Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Lord's Supper

If you have read this blog for a while (all 3 of you) then you know that I have intermittently have had a dialogue about my choice to become Catholic with a good friend of mine that is a Baptist preacher in California. He has had his concerns and I appreciate the fact that he is worried about my soul. I know, however, that I am in the right place and it is not a decision I entered into lightly at all. I believe in all the things the Church teaches and grown so much as I have taken this journey.

Last night when I got home I checked all the blogs I usually read and found that my Baptist friend had moved his to a new location. I checked it out and found his link for his sermons that can be listened to online. He had a sermon that was titled "Proper Etiquette at the Lord's Table" that I thought sounded interesting. So I listened to it. All 44 minutes. It brought back a lot of memories of sitting in his church when he lived here. He has the same voice and same style. I think it's interesting that a Baptist congregation is participating in a semblance of the Lord's Supper, but am dismayed by the fact that it is greatly misinterpreted. He made a little bit of dig in his sermon regarding what he thinks the Catholic view of communion is. I truly wish that people who chastize the Church because of our beliefs would at least learn what we really believe rather than depend on misinformation that comes from non-Catholic sources. If you want to really know and understand, then ask a Catholic.

He claimed that Catholics believe that the Lords Supper is an act of re-crucifying Christ and that it confers salvation. So I would like to set the record straight as to what the Eucharist is.

First of all it is a sacrament. Sacraments are not merely symbols as many protestants may believe. By definition they "are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification." That means it is really something that is given by God especially the Eucharist because it IS Christ Himself. Grace is conferred by the sacraments. Grace is what helps us to act and live like Christians. So, yes, he is right in that it plays a part in our salvation. But it's not the only thing that saves us. It is just something that helps us on our path to salvation.
  • Just as food and drink delight and refresh the heart of man, so does this "Heavenly Bread containing within itself all sweetness" produce in the soul of the devout communicant ineffable bliss, which, however, is not to be confounded with an emotional joy of the soul or with sensible sweetness. Although both may occur as the result of a special grace, its true nature is manifested in a certain cheerful and willing fervor in all that regards Christ and His Church, and in the conscious fulfillment of the duties of one's state of life, a disposition of soul which is perfectly compatible with interior desolation and spiritual dryness. A good Communion is recognized less in the transitory sweetness of the emotions than in its lasting practical effects on the conduct of our daily lives. New Advent
The Mass is NOT re-crucifying Christ. He can only die on the cross once for us. The Mass is a re-presentation of the sacrifice that has already happened. Christ becomes present in the bread and wine... he doesn't die again. Participating by taking the Eucharist unites us with Christ and allows us to share in His saving act.

In his sermon, Bret made some good points about not participating in the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner as it is indicated in I Corinthians. If anything, most Catholics that are strong in their faith take this very seriously. One cannot receive communion if they are not in a state of grace. Having committed any mortal sins without reconciliation is a big no-no when it comes to receiving the body and blood of Christ.

Although I know protestants disagree with the concept of the real presence of Christ, I want to make the point that when Paul speaks about proper way to approach the Lord's supper in Corinthians, he was talking to people that were really the first Catholics that did believe in it and have believed it for over 2000 years.

In less than a week now I will be able to participate in my first communion. I am glad that I am in this community of faith that knows and understands the Eucharist.

1 comment:

Bimulous said...

My first (but not last) encounter with Your Blog - so now you have 4 readers!
Christians cannot be fence sitters about the Eucharist. If the bread and wine do not actually become the body and blood of Christ then adoration is idolatory.
If the bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Christ then all that is Catholicism crumbles- and I do mean all of it.
Christ's propitiation for the forgiveness of sins is the perfect sacrifice as all Christians would concur.
Calvary is a Perpetual Now.
We should only offer to God the Father the one acceptable sacrifice - and that is the perfect sacrifice- the real body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can only do this because Jesus Himself through His ministers (starting with the apostles) is sacramentally offering His body and blood to His Father in the Mass.

It really is beautiful. An extraordinary gift to us.

Trusting you will continue the journey.