Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
back
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Desiring Dan wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a Protestant or rather (not Catholic).

For some time now I have felt that receiving Communion should be more than just remembrance of what Christ did for us on the Cross. I have read widely on such issues as transubstantiation and the Real Presence, etc. so now I have the head knowledge. Now, I need the experience of the heart.

I would like to believe that Jesus Christ is really present in/at Communion as Catholics believe so my question is:

  • How can I receive Communion in such a way that Christ is present?
  • How can I personally experience this?
    • Can I only do this if I am a Catholic, or
    • Can I do it in my own church believing in the Catholic doctrine?

Many thanks,

Dan

  { How can an Anglican receive Communion in such a way that Christ is really present? }

Mike replied:

Dear Dan,

You said:

  • How can I receive Communion in such a way that Christ is present?
  • How can I personally experience this?
    • Can I only do this if I am a Catholic, or
    • Can I do it in my own church believing in the Catholic doctrine?

Thanks for the good question.

You can only do this as a faithful Catholic.

When Catholics receive the Blessed Sacrament each week we are receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord sacramentally but we are also making a public statement that:

We are in a Common Union with the Catholic Church [the only Church Jesus founded] and Her Teachings.

When a Catholic is aware of having committed a grave sin they have to first go to Confession but in the meantime, they can still attend Sunday Mass and just remain in the pew and say a Spiritual Communion.

Spiritual Communion

O Lord Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I love you (above all things with all my mind and my heart) and I long for You in my soul.
Since I cannot receive You now sacramentally, at least come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace myself entirely to You and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Optional add-on: Come Lord Jesus and glorify Yourself through my weak body.

Amen.

Your own Protestant congregation doesn't have the Real Presence so you couldn't do it as a Protestant.

If you believe in Catholic doctrine, you should join our faith. Believing in Catholic teachings while attending a Protestant denomination will only lead to hearing misperceptions and misunderstandings of what we believe as Catholics.

I hope this answers your question.

Mike

Dan replied:

Dear Mike.

Thank you for your honest reply. I understand the reason for your answer although I feel saddened by it. I do wish there was a way and I do understand that the truth needs to be protected.

May I ask you to put yourself in the position of someone like myself who has been brought up in an Anglican church and, as such, it has become part of my culture and identity.

To become a Catholic would be like asking yourself to become an Anglican.

  • Can one really not partake in a divine truth without changing a particular denomination?

Just think how a few people or even how many doing this within their own churches could influence other members as to the truth about the said sacrament and also the Catholic Church.

Thank you,

Dan

John replied:

Dan,

Mike's answer is substantially correct. The fullness of the Christian Faith, resides within the Catholic Church.

The fullness of the Christian faith, resides within the Catholic Church.

The Protestant churches, while retaining many of the essential truths, did not retain everything. Among those truths they denied was the nature of the Sacrament of Holy Orders so they interrupted Apostolic Succession and no-longer have a valid a priesthood. Their priests are simply ministers of the Word . . . not of the Sacrifice. Therefore, there is no valid Eucharist at their congregations.

That is not to say that there is no spiritual benefit for Anglicans in their celebration of the Lord's Supper. If received in faith, there can be a spiritual communion in the action. But it is not the same as the Real Presence . . . that is Jesus Christ sacramentally present in what appears to bread and wine.

The only caveat I would add to Mike's answer is that there are other churches with a valid Eucharist . . . just not Protestant ones. The Eastern Orthodox Churches, and couple of Western churches that went in schism retained Apostolic Succession. They have a valid Eucharist, even though they aren't in full communion with Rome. I'm sure that was an oversight on Mike's part.

I hope this helps,

John

Dan replied:

Dear John, Mike, and Team,

Thank you for your patience and your time.

Allow me to change slant to my search:

If we are talking about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ when receiving the bread and wine, in that one is receiving Christ in His Body and Blood, then this is most profound.

It must, at the same time, be most wonderful and still very much a mystery.

It, therefore, must have a very real and profound effect on the one (Catholic) receiving this sacrament.

  • At this stage, I can only envy such a person but tell me please, is the reality (or rather the realness) of this felt and appreciated by the one receiving?
  • Is the communicant aware that something has (as it were) entered into [him/her] at the time of receiving?

My question goes back to what I first mentioned in that, for some time, I have felt that receiving of Communion [should/must] be more than just remembering what Christ did for us on the Cross, even though that, in itself, is of great value.

Thank you for your patience,

Dan

John replied:

Dan,

The Real Presence has nothing do with the recipient. It is only objectively present if the Eucharist is consecrated by a properly ordained priest. It has nothing to do with feelings. It is an objective reality that only come about by the actions and intentions of a validly, ordained priest using the right form.

A believer will only receive the blessings and benefits from the Real Presence, if they are in a state of Grace and approach/receive this sacrament in faith. That doesn't change whether the Real Presence is there or not.

To those Christians, like the Anglicans that don't have a valid priesthood, they can receive a spiritual communion and spiritual benefits, if they partake in the Lord's Supper in faith and ask Jesus to commune with them spiritually but they don't have access to the Body and Blood of Christ. They are simply eating bread and drinking wine.

You are quite right that Lord's Supper is supposed to be more than just remembering the Lord's Death and Resurrection.

It is the Making Present of the RE — presenting of the One and forever Sacrifice of Calvary.

The Greek word for Remembrance that is used in Bible, is Anamnesis . . . To make present. To God, who lives in the Eternal Now, Calvary is always before Him. At the Mass, Catholics and Orthodox Christians are no longer in their present time . . . but mystically are present at Calvary in 33 A.D., at the Resurrection, and also at the Divine Liturgy being perpetually celebrated in Heaven. God makes us all present to this.

But sadly, Protestants have abandoned this. And while it's wonderful that you are seeking more from your participation in the Lord's Supper celebrated in your community, the best you can attain is a spiritual presence or communion. This is through no fault of your own. It's the fault of the Anglican Reformers who went further than Henry VIII ever intended. The articles of the Anglican Confessional, state there are only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. By denying that Holy Orders or Ordination was a sacrament, they deny the ministerial priesthood. This interrupted Apostolic Succession . . . in other words, the connection to the original Apostles. Why? Because for a sacrament to be valid, it requires the right intention. If one doesn't believe Ordination is a sacrament, then it is impossible have the right intention.

Once this happened, the Church of England, ceased to ordain valid priests and bishops. Without valid priests and bishops, you have no valid Eucharist or Real Presence.

If you want the Real Presence, I would encourage you to keep seeking the Lord's guidance and the help of the Holy Spirit, so that He can show you that way back into full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Warmly,

John

Dan replied:


Much to think on.

Thank you!

Pray for me.

Dan

Paul replied:

Hi Dan,

Just to add a tiny bit to what has been said, the level of experiential appreciation one has for the absolutely wonderful act of receiving Jesus' body, blood, soul, and divinity into one's own body, is higher in those whose hearts and minds are open by the supernatural virtue of faith.

We should all pray for an increase in this virtue. Just look at some of the saints throughout Church history and the depths of their experience on receiving the Eucharist, as well as on contemplating the exposed Sacrament on the altar.

Peace,

Paul

John replied:

Dan,

What Paul said brings up another point.

While you can't receive the Eucharist in a Catholic Church, you can attend Mass and worship the Real Presence. You can also seek out adoration of the Eucharist, either exposed or in the tabernacle.

John

Dan replied:

Hi, John —

Please explain seeking out adoration of the Eucharist . . .

Dan

John replied:

Sure,

Some Parishes offer Adoration times, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance (a special device that holds the Eucharist so it can be displayed). As we noted before, we believe that the Consecrated Host, is no longer bread, but Jesus Himself sacramentally and substantially present. So we spend time before Him in Adoration and in quiet contemplation and prayer.

That said, I would look for a Catholic parish near you that offers times to do this. The other option, if this is not available, is simply to go into a Catholic Church and spend some time in front of the tabernacle. That is where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. He is in the Tabernacle. It may be behind the main altar, off to the side on side altar, or it may be in a separate Chapel so you can spend some time before the Lord that way in prayer, contemplation, and adoration. It is a way of being a few feet away from the Real Presence that, right now, you can't receive.

Obviously, you are always welcome to come a Catholic Mass and pray and participate, abstaining from the Eucharist. You can also go up during the Communion and just tell the priest, you can't receive, and ask him for a blessing.

If your current Anglican community is High Church, you'll find the Catholic Mass, very similar to your current form of worship. In fact those priests, mistakenly think they are validly ordained and that they are consecrating the Eucharist.

So you will find the liturgy very familiar.

In recent years, many Anglican congregations have converted wholesale back to the Church. For that reason, the Church has created, what is called the Anglican Ordinariate. They are in full communion with the Catholic Church and Rome has allowed them to keep pretty much all of the Anglican traditions in the Liturgy they offer. Their priests get ordained by a Catholic bishop and the Anglican liturgy is altered with a few changes to bring it in line with Catholic doctrine.

The first thing you'll notice is that during the Eucharist prayers, the priest will pray for the Pope. There are some other changes but essentially, the ritual is very High Church Anglican.

One more note regarding Adoration. This was key in my return to the Church.

I was a Baptist/Pentecostal Minister and the more I studied the Scriptures and the early Church, the more I became convinced of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence. So like you, I couldn't receive but I could spend some time before the Lord in Adoration. As I spent this time in prayer, He showed me the way and made it possible for me to leave the pulpit and return home.

I hope this helps,

John

Dan replied:

Thank you.

I regard all these helps from yourself and the team as steps. I will follow them and see where they (the Lord) leads.

Dan

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.