A great article written by a converted, ex-Evangelical Protestant on the Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Catholics all around the world. Deep with loads of scripture references! You can download the full article in docx format below left hand side under the heading Catholic Flash aka My Box.net widget. Below is an excerpt.
I held aloft a golden chalice, gazing upwards at it, performing one of the central liturgical rituals of the Mass, in which the consecration of the wine takes place. But my attitude was not one of reverence or solemnity. I possessed neither the eyes of faith, nor the traditional Christian understanding of the Blessed Eucharist. I was not standing at an altar, let alone in a church. Nearby, my friend and frequent evangelistic partner was neither kneeling, nor bowing his head, nor making the sign of the cross. He was chuckling.
I wore a mocking, sarcastic scowl, just as I wore a mockingly makeshift priestly robe. I looked as ridiculous as the cowardly lion wearing his “king’s robe” in “The Wizard of Oz,” for I was not a priest, or an ordained clergyman of any sort. I was a non-denominational, Evangelical Protestant, lay missionary. My friend (a former Catholic) and I were making light of the gestures and rituals of a priest saying the Mass. This was in the late 1980s, several years before my surprise 1990 conversion to Catholicism.
My friend took a photograph of this mock liturgy. I still have it. It remains a shameful testament to my former dim comprehension of liturgy and sacramentalism, and to a certain attitude of adolescent silliness when it came to “things Catholic.” It’s an attitude we often see in many of today’s anti-Catholic “ministries” and individuals.
How could I — a serious Christian, with considerable knowledge and appreciation of Church history — have had such an insufficient understanding of the Holy Eucharist: the central focus of Christian worship for fifteen hundred years before the birth of Protestantism? How did I manage to regard liturgy itself as a stale, boring, non-essential “extra” which was by no means necessary to Christian communal fellowship?
Those questions are especially puzzling, because I had a fairly high respect for the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, or Holy Eucharist. My belief was somewhat akin to John Calvin’s “mystical presence,” which was a step higher than the purely symbolic view which many Protestants hold today. I also didn’t believe that what was taking place at the Last Supper was merely empty ritual, or that its re-creation was a bare “remembrance.” Furthermore, I wasn’t “anti-Catholic” in the sense that I would ever have denied that the Catholic Church was Christian.
To understand how such an odd state of affairs could occur requires a look into Church history, especially the historical course of Protestant doctrine. My friend and I — as is characteristic of so many non-Catholics — thought, in the final analysis, that the Eucharist was an add-on, an optional part of the church service.