I was baptized Catholic, attended Catholic grade school and received First Communion. My mother was Lutheran. She was actually the one very committed to doing my Catholic Sunday school homework with me. I grew up clearly understanding that I believed the Eucharist to be Jesus and she believed it to be a symbol of Jesus. On holiday’s I would attend Mass and occasionally Lutheran services with her on holiday’s. Eventually, I was confirmed within The Church however, it was more like going through the motions than actually making a choice for myself. So I believe it was perhaps only natural for me to have a crisis of faith at some point in order to become stronger.
I bought a Catholic Catechism. I had read it cover to cover with the full intention of understanding but actually I just ended up being a cafeteria Catholic. You know kind-of like a very low key Abraham Lincoln that rewrote a bible to fit his individual beliefs. See I filled the Catechism with sticky notes about things I wasn’t sure of believing. Things that were difficult to comprehend for one reason or another. I would question answers that “felt” more right than any amount of personal suffering. I started to skip a few Masses here and there and visited other churches. I was quite lost.
I attended a Baptist Church, at least that is what they called themselves. It was my favorite. They sang, danced, and had a good time. I even recognized some of the same shared songs. I was emotionally uplifted! However, suddenly, the service was just over. No communion. I asked about it and was informed they only did a “symbol service” once a month. I truly left quite saddened. For a joyful moment I thought I had found my true home because it felt so right participating in the moment.
I also visited another Christian denomination Church. They were a small community of mostly elderly who happily greeted me. I made it very clear I was just visiting and did not fully participate but observed. I left in such an awe at how well they knew their bible and what an amazing focus they seemed to have on the word of God. The parishioners surely had a better memory for their bible than anyone had ever known in my life. They also did not have Jesus in body, soul and divinity. Did all other Christians see Jesus as a symbol? Didn’t their bible say that he was more than a symbol? The whole inconsistency greatly confused me.
I had a friend, a co-worker who was a Jahova Witness. She was a very kind soul. She was a bit older than me and she made me fell quite protected in her care. She took a great interest in not only my spirituality but everything in my life. I loved talking with her. I would come to work with question after question grilling her for her answer and comparing it to what the Catholic Catechism said. Her logical answers made sense on the surface but later would just fall apart and quite honestly gave me more confusion than clarity. They didn’t have Jesus in the Eucharist either.
There was no Jesus at least not in the presence that I came to know him. I went home and read over and over and over the sections on why Jesus was only present under a Priest and not a Pastor too. Why was the teaching so difficult for others to believe?
I bought the book of Eucharistic miracles. No turning back now. I believed that the investigations really happened. I believed that the miracles really happened. Yes, I clearly believed that Jesus was present so I could not leave Jesus. I could not leave the Catholic Church even if I seen issues. Eventually, my mother read the Eucharist Miracles and become Catholic too. So you may be very tempted to leave with scandal so evident but I pray that you find Jesus Presence in the Holy Communion.