About the Catholic Eucharyst

Hello everyone. Yesterday I was asked something and I was given time to prepare my response, but I’m not sure how to exactly explain something without any hurt feelings. This is about the time of Eucharisty in catholic context. Nowadays, the doctrine about the transubstantiation has become something mystical and “sweet” for Catholic people, in fact, that’s how the question was directed to me: why you, evangelical people, have forgotten the beautiful moment when Jesus comes to us in body and flesh during the moment of mass and Eucharist? Why don’t you celebrate that any more? I need as many help in explaining this, without condemning and pointing to the heresy that this whole thing is.
Thank you in advance!!!

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@Sophel Thank you for sharing this question :slight_smile: I’ve included some Scriptures that emphasize the one time nature of the death of Christ and contrast it with the OT Levitical system, in which offerings had to be made again and again. However, if I were responding to this objection, I would probably begin by expressing my own deep experience of the Lord’s Supper as a Protestant because, to be honest, the Eucharist is a profound and moving moment for me. One reason I like going to the Anglican Church is that they take the Lord’s Supper every week and make it a key moment of the service.

How I might respond,

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt concern that we remember what Jesus has done for us through His death and resurrection. While I do not believe in transubstantiation, the Lord’s Supper is a moving and profound moment of impenetrable beauty for me. I still remember when I first truly committed my whole self to Christ as a teenager and wept as I took communion because of the great love and humility of Christ.

Even though I do not think the bread and wine turn into the body and blood, the Holy Spirit of Christ brings to my mind the life and love of Christ as I participate in the Lord’s Supper. I see Mary running to the tomb weeping, only to find that Jesus is alive. I see Peter kneeling at Jesus’ feet after the catch of fish. I see Thomas confessing to Christ ‘My Lord and my God’. I see Jesus telling Zacchaes to come down from the tree. And I remember the night when Jesus touched my naked, broken soul and hid me in Christ Jesus, clothing me in His glory.

We may not agree on this doctrine, but make no mistake, the Lord’s supper is beautiful to me and I have not forgotten its importance.

Hebrews 10:8-14 - First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Romans 6:8-10 - Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

1 Cor 11:23-26 - For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 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.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

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Hi Sophia,
I will speak my heart to you as a sister in Christ, My heart was broken while reading your question. Just because you don’t believe in transubstiantiation doesn’t mean it’s a heresy.
In Luke 22, Jesus founded eucharist and said that the bread was his body and the cup was his blood and this is to be done in “remembrance”. Going back to the greek lexicon you will find the original word here to be “ἀνάμνησις” (Anamnesis) which is a greek word whose english translation really betrays. It doesn’t mean mere cognitive remembrance but re-living the actual event and bringing it to life. We believe that God’s actions are not subject to time, they are eternal (just like God himself). The death and resurrection of Jesus was not a point in time (Chronos) that has ended and we just remember it, but an eternal (Kairos) timeless event that we can revisit and relive (I would suggest that you read a little bit about the difference between Chronos and Kairos to get my point here).
Jesus said “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“My body”, “My blood”… he didn’t say a symbol of my body, he said My body to make it clear that it’s the true flesh of the Lord not a mere imitation or memory.

In 1 Cor 11, Paul says “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬.
If it was just a ceremony of mere rememberance, why all the fuss?!
In the Eucharist, we don’t slay our saviour once again becuase his sacrifice is a one-time sacrifice, we just re-live that eternal moment of his death, then resurrection. We go back to calvary were his blood was shed for our sins. (One amazing book here is called “for the life of the world” by Alexander Schmemann)
There’s a lot to be said here but one more thing to add is my own personal experience. One can argue intellectually about the effect of something but the the argument becomes solid when experienced. I have seen the transforming effect of eating the Flesh and Blood of the Lord in my own life. The power of Life and restoration poured into me and I can’t deny this no matter what anyone says (and I’m a super intellectual-skeptical person btw).
God has always respected our limited nature and offered some great profound unseen and unspoken grace through physical actions to help us grasp the concept (take baptism as an example). This doesn’t undermine the transforming work of the holy spirit or the redemptive work of Jesus but just helps us believe. (I would suggest you read the teachings of St. Athanasious or St. Cyril of Alexandria on this).
Heresy is when you deny the major doctrines of Christianity (the deity of Jesus, the Holy spirit, the trinity, the atonement…etc). I felt really heartbroken being called heretic for something like this.
N. B. I’m Coptic Orthodox not Catholic.

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@Miriameweida Thank you for sharing :slight_smile: If you don’t mind, I’d be curious to understand your own experience and perspective a bit more. How come it is so meaningful / important to you that the body and blood be literally present in the Eucharist? I am not asking for arguments for this position, but rather why it is so meaningful for you personally.

For me, it is what Jesus achieved through His body and blood, as we see in Hebrews 10, that is so amazingly profound. He loved us enough to make a way for us to draw near to Him.

Hebrews 10:19-22 - Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

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Dear Sofia
All traditions of Christianity celebrate the Communion or The Lord’s Supper. It is heartbreaking to hear that someone would try to take this great spiritual experience from you.

Roman Catholics believe in transubstantiation which is the faith that the elements of bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. Lutherans believe in consubstantiation which is the faith that the elements of bread and wine take on the body and blood of Jesus Christ and that both the physical elements of bread and wine And the body and blood co-exist. Anglicans believe in the concept of Real Presence which is that Jesus Christ is present with the elements but only in a spiritual sense. Most other Protestant Traditions believe that The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance but stop short of referring to a real presence.
I will also say that the Orthodox Church, The Oriental Church, & The Apostolic Church of the East (all of which are as old as the Roman Catholic Tradition) hold to the concept that is primarily The Real Presence Concept. However these traditions refuse to define what actually occurs.
To quote C S Lewis: Jesus said take and eat, He did not say take and understand.
Something to remember is that Roman Catholicism and Protestants have a tendency to try and define the undefinable. What happens at communion or The Lord’s Supper is a mystery.

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