Eucharist-symbol or reality

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Eucharist-symbol or reality

Post by Eli »

Dear All,

After some my comments on apostolic succession i would like to add some new thoughts about Eucharist. Recently i had a conversation with one friend-Catholic priest and i asked his opinion about the Eucharist. I told him that i have a problem and try my best to believe that when i make the Eucharist it is really His real body and flesh. His answer and following reflectings gave me a revelation with which i live today. This revelation is linked to Passover. Let us think why God gave a commendment for people of Israel to remember Exodus and to eat the lam on Passover! It is obvios that he wanted them to "experiance again" each year the entire Exodus events starting with the God's rath on Egypt, the Angle of death and the blood of lam, the hurry in getting out in the night, the opening of the Sea etc....The most important fact is that he wanted them to be THERE again for ALL generations and to experiance the FREEDOM from Egypt through the Blood of Lam and the miracles and demonstration of God's power. Now the interesting question is whether once they were eating the lam each year- was it a reality or a symbol of what happened hundreds of years ago. Where is the dividing line between the reality and symbol? It was both the symbol but under this symbol God was giving them the full reality of what has happened hundreds of years ago

SO i believe this is a mystery of Eucharist. Today for some reason some my brothers from Catholic chuch insist that if i dont believe that this is a REAL presence of Chrise in this Eucharist then my faith is not correct. However i believe that in Eucharist we have both reality and symbol. What we take is the piece of Matza and Wine however after the prayer and blessing what we eat is the Messiah and all what he did to us. We receive Him in his death and resurrection! We receive what was the whole Salavation of Israel-freedom from Egypt ( death of Messiah) and crossing the sea ( resurrection of Messiah)

There is no way we could im this Earth understand where is the line between the symbol and reality. I would say this way - it is not about the Scholastic perception. No way. It is about mystery and it mystery you are not able to differentiate between symbol and reality

Therefore all claims about how to understand and perceive Eucharist are obsolete. It is nonsense to say that if some christians view it only as symbol so they have a dilusion and they dont really receive the life of Messiah through bread and blood. All those childeren of God who approach the Eucharist with faith in hearts they experiance what i have said. Most of them most of time dont sense it with our 5 organs of sensors however this fact doesnt diminish the blessings they receive


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Re: Eucharist-symbol or reality

Post by Ariel »

shalom Eli,

Hag pesach sameach and happy Easter!

To better understand the Eucharist, it is important to seek not only a priest's "opinion" but better to ask him what the Church authoritatively teaches about the sacrament. Likewise, a good priest's answer should explain the Church's faith as well as possible, but not replace it. Otherwise he is not doing his job.

As for the question: symbol or reality? The Church almost never uses the term "symbol" to refer to the Eucharist because such a term reduces its essence. Yes, it is a memorial and commemoration of the great events of salvation history, yet not just a symbol that represents something these events, but rather a sign and sacrament that really and truly effects what it signifies and makes them present.

Your thoughts about the nature of "mystery" are also problematic. It is true that we can never understand a mystery completely, that there is something greater than our understanding that we will never grasp, yet this does not mean that we have to be totally agnostic about it. We can understand mystery, not fully but partially. We don't believe that God wanted to leave us in total confusion regarding His deepest mystery.

And so the Catechism teaches:

1374 The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."

As for really and truly receiving the Messiah under the species of bread and wine, it is true that if a believer doesn't believe in it, his/her faith is lacking, but what effects the transformation into the Body and Blood of the Lord is not the faith of the recipient, but rather whether the bread and wine have been validly consecrated in the Holy Mass by a validly ordained priest whose ordination goes back to the apostles through the bond of apostolic succession. Without a true priest the bread and wine remain bread and wine, and do not become the Eucharist, though for sure believers lacking a priesthood can celebrate the Lord's Supper and get some spiritual benefits from it due to the element of remembrance.

I realize this is different from what you believe, but this is the faith of the Church, and the faith that is witnessed in the earliest Christian writings.

with blessings,

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Re: Eucharist-symbol or reality

Post by Glory71 »


Can't help but to jump in into this discussion.

In addition to what Ariel wrote...the Church almost never uses the term "symbol". In fact St. Augustine in the 4th century defined the term sacrament as "a sign of sacred reality" and as "a visible word" (communication from God). They are not designated as symbols or rituals in which believers participates in order to become and remain part of the life of Christ.

Also Ariel posted Catechism 1374. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is The Sacred Magisterium in action. God knows we need a shepard to constantly guide us. He never left us with just the Bible. If not for the Sacred Magisterium, truths about contraception, abortion, The Trinity, etc would be so far off from God by now. The faithful accepts the Catechism as an irrefutable infallible truth which comes from God. It is impossible for us to deny this. We accept it as full truth.

We should be careful when we use the word "symbol". A symbol is not poor substitute for something which is absent. A symbol discloses and manifests what is PRESENT (using layman's term - the symbol 'X' marks the spot where the treasure is hidden like in treasure hunting). A symbol reveals that which is hidden, concealed. A symbol allows us to see beneath the surface, beyond the horizon. A symbol is active, it evokes and--like a familiar smell that calls forth memories--touches an entire spectrum of consciousness beyond/beneath the merely rational.

Christ Himself said (Luke 22: 19-20) 19 Then he took the bread, said the blessings, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "this is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me." 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." This for me is enough. No need to understand and play with more questions. It is faith not reason that works for me here. Christ said it, i believe it.

Lastly, when Christ said " this in memory of me" - the events remembered and continued were the life, death, and resurrection of the our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Eucharist, then, is the center of the Christian life because it contains in one package all the mysteries Jesus Christ Himself revealed - His Father, Himself, The Holy Spirit, cross and resurrection, salvation, and grace. God invites us to love by giving Himself to us, and we respond by giving ourselves to Him in the loving service of others.

God be with you always.

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Re: Eucharist-symbol or reality

Post by Athol »

At my parish they introduced the congregation to the first holy communion celebration by referring to the bread and wine as symbols of the body and blood, I felt very uncomfortable with such an expression. Eventhough they meant that the unconsecrated elements of bread and wine were symbols it is easy to lead people into believing the consecrated elements are just symbols too.
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