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Steve B. wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Could you please explain the difference between the type of Divine Presence or Omnipresence that is everywhere in the universe versus the type of Divine Presence in the Eucharist?

I'm sure that non-sacramental groups ask:

  • Why do I need the Eucharist when I already have unmediated access to Jesus through faith alone?
  • Why do I need a sacrament when God is already available to me everywhere?

Thanks,

Steve

  { Why do I need the Eucharist when I already have unmediated access to Jesus through faith alone? }

Bob replied:

Steve,

  • Ask them:
    • if God's Presence in the believer and the unbeliever is the same?
    • if God's Presence in the Christian and the Muslim is the same?
    • if God's Presence in the sinner and the Saint is the same?

I imagine that they will suggest there is some difference. Certainly God is everywhere, as all things exist in Him. He is simply bigger than the universe (if you can attribute size to God), so nothing escapes Him, even Hell but, at the same time, we would not say that the experience of the presence of God is the same in Heaven and Hell.

God allows us to experience Himself in different ways because it is to our benefit. He provides grace to those who believe, in many varied ways, and likewise He uses matter, and even its form, as a disguise — to come to us in a profound way.

The Incarnation is the most prime example of that. Jesus Christ is God, Infinite, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and just about every other superlative you could come up with but at the same time He is man. That is an obstacle to those who can't reconcile those disparate realities. Jesus kept His Body after the Resurrection. He didn't need to.

  • Why?

Because it must make a difference in how God relates to us. He doesn't need it anymore, after all, He only died once.

  • Aren't we His Body now?

If Jesus can take a Human Body and transform it into a new permanent, glorified reality, He has no problem with matter, but to the contrary, sees it as something good.

So if you stick with the Incarnation, as an example, they may come around to see that God can take the form of Bread too, after all, it is a mystical experience, even if it is super-sensory.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

John replied:

Hi, Steve —

Let me add my two cents.

St. Paul and St. John compared our relationship with God, or the Church's relationship with Christ to that of a Bride and Groom . . . a husband and wife.

Well, marriage is a complex relationship. It involves various forms of intimacy, communication, time spent together, as well as intellectual, spiritual, and physical intimacy.

We are physical beings and, even in our relationship with the Lord, there is need and benefit from
physical, sacramental intimacy.

A husband can say:

  • I talk to my wife.
  • I praise my wife.
  • we share our intimate thoughts, dreams and aspirations.
  • We spend plenty of time of together.
  • We eat our meals together, but you know . . .

    • Why do we need to engage in a physical act of love?
      <We have all these other things we do together.>

Well, that's really the same question you are asking, when you say:

  • Why do I need the Eucharist when I already have unmediated access to Jesus through faith alone?

I would be careful about using faith alone but that's a whole different discussion.

You can't get much more direct access to Christ than by receiving His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. It is the equivalent of the marital, physical act of love that newly weds as well as married couples engage in on a regular basis.

Christianity is not just cerebral faith and it's not just about information. God gave us five senses:

  1. sight
  2. smell
  3. taste
  4. hearing, and
  5. touch

In the Liturgy we hear the Word God but we also taste, touch, see, and smell Him sacramentally.

I hope this helps,

John

Steve replied:

Hey Bob,

Thanks! Thanks also for that added information John!

Yes, telling non-Eucharistic groups that it resembles the sacrament of marriage is really a perfect analogy and ought to be useful in discussions on this topic.

Regards,

Steve B.

John replied:

No problem.

Glad we could help.

Tell us if you have any other questions.

John

Steve replied:

Well, thank you!

I sure will. You guys are great. : )

Steve

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