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Archive for the ‘Communion’ Category
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Nil by mouth – the controversy over Communion on the tongue: a compromise? (hughosb.wordpress.com)
- Communion Kneeling and on the Tongue is Preferred Form – Cardinal Arinze & Redemptionis (mumbailaity.wordpress.com)
- Maryland Priest Under Fire For Denying Communion To Lesbian Daughter At Mother’s Funeral (jonathanturley.org)
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)
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.
“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.”
No, I’m not trying to start a religious war… but you know…. we do have an open table…
Anyway, great stuff!
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!
It is genuinely sad that this meal, which is meant to be a sign of unity within the church, has been a point of fierce and enduring divisions. It has separated Catholics and Protestants from each other. It has also separated Lutheran, Free, and Reformed churches from each other as well.
Indeed… and let me add again, that I fully enjoy the open table of the United Methodist Church.
I’m looking forward to this series by Dr. Bird.
Dr. Gombis has a conversation started on the Open Table at Communion. In my local Methodist Church, the call is given to anyone to attend, much with the theology as expressed by Dr. Gombis when he writes,
After all, who was at Jesus’ table? Judas, who betrayed him; Peter, who denied him; Thomas, who doubted him. Jesus calls us to share in the meal—those who betray, those who deny, those who doubt—to celebrate the unity of God’s people and to enjoy the embrace of the God who loves to fellowship with failures.
I have come more than ever to appreciate the open communion tradition. Anyway, there is a good conversation started – take a look.
Yesterday, the Oxford Oratory’s Corpus Christi procession took the Lord in his Holy Sacrament through the shopping streets of Oxford. The same kind of extraordinary direct link between shoppers and the core of the Catholic religion took place (I couldn’t be there; but it always has in the past). By the time the procession was over, it had been (if previous form is any guide) swelled by a number of lapsed Catholics and others, drawn into the celebration of Benediction which always concludes it.
It is a very extraordinary thing that one of the despised “popular devotions” which those who went on and on, 30 years ago, about the so-called spirit of Vatican II really thought could safely be junked (along with devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so unecumenical) as part of their supposed “renewal” of the Church was adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Today, the renewal of the Church, this time the genuine article, means bringing it back.
I think that this ‘flash mob’ thing really struck a nerve.
I, unlike other Methodists (warning, egotistical over-generalization), have a high view of the Eucharist, seeing it as a means of unity by orthopraxis.