Skip to comments.Finding My Way Home: The Eucharist drew me back [Johnnie Bernhard]
Posted on 07/12/2014 5:58:41 PM PDT by Salvation
I was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant. My family later left the Church, and it took me fifty years to find my way home. Through all those years, I never forgot the peace I found in the Eucharist.
Even as a practicing Protestant most of my adult life, I continued to search out Catholic churches wherever I lived, hiding in a pew in the back of the church, always a spectator, always longing to recapture the peace I found in the Eucharist.
I could never really put into words why I continued to seek the Eucharist. I was too afraid, unsure of my reasons for being there. It took me almost a lifetime to understand those reasons, with the only true explanation being that the Holy Spirit worked through many people to lead me home.
My Protestant family initially thought that my return to the Catholic Church was due to a mid-life crisis. But for me, it was part of a spiritual journey, a tremendous shedding of my ego and my fear of living as God’s child. At one point, I clearly remember thinking, It doesn’t matter what people say. This is between God and me.
My husband of thirty years, a Methodist since birth, never once questioned me, but simply walked hand and hand with me to Mass. Quiet and unassuming was his love for me. That support and love served as a daily reminder of Christ’s commandment for us, “Love one another, as I love you (John 15:12).”
My brother, a man of deep faith, did question my return to the Catholic Church. He and I were raised in a Bible-centered home. Our mother was a humble woman of tremendous faith who served the Baptist Church in our community until the day she died.
And so, my brother wondered. Was I was returning to the Catholic Church because people were nice to me there? Was it because it was so close to my house? I uttered one word to him—peace. That ended his confusion, because as a Christian, he understood the peace found in Christ. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).”
My brother attended my Confirmation. He gave me a rosary as a gift. He was happy for me, as were my husband and adult children. This journey led me to live Christ’s love with new friendships, restored relationships, and countless blessings.
Perhaps the greatest blessing was the marriage of my daughter, also a recent convert.
On a beautiful September morning in an ancient Catholic Church in Ireland, my daughter was married to a kind, faith-filled man. To participate in the nuptial Mass by carrying the Eucharistic gifts, the body and blood of Christ, was a tremendous honor for me.
God’s grace continues to abound in my life through the extraordinary friendships I have made in RCIA and Cursillo. I can’t remember how these friendships were initiated, but it doesn’t matter. I recall, though, how the parish priest began coming to our home unannounced for tea. After several months I realized that he asked for nothing; he had no hidden agenda. He was offering me his friendship through the love of Christ. It is very natural for me to call him Father, as it is for my family who welcomes him once a week in our home. He continues to support our daily lives with prayers, Scripture, and friendship.
I am not a perfect Christian. I falter many days, and I struggle with the tremendous burden of being all too human in an imperfect world, but I know that each week, I am called to receive God’s gifts in the Eucharist. The gift of the Eucharist, as well as his gifts of forgiveness and peace, is for all of us. They are a balm to my soul. I have found my way home.
**Perhaps the greatest blessing was the marriage of my daughter, also a recent convert.**
Awesome! Welcome Home Johnnie!
I know several Baptists who have a special closeness to Christ. The Eucharist though is so intimate!
In before the “why do you worship a cracker?” crowd.
God bless you, Salvation. I always enjoy your posts.
The Eucharist is the center and substance of all that Christ taught and his apostles followed. Deny the real Presence of the Christ in the Eucharist, and all faith in anything and everything else is theater. This goes for the followers of Jeremiah Wright or any other.
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Dude, relax- I’m on your side. I’ve been a eucharistic minister since I was 16. I was just trying to point out the tendency of some of these threads to get “hijacked” by those with an anti- Catholic animus.
Many people return to the Church because they miss the Eucharist. I know of some stories.
I’ve heard it explained that the Eucharist Host is the body and blood of Christ, bothtogether. Not sure why. Sure makes a confusing mess of things.
Every Catholic Mass I’ve been to for several decades has offered the Eucharist as both bread and wine.
To the laity?
The bread and wine are symbolic of His flesh and blood. There isn't any biblical support for any other interpretation.
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.
25In 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.
26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.
27So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
Of course. I knew that. Just a re-affirmation.
This is crazy fundamentalism. Not only is there Biblical support for this belief, then was the tradition of the early Church. Reaffirmed by the early Church fathers, and the saints and martyrs.
Again and Again Jesus confirmed this view.
Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (John 6:5152).
His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literallyand correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:5356).
Christ made No effort to correct any misunderstanding or doubt about this,
Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct “misunderstandings,” for there were none. Our Lords listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?
On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:512). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.
In John 6:60 we read: “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:1214).
But he knew some did not believe. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) “After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66).
This is the only record we have of any of Christs followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didnt he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.
But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have “to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supperand it was a promise that could not be more explicit. This is why there is Catholicism and 35,000 errant brands of Christianity from Jim Jones to David Koresh and Billy Graham to Rev. Wright. Of course with varying degrees of error.
**The bread and wine are symbolic **
Sorry, but it seems you do not understand transubstantiation.
trans — transfer
substantiation — substance
The substance of bread and wine are changed into the substances of Christ’s Body and Blood, by Christ’s words, repeated by the priest.....one of the ordination movements is the Bishop blessing their hands to do this.
Why don’t you believe the words of Christ? “This is my Body.” “This is my Blood.”?
Are you then, an unbeliever of Christ?
there is wine at my Catholic Church
"If any one saith that the precept of God or by necessity of salvation all and each of the faithful of Christ ought to receive both species of the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)
so because they have both the Church is anathema? They didn’t say there had to be both, there just is
The same with the Blood of Christ — some people who are allergic to wheat will partake of the wine only, for it also contains the Body of Christ.
“Christ daily comes to us in humble form; daily he comes down from the bosom of the father upon the altar in the hands of the priest.” -St. Francis of Assisi
I hope everybody worships the omnipresent Lord who is there in the “cracker” — and in wherever else they go too.
I am glad for the people for whom the communion ceremony forms a particularly deep anchor point in their faith. Their faith can’t stop there, however. Their faith should continue wherever they happen to be. I once kidded a Catholic who told me that Christ was on their church altar that this might be the difficulty — that Christ needs to be out walking on the streets too.
Thank you then and God bless you for re affirming my faith and believing in the eucharist.
In Christo, Pax
Daily Mass, the only way to start the day. I do it...thanks to my Saudi boss, Mohammad Hussein, who told me that God was number one and there was always time for God.
So, since he thought it was good, I began my habit of DAILY MASS in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia.
The priest, minister and once-a-month-vicar are NOT men of the cloth because THOSE folks are forbidden. SO, the Saudis call them "special teachers." Worked for me.
God works in mysterious ways!
I still say you’re claiming too much of a symbol — the Passover seder is well documented back to gospel days and most definitely is a dinner of symbols — nonetheless some people still find closeness to the Lord in the ceremony and I’m glad that you do. The proof of having encountered the Lord is that it will last.
One of the early prayers that is somewhat lost to the chuch is “St. Patricks breastplate” , which aptly sums up your belief in Christ in all parts of our lives, not just the eucharist. I can’t post it here, as I’m on a moblie device. But i suggest you look it up, I think you’d like it.
It is not a cracker. It is called a host.
The St. Patrick motto is popular among evangelical/Protestant Christians as well as Roman Catholic Christians.
Disputes about what the Roman Catholic host actually is, won’t get solved overnight. My observation of the situation is: The Lord is not proud, He considers His own sacrifice for sin to be quite adequate, and He uses even occasions of people’s confusion to introduce Himself. God knows quite well that He won’t get perfect worship from a person until that person has been completely purified. Differences over the theology of the communion ceremony (let alone other things) are often a sore point between segments of Christendom, ending up with testy attitudes and mutual condemnations. The views involved are often sadly as though the unforgivable sin got hybridized with rabbits and is now multiplying all over.
I am of what is, perhaps, a small group of Christians who can envision the reuniting of Christendom even on earth, however I cannot say I know what all the details will be like.
You claim there is no support for the Real Presence, and then post scripture in which Christ says "This is MY BODY."
And anyway, I thought to Protestants The Holy Spirit guides personal, private interpretation of scripture, no authority needed. So via the Protestant mindset, there is support for whatever interpretation I or anybody else decides there is.
Thomas Aquinas puts it this way, a living body has both blood and particles of flesh in the blood, and blood in the flesh, so if you receive one you receive both. He also makes the argument that drinking from a common cup has a certain repugnance to it that should not be associated with Holy Communion, as well as the fact that it can be spilled.
25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here?
26Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.
28Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires?
29Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
There is nothing else we can to for salvation but to believe in the One He has sent! This is the first time Jesus tells them how to have salvation.
30So they asked him, What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.c
Remember signs are for an unbelieving generation.
32Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Now who is the true bread Jesus is speaking of? The Jews are thinking its actual physical bread, but its not. Who gives life to the world? This is the second time Jesus is telling them how to have salvation, but they havent got it yet.
34Sir, they said, always give us this bread.
35Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus has reiterated that He is indeed the bread that has come down from Heaven as He noted in v32-33.
Third time Hes told them how to have salvation. Come to Christ have faith in Him.
36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Fathers will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
Fourth time Jesus has told them how to have salvation.
Believe in Him and have eternal life. Sounds a lot like John 3:16.
Verse 39 is also a great promise from Jesus that if we have faith in Him He will not lose any given to Him. Our salvation is secure through Christ.
Do you get hungry or thirsty? Jesus said whoever comes to Him will never go hungry or be thirsty. This cant be what Hes talking about because we know His disciples ate and drank. He had just finished feeding 5,000 people a few verses earlier?
So I think we have to agree its not physical hunger or thirst Hes referring to here. Its spiritual hunger. Jesus is using a metaphor of bread to illustrate that if we place our faith and trust in Him we will never be spiritually hungry.
41At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, I am the bread that came down from heaven. 42They said, Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, I came down from heaven?
Jesus has now made it clear He is the bread. In the Greek, I am it is written as εγω ειμι. When the personal pronoun is used with the verb it is making an emphatic statement where Jesus is really emphasizing that HE IS, the bread that came down from Heaven. There can be no question as to who He is referring to in this usage.
43Stop grumbling among yourselves, Jesus answered. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God.d Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
v47 .Fifth time Jesus has told them how to have salvation. The one who believes has eternal life.
Jesus has just explained Who He is and how one can live eternally. That is noted in verse 47. One has to believe in Him. Nothing else can save you except faith in Christ. He also makes it clear that their ancestors ate actual food and died. They died two ways spiritually and physically because some did not believe.
If we eat the bread of life, that is have faith in Christ, we will not die. He is clearly illustrating that physical bread will not save you, but the spiritual bread He offers will .through faith in Him. Nothing else.
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
The English translation of real in v57 doesnt capture the meaning of the Greek. Strongs Concordance notes the definition to be: unconcealed, true, true in fact, worthy of credit, truthful.
Word Helps notes the following: stresses undeniable reality when something is fully tested, i.e. it will ultimately be shown to be fact (authentic).]
The faith we have in Jesus will be shown to be true at the resurrection. He has told the audience, and us, five times very clearly how to have salvation believe in Him. When He says something this many times and this clearly, I think we should all take note.
60Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?
What is the difficult statement? v53-58. Some of the disciples still dont get it. Jesus is the way to salvation. He is the bread of life.
61But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, Does this cause you to stumble? 62What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
Jesus now directly confronts the disciples by telling them some dont believe. We know He is capable of this from other encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees. Keep in mind He has just told everyone listening five separate times how to have eternal life. Faith in Him. He has told them He is the bread of life and He has come down from Heaven.
64But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65And He was saying, For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.
66As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.
Now we know why many walked away. He confronted them with their unbelief.
The rich young ruler did the same thing. He wouldnt place his faith in Jesus and the Bible records the rich young ruler walked away. How many other people have done the same thing when confronted about their unbelief in Him?
Thats what this passage is really about.
Do you believe in Jesus for your salvation as Jesus noted five separate times in this encounter?
Do you believe He is the bread of life from Heaven?
Do you believe He is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him?
My prayer is that anyone reading this answers the call Jesus offers: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son...that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life.
67So Jesus said to the twelve, You do not want to go away also, do you? 68Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God. 70Jesus answered them, Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil? 71Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.
Gonna be kinda hard to do that seeing how His fleshly earthly body is no longer with us.
The bread and wine are symbolic.
If you believe we are to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood, then you must believe He is a literal vine and we are literal branches.
Do you believe He is a literal door as well?
Of course not...these are all symbols used by Jesus to illustrate a point. These are things we can all identify with. Remember, He was also an excellent Teacher as well. Posting HTML
Uh, no. If He has to come down daily upon the altar He is being sacrificed again and again and again, etc.
He has already made the sacrifice. He doesn't do it again and again....all due respect to Francis of Assisi.
No, I don't claim it...the Word does.
You claim there is no support for the Real Presence, and then post scripture in which Christ says "This is MY BODY." And anyway, I thought to Protestants The Holy Spirit guides personal, private interpretation of scripture, no authority needed. So via the Protestant mindset, there is support for whatever interpretation I or anybody else decides there is.
Guess you and salvation and all catholics believe He is also a vine and a door as well??
As I said before...it's symbolic...as are the metaphors of the door and the vine.
We Catholics do know what it will (almost said “would”) be like.
” Context is always the key in proper Biblical understanding.”
I beg to differ. The key is the Holy Spirit, who Christ promised to His Church, to guide them in their understanding.
He did not tell them to get it from a book, and he did not tell them that “understanding” would be a spiritual free-for-all. One Holy Spirit, One Church, One Truth.
So, what the Church teaches comes directly from God, not from some self-appointed Biblical “teacher”.
And the Church teaches that the Host is the real Body and Blood of Christ, not a symbol.
This cut and paste stuff does not help. Go consult the traditions of the early Church fathers and the great theologians from Augustine to Aquinas to Benedict and also the great Lutheran theologians from Richard Nehaus to Anglicans like Henry Newman (after whom university theological clubs have been set) who converted to Catholicism and found the errors in this interpretation. This is the stuff that has repeatedly been discussed and effectively rebuffed for over 2000 years. The context is clear to the point that those who remained with Him like Peter, James, and John all understood what He meant. The books in the Bible did not fall from the skies. They were authoritatively selected by the early Church Fathers who found that these books ratified the received oral traditions on the nature of the Eucharist that was handed down for the sixty years before the books were ever written.
Of course, you should post as the Lord leads you. I would never think to tell you not to and some response should be given lest they imagine Free Republic is all "theirs". It's just that we should be wary of threads like this especially on a slow Saturday night - as they are intentionally provocative, hoping to reignite counter responses and arguments. It is NOT done to simply encourage each other - they have their Caucus for that.
“In this little Host is the solution to all of the worlds problems.”
Saint John Paul II
That is proof that Jesus was drawing an analogy ... exactly like his "I am the door, I am the good shepherd, I am the vine ... "
WELCOME HOME and WELCOME BACK as well Johnnie! God Bless!
In my parish church, I recieve both the body and precious blood of Jesus.
How can someone be "guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord" if it's only a symbol?
BTW, what was Jesus doing running around implementing more *symbols* anyway? The Old Covenant was full of *symbols*; the New Covenant was promised to be better.
Finally, please note that God was especially present in the Temple in Jerusalem, according to Jewish belief. Are you telling me that Jesus took away the Temple, and replaced it with a mere symbol?
You ought to expect better from God. He loves you more than that.
Says who? You? That is not in fact what we believe; we believe his one sacrifice, which is continually being offered in the Holy of Holies in heaven (Hebrews 9), is made present to us in time and on earth.
BTW, repeating "it's symbolic" over and over again is not an argument.
Do you realize that no Christian denomination that can trace its history to the first millennium believes that communion is merely a symbol?
When He said "I am the door/.../I am the vine, you are the branches..." etc, he was clearly speaking metaphorically as the structure of the text is completely different. He didn't indicate a door or a vine and say "this actual, physical object is MY BODY." Furthermore, in the case of John 10:6, the text of scripture states "He used this figure of speech..." Clearly, this was a parable.
He stated on multiple occasions on the other hand, that you must eat the Flesh and drink the Blood to be saved, and many walked away because of it. And at the last supper He took physical objects into His hands and stated that these things have become His Flesh and Blood. Consider the context as well. He was not preaching, He was partaking of the Last Supper with his disciples. On the night He was betrayed, do you suppose He would tell another parable, or do think His words at such a time would hold much, much greater significance, as the context and structure of the scripture suggest?