Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.
On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory's sight.
I am still engaged in something of a eucharistic dispute, though why there is a dispute is a 'mystery beyond human comprehension'. On a post entitled 'The Head of the Church' I received a comment from someone called Lorenzo. Here is his comment:
Transubstantiation does not mean that Christ is locally present in the host. It's a common misunderstanding. There is a change in substance, not in the accidents, and place (locality) is an accident. That is orthodoxy, shame an Anglican has to remind you. He he.
Well, how to respond? Christ is truly present in the Sacred Host, something ensured by the change in substance following the heavenly exchange on the Altar that the Church has taught, always and everywhere, means that the one who consumes the consecrated Host consumes the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The Church has always taught that which I believe, that the change in the bread and wine is substantial in its becoming for us the Body and Blood of the Lord. Therefore, the Eucharist retains its outward appearance of bread and wine, to the senses also, retaining the accidents of bread and wine, but its very substance has changed.
Now I would say that none of the above contradicts what I said, that the Lord Jesus, truly and substantially present in every particle of every consecrated Host, is the Head of the Church (as the Church teaches) and is truly present therefore, reserved in every Tabernacle. Therefore, the Head of the Catholic Church, her Divine Spouse, is locally present in every Catholic Church until the End of Time. Unlike Anglicans, this is one reason why Catholics genuflect before the Tabernacle when we pass it and, too, why we double genuflect (kneel) when the Lord is exposed on the Altar, for Dominus est!
It is the Lord. It is not a sign or symbol of the Lord. It is the Lord! If place, reserved in every Tabernacle, is an 'accident' then it is an accident that God willed to happen so that He may always be found in every Catholic Church. It goes without saying that this is a good reason to pray in a Catholic Church - because the Lord is truly there in a unique way in which He is not to be found in an Anglican Church. It is right and truly fitting for the Catholic to worship, adore, glorify, pray to and intercede before the Blessed Sacrament, since that one who does so is insodoing adoring, worshipping and praising God Himself.
Then, in comes good Father John to agree with Lorenzo, maintaining that...
'I completely uphold the doctrine of the real presence and Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity in the sacred species - otherwise I wouldn't be a Catholic priest.'
Great. What's not to like? However, then I am accused of heresy for the following reason...
The difference is that Christ's real presence in the sacred species is a mystery beyond human comprehension, the process of which we cannot fully understand or explain in human words. To claim that the bread and wine PHYSICALLY become Christ's body and blood is to insist that they literally become human flesh and blood. Note that the doctrine says REAL PRESENCE ie body, blood, soul and divinity. It deliberately does not say physical presence. It is a frequent misunderstanding, most often by those of a 'traditional' bent.
Got that, readers? Apparently, there is no physical presence of the Body and Blood, Soul, Humanity and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist. If I may suggest, such an assertion that there is no 'physical presence' of the Lord's Body and Blood in the Eucharist would be to deny what the Lord Himself has said: "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have life in you." I wonder whether this is a bit like those who say that there was a resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but not a physical one - that would just be silly, wouldn't it?
Ah, says Father John...
Eucharistic miracles are a completely separate and unrelated phenomenon to the real presence. The bread and wine remain bread and wine in physical terms although they change substantially (ie in substance). The change is sacramental. If the Eucharistic species were placed under a microscope, it would still be seen to be bread and wine (outwardly).
Eucharistic miracles are not a completely seperate and unrelated phenomenom to the real presence. They are a revelation, a reminder to the whole Church of what Holy Communion truly is. How could they possibly be 'unrelated'? Would the Lord do such a thing if the Church did not doubt? There would surely be no need, just as there would be no need for St Anthony to order a heretic to starve his mule for three days, before the mule is brought to him at Benediction, so that the mule, rather than the heretic would honour the Blessed Sacrament, by kneeling, since dumb animals can reverence that which intelligent men scorn.
It is rather concerning that someone who considers themselves an authentic well-informed catholic would misunderstand one of the central doctrines of the church. I should not need to provide documentary evidence about this as there is plenty of information freely available.
Well, seek and ye shall find, Father John, but why I should have to look for Church documents condemning the idea that the bread and wine become truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in a substantial change that means the Head of the Church is present in every Catholic Church and that in your hands, as a Priest, you hold Almighty God at the words of consecration is, to me a 'mystery beyond human comprehension'. The Eucharist is a mystery of faith. That does not mean that we should doubt!