Intercommunion

Written by Joel on April 11th, 2008

My wife and I attend our local Catholic Church exclusively. I do not attend a Protestant church of my own tradition. We have been worshiping there since we got married, so for about 9 months. For those 9 months I have received communion exactly twice.

Twice! In 9 months! Now, some protestants who are reading this might be saying “so?”

I come from a Christian tradition which celebrates The Lord’s Supper every Sunday. It is hard for me to consider a typical Protestant “service” worship, unless communion is part of it.

I believe that as baptized Christians we are commanded to The Lord’s Supper, and called to it regularly. The words of institution simply say “Do this…” And in the Gospel according to John, Jesus explains that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (Jn 6:53 NIV)

The Catholic Church articulates it quite well when they say that the Eucharist “is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life.” (Lumen Gentium, 11) The Catechism translates this as “the source and summit” (Catechism, 1324) To put it another way, the Eucharist is as essential for our spiritual lives as food is for our physical health.

Not receiving the Eucharist for me is tantamount to starvation.

Being hungry for Christ, I approached our (Catholic) pastor and asked to receive the Eucharist when I attend mass. We scheduled a meeting and discussed the possibility.

He suggested that I was perhaps being called by God to join the Roman Catholic Church, and for that reason the Eucharist would be withheld from me until I am able to make that decision. He was interested in my journey and offered to continue our meeting at another time and discuss the possibility of joining the Church.

I went into the meeting from a different perspective. I understand myself to be called to the ordained ministry. I am not prepared to abandon God’s calling. (the priesthood is not an option for me because I am married) I was hoping to be admitted to the Eucharist, while recognizing our imperfect communion. That Jesus commanded celebration of his Eucharist not within one particular manifestation of his Church but simply as his Body of believers.

Protestants and Catholics hold quite a paradoxical view of how the Eucharist can be shared. Protestants believe that we will not be united until we are able to share the Eucharist together. Catholics believe we cannot share the Eucharist together until we are united.

And so I stand in this paradox, praying for God’s intercession to bring his broken Church on Earth into a visible unity.


 

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Kevin says:

    I will pray for you and that God will guide you in discerning where he is calling you to be! Just a reminder too-only Catholics who are in a state of grace can receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Until/unless you enter the Church, please refrain from physically receiving our Lord. Instead, you can do like I do when I am not in a state of grace, and gaze upon our Lord in the Eucharist, praying that He comes to you in a spiritual communion.

    Peace, and God bless!

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