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Friday, 13 November 2015

The Precious Blood, Sunday Dinner and Miracles

An "Ask Father" Q and A at Crux strikes me as ill-done.
First off, let me say that I do not know Fr Doyle, I'm sure he is a good man, and I have no issue with his sacramental theology, (since I also don't know it, and assume it is orthodox.)
But it is asked,
At Mass recently, after listening intently to the words of consecration, our 4-year-old granddaughter whispered to my wife, “Is wine really blood?” How would you answer her question? 
and the good Father answers, ultimately,
Now having said [various matters about Christ, Aquinas and the rejection of "hard sayings"], I don’t think your granddaughter needs to know all of that right now. Little children think in pictures, so I’m not sure that I would mention “body and blood” at all.
I might say something like, “It still tastes like wine, but it’s different now and special; it’s Jesus coming into our souls to help us to be good.”
which would differ from the beliefs of most Protestants how exactly?
Different, and special and "Jesus coming into our hearts" is precisely how a Methodist Youth Minister described their denom's understanding of the white bread and Welch's they had once a month.

An icky humanism has made many Catholics way too diffident in giving voice to any belief in which we differ from our separated siblings - it's a sad fact of modern life and religious expression in the public square.
But that a Catholic priest would suggest that in "intra-denominational" dialogue, (i.e. a Catholic grandparent speaking to a Catholic grandchild in the context of a Eucharistic liturgy,) the teachings of the Church, the teachings of Jesus Christ should be glossed over in answer to a direct question about the nature of the Eucharist?
Just NO.

Have you ever met a small child, can you even imagine the existence of one, who would not have been thrilled to know that she had just witnessed a miracle?
And that it was one she would be privileged to see repeated?
That something supernatural occurs?
That what happens was deliberately and specifically given to us BY GOD as a means of  receiving HIS LOVE, HIS GRACE? sharing in that?

So how about answering, "No, not all wine - but the Holy Spirit has just come to us in the Mass as Jesus promised and what seems to be wine is no longer wine but is the LIVING GOD"?
I'd probably go on, and if you don't quite "get" that, don't worry, neither does Grandma really, or anyone else, it's beyond human understanding, but God said it, God understands it, and that's good enough for me.

And just because I have a real bug about letting childrens' remarkable memories and ability to internalize truths without yet coming close to being able to comprehend go to waste, We call Jesus being there in what looks like bread and wine during Communion "the Real Presence."

And then I'd use the phrase "Real Presence" about a hundred more times after Mass and next time I had the kiddo with me within 50 miles of a Church.
Real Presence.
Real Presence.
Real Presence.
Real Presence.

When I was a kid our parish did not administer the sacrament under both species except rarely, (the one I attend now never does,) but I had received once or twice at an Eastern Rite Diving Liturgy.
The wine used was rich and sweet, (almost like a sherry, I think now looking back on it,) and of course, leavened bread, (which reminded me of babka.)
I was told that that was not how most wine tastes.
We had a roast of some sort almost every Sunday dinner, and although my parents were both medium-well people, (grayish meat!) the center was usually pink and luscious and produced copious drippings.
As it was being carved, one or the other of us would stand at my Dad's elbow hoping to be offered a spoonful, and never disappointed.
Somehow, in my head, with the whole wine/blood thing, I decided that THAT was what "regular" wine would taste like, and oh how I wanted to receive like that!
The first time I did receive the Precious Blood at communion at a Roman Catholic parish - well, it's almost sacrilegious to say so, I suppose, but I was sore disappointed. (Though not as disappointed as I would be if it had tasted like Welch's....)

In my experience, parishes seem to take and all or nothing approach toward offering the Chalice - it is either never, not even on major feastdays and special, solemn events, or it is every single Mass even on weekdays and at funerals and when in all other respects it is apparent that there is some pressure of time.

Don't understand it.

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