Corpus Christi: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

(repost)

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

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I will never forget watching an episode of Women of Grace  on EWTN a while back where the guest speaker said that only 30% of Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This statistic shocked me. Belief in the Real Presence is a central and essential doctrine of our Catholic faith. Truly, the Real Presence is part of the foundation of our Catholic faith. In fact, it is a non-negotiable article of faith; to be Catholic one must believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. However, the doctrine of the Eucharist remains a source of confusion and misunderstanding among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

There are many passages in the Bible that deal with the Eucharist. Most of us are aware of the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-30 and in all the gospels) and the “Bread of Life” discourse (John 6:22-69). The Catechism of the Catholic Church has whole sections that deal with the Eucharist (See Part 2, Section 2). Additionally, the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist has been spoken about by many saints. I highly recommend that you take a look at these references for yourself and pray about them. For now, I just want to do is give you, in a nutshell, is what it means to believe in the Real Presence:

Believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist means that at the consecration at Mass the bread and wine is transformed into the very real body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Although the physical appearance of the bread and wine do not change, they are no longer bread and wine but Jesus Himself.

This is hard for many people to accept. That is why so many walked away from Jesus (see John 6:66-67) when He said those words and why many are still walking away from Him in our own time. How is it possible that Jesus can be contained in the Eucharist? How can this happen? Those are valid questions. However, it is a sublime mystery and we trust Jesus at His word. The mystery of the Eucharist is a miracle. It is a gift from God Himself out of love for us. With God, all things are possible – including Jesus making Himself present in the Eucharist!

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Tweetables:

Corpus Christi: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

What  Catholics believe about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Catholics and the Rosary

Rosary and bible

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In a previous post, I explained a little about the Catholic’s devotion to Mary. This week I want to write a little about the Rosary. Actually, a lot can be, and has been, said about the rosary and in an upcoming post I will point you to some resources that do a good job explaining why we pray the rosary.

However, before  I do, I want to point out one thing: Although we direct many of the prayers to Mary, the rosary is all about Jesus and meditating on the life of Jesus – and based on the Bible.

Let’s take a look at the mysteries of the rosary: During the Joyful mysteries, we meditate on the birth and early life of Christ, from when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary she would conceive a son, to the visitation to Elizabeth where John the Baptist “leaped for joy,” to the birth of Jesus, to His presentation in the temple and finally to His being found in the temple by Mary and Joseph.

During the Luminous mysteries, we contemplate Jesus’ public life. In the first mystery we think upon Jesus’ “baptism” by John. In the second we meditate on Jesus’ first miracle at Cana and the third mystery is centered on the proclamation of the kingdom and call to conversion. In the fourth mystery we meditate on the Transfiguration of Jesus and in the fifth we meditate on the Institution of the Eucharist.

The Sorrowful mysteries are centered on the suffering and death of Jesus. In the first mystery we accompany Jesus during his Agony in the Garden. In the second mystery we meditate on Jesus’ flagellation at the pillar. In the third mystery we see Jesus as he is mocked and receives the Crown of Thorns. In the fourth mystery we join Jesus as He carries His cross and in the fifth mystery we meditation on the Crucifixion and  death of Our Lord.

Finally, the Glorious mysteries allow us to rejoice in the great mysteries of the Resurrection (decade one) and Ascension of Jesus (decade two). In the third Glorious mystery, we meditate on the Descent of the Holy Spirit. In the fourth and fifth Glorious mysteries we honor Mary as she is Assumed into heaven and Crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

I also want to encourage you to take a closer look at the prayers of the rosary. The Apostle’s Creed, Our Father, Glory Be and even the Hail Mary are God-centered and Christ-centered prayers.

Even the Hail Mary is focused on Jesus. The first part of the Hail Mary comes from Gabriel’s greeting to Mary (from the gospel of Luke) and Elizabeth’s cry of joy (“blessed is the fruit of thy womb). In the second part of the prayer we are asking her to pray for us, just like we would ask our own mother to pray for us.

It would be impossible to expound on the rosary in this short post, but I hope you can begin to see how rich and Christ-centered the rosary is and why it is such an important devotion to Catholics. In tomorrow’s post I will share some links on the rosary that I trust you will find helpful.

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Tweetables:

Catholics and the Rosary

Did you realize that the Rosary is all about Jesus? It is!

Why do Catholics Worship Mary?

(I have had a few emails and questions about Mary and the rosary recently; thus, I am reposting this series.)

Mary

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May is the month traditionally dedicated to Mary, so I thought it would be good to talk about our Catholic devotion to her. A lot of non-Catholics, and sadly some Catholics, believe that Catholics worship Mary and that is simply not true.

Catholics HONOR Mary as the mother of Jesus. They DO NOT worship Mary. If they do, they are completely wrong and mislead. Worship belongs to God and God alone.

According to dictionary.com, to honor someone is to show “high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor” and to worship someone means  “reverent honor and homage paid” or “the object of adoring reverence or regard.”  See the difference? We give our worship to God but we honor Mary as the mother of Jesus.

You see, Mary is who she is BECAUSE of who Jesus is. She was given signal graces because she was chosen to be the mother of GOD. That is why we honor her and love her.

You can also think about it this way: usually, especially those of us who have a good relationship with our mothers, of course we would want others to respect our mothers. How much more would Jesus? Of course he would expect us to honor her and respect her, and so we Catholics do.

Our devotion to Mary is centered on Jesus, and ALL true devotion to Mary leads to Jesus – ALWAYS. If not, then there is something wrong with the devotion. 🙂  Speaking of devotions, if are looking for devotions to honor Mary this month, here are 7 Ways to Honor Mary.

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Have a question about the Catholic faith or confused about some Catholic doctrine or devotion? Contact me and I will do my best to answer your question in a future post. You can email me at carol (at ) simplecatholicliving (dot) com or use my contact page.

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The Difference Between Partial and Plenary Indulgences

Over the last few blog posts, I have discussed why there is Purgatory, what Indulgences are and I have offered some resources to help you learn more about them. In today’s post, I am going to briefly explain the differences between partial indulgences and plenary indulgences.

Diffrence Between Partial and Plenary Indulgences

The difference is actually very simple.  According to Catholic.com:

“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin” (Indulgentarium Doctrina 2, 3). Only God knows exactly how efficacious any particular partial indulgence is or whether a plenary indulgence was received at all.”

In other words, partial indulgences remit part of the temporal punishment due to sin and plenary indulgences remit all of the temporal punishment due to sin. (Years ago, there used to be a time attached to certain prayers or acts [such as 3 years for saying a certain prayer] but the Church no longer attached a time to partial indulgences.)

How to “gain” a partial or plenary indulgence?

Gaining a partial indulgence is rather easy. The only requirements are to be in the state of grace (which means to be free from mortal sin), to have the intention to gain the indulgence and finally to perform the actual act (say the prayer, make the sign of the cross, etc). A person can receive partial indulgences several times a day.

Gaining a plenary indulgence is a bit more involved. The requirements are five-fold:

  1.  You must receive the Sacrament of Confession a few days before or after the plenary indulgences.
  2.  You must have the intention of gaining the indulgence.
  3.  Say a prayer for the Pope. Any prayer will do but traditionally the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be is said.
  4.  Do the actual act or prayer of the indulgence.
  5.  Be free from the attachment to sin, mortal or venial.

Only one plenary indulgence can be gained a day. (FYI, if you go to confession once a week then you automatically fulfill the confession requirement.) Also, if the requirements are not met then the indulgence becomes a partial indulgence.

Indulgenced Prayers

Here is a list of links that also explain indulgences and have prayers that impart a partial or plenary indulgences. There are many other prayers that offer at least a partial indulgence, such as making the sign of the cross. If you have a prayer you love you can easily look it up to see if there is an indulgence attached to it. In fact, here is a free online version of the Handbook of Indulgences.*

Fisheaters

Prayers for Reparation

The Raccolata

Keeping it Catholic

Catholic.org

I hope you have a better understanding of indulgences now. Indulgences can be a great help in our spiritual life.

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Tweetable: The Difference Between Partial and Plenary Indulgences

*The older copies of the Handbook do include the time ranges that I wrote about above. The new versions do not include those time ranges.

What are Indulgences in the Catholic Faith?

*I recently discussed why there is Purgatory. During my discussion, I mentioned that we can help the Souls in Purgatory by our prayers. Another way we can help us is through indulgences which I discuss in this re-post.

What are Indulgences in the Catholic Faith

One of my readers, Yiessa, asked me to “discuss the meaning of indulgences in the Catholic faith.” This is a good topic and a teaching of the Church that is sorely misunderstood by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

What is an indulgence?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic church (scroll down to article 1471):

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporary punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applied with authority the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the saints.

What does this mean? Let me see if I can explain it In layman’s terms, in the way it was explained to me by the sisters: When we go to the Sacrament of Confession and receive absolution our sins are forgiven and we are freed from the guilt of said sin; however, the effect of sin still remains on our soul, like a stain on our soul, if you will. This stain must be purified before we can be with God in heaven. When we “gain an indulgence” then that stain on our soul is either partially or completely taken away.

Does that make sense? Let me use an analogy with my son as an example. When my son breaks a house rule, such as have a temper tantrum or disobeys me, when he is remorseful and says sorry I forgive him. However, there is still a consequence for his actions. He goes in timeout or loses a privilege to “make satisfaction” for his bad behavior. As far as sin goes, sins have consequences and even though we are sorry and forgiven for our sin we still have to face the consequences of our actions – which is what “temporal punishment due to sin” means above. We go to purgatory to be purified and “make satisfaction” for the effects or stains of sin on our souls. When we perform the acts of indulgence it is as if we are making satisfaction here on earth as opposed to doing so in purgatory.

You see, God is all perfect and all holy. All that is not perfect and holy cannot enter heaven. When we die in the state of grace but still have the “remains” or “stain” of sin on our souls we go to purgatory to be purified before entering the full glory of heaven. Through the grace of Christ, and through the authority of the church, when we gain indulgences we have the opportunity to have some or all of the stains removed from our souls so that we can either lessen our time in purgatory or bypass purgatory all together.

What indulgences are not…

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia gives a good explanation of what an indulgence is not. It says,

To facilitate explanation, it may be well to state what an indulgence is not. It is not a permission to commit sin, nor a pardon of future sin; neither could be granted by any power. It is not the forgiveness of the guilt of sin; it supposes that the sin has already been forgiven. It is not an exemption from any law or duty, and much less from the obligation consequent on certain kinds of sin, e.g., restitution; on the contrary, it means a more complete payment of the debt which the sinner owes to God. It does not confer immunity from temptation or remove the possibility of subsequent lapses into sin. Least of all is an indulgence the purchase of a pardon which secures the buyer’s salvation or releases the soul of another from Purgatory. The absurdity of such notions must be obvious to any one who forms a correct idea of what the Catholic Church really teaches on this subject.”

In other words, a person can’t buy their way out of purgatory through indulgences, a person can’t have his or her sin forgiven with indulgences and a person can’t use indulgences as an excuse for sin: “Oh it doesn’t matter if I do ____. I can just get an indulgence and wipe it away.”

Indulgences are a gift that God has given us, through the authority of the Church, to help us on our road to heaven. It is meant to help us prepare our souls to be in the presence of the eternal and all holy Trinity. We should make use of this gift as often as we can!

I hope this helps. To read more about indulgences and help you deepen your understanding of them, next week I will post several links for further reading. And in another post after that, I will explain the difference between partial and plenary indulgences and the requirements for receiving an indulgence.

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Tweetable: What are Indulgences in the Catholic Faith

The Assumption of Mary

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary and it is a beautiful and important feast in our liturgical calendar. It is also relatively new in that the Assumption of Mary was declared a dogma of the Church in 1950.

What is the Assumption of Mary?Assumption of Mary

The Assumption of Mary is where God in His awesome mercy “assumed” Mary into heaven body and soul.

Some “camps” believe that Mary was given the grace of not having to die and was assumed without dying. Some “camps” believe that that in imitation of Christ that Mary did die but was assumed into heaven shortly after. According to my understanding, it doesn’t matter whether one believes Mary died or not first, what matters is the belief that Mary was brought to heaven and lives in heaven body and soul.

The Assumption is NOT the Ascension.

Some people get the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Jesus confused. That’s understandable given that both feasts celebrate Jesus and Mary’s “entrance” into heaven. Here is the difference: In the Ascension, 40 days after His Resurrection, Jesus ascends back to heaven through HIS OWN POWER. You can read about Jesus’ ascension at the end of the gospels. In the assumption, Mary is brought to heaven through the mercy and power of God. Mary did NOT take herself to heaven, nor is she capable of doing so. It is a gift and a grace that God has granted her.

And why not? From a human perspective, it seems only fair that since Mary had a share in Jesus’ suffering and death that get gets to have a share of His glory. 🙂

The significance of the Assumption.

This solemnity of the Assumption should give us great joy and hope. Mary is in heaven, body and soul, in her glorified body. Her Assumption is a peek into our future destiny. When we die, we know that souls are separated from our bodies. But, when Jesus returns again are souls and bodies will be reunited in our glorified bodies.

The Assumption reminds us that our life on earth isn’t all there is, we have a destiny. Jesus is our destiny. Heaven is real and is our destiny. One day we will be with the Blessed Trinity, all the Saints and Angels in heaven, FOREVER. How awesome is that?!

Resources to deepen your understanding  of this great Solemnity:

New Advent

About.com

AssumptionMary.com

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Significance of the Assumption of Mary

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Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (May 26, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

This weekend is not only Memorial Day weekend, but today is also Trinity Sunday, where we reflect on the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is an important article and faith and worth the time to pray and think about!

Besides these two special days, it is time for another roundup of posts over at This, That and the Other Thing. Come join us as we share our posts from the past week and consider linking up your own – we’d love to read them!

Oh, one more thing, as you can see, I’m making some changes to the blog, so please excuse the mess! Any whoo, here’s what I’ve posted about this week:

Weekly Goals

The Craziest but Delicious Recipe I Ever Tasted!

Theological Thursday: Catholics and the Rosary

7 Quick Takes: Rosary Resources

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (May 19, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

Another week for Sunday Snippets over at RAnn’s place. Here’s what I’ve written about this week:

Weekly Goals

Stop Your Whining! (Words of wisdom from Pope Francis)

Book Review: The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman

Theological Thursday: Why do Catholics Worship Mary?

7 Quick Takes: Scripture and the Eucharist Edition

Bible Heart

In yesterday’s Theological Thursday post I talked about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. In today’s 7 Quick Takes I want to share just a few Scripture readings about the Eucharist for you to pray over.

1. Psalm 110:4 (Foreshadowing the Eucharist)

2. Exodus 29:38-39 (Foreshadowing the Eucharist)

3. John 6:22-69 (“Bread of Life Discourse”)

4. Matthew 26:26-30 (The Last Supper)

5. 1 Corinthians 10:16 (Is not the cup we share…)

6. Acts 2:42 (They devoted themselves…to the breaking of the bread…)

7. Hebrews 12:22-24 (Jesus and mediator)

For more scripture verses related to the Eucharist, I highly recommend ScriptureCatholic. It has done an amazing job laying out and explaining all the various scriptures that foreshadow the Eucharist, the institution of the Eucharist and the relation between the Cross and the Eucharist. Under the long list of scripture verses there are also a ton of quotes and explanations from Tradition and Church Fathers that are worth reading and praying over, too.

Also, catholicbible101 also has a page dedicated to explaining the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist that you can check out.

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Tweetables: (Just click link to tweet)

Scripture and the Eucharist

7 QT: Scripture and the Eucharist Edition

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7 Quick Takes Image

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (April 21, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

It’s time for another week of Sunday Snippets over at RAnn’s blog. Here’s my three posts for this week:

Weekly Goals

Head Trauma Drama (Andrew’s visit to the hospital.)

Theological Thursday: Receiving the Precious Blood