The Eucharist, the reason I left protestant Christianity for the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church."

Ryan Listerman

The Eucharist is three parts of one mystery; first, the real presence, Christ continuing existence on earth today, second, the sacrifice it is Christ in his enduring grace merited by his sacrifice. Third, the Eucharist is a communion; Christ is coming to enlighten and strengthen the believer by nourishing his soul for eternal life.

Transubstantiation is defined as "the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at the consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine remaining." Is Transubstantiation consistent with logic? How can Christ be present in an object whose matter is unchanged after Transubstantiation? St. Thomas Aquinas claims "the dimensive quantity of the bread remains after the consecration, while only the substance of the bread passes away. The dimensive quantity of the bread and wine retains its true nature. Still, it miraculously receives the power and property of substance" an example, a Tree is a dimensive object. We see it, and we can reach out to touch it. As portrayed in poetic language, the oxygen the tree produces that allows us to breathe changes its substance to a life-giver. Jesus, if he were medically examined, would have processed all the same physical properties as you or I. Still, God transubstantiated flesh into Christ just as He Transubstantiated bread and wine into Christ.

Inerrant scripture supports the Eucharist "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me" John 6:54-57

Despite the clarity of scripture, one could easily find a Christian who could dismiss it by searching for their own meaning in other scriptures; the scripture may be inerrant; still, we aren't. one way we can combat the confusion created in the reformation and trust we are correct in understanding the Eucharist is to look to the teachings of the early church fathers, their writings may not be inerrant. Still, they will help us understand the context of what Jesus taught. St. Ignatius of Antioch in AD 110 wrote, "Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in His goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes." If one were to study church history carefully, one would find that not one prominent member of Christianity didn't believe Christ was present in the Eucharist until after the Christian reformation; this is not an attempt to make a fallacious argument from authority but to provide context for how long unified Christian teaching taught that Jesus is present in the Eucharist.

I was initially drawn to the Catholic Church because of the unbroken line of apostolic succession, and from reading the Old Testament, its clear succession is significant to God, as the lineage is unbroken from Adam to Abraham from Abraham to David from David to Jesus. In my desire to return to the Church, I was still ignorant of Transubstantiation, viewing the Eucharist as necessary just as any other traditional ceremony. It's difficult to explain the personal experience one has consumed the Eucharist miracle. Still, just as Transubstantiation alters the bread dimensionally and replaces it with substantively with Christ, the Eucharist has changed me; I'm not the same person I was; I may still be Ryan Listerman six foot three, brown hair, blue eyes, and son of Daniel Listerman, I am not the same person that selfishly pursued fleeting physical pleasures often at the expense of the spiritual and emotional health of those in my life. Now I'm willing to make physical and material sacrifices to enrich the emotional and spiritual well-being of those brought into my life. I will stumble at points causing unintended harm, just as I may have slipped up and caused unintended good in my past. Through the sacraments like the Eucharist, Christ strengthens me to lift myself quickly and do as little harm as possible when I fall.

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