The Eucharist: a Video Explanation

The importance of the Eucharist cannot be over-emphasized. Catholics know the Eucharist to be “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). Some of you may remember a post I did a while back giving a scriptural introduction to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

 

I think it might also be good to share this helpful video on the subject:

 

 

God bless!

-Ben 3/27/15

P.S. For those of you who’ve wondered how I’ve been doing away from the blog, my actual pen-and-paper journaling has taken off and is quite enjoyable. Life as a serious Catholic has been richly rewarding and challenging. My prayer life and my family life have improved, and it has become my obsession to constantly learn more about the historic Christian faith and draw closer to Christ and the saints. It’s been good to hang out with other serious Catholics too. Catholics know how to have fun… but they also know how to be reverent. Teaching my kids to be reverent is a wonderful experience and more important than I realized before. There’s so much to share, if anyone is interested.

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15 Comments on “The Eucharist: a Video Explanation”

  1. God bless you dude! To quote Chesterton:

    “There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad”.

    I love how our Faith can be so simple that the Children of Fatima could understand it but also as deep and profound for someone like St. Augustin and St. Thomas to dwell in it in their writing and merely scratch the surface…as somber and solemn as Good Friday but also as joyful and exuberant as Easter Virgil, how our Faith can produce saints as like St. Thomas More, who own a private Zoo but also saints like Mother Teresa, minds like that of Pasteur and Mendel and mystics like Padre Pio and St. Faustina, or woman of great courage like St. Joan of Arc and men of great peace like St. Francis of Assisi…what a great journey of faith! What a great communion of saints!!!

    Cheers!

  2. Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

    Hello again Ben! I’m so glad things are going well for you.

    I see you’ve just followed my blog…are you aware that I’m now an atheist (former devout catholic)? Of course you’re welcome to follow me, but you may find many of my topics inflammatory, as I’m a bit anti-religion these days. If you want a taste of where I’m at, this is a blog I frequent and I’m quite active on this thread…it’s about exorcisms in the catholic church https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/why-christians-must-face-their-demons/#comment-16933

    I’m only leaving this comment because I didn’t want to shock you to bits if you haven’t been reading my blog lately (when we last talked, I wasn’t an atheist yet). You are always welcome to follow or unfollow as you see fit, and I take no offense.

    Good luck on your journey, and best wishes to you and your family.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Violet,

      I guess I figured that if I’m praying for you I may as well follow your blog too! I’m not on the blog very much these days, but I do like to check in on folks and see how they’re doing. Your decision to become an atheist has been on my mind, as well as your pain and the difficulties in raising your son that have helped lead you to that decision. Inflammatory or not, your thoughts come from your heart, and I can respect that… and handle it just fine.

      I haven’t had the privilege of many discussions with atheists (I think full-on atheists are more rare than they’d have us think), so admittedly I need to brush up a bit on my Catholic answers to atheism. It’s too hard for me to take guys like Dawkins seriously, so I keep putting it off. Is there a particular atheist’s teachings that you recommend for people to better understand exactly what you believe and why?

      If you’re interested in the subject of demons and exorcism, I highly recommend a book by a guy named Matt Baglio called “The Rite: the Making of a Modern Exorcist”. He deals very fairly with the subject, looking into the medical aspects, etc.

      I really do wish you and your family the best, and I encourage you to keep pursuing the truth, wherever it leads. Don’t put up too many walls in your mind out of frustration with people.

      Take care my friend.

      -Ben

      • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

        Well I’m glad you’re ok with learning about the other side of things…lots of people aren’t. That makes you very open-minded, even if you think it’s only so you can debate us. 🙂

        I see you’re a bit confused about what atheism is, as I was myself when I was a christian. Atheism is not a “set of beliefs,” nor a (non)religion, nor do we ascribe to a certain set of ideas or dogmas. We are simply those who lack a belief in god(s). This also includes other gods from other cultures (not just the christian god) as well as other supernatural beings (satan, angels, demons, etc). Dawkins and Hitchens are atheists, but they’re just debaters…they’re not our holy guys, as we have no leaders. Other than a lack of belief in god, there is no one trait that describes an atheist.

        As for who is a full-on atheist or not, there are terms used to distinguish this. Agnostics are the ones who say you can’t know if there’s a god, and there is no way to know about the things or nature of god. Atheists claim a lack of belief in god. There’s some gray area between the two, but “agnostic” and “atheist” are the general terms that will help you at least begin to distinguish where people are at.

        I myself am an atheist…I believe there is no god and live my life as if there is no god. I accept there could be a .00001% chance that I’m wrong, because ultimately these things are unknowable, but for all practical purposes I believe there is no god. An agnostic would likely say, “I don’t know if there’s a god.”

        As far as exorcism, my church encouraged me to have an exorcism on my one year old son, because doctors could find nothing wrong with him, even though he was obviously having problems. I held off on the exorcism, but wrestled with the idea that my child was demon possessed for two years. Then he was diagnosed with autism. I almost had a priest perform an exorcism on my neurologically disabled toddler, which is outrageous. This is one of the major reasons (but not the only reason) I left the church.

        If you are interested in how a deconversion can happen to someone who was such a devout catholic for 41 years, I’ll link a short video below, which closely describes what happened to me.

        Feel free to contact me anytime if you should have questions…please know I don’t consider christians my “adversaries.” I disagree with the teachings of the church and believe some of them are harmful, but the christian people are not my enemies.

        Best wishes,
        Violet

        • Ben says:

          I appreciate the explanation, and I hope you’ll forgive my lack of experience regarding the subject of atheism, but I would like to ask a few questions so you can help me understand. If you respond, feel free to start a new comment, because my comment boxes can get unnecessarily narrow, and/or the thread can end abruptly.

          First of all, I am not qualified to comment on your son regarding exorcism, but regarding the subject, I do still recommend that book. I think you’ll find it to be well-written.

          Okay, you’ve helped me understand a bit more about atheism, but it sounds more like a sort of nihilism. One of the things that led me to Catholicism was that I was growing weary of a belief system that was founded upon protest. Surely the truth is more than “not this” or “not that”, right? Am I jumping to conclusions by assuming that there is a such thing as truth?

          The video was interesting, and the diagram seems like a useful tool to convince someone against any sort of belief system. Ironically, it was thinking critically about Christianity in a way similar to that diagram that led me to a deeper version of Christianity: Catholicism. For example: what is a personal relationship with Christ? What is prayer and how should we pray? How should we view the Bible and understand it and apply it in our lives? Why do so many sincere Christians hold to so many scatterbrained versions of the faith? How can Christians view science (even an acknowledgment of evolution) as a way to better understand creation?

          It sounds like the guy in the video came from a background of fundamentalist Protestantism, based on his reference to the Bible by itself (apart from the Church). Breaking down Protestant logic is something knowledgeable Catholics do all the time, while remaining strong Christians.

          I’m glad he mentioned morals, the universe, and life. Admittedly, I did not watch his entire series of videos, but I do have a few questions for you on those topics (hopefully I’m not being too cliche with my concerns, but I seriously do want to know the answers)…

          1. As an atheist, do you have a problem with Stalin’s “Great Purge” of the 1930’s, the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, or the “killing fields” of Cambodia? If so, why exactly? In other words, is there a such thing as evil, and if so why (if we cannot see it or measure it and definitions tend to sound spiritual)?

          2. How do you deal with the “well, where did that come from?” (repeated and repeated until the end) question regarding the origin of everything?

          3. What would you say if your fellow atheists determined that it would be best for society if your son were done away with? Assuming you might disagree with them, on what grounds would you appeal? Please remember that the Catholic Church views your son’s life as being of limitless worth… special beyond description, and loved dearly by God. Is life something special to you as an atheist, and if so, why?

          I hope I have not been out of line with these questions. If you do not feel like answering them, I understand. I realize that I have not offered “proof” here of God. Like I said, I need to brush up on those arguments one of these days. Catholic Answers has some outstanding stuff regarding atheism that I’ve had on the back burner… and sure enough, here comes a discussion with an atheist and I’m not prepared!

          Best wishes,

          -Ben

          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            Hello Ben…I shall be back to answer your questions when I have more time! Don’t think you need to be “prepare” to talk to me…we can just have a discussion being as we are now, with the knowledge we have at this time. There need be no perfect answers (and there never are anyway). 🙂

  3. Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

    OK, I have time to squeeze in a few answers here.

    But first I must address something. I’m don’t understand how you could feel “not qualified” to comment on how I was encouraged to put my one year old through an exorcism, when he was in fact neurologically disabled. It is deeply disturbing to me that you can look at that and not say it was unequivocally harmful and wrong…you don’t need any qualifications to be a human and to know basic right from wrong.

    That said, on with other answers. Atheism is not nihilism, but many people mistake it for such. I’ll give you a link to more info here, as this explains it better than I can. http://polyatheistic.blogspot.com/2009/04/atheism-is-not-nihilism.html

    1. Yes, I am deeply disturbed by Stalin, Hitler, the Killing Fields, etc. I believe these things were done by man alone, and not due to any kind of satanic or demonic “evil.” Men alone possess both a bad side and a good side…obviously some are more motivated by greed, power, and egomania. Not everyone is though. I don’t believe we need God to suppress our dark side…we can do it ourselves.

    2. Where did it all come from? I have no idea. I’m unlikely to think it was a god though. I do leave .00001 doubt in atheism just for this reason.

    3. I’m not sure I totally understand this question…I would oppose anyone telling me a certain group of people were unworthy to live. On what grounds would I appeal? On the grounds of human decency. Do I believe life has value? Of course! Why? While I was born by happy accident, it is my duty to leave behind a better world for others, as those who came before me have tried to do. I’m here on the planet, and I might as well make it a positive experience for myself and others as much as I can. If you are speaking specifically about abortion, then I can say most atheists I know are pro-choice. The abortion debate is rather large and complicated, and I’m not sure we can cover the scope of that in our discussion here.

    3.5 As for you not being able to offer evidence that god exists, you can’t. It’s ok. 🙂

    –Violet

    • Ben says:

      The article helped to clarify a bit, but it emphasized the individualism of atheism, and I’m still left wondering what your personal creeds or codes might be, and so far they seem like they could be rather nihilistic even if atheism does not inherently force you to be a nihilist. Is it possible that atheism is more like a vehicle for hidden desires to be realized? For instance, an atheist might want to have sex with whoever he wants, and if there’s no God, then there are no definite rules that might prohibit his behavior. I have a hard time seeing someone being passionately committed to ruining people’s ideas about God, but I can understand someone being passionately committed to having sex with whoever he wants and then finding a way to justify it. It almost seems like it would be getting to the heart of the matter to convince someone why there are better things in this life and the next life than sex, power, bitterness, etc., rather than debating science and philosophy. But I’m just thinking out loud here.

      Allow me to step back for a moment and mention a book that I’ve been reading called “Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed. Toward the beginning of the book, he notes in very strong terms that in order to understand many of the big questions about God, we need to sort of tamp down our imaginations. One of the worst mistakes we can make is to picture God like “the guy with the big gray beard” floating around in space. People all too often don’t have a problem with God as He is, they have a problem with God as they imagine Him to be. That’s something to think about. The answer to question number 2 is basically that at the very beginning, before anything came to be, there was God. But more accurately, because God is outside space and time, as He put it, “I AM”. He is existence itself, and everything came from Him and is sustained by Him. God is the final answer, logically speaking.

      I find it interesting that you appeal to a “basic right and wrong”, and you are appalled by evil although you avoid the term, and you also appeal to human decency. My first impression is that you are taking a lot for granted. Having studied a decent amount of history, I would argue that we understand those concepts on a societal level because of the influence of the Church in Western Civilization for the last 2,000 years. But even appealing to human decency as it was evident before the Church, we still need to explain where it came from and why we have it as humans. Did we develop human decency through a survival of the fittest? I rather doubt it. You are so quick to acknowledge right and wrong, but why should anyone care? How many people died under the guillotine during the French Revolution because of the will of the mob, in the name of mankind being free of the Church? Obviously I admit that people in the Church have sinned, but the reason people have such a standard of avoiding sin is the very standard of the Church.

      I would like to close this comment by acknowledging that the Catholic Church’s arguments are not intended to force someone into belief. God does not force us. Because He loves us, He allows us to have free will, and therefore if you want to believe something else, you cannot be given force of proof. Rather, the evidence sort of nudges people to life. The Catholic Church points not only to Truth, but also to Goodness, and Beauty, and these things point ultimately to God.

      By the way, I cannot guarantee prompt responses, as I am not always around available internet. So if you comment and don’t hear from me for awhile, that’s probably the reason.

      Again, best wishes to you and yours.

      -Ben

      P.S. The reason I’m not qualified to address the subject of exorcism in regard to your son is that I don’t have the facts of your son’s condition, nor do I know the sort of exorcism that was in mind. Not everything is like the movies. They may have been talking about a sort of blessing, just in case. Last night my daughter woke up with a bad dream, and I put some holy water on my finger and made the sign of the cross on her forehead while I comforted her, just in case. I trust I won’t be regarded as having been “unequivocally harmful and wrong” in doing that. She ended up sleeping peacefully by the way. “Solemn” or “major” exorcisms can only be done with the authority of the bishop, and typically after a lot of skepticism and medical tests, and I find it almost impossible to believe that they had that in mind for a one year old. You can see this for yourself in paragraph 1673 of the Catechism. Baptism is actually exorcism in a simple form.

      • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

        “Is it possible that atheism is more like a vehicle for hidden desires to be realized?”
        –>Not in my case…perhaps it would be for others. I could care less what two consenting adults do with each other in bed. As for myself, I’m married, and have committed myself to my husband.

        –>As to where does human decency comes from, I believe we were both born with it and developed it. Humans are social creatures; to survive we found it best to put ourselves in groups and work for the benefit of all. Animals do this, so do humans, though humans are more complex in their social development.

        “He is existence itself, and everything came from Him and is sustained by Him. God is the final answer, logically speaking.”
        –> It’s ok if you believe that…it’s not something I agree with, but you’re welcome to believe as you see fit.

        “Obviously I admit that people in the Church have sinned, but the reason people have such a standard of avoiding sin is the very standard of the Church.”
        –> I do not believe christians hold moral superiority. I believe they sin and don’t sin as much as anyone else on earth, christian or not.

        On that last bit about exorcism: the exorcism ceremony is not the most disturbing part of my experience (they told me it would involve prayers and the sprinkling of holy water…I suspect it would have been very much like a baptism, as you suggested). My issue is that they told me my child was *possessed by a demon* and that swam around in my head for two years…that is not ok AT ALL. Not ok. You don’t have to agree with me on it (no christian ever does), but I hold it was unequivocally harmful and wrong.

        • Ben says:

          I’ve appreciated our conversation. It’s helped me work through a lot of my thoughts on the subjects, and I hope you’ve benefitted as well. When you get some time over the next week, or whenever, I encourage you to read back through my comments and consider the points I made with a fresh look. I’ll be reviewing your points as well. I’m looking forward to following your blog a bit better now (although I may not get into commenting), and I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

          It sounds from what you’ve said that the particular church you were a part of may have been *ahem* a bit off the beaten path so to speak. If that was the case, I fear that the people there may have done tragic damage to your perception of the Catholic Church.

          If you wonder what your church *should* have been teaching you, then I recommend the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a standard reference.

          Take care my friend.

          -Ben

          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            I’ve had tons of teaching on the Catechism of the Catholic Church…endless upon endless teachings on it. As to whether my church was a little less than mainstream, this is somewhat hard for me to assess. I belonged to a total of three congregations over the course of 40 years, but was only involved with one heavily…it’s possible this particular one was more conservative than the others. It’s a big church and we had well over 2000 members, so I *think* it was fairly mainstream, but without much to compare it with I can’t be absolutely sure. Obviously there can be any number of individuals who are a little “off” in any congregation.

            Take care and see you around Ben.

            –V