church entirely foreign to the Christian community.

On the unity and authority of the Church, St. Ignatius wrote: “You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God.  Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. . . . Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, A.D. 105).

It is especially noteworthy that Ignatius, a man of Antioch, first writes, so far as we know, of the term Catholic Church; for it was also at Antioch that, as the Acts of the Apostles indicate, the followers of Jesus Christ were first called Christians (see Acts 11:26).

St. Cyprian, writing in about A.D. 251: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ . . . On him he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church, 4).

It was St. Cyprian’s understanding of the reality of the Church that compelled him to write this vital truth: “He who has turned his back on the Church of Christ shall not come to the rewards of Christ; he is an alien, a worldling, an enemy. You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother. Our Lord warns us when He says: ‘he that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.’ Whosoever breaks the peace and harmony of Christ acts against Christ; whoever gathers elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ” (Ibid.).

We return to the Crucifixion. God Incarnate, through Whom all things were created and are sustained, sacrificed himself and died on the cross for his Church: a definite and specific, divine and human institution of oneness who exists as the Body of Christ. Our Savior died for the immense and incomparable gift of his Church: the sacrament of salvation whose sole purpose is to guide humankind to its eternal end. The Church is a sign and instrument of Christ’s salvation: it is within the loving arms of Mother Church that God’s children receive the sacraments in which they are swept up into the life of the Holy Trinity. Such a gift is priceless and beyond all comparison. It should never be overlooked, dismissed or rejected; rather every Christian should flock to Mother Church, the gateway to life eternal.

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F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever have. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at catholicpathways.com

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

That the desert of our souls might bloom — Forty Hours: An Appeal – Vultus Christi

“Do this and the delay of mercy will be prolonged, allowing a greater multitude to lift their eyes to the Lamb, and be saved…”

EDITOR NOTE: There will be nothing written, spoken, or viewed over the internet this day that compares in importance to this timely and much needed message…

Forty Hours: An Appeal

 

Unrest and Rumours of War

At the risk of sounding alarmist and apocalyptic, I am compelled to make this appeal. The distressing events in Egypt are but one manifestation of a tension that seems to be growing all over the globe. Many souls have a presentiment of impending horrors: civil unrest, attacks upon the Church, violence, spiritual darkness, natural disasters, and wars spinning out of control.

Our Lord Waits to Show Us Mercy

In the face of such threats, Bishops and Priest charged with the care of souls need to enthrone the Most Blessed Sacrament, open wide the doors of their cathedrals and parish churches, and summon the faithful to adore and make humble supplication in the radiance of Our Lord’s Eucharistic Face. Do this, and the faithful will come. Do this, and the impending tribulations will be mitigated. Do this and the delay of mercy will be prolonged, allowing a greater multitude to lift their eyes to the Lamb, and be saved.

Before the Throne of the Eucharistic King

Are not these few weeks before Lent the most suitable time to organize the Sacred Forty Hours Devotion in cathedrals and churches everywhere? To delay under the pretexts that it is too difficult to plan, or that the faithful will not come, or that it will raise issues of security is to shut one’s ears and eyes to the signs of the times. Invite the faithful to kneel before the throne of the Eucharistic King; His Heart will be touched, and He will show His mercy and His power to the world.

Please continue on to the full article: Forty Hours: An Appeal – Vultus Christi.

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The Source and Summit of Our Lives is the Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist

Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist

By Vic Biorseth, http://www.Thinking-Catholic-Strategic-Center.com

Eucharist is my foundation, my grounding in the Catholic faith; Jesus truly present in the Eucharist is what keeps me sane, on the path and in the Way, no matter what I encounter in this world.

How can I so willingly accept the disdainful title of “bread worshiper” and openly state that I truly believe that that little wafer up there at the front of the church is God?

Well, Jesus said it. That’s good enough for me.


Let’s begin at John; open your bible to John 6:30 (or, go to Bible Browse (RSV) (Opens in a New Window) and browse down to John 6:30 in another window) and follow along. We will look at the actual words of Jesus on the subject. He repeatedly refers to Himself as come down from Heaven, asmanna from Heaven, as food, as drink, as required for life, and as offeringeverlasting life to those who accept what He says.

Verse 30: The followers ask Jesus for a sign, indicating that Moses gave bread to the people in the desert, so what could Jesus do. Our Lord told them it was not Moses, but God who gave them the manna, and that the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

Jesus as Eucharist: 1

He then told them, the first time, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 2

In verse 38 He said, a second time, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; . . . ”

At this many murmured at Him because He said He was the bread which came down from heaven.

Jesus as Eucharist: 3

And He said, a third time, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 4

And He said, a fourth time, “Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 5

And He said, a fifth time, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 6

And He said, a sixth time, “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 7

And He said, a seventh time, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Then they disputed among themselves, saying how can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Jesus as Eucharist: 8

And He tied the teaching to salvation, when He said, an eighth time, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;”

Jesus as Eucharist: 9

Then He said, a ninth time, “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 10

Then He said, a tenth time, “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 11

Then He said, an eleventh time, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 12

Then He said, a twelfth time, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”

Jesus as Eucharist: 13

Then He said, a thirteenth time, “This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

At this many of his followers said this was a hard teaching, and questioned who could follow it. He spoke again, as He did many times in Scripture, about choosing between the flesh (meaning the world and death) and the spirit (meaning the Kingdom and life) but many of His followers left Him and followed Him no more.

He didn’t call them back. He turned to those remaining, including the Twelve, and issued them the stinging challenge: “Do you also wish to go away?”

And Simon Peter answered for them, saying “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Note well that Peter didn’t say that he understood what was taught; how could anyone understand such a mysterious, other-worldly thing? But, what Peter did understand was exactly Who was doing the teaching. He accepted it because Jesus taught it, pure and simple.

And, it must be remarked, Jesus taught it in no uncertain terms. Thirteen times He referred to Himself as food, drink, demanding to be eaten, as coming down from Heaven, as being sent by the Father, in ever increasingly strong terms.

There is absolutely no way to misinterpret what He was saying here. Such sentences as my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink most certainly do not present the language of metaphor. Neither is the term “he who eats (Greek: trogon)” the language of metaphor; it is very crude and direct, and the only reasonable translation is literal.

If He were speaking figuratively, then, in accordance with Hebrew culture at the time, eating one’s flesh and drinking one’s blood was figuratively meant to say to injure someone’s character by slander or libel or calumny; speaking figuratively here makes no sense.

He meant what He said. You can’t get around it.

If you want to understand the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist, this is the Scriptural beginning point. Read and re-read the Eucharistic discourse in John 6 until you are fairly comfortable with the information it gives you. Then you will be ready for the next step.

Jesus said that He was “Bread from Heaven,” that His flesh was food, that His blood was drink, and that, unless we eat of Him and drink of Him, we do not “have life.” So, according to His teaching, we are called upon to actually eat His flesh and to drink His blood.

And the question naturally arises, how, exactly, are we going to do that little trick?

With that question firmly in mind, we are now ready to explore the other Eucharistic passages in the synoptic Gospels, and in the rest of the New Testament. Keep the question in mind; write it down on a note pad if necessary.

Some Protestant objections to the universal Catholic teaching on the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist stem from the “do this in remembrance of me” passages attached to the Eucharistic discourses in Luke and 1 Corinthians. Which, in their interpretation, makes the Eucharist merely some kind of memorial not involving in any way the flesh and blood of our Lord. What they totally ignore is the literal interpretation of the word “is” each time our Lord says “this is my body” and “this is my blood”. Interestingly, many of them interpret so much of the Bible literally, but cannot accept the literal interpretations of the Eucharistic discourses.

Keep the question in mind. You’ve been instructed by Jesus to eat His flesh and drink His blood, if you want life in you, else you do not have life. Exactly how are you going to do as instructed by Jesus Himself? That’s the question.

Turn to Matthew 26:26. Here it is:

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

Then, turn to Mark 14:22. Here it is:

“And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

Then, turn to Luke 22:19. Here it is:

“And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Then, turn to 1 Corinthians 11:24. Here it is:

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Now, the very next verses undo the Protestant claim that Eucharist does not contain the sacred body and blood of our Lord. From verse 27 on:

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

So, if we come to the altar not discerning the body of Christ, we eat our own judgment. Consider also Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:16:

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

Now, I’m no great Scripture scholar, I’m just a Catholic layman; but Protestants I’ve discussed this with seem to know a lot less Scripture than Protestants are publicly touted to know. If Christ meant that all the different Eucharistic discourses were meant to be taken as “this issymbolically my body” then why didn’t he explicitly say that, at least once, somewhere? What He said, repeatedly, was, this is my body. If He didn’t mean that, then, just exactly what did He mean?

Doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present — body and blood, soul and divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine. The biblical foundation for this doctrine is so solid as to be irrefutable. The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages quite literally.

Ignatius of Antioch, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]): “I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible”.

(Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]): “Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes”.

Justin Martyr, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]): “We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus”.

Irenaeus, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]): “If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?”

(ibid., 5:2): “He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?”

Clement of Alexandria, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]): “’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children”.

Tertullian, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]): “[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God”.

Hippolytus, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]): “‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e., the Last Supper]”.

Origen, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]): “Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]”.

Cyprian of Carthage, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]): “He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and condemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord”.

Council of Nicaea I, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Canon 18 [A.D. 325]): “It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]”.

Aphraahat the Persian Sage, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]): “After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink”.

Cyril of Jerusalem, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]): “The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ”.

(ibid., 22:6, 9): “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul”.

Ambrose of Milan, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]): “Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ”.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]): “When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit”.

Augustine, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]): “Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands”.

(Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]): “I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ”.

(ibid., 272): “What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction”.

Council of Ephesus, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

(Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]): “We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, on the true presence in the Eucharist:

1373 “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church:[195] in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,”[196] in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned,[197] in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “he is present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species.”[198]

1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.”[199] In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”[200] “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”[201]

1375 It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:

It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.[202]

And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:

Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed…. Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature.[203]

1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.”[204]

1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.[205]

1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”[206]

1379 The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

1380 It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,”[207] even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us,[208] and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love.

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.[209]

1381 “That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood is something that ‘cannot be apprehended by the senses,’ says St. Thomas, ‘but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.’ For this reason, in a commentary on Luke 22:19 (‘This is my body which is given for you.’), St. Cyril says: ‘Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for since he is the truth, he cannot lie.'”[210]

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived;
How says trusty hearing? That shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.[211]

True Presence in the Eucharist: Conclusion

If anyone out there has or can point out a longer, or more solidly documented, or more consistent historical teaching on the subject, show me. If the Roman Catholic teaching consistently goes back to and through the apostolic era and right on into Scripture, then it looks like it hasn’t ever changed, in the Church Christ founded. Any other interpretations are coming out of denominations that didn’t even exist until relatively modern times, long after the doctrine was solidly established and consistently practiced for many, many centuries.

By coming forward to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we make three important statements of profound significance:

  1. We state not only that we are not in a state of mortal sin, but we consider ourselves to be in a state of grace worthy of even approaching the Lord.
  2. We state that we fully recognize the true Presence of our Lord, body, blood, soul and Divinity, under the appearances of common bread and wine.
  3. We state that we are fully and completely Catholic, as we participate in Communion and become what we eat – the Body of Christ – his whole Church. Which means that we fully accept all that the Church He founded safeguards, teaches and hands on to us.

One Protestant I remember arguing with (and, I learned later, many other Protestants in many other arguments have said virtually the same thing) said, Vic, if I really believed that was God up there, I would crawl on my belly down the aisle to receive Him. He had that part right.

Most of us take for granted the presence of the Lord, perhaps too much; it becomes a commonplace, a ritualized thing to do on Sundays and Holy Days.

But, sometimes, we need to take stock. That’s God up there. We ought to be crawling on our bellies down the aisle to receive Him.

Coming forward in the Eucharist to experience Communion with the Lord is, all at once, the most daring, the most humbling, and the most glorious thing any Catholic man can ever do.

Where are you in your walk, and how well do you recognize the miracle we participate in, involving as it does, actual, physical Communion with Jesus Christ, the Lord thy God, in the Eucharist? Have you fully recognized that we become what we eat, which is, the Body of Christ, His Church, with which we openly profess complete unity by daring to come to the Communion Rail? Do you make certain to have reconciled with any you have sinned against and with the Lord before you come forward to receive?

When I was a boy, an old nun told me that Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul and divinity – remains wholly within and part of me, personally, until the last fragment of physical Host is dissolved and gone. Which makes me, during that time, an actual Tabernacle of the Lord. This is, for me, the holiest of times; a time of silent contemplation and thanksgiving. I cannot sing during that time, or further participate in any other activity. Communion is the reason that the Mass has become my deepest prayer. Meditate upon the significance of it. And come worthily to the Receive the Lord, and live forever, as He faithfully promised. And He will raise you up on the last day.

Blessed be God forever; and thank you, Lord Jesus.


Recommended Reading

Encyclical Letter: Ecclesia De Eucharistia, of his holiness John Paul the Great.

Apostolic Letter: Rosarium Virginis Mariae, of his holiness John Paul the Great.

(In this letter, John Paul the Great introduced five new mysteries of the rosary, the Mysteries of Light. They include 1) His baptism in the Jordan; 2) His self-manifestation at the wedding at cana; 3) His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His call to conversion; 4) His Transfiguration; and, finally, 5) His institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

All of these mysteries deserve attention in study, meditation and contemplation. His holiness gave us, in the fifth mystery, the sacrament of sacraments, ready to be plumbed to the depth of our souls, in recognition of the Truth of His Presence.)

God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, The Heart Of Life; Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, currently Pope Benedict XVI; Ignatius Press.

Reference Material