Sunday, September 8, 2019
Are Catholics Nuts?
Many people summarize their lack of understanding of the Catholic faith in that question, a summary of THEIR faith that what Catholics believe CAN’T be true. But they rarely seek to understand that truth. Here are just some of the compelling proofs I recently heard for the key truth of the Catholic faith: God is present there.
Fr. Mark Livingston recently summarized in a single talk proofs of the key Catholic belief: Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist. (While it is still available online, you can listen to that entire talk at the St. John Neumann, Canton Michigan, website, under Homilies, June 19 Eucharist Talk – Fr. Mark.) If you have time to waste reading this blog (or any other), TAKE the time to listen to that talk.
In (my rather poor) summary which follows, Fr. Mark begins by presenting the focus of Catholic worship, the mass. He explains why it is a sacrifice, not a gathering of worshippers or friends, not a meal. There is an altar; altars are for sacrifice --- by definition. What happens at the mass is a sacrifice --- there is an altar, priest, victim, and a separation of the body. The Jewish people always believed that blood is life, which is why they stipulate to not drink the blood of animals; you would be taking into your life a lesser life. But then Jesus says “Drink My blood, to have eternal life.” If we drink the blood of Jesus, it is not of a lesser being, but one much greater; we gain life from Him. And He also said: “Eat my body”.
Fr. Mark goes on to present the facts of the Eucharist. He explains the definition of the term Transubstantiation --- trans (changing) substance, which is what happens when the bread is consecrated at the mass, or what Catholics believe happens. Fr. Mark held up a Bible and asked: “What is this?” It looks like, feels like and has all the physical properties of what is a Bible. He read a verse from Matthew. Then he asked: “What if I prayed over this Bible and its substance changed?” Opening it he said: “Oh look, it’s a Betty Crocker cookbook,” and he read part of a biscuit recipe. It still looked like a Bible, but its substance had changed. To further distinguish physical and substance properties, he gave the example of Judy changing the color of her hair. Physically, her appearance changed, but her substance of Judy was still there. The physical properties and substance of a thing differ; God can change a substance, because He is God, without changing a physical appearance --- like the transubstantiation of the Eucharist, the bread is changed in substance even though it still looks like bread.
Then Fr. Mark presented proofs of what that “substance” now is in the consecrated bread. From the times of the Apostles, Catholics have always believed that the substance of the bread is changed into Jesus’ body. Fr. Mark quoted many ancient references. He then cited some of the many hundreds of documented Eucharistic miracles of all sorts, from the earliest times to recent years. And then he presented the scientific evidences. Using the latest scientific techniques available, materials from many Eucharistic miracles have been and are being tested. All the tests, every one (to date), has shown the same results. Where there is blood now seen flowing from the Eucharist, it is a rare Type AB blood; it is from a Middle-Eastern man, and --- in the latest of studies --- it is of a man who just died. In fact, a recent study of a Eucharistic miracle showed that the white blood cells were still alive in the blood, but they normally die almost immediately upon death. Regarding the physical remains of some Eucharistic miracles, it has been scientifically identified as being heart tissue, from a certain area of the heart. This has been proven by testing the results of a number of Eucharistic miracles; the results are always the same. (The blood studies Fr. Mark referenced are consistent with studies I have read which were done on the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Sudarium, the burial cloths of Jesus. Both have the same rare blood type.)
There is much more, but I’ve never heard in one talk such a presentation of the facts. The Eucharist becomes Jesus’ body and blood. You can choose to disbelieve the miracles, the thousands of people who have seen them, the facts and the studies, and you can choose to believe in Santa Claus, but please don’t ridicule those who believe. Get the facts.
If you are a nominal Catholic, a former Catholic or someone who chooses some other church (or none), for whatever compelling reason, I ask you to listen to the facts of this talk and then perhaps follow up by visiting a Catholic church or adoration chapel and just ask: “Are You there?” And then, ask yourself a question: If God is there, why am I not? Perhaps you should join in worship with the “nuts”. But of course, that’s your choice.