Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Flesh and Blood

While it is not my habit to add a second post in the course of a day, I was beginning to feel left out. It has been days since I last published something. So, I offer these reflections:

It is a rare occasion when I do not experience some song or another in my head. Often, my inside voice loses its battle with my outside voice, and I end up singing the song in the hallway, on the sidewalk, or at the table (even though I was taught better). Such was the setting for an interesting episode in my recent history.

Sitting at a restaurant with a classmate and a former seminarian a few nights ago, the conversation turned to some of the songs that the seminary community sings with some regularity. One of us recollected a little ditty that we used to often sing as a "communion hymn" at Spanish Mass. The Chorus reads, "Amen, el Cuerpo de Cristo. / Amen, la Sangre del Señor. / Eating his body; drinking his blood. / We become what we receive. Amen. Amen."

The body and blood of Christ - and here we were, sitting in a relatively crowded restaurant discussing the consumption of flesh and blood. It occurred to me that upon overhearing such a conversation, anyone except another Catholic would probably turn pale and wonder if they should call the police. What kind of people eat and drink flesh and blood? Crazy zombie movie people, that's who. And Catholics. Catholics eat flesh and drink blood, and it remains as bizarre to the non-Catholic ear to hear it now as it did when in the days of Roman persecution of the Church, rumors were spread that Christians sacrificed babies in order to eat their flesh and drink their blood. Catholics were accused of cannibalism, and while such a designation was untrue, they seem to have been less shy about this concern than they were about the idea that they simply consumed bread and wine. They knew that while what they were doing was not cannibalism, it was closer to that than it was to simple bread-eating.

Such accusation continues today. I was once told that Catholics abuse their children by teaching them the superstitious belief that bread and wine could become flesh and blood, or that it is somehow permissible to eat human flesh. We know this to be untrue. In teaching our children about the Eucharist, we teach them perhaps the most important thing we can teach them. Jesus Christ, in his great love, has provided us with a way to perpetuate his saving sacrifice throughout all of time, to unite ourselves with him, and to unite ourselves as a community of his disciples.

Amen. El Cuerpo de Cristo.

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