Body and Blood of Christ
I believe the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist to be literally the body and blood of Christ. The apostolic and early churchclearly believed this; the Bible clearly teaches it.In partaking in faith with sins confessed, Jesus blesses us in the Eucharist.
The ingredients of the Eucharist...
I reject the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation because I reject Aristotelian philosophyupon which it is based. The Orthodox Churches also reject transubstantiation so I'm in good company. I absolutely reject the evangelical fundamentalist Protestant view that communion is merely a symbol, a corporate act of remembering Christ's work on our behalf.
The key to understanding how the Eucharist works is to consider the ingredients of life and being.
My human body is not me. When we die, no one keeps our body around thinking it is us. (We honor the bodies of the dead but not because we think they are the person.)
My soul attaches to my body via the senses and the motor connection points allowing me to move around. During life, my body is me, because my soul is intimately united to it. The various attributes of the body become part of me during life. Thus I have senses, I can run (but not fly), I am quite smart, I speak and ponder, I worship God and sense his presence when out in the great outdoors.
In like manner, during the Eucharist, Christ unites with the consecrated bread and wine. His Spirit attaches to these.
Bread and wine are not nearly as complex as the human body, thus the connection points are fewer and simpler. The consecrated bread and wine do not become human nor do they become deity. The attributes of consecrated bread and wine are (1) they can be recognized as bread and wine, (2) they are food and drink and can nourish us when we consume them.
We worship Christ in the consecrated bread and wine by worshipping his Spirit attached to them. We interact with the consecrated bread and wine by seeing they are bread and wine, and most importantly, by consuming them.
Humans have vastly more ways to interact with other humans than with consecrated bread and wine; of course this is true because humans are vastly more complex than bread and wine.
In consuming the consecrated bread and wine, for one with faith, who believes in the Eucharist, Christ's Spirit interacts with our soul; they occupy the same spiritual space.
When you place the consecrated bread and wine in your mouth, one of three things happens...
In consuming the consecrated bread and wine, we do not become Christ. His Spirit does not attach to our body. Rather, his Spirit mingles with our soul in some way. He blesses us. We experience a form of unity with deity (there are other forms of unity with deity, the Eucharist is just one of these.)
Catholics often make it sound like the only way to unite with Christ is via the Eucharist. But there are other ways...