As a Roman Catholic, I believe that the Communion that we receive is the actual Presence of Jesus Christ in a most illogical form of His choosing, in the Eucharist that is consecrated and which we celebrate in the Mass.
If, in fact, one does believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, then one must come to the Catholic Church, and not just come, but come running and leaping for joy that He is alive and present to us, and that He is real food for our souls, for our personal journey to the foot of the Cross.
I have researched the biblical basis of the Eucharist from the Catholic perspective. In fact, for me as a Catholic Christian, it is conclusive. However Father Tim Moyle, a Catholic priest in Mattawa Ontario, and graduate of St. Peter's Seminary here in London, Ontario, and I to a certain extent have been challenged about this and about the validity of Roman Catholicism as a religion by one of our Reformed brothers. He is a student of scripture, believing that sola scriptura (basically if it ain't in scripture, it ain't - on matters of faith) sets the tone for our faith, and that tradition is of no value - quoting a particular scripture about tradition as his guide for that. He is a retired Catholic, having found his faith outside the Church of his youth.
What he is is a blessing. His knowledge of scripture challenges me, probably not Father Tim as much, to dig into commentaries and apologetics that I have available on my book shelves or find on the Internet. In other words it is a healthy exercise.
The Catholic Church is able to prove the Real Presence scripturally, and here is an example of a good commentary on it, that includes the nihil obstat and imprimatur from the Bishop of San Diego.
That does not satisfy our friend, as he comes back with his church's interpretation of those same verses, and is committed to believing what he has learned, as we are committed to what we have learned.
But, I realise that I do not have to convince him of the veracity of the Real Presence. I only have to know in my heart that it is so. So, I responded to some of the commentary with a personal revelation of this, a personal revelation that is not binding on any other person on the planet:
My faith in Jesus Christ as My Saviour and Lord is a heart felt belief, and His word is written on my heart, far better than I can absorb from the printed page. He has presented Himself to me in many ways over the years. There have been times that I have known He was present, that would be the tiniest part of the whole, and far too many when I did not.I believe it because I have seen it. Happier still those who have not seen yet have believed.
But, He has appeared to me through miracles that have occurred in my life, including a miraculous healing from debilitating arthritis about 20 years ago.
But, one of the most amazing signs that I ever saw was a miraculous vision around the Eucharist and its consecration many years ago.
For a number of years, one of our diocesan priests was a close personal friend. He was the Director of Youth Ministry in its formative stages in our diocese, and lived within our parish boundary, not too far from my own home. He accompanied us on family vacations, and we enjoyed his fellowship. He said the mass with reverence for the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
On one particular Sunday, he was saying mass in our then parish (since closed - sad to say) of St. Joseph's. Behind him on the wall as he said mass, was a beautiful crucifix modeled after the very realistic one that Pope John Paul II used himself.
I had been contemplating whether I really thought that Christ was present in the Eucharist. I believed it in my head, but it had not yet taken up residence in my heart.
From where I was sitting in a particular pew, when he raised the Eucharist in the consecration, I had a most unusual vision. I saw the bread being consecrated dissolve into the corpus of Christ that was on the cross immediately behind him. I later asked if anyone else saw what I saw, and no one had, but from that moment on, my belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist moved from my head to my heart.
For me it is a matter of the heart, the same place in me where He resides, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
There is nothing more that I can add.
Additionally, the Catholic Church does rely on tradition for guidance as to its beliefs, even though we can listen to our hearts.
When I have discussed scripture with Catholic priests of my acquaintance, they have been unanimous in describing the need to put sections of scripture into their proper context, where they were in society of the time, as well as from that what they might mean to us today, and further what verses and sections mean to us as an individual under the guidance of our Loving Creator at any particular time in our journey of faith.
That context is really important. It is one thing for me in 2010 to read a section of scripture, and put my spin on it. But, what did it mean to the people of Christ's time and those after Him who wrote the scriptures of the New Testament.
That is very telling.
What did the early Christians believe about this so called Real Presence of Christ in Eucharist? Well, as I discovered at one particularly good site here was that until 500 AD, the writer could find no dissension from any credible source that the Eucharist was the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. The writer's research is pretty extensive and I urge you to read it if you have personal doubts.
And finally, coming closer to home is there any other evidence of Christ actually being in the elements that are consecrated in the Mass?
Well, I have been aware for many years that there are approved miracles of the Eucharist that prove to the Church in physical form that He is there. They are actually able to be found from the same site I referenced above at this page.
It makes for interesting reading, particularly if you suspend any personal thoughts and let the information be absorbed into your heart. I invite you to follow the links above and decide for yourself what you believe.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for all those who read this blog posting and its links.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, fill us all with Your Blood.