What’s it like to watch a man die by crucifixion? Find out. Join me at a place called Golgotha in 33 A.D. More…
A critical reader challenged me: “What exactly did Jesus say about defining marriage as being between a man and a woman?” This is a test question. Most people know that Jesus didn’t specifically address the subject of same-sex marriage … More…
By Tom Quiner
I took the Bread and then I took the Cup.
This happened at Mass this morning. What happened? I encountered Christ.
The Catholic Catechism explains:
“The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation.”
Eucharist is sacred. It is beautiful. It is the focal point of the Catholic Mass. Christ is present in the communion, not as a symbol, but in reality, although shielded from our senses.
I was thinking about this and asked some of my Catholic friends this question:
“When we take communion, Christ is present, but shielded from our senses. Is He shielded from our soul? In other words, is our soul conscious of His Real Presence?”
I received some interesting responses.
“I would back the bus up a little bit to say, is Christ’s presence really shielded from our senses? If we truly believe…then I think our senses coincide with that belief. It takes a true belief and being conscience in the moment to truly make something of the miracle of the True Presence.”
There’s no doubt some people have profound experiences at communion that surpass the realm of the senses.
Lee weighed in:
“Assuming Jesus was hidden/shielded from both body and soul, there would be no element left. What value would that be?
If we consider the spiritual plane as another frequency that we cannot perceive very well in this life, the essence of the Eucharist would be shining brightly as perceived by our soul/spirit. However the body is connected to soul, which is why the recipient may have a physical response when receiving the Eucharist.
I often find myself relating to audio and video…. so if you’ve seen the Matrix trilogy, picture Neo in Revolutions (3rd film) when his physical eyes are damaged: a new power manifests itself where he can then see enemies as silhouettes of golden light. When I look at the Eucharist, I (try to) picture it as shining with a golden light.”
Carol had this to say:
“Tom, this is only my opinion but I believe our souls are very much aware or conscious of Christ’s True Presence. I would like to hear what Catholic Answers would say about that. Great question.”
Carol’s view mirrors the view presented in a mini-musical I wrote a few years ago called, “The Day I Lived Forever?” You can watch a scene above as two wounded souls ask the question, “Jesus, are you really here’?” immediately prior to taking communion.
A priest, Fr. Chris, offered an explanation which included the Old Testament in his thinking:
“It should be, the ancient Jews would see the body and soul as integrated. All parts of us should be aware of His Real Presence-body, blood, soul, and divinity.”
My friend, Bob, who has been a Catholic for a long time had some deep insights into the question:
“What a deep question that provokes interesting avenues of exploration. It seems undoubtable that the human mind with its consciousness, the thought process, must share and continue on with the human soul. After death the mind’s memory must be retained by the soul, for how else could there possibly be a continum or relationship between the two?
According to Webster, the soul is the animating, vital principle in the human being, credited with the faculties of thought and emotion, separable from the body after death. The precise question of whether the soul experiences something that the conscious mind cannot, seems plausible to me. There is the dichotomy of senses separating the conscious mind from the soul.
The soul perceives elements that are beyond the awareness of the word symbols used by the mind, but felt by the latter nevertheless. These things are felt, shared and perceived to some degree but are blocked out from one’s consciousness and left to the intellect as a belief.
Well Tom, that is about all I can muster. Sages throughout the ages have pondered this phenomenon and have elecited numberous theories, frequently countering one another. Very interesting subect matter without a final answer.”
A Catholic scholar, Dr. Tom, went even deeper:
“In the holy Sacrament Christ is concealed and revealed to our senses under the form of signs — His glorified Body is hidden, but His nature as life-giving Food and Drink is manifest to our senses; His humility is manifest in the Food and Drink; His faithfulness in being present always is manifest in the Food and Drink; and so on. The same is true of our spirit’s capacity to perceive His presence in the holy Sacrament. In our spirit as we receive Him we can, if we are well disposed and He so wills, experience a conscious awareness of His intimate presence, his consoling light and power and love and mercy and truth. But more so, we are able to be aware of His coming by the effects of the holy Sacrament in our life, i.e. inasmuch as we see an increase in the natural and theological virtues in our life. God manifests Himself primarily in His effects — and the supreme effect of God is charity, love for God, neighbor, and especially of enemy.”
These are great insights.
My friend, Lisa, drove it home with a very direct reaction:
“Absolutely. Our senses are limited to our bodies but our souls are eternal. It is not our ears or eyes or nose that craves to know Jesus but our soul. It is our knowledge of His presence in the Eucharist at the level of our soul that leads us to believe when we cannot see, in other words, to have faith.”
Thanks to everyone who took the time to make the point that, yes, Jesus is really here.
Last night was big. It was my 31st anniversary of becoming a parent. And it was another anniversary. I attended the beautiful Easter Vigil Mass at my church. It was the 31st anniversary of my entrance into the Catholic Church, an act whose significance grows each day. My baby boy and I both came into the Church that evening in 1981. Thirty-one is a fitting number. After all, I attend a church called Holy Trinity, named in honor of our God in three forms, who nevertheless is one God. The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. The sweep of the Catholic Easter Vigil is awe-inspiring. It is epic … More…
By Tom Quiner
Lee Strobel was an atheist who came to believe in Jesus after spending two years trying to disprove His divinity.
Be sure to watch the video from my previous post where Mr. Strobel, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, talks about his surprising findings about Christ.
C.S. Lewis was another atheist who did not want to believe in Jesus.
His friend, J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, presented compelling arguments in defense of Christ that began to persuade Mr. Lewis to reconsider his atheism. Mr. Lewis was further persuaded to believe in God, and eventually Jesus, after reading “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton.
Lewis’ conversion was a reluctant one:
You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.
Mr. Lewis was transformed from an atheist into a theist and eventually into the most persuasive Christian apologist of the 20th century.
C.S. Lewis famously framed the debate on Jesus this way: either he was lord, liar, or a lunatic. There’s no middle ground. He spent the rest of his life making the case for Christ. It is a compelling case.
I put up a video in my previous post by comedienne Janeane Garafalo who dismissed Christianity as a myth. I have listened to a little of Ms. Garafalo on TV. I’ve read some C.S. Lewis. Mr. Lewis comes across as the more intelligent of the two. (Nothing against Ms. Garafalo, C.S. Lewis is smarter than most people I know!) In fact, he was in agreement with Ms. Garafolo until he began to truly study and think … and eventually pray … about this Man who walked the earth two-thousand years named Jesus.
So why does a former atheist and crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune now believe Jesus and His claims are real? Because of the evidence.
Why did an atheistic Oxford literary academic change his mind and become one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century? Because of the evidence.
There are two exciting paths to Jesus: reason and revelation. Stubborn men like Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis were lead to Christ through the path of reason. The upside of the journey is off the charts!