Communion September 24, 2023

I don’t know what I believe about the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist.

As someone who grew up in the Catholic Church, the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist seems to be one of the last explicitly Catholic doctrines I have continued to internalize.

Now I am struggling.

What I do know that I believe is that communion, at the very least, represents something beautiful. All those believers, all over the world, having comm-union, community, with each other through sharing the divine meal. It seems a bit watered down, people all sitting facing straight in hard pews. The church, the modern day Mass or service or Lord’s Supper, isn’t the table that Jesus sat at back in the day, with the Apostles. It seems colder somehow, less like a meal we share and more like feeling obligated to listen to a preacher preach and pray. But it still holds beauty and power, a statement that we are family; that we are one in God’s Love.

I received my First Communion on May 1, 2010. I had been looking forward to feeling like the grown-ups, receiving communion and confession and all that. Someday, I’ll talk about confession, but today isn’t that day.

I looked forward to Jesus being mine, I suppose? (Yet it does not truly work that way, does it? The process to making Jesus, making your faith, yours is much longer and harder than simply approaching the priest and receiving communion.)

I had a little dream, of the perfect Catholic woman I’d be. I would go to Franciscan University in Ohio, or Benedictine University, the one in Kansas because there’s another one that’s heretical and liberal (according to people I guess). Honestly, I’ve always seen myself remain single, which has held true so far for a variety of different reasons. I would always be socializing with Catholics, and they would always be there for me. I wanted to be a saint, like the men and women my mother and I read about in books and novels when I was homeschooling.

Catholicism always made me feel ashamed of myself, and the Church told me that was a good thing. So I feel, to this day, as I have always felt, safe in shame.

I reach my arms out and speak, to say that no, no, God does not will that. I am good, God is good. That proclamation still does not feel safe to me, to this day.

Part of that perfect little dream told me I would receive Jesus. Although now that I have learned about what the Lutherans believe, that Jesus is in the bread and wine, not necessarily transubstantiated, it seems my beliefs at least were probably closer to that. I would receive Jesus in that host, when I was worthy of it, without sin, pure, feeling above my humanity.

I refrained from receiving communion so many times because of scrupulosity, because of fear that I’m simply not worthy of it. Nowadays, whenever that feeling creeps in, that I’m not worthy of God, I receive anyways, because God is good, Jesus is good, I am good.

Can Jesus be found in religious services and rituals like the Eucharist?

Where is Jesus? In the bread and wine we receive in the Eucharist? Is Jesus in the communion we share with others on an interpersonal basis? In the poor, the outcast, the needy, the least of these?

Who is Jesus?

“Who do you say that I am?” asks Jesus within the Gospels. I’m not sure I’ve ever known who I believe Jesus to be. What I know for sure is that Jesus most likely existed, that the four Gospels are not collective gaslighting, and they are eyewitness accounts. He preached the Beatitudes, and the Sermon on the Mount, and apparently performed miracles. It’s hard to sum up the Gospels. Jesus stands up for the hurting, and says they are blessed. His way of being seems to echo his mother’s Magnificat, “fill the hungry with good things and send the rich away empty.”

But who is Jesus? God come down to earth to love? Prophet who preaches good things? Liar and ancient cult leader not worth anyone’s time? That last one feels a bit offensive but you never know, I guess.

My worldview is crumbling. I pray this is God working in me.


PS: Sorry for my absence, been trying to figure out how to write this, or something else, for a while now.

Browse Our Archives