Friday, August 04, 2006

The Lord's Supper

People should not change denominations because it makes them feel good but because they feel the change will bring them closer to the truth and closer to God. I'm sure some may, in fact, do this... but it is not logical to do so.

I can attest to the fact that I am not becoming a Catholic based on emotion but rather because I find it logical. Everyone coming into the Catholic Church from an outside Christian faith, has at least one thing that they feel is difficult to accept about Catholic doctrine: the Real Presence, the Pope, Marian doctrines, Scripture and Tradition, and the authority of the Church, just to name a few.

I was taught and always believed that The Lord's Supper was merely symbolic. How could I ever have missed John 6:25-59?

25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
26Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
30So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."
35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
41At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
43"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. 44"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Although there is a symbolic element, if this were merely symbolic, why would some of those who heard him speak turn away from him? He knew they were disturbed by his message and it would not have been logical for him to have allowed them to walk away if he were only talking symbolically.

On another note, if this act were only symbolic, why would it be so important for us to examine ourselves before partaking?

1 Corinthians 11:27

Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

And how could we then be sinning against the "body and blood" of the Lord? This statement simply would not make sense if we did not take Christ literally.

It just seems all too clear that Christ is indeed present in the bread and wine during Holy Communion. I fully accept this on a logical level and I know with deeper growth, I will also accept this in my heart... This is my prayer:

Act of Desire
Jesus, My God and my all
my soul longs for You.
My heart yearns
to receive you in Holy Communion.
Come, Bread of Angels,
to nourish my soul and to rejoice in my heart.
Come most lovable Friend of my soul,
to enflame me with such love
that I may never again
be separated from You.

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