Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What's This "Holy Communion" That You Speak Of?

What follows is a short exchange with "btate0121" on the meaning of Holy Communion, and then a brief rebuttal to what "BlackCalvinist" interjected in refutation of what I had been presenting. BC hasn't written back yet. I imagine he's probably tired of this debate, since he did a lot of debating with Catholics in the past. At any rate, if he responds I'll make an update.

"btate0121" will be in gray/silver. "BC" will be in brown.
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Hi guys. Please don't stone me. But I'd like some clarity on the role of Communion in the life of a modern day Christian. I understand that it's taken to remind ourselves of the sacrifice made by Jesus, but i'm confused by the SPIRITUAL benefits and in particular the ramifications for taking it out of place. I know this is a broad question, and it's designed to be that way because i'm looking for a lesson on this instead of a specific answer. so if someone could please take the time to explain the whole thing in entirety (and please don't be afraid to get deep with it either), it would be MOST appreciated. in answering, it would be helpful to include your religious influence (ie - catholic, jehovah's witness, pentacostal, evangelical, etc).
Well, my affiliation should be obvious. As for what I believe about Holy Communion, I think that in the Eucharist Jesus actually gives us his flesh to eat. Through this giving and receiving, the grace of the Cross is applied to us. This effects the forgiveness of sin and the strengthening of our entire person in the battle with the devil. Through Holy Communion, Jesus Christ truly comes to abide in us, for he said, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him." He who receives him unworthily or without discerning the Body and the Blood eats and drinks condemnation upon himself, as St. Paul tells us.
For the sake of clarity, you're saying that through the Communion is how a believer recieves Christ and is empowered to withstand the temptations of the flesh and the devil. It's through communion then that we are saved from sin?
Well, I suppose there are many ways in which a person can "receive Christ." I didn't mean to paint the Eucharist as the only one. But, I do think that the most profound reception of Jesus Christ takes place in the Eucharist. When we celebrate Holy Communion, we don't just receive the Spirit of Christ, or the grace of Christ, we receive Jesus Christ Himself, in all his fullness, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. No other sacrament or act of faith can make such a claim.

Also, it's not just through Communion that we are saved from sin. I believe, as the Catholic Church teaches, that it is first through Baptism that a person is saved from sin. The rest of the sacraments help us to maintain the path first set before us and made possible by our Baptism.
The part about eating the flesh... you don't mean LITERALLY right (of course not... right?)? that's a little creepy.
Catholics believe that after the consecration (when the Spirit comes and transforms the bread and wine), what we perceive as bread and wine is actually the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Since it doesn't look, or taste, or smell, or feel like flesh, there's really nothing that creepy about it, as far as I'm concerned.
More input is needed for me to properly discern. Guys? Anyone else with some input? Or did i stump ya? I'm tired of getting that glazed over look on my face on communion Sundays.. come on guys. can someone point me in the direction of some materials? really break that scripture down for me or something?
Here is an exegesis I wrote on John 6 and it's implications for our beliefs about Communion. It's also an apologetic, so I'm reacting to Protestant claims against the Catholic belief as well. Anyway, I hope it helps. Note that other passages, besides Jn 6, can be used to defend the Real Presence. Let me know what you think.
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After presenting the "memorial view," the "reformed view" and the "lutheran view" on the Eucharist, this is what BC says about the "Catholic view":
The last view is the Catholic view - which, for the most part agrees with Luther, but also treats the Mass as a REpresentation of the same sacrifice - so that each time the Mass is done, Christ is RE-sacrificed (though it is a BLOODLESS sacrifice).
Actually, if the Mass is a re-presentation of the same sacrifice (and I say that it is), then it would follow from this that Jesus is not "re-sacrificed" at each Mass.
Rome's view blasphemes the atonement....
What makes you say that?
....and contradicts Hebrews 10:10-13. Christ was sacrificed ONCE. No re-presentations. Proclamation, yes. Re-presentation, no.
A re-presentation of the one sacrifice does not mean that he is being sacrificed again. It is a re-presentation of the one sacrifice. In other words, in the Mass we are brought to the foot of the Cross, the Cross planted into the ground 2,000 years ago, and we benefit from the offering of Himself that Jesus Christ made then.

The same chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews that says, "he did this once for all when he offered up himself" (7:27) also said, "he always lives to make intercession for them" (7:25). He is always making intercession for his people. Not once, but always. This means that the one sacrifice, the one death on the Cross, is constantly being presented to the Father for our salvation. Jesus interceeds for us by appealing to His work on the Cross every time a soul comes before Him in need of the grace that only the Cross can give. The Mass is the re-presentation, or the presenting again to the Father, of Jesus' work on the Cross.

Pax Christi,


  1. It is a representation of the sacrifice as it is perpetualy before the Father throughout all time.

  2. Great Stuff. Was this debate in the Catholic Answers Forum?

  3. no, it was over at the holy culture radio forum


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