Pope Francis on the open door of the Eucharist (Evangelii Gaudium)

3rd quarter of 16th century

3rd quarter of 16th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.[51] These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.

There is just so much good in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation.

What about Protestants who believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? When I was in Baltimore this past weekend, I attended mass at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin. No one would have known I wasn’t Catholic, but I didn’t feel it appropriate. I would, however, love to have taken the Eucharist.

I’ve read this throughout the day and it is powerful. I mean the entire document, of course.

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Confessing what? Hypocrisy @ConfessingUMC

Last night, the Confessing Church within the UMC’s facebook outlet posted a nice picture.

confessing hypocrisy

Note, this is not a diatribe against the basic principles of the Confessing Church Within the UMC nor the membership as a whole. This is, instead, an attempt to point out their hypocrisy (at least on the facebook page which does not seem to be an official organ (although authorized) of the CCwUMC).

That was my response to their posting.

In turn, they said,

Methodist churches traditionally practice Open Communion, not Closed Communion.

To which I responded,

You mean United Methodist Churches. And yes, I am aware of that but as seeing you would regularly close the communion of fellowship to those who disagree with you regarding LGBT and the such, I find it ironic you would continue to promote an open Table, Chris.

Them:

Hi Joel, there are multiple admins on this page and I am not Chris. Methodist churches traditionally allow individuals from any denomination to partake in the Eucharist: http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5070513&ct=3352761 The official website of the UMC states “The table of Holy Communion is Christ’s table, not the table of The United Methodist Church or of the local congregation. The table is open to anyone who seeks to respond to Christ’s love and seeks to lead a new life of peace and love, as the invitation to the table says.”

At that point, I pointed out they weren’t responding to my points.

Let’s not forget – last week, they suggested I leave the UMC for somewhere else, thereby retracting the arm of fellowship. I am calling out their hypocrisy that while the Table (i.e., fellowship with Christ) is open, fellowship with other Christians are not. Surely, you can see the sheer hypocrisy of a group proclaiming an open table but a closed fellowship, right?

Look at it like this. The Table represents Christ. It is open to all of those who desire to seek communion with Christ. We as Christians are called to imitate Christ. Yet, many of these would see to disbar, excommunicate, and dismiss those who disagree over certain issues — such as the LGBT issue. If Christ is welcoming to all, and who we are supposedly imitating Christ are not, what does this say about us?

Therefore, I maintain the CCwUMC while confessing an Open Table confesses not Christ when they continuously seek to divide the fellowship.

Blogging my Book: Revelation 3.7–13 and 1 Cor 11.27–32 – The Eucharist in View

English: Peresopnytsia Gospels. 1556-1561. Min...

English: Peresopnytsia Gospels. 1556-1561. Miniature of Saint Matthew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I am trying not to go too far into the literary connections between Revelation and other parts of Scripture but if I do, I try to bring out the theological implications first.

Anyway, I am currently working through the 7 Churches of Asia and arriving at Philadelphia, I noticed language very similar to that of Paul’s.

Compare Revelation 3.7-13 and 1 Co 11.27-32. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Notice that Christ is the setting the table/open door. Compare 1 Corinthians 11.26 and Revelation 3.11. Compare as well the promise of Christ in 3.10 with Paul’s hope for the Eucharist — 1 Corinthians 11.28–32.

There is also some language here drawn from Isaiah 22.22, perhaps by way of Scott Hahn’s interpretation of  Matthew 16.18.

Anyway, rather than the open door of John’s vision in Revelation 4, this is (and maybe there isn’t much difference) the Eucharistic table where Christ is presiding.

How long does the Real Presence last?

Catholic dogma is that during the Consecration at Mass the bread and wine become the the Real Presence of Jesus – His Body and Blood. So, after someone has received Communion, how long does the Flesh and Blood of Jesus remain as such? It is something I had never thought of. Till I read this.

How long does the change in substance last?

Because the change in substance is a change in the thing itself, it lasts until it is no more. For us, the substantial change in the bread and wine remains until these are changed into our substance as happens to all food through digestion. This also helps to explain the reverence for the bread that extends beyond the actual Mass.

What happens to us when we receive Holy Communion?

Just as we nourish our bodies by eating, so we nourish our spiritual lives by contact with God’s presence in the eucharistic bread and wine. Through Holy Communion, we become what we eat — the Body of Christ. St. Cyril of Alexandria understood that “When we ingest the Eucharist, in reality we are ingesting the Godhead … Because his Body and Blood are diffused through our members, we become partakers of the divine nature.” The divine reality works from within us — this is what grace is all about — God’s divine life present in us is at work transforming us from within. As digestion transforms the bread and wine into ourselves, so too are we being transformed on the spiritual level into the divine through contact with God’s holy reality.

http://www.catholicdigest.com/articles/faith/heritage/2010/12-14/mysteries-of-the-eucharist-part-2

Jesus did say to His disciples: “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

I believe Jesus is always with us - because He said He is.

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Communion – in the hand or on the tongue?

Princess Grace of Monaco receiving Communion

Two Australian Catholic priests have started a petition to restore Communion being received only on the tongue during Mass, while banning Communion in the hand. Amongst their reasons for this, is that we use our hands a lot to do other things:

The very action of placing the Sacred Host on the hands of a communicant invites routine.

There are any number of bodily actions we perform so often every day without thinking that they wear a kind of ‘neuron track’ into our brains: waving goodbye, shaking hands, pointing a finger, and receiving and placing something into another’s hand.

It is very difficult to ask someone to use an habitual action in a sacred way.

But we don’t stick our tongue out at a priest everyday:

Standing, or preferably kneeling, before a priest and extending our tongue is hardly a routine action. It is something we do only in church and it causes the communicant immediately to enter into a consciousness of the sacred. Communion on the tongue is itself a little catechesis.

http://communiononthetongue.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/some-considerations.html

Which I don’t get.

Thinking back to when I did receive Communion on the tongue as a child, and then as an adult on those occasions when the priest would use the now discontinued dip-and-dunk method to distribute Communion under both kinds, I felt uncomfortable. My tongue and mouth would quiver and shake as I poked out my tongue for the priest to lay down the host. I just didn’t like it, and my mind was not on Jesus at that time. It didn’t feel sacred. It took a while for me to compose myself after receiving Communion and get back to Jesus. Maybe I was just weird, and I was somewhat of a germaphobe, but I overwhelmingly preferred to receive Communion in the hand as my mind was always on Jesus.

At the Last Supper Jesus shared bread and wine with his apostles saying that the bread and wine were His body and blood. He would have passed the bread and wine around the table for them to eat it and drink it themselves. His body was broken for us and He shed His blood for us.

 

 

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Friday with the Fathers: Ignatius and the Eucharist

They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again.

It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion |of Christ¦ has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils. (ISm 7:1-2 APE)

A Eucharist between Christmas and Easter

I’m not going to write a lot about this, but this is just something I wanted to jot down.

I think that the Sunday after Christmas should begin with a different Communion/Eucharist which will slowly changed until Easter Sunday.

I say, start with a grape and some wheat. As each Eucharist, allowing for weeks or months and not days, slowly move to wine and bread.

Just a thought.

C. S. Lewis on the Necessity of the Sacraments

“And let me make it quite clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral. When they speak of being ‘in Christ’ or of Christ being ‘in them,’ this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts – that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps that explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. It is not merely the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution – a biological or super- biological fact…. He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us.”

via The Trinity Foundation – Did C. S. Lewis Go to Heaven?.

More Glories of the Vatican II – The Sacraments Communicate Grace

As I have said to Jeremy on several occasions, I admire the reforms put forth in Vatican II, and hope that they will one day come to complete fruition. Here is one of them, which contrary to some, redefines the role of Sacraments in the life of the Church.

The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called “sacraments of faith.” They do indeed impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them most effectively disposes the faithful to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God duly, and to practice charity.

It is therefore of the highest importance that the faithful should easily understand the sacramental signs, and should frequent with great eagerness those sacraments which were instituted to nourish the Christian life. (from here)

Alistar McGrath notes that this Council returned to the idea that the sacraments signified Grace. He notes the intention of the Council was to highlight the communication of Grace, which had long since been hidden.

So take that ye olde 16th century theologians!