Real Presence?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Tuxedo America, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    "For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself." (1 Cor 11:29)

    This seems to me to reinforce the belief in a real presence; the Eucharist is more than simply a memorial meal.
     
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  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Interesting critique. I disagree, because we should not, as the Articles say, "so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another." Did not Our Lord say of the bread "this is my body" and of the cup of wine, "this is my blood"? Did He not also say "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you"? Did not St. Paul say of the bread and wine "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" Did he not also say "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."

    You are right in saying that Our Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father and He is constantly interceding on our behalf before the Father. But we also have Our Lord's promise: "lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

    From this plain reading of the scripture it is clear to me that Christ's promised Presence in the Lord's Supper is always united to the host. Moreover, while he is present in Heaven, we are told he is with us here as well. While I don't pretend to understand how it is possible for him to be in 2 places at once, I am thankful that don't have to. I am only required to trust in it, based on Him who revealed and not my own understanding.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
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  3. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

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    Christ is clearly in many places at once because he is God. He lives in every secret place. Isa 66:1 - "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" He does not have an earthly body, except for the church. 1 Cor 12:27 "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

    Did Jesus really mean when he said "this is my body" (when he was in the body) that the bread that "HE" was distributing contained his "still alive" body? Then he would have to have had two bodies, one in the bread and the one he was living in.

    You yourself have pointed out the bread, but which he obviously means, the whole ceremony of breaking it and eating (not just the elements) is the "communion of the body of Christ" where the "body of Christ" is the church per 1 Cor 12:27.

    When he said "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you," he did not mean the Jews were to eat his flesh, but to believe on him and his words. His language was figurative, conveying a spiritual truth. Thus with "this is my body." It is figurative languange conveying a spiritual truth, which is to say that by doing it in rememberance, we proclaim ourselves to be part of his body and proclaim his atonement till he comes.
     
  4. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    I once put it in a sermon that through the Holy Spirit and its ubiquity, we can partake of the substance of the Body and Blood, even, in some sense, the physical substance, through spiritual and heavenly means. By our mouth, we eat bread and wine, but that bread and wine is not merely bread and wine, but Eucharist, with a spiritual and heavenly substance guaranteed with it. Thus, with our hearts quickened by faith, we can partake of the Body and Blood. Luther held that it could be present because the physical Body and Blood in heaven has the properties of ubiquity by being hypostatically linked to the divine nature of Christ, and it I through that ubiquity that Christ can be present. I personally believe it is through the Holy Spirit, and that this is a bit more immanently gathered from Scripture, but I'm never quite sure.
     
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is my biggest problem with the views you represent. You equate spiritual with figurative.

    But spiritual is real. Spiritual reality is a real reality, and a spiritual presence is a real presence, not an analogy or a figurative "statement"...
    To deny that is a gnostic heresy, and thus Zwingli and all his followers are properly gnostic heretics who deny the connection between the physical and the real worlds.
     
  6. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

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    The spiritual substance lies in the participation in the rite. The bread is a figure, but it is also imparts a meaning. It is not an empty figure but a meaningful figure. There is nothing spiritual about a piece of bread and there is no reason why it cannot be a figure. I hope you can see the distinction between what a person does, and the elements that he does it with. Incidentally the breaking of the bread is also part of the rite, something I disagree with about the Anglican rite that hands out wafers. When Derby the Anglican priest left the CofE to found the Brethren in the 19th century, he re-introduced the breaking of the bread.

    The term "real presence" itself could be identified as a gnostic term, as it is foreign to scripture. I am suspicious of foreign terms, because it tends to suggest that a higher knowledge is being sought, but scripture is invariably sufficient. As to meaning, as Paul says, the bread means fellowship with the body of Christ, once the thanksgiving and the breaking have been performed.
     
  7. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    I would not dare to "second guess" the words of Our Lord. He said exactly what He said
     
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  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    His was the word that spake it ...
     
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  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Whether or not the bread, the matter of the wafer is a symbol is beside the point. Since we don't believe in transubstantiation we are at no pains to prove that the physical corn and starch somehow are a physical Body of Christ. What we are at pains to prove is that the Body of Christ is present in the corn/starch even while the matter remains corn and starch.

    Can Christ be present in an element without changing its matter? We say yes, that is the spiritual real presence. Is he actually present? Absolutely...

    The material elements don't need to determine the only way something can be present...


    Then why did he say that those who partake of the Blessed Eucharist unworthily eat and drink of their own damnation? Why did our Lord say that he who does not eat the Sacrament "has no life in him"...?
     
  11. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

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    I agree Christ is present, because he said that he would be present when two or three are gathered together in my name. Mat 18:20. However to say that he is present in the bread is absurd to my way of thinking because "God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit." As you have pointed out Spirit infers reality, and the reality is that the Jesus who was resurrected to the right hand of God is Spirit, and so not locatable in the bread.

    The issue is really when you say "present in an element." It just does not accord with who, and what, he is right now. He was "taken up in glory." 1 Tim 3;16. How then is he to be found in a piece of bread?

    In John 6:53 Jesus was not referring to the sacrament, because otherwise his words would have been completely unintelligible, as it had not then been instituted and there is no way that an unsaved person would know anything of the sacrament anyway. He was referring to having fellowship with Christ by faith, and justification by his blood and participating in the sufferings of Christ. The sacrament was instituted to remember this.

    Those who eat unworthily "eat and drink of their own damnation" because they show no remembrance of Christ and their fellowship is not with him and they proclaim themselves not justified.
     
  12. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    Personally, I have found Eucharistic Adoration to be a very powerful prayer and devotion. I know that it is a RC tradition, but it appears some Anglo Catholic churches have it as well. So, I'm really curious to know why it is not a valid practice according to the Anglican tradition.

    Can you advise how if Eucharistic Adoration is not valid, then why are reserved, consecrated hosts held in a tabernacle in Anglican churches? It's seems contradictory to say that yes, the reserve sacrament is sacred and valid for communion, but the sacrament visible for veneration is invalid? Or does it still have to do with the intention? That reserve sacramental host is meant to be consumed whereas the other is visible only for adoration? Does it change if the host is venerated than consumed a short time after? Then it would only be a matter of the time between the acts and not the intention for which the host was consecrated?

    Not trying to be contrarian, just genuinely curious to work out what the different views are on this.
     
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  13. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    First we must note that even reservation is not traditional and one of the Articles of Religion I believe cautions against it, because it can lead to precisely the kind of confusion you point out.

    That being said, reservation isn't at all times a bad idea, as it can have practical reasons... it's just something that can lead people into the kind of issues you describe unless we're careful.

    Is it contradictory to reserve but not to venerate? I would argue no. It's because of, as you said... Intention.

    In parallel with the Words of Institution said by the priest, God consecrates the Host so that he may be present in it for us, but for what purpose? It is to sanctify us through eating his Body and Blood. If a particular host was consecrated by the priest, but never consumed, then I would say God himself would not consecrate it for Himself. Why should He?

    As the Reformers said 500 years ago, if a piece of the Host fell down, and was eaten by a rat, then Christ would either depart from the Host, or simply not have been there to begin with. It is not the case that the rat eats a piece of the Body of Christ. The latter's purpose is to save us, not to be physically "present". If the purpose is missing, then so is the Body.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
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  14. anawkwardaardvark

    anawkwardaardvark Member Typist Anglican

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    I'll only add that the Catechism from the BCP proves extremely helpful:

    Question. What meanest thou by this word Sacrament?
    Answer. I mean an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us; ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.

    Question
    . How many parts are there in a Sacrament?
    Answer. Two; the outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace.

    Question. Why was the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ordained?
    Answer. For the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby.

    Question
    . What is the outward part or sign of the Lord’s Supper?
    Answer. Bread and Wine, which the Lord hath commanded to be received.

    Question
    . What is the inward part, or thing signified?
    Answer. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are spiritually taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper.

    Question
    . What are the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby?
    Answer. The strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the Body and Blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the Bread and Wine.

    Question
    . What is required of those who come to the Lord's Supper?
    Answer. To examine themselves, whether they repent them truly of their former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life; have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death; and be in charity with all men.
     
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  15. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    I'm generally of the opinion that you shouldn't reserve the sacrament for anything other than practical purposes, and even then sparingly, yet I find myself often visiting the RC National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham for Adoration, which they keep up constantly, every day. I think it can be edifying, but not if you approach it superstitiously, which is exactly what many Catholics do. I'm at a conflict here, because in principle am against the practice, yet in practice I always find it to be a good and edifying experience, though usually I simply do a rosary and some Scripture reading in the presence of the monstrance. I'd be curious to hear some nuanced dealing with this, as I don't quite have any myself.
     
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  16. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    I would be interested in hearing people's opinion on Eucharistic Miracles, a number of which have been documented
     
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  17. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    I have read about some claimed miracles. I don't put much stock into them, honestly. I also don't find them to to be helpful in growing my faith- I think that God has better things to do than show up in windows or send crying statues or icons to the faithful. I don't mean to sound dismissive or flippant, but that's really how I feel- and it just strikes me as silly.

    Also, the obsession over the Eucharist turning into actual physical flesh and blood strikes me as odd. Jesus shared a meal with his disciples and gave them bread and wine to consume- they could have eaten of his literal flesh and blood and did not. They ate the bread and wine he gave them while in his presence. The focus on the host and wine turning into actual tissue and venerating it seems idolatrous & superstitious to me. And not a little ghoulish.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  18. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    I find myself in the same boat, honestly. I went to a Eucharistic Adoration at a RC church recently and feeling of peace and presence of God was overwhelming. When I go to church and pray, my focus is on typically remembering that the Eucharist is present in the tabernacle. I find this incredibly beautiful as it reminds us that Christ really still is among us and entering the church becomes a sanctuary from the world. Nor where else can we go in the world to learn and be connected with God in this way.

    Not that God isn't outside the church, but recalling that the church can be a literal refuge to be with God present in the Eucharist is just important to me. When I went on retreat at an Episcopal nunnery, the chapel had a very simple altar with the tabernacle present- I remember that being the focus on my prayer during the rosary and during the daily office prayed- just that little wooden box and recalling the Lord's presence. I suppose the only difference with the adoration is to remove it from the tabernacle and make it visible for focus and meditation.

    I agree that it can quickly fall into superstition in terms of the "power" of the Eucharist to do whatever the person asks for. I read things similar to the rosary- that if you pray the rosary such and such ways for so many days you will get what you asked for in your prayers. To me, this is magical thinking and not in line with the purpose of the prayer. I think the Eucharistic adoration is another way to draw closer to God, but can be misunderstood and abused too.

    But, from reading here on this thread.. I think that my understanding of the Eucharist may be more in line with the RC church than Anglicanism.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  19. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    Thanks for this, it is helpful.

    So, this seems to be a fully memorialist understanding of the place of the Eucharist. To my knowledge a memorialist understanding is not part of the earliest churches teachings on the Eucharist. For example

    "Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

    "Letter to the Smyrnaeans"-
    ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
     
  20. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    But, the bread and wine is venerated during the Mass. The priest blesses it, prays over it, raises it up, rings bells etc, sings the sanctus etc... So in the very Eucharistic prayers during service there is much veneration already.

    I don't follow your last line of logic. The host would be venerated just like the others were even if was never eaten. For example, if disaster fell on a church (flood, fire etc.) and consecrated hosts were not eaten, were they not the Body and Blood or did they stop being as such simply because they were not consumed? It seems that they are either consecrated or they are not. I don't see the point of if they are never eaten that God would "un-consecrate" them. Why wouldn't God "un-consecrate" a host of someone with heretical views or in a state of grievous sin. if this is the case, how can we ever trust that god hasn't un-consecrate the Body and Blood for us when we go to take communion?

    As I also said, if there was a period of Adoration and then the host is consumed, would that be a problem? It meets the requirement of everything listed- but it is only a matter of time between the consecration and consumption which differs. If there is a day long Adoration and the host is consumed in the evening, then again, that is only a difference of time and not ultimate intent.
     

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