Idol worship: Is Eucharistic adoration akin to worshiping an idol?
Is Eucharistic adoration akin to worshiping an idol? Depending on
which side of the isle you sit, it may almost appear that way! Of
course, there is a world of difference between the idol worship
forbidden in the Old and New Testament, and the kind of adoration
that many believers lavish on the relics and other items of the
faith, or is there? Read on to find out more.
In the sunny state of Florida, there is a monastic order called the Community of the Monks of Adoration. Being wholly consecrated to God and to one another, these monks seek to put into practice the immortal words of Father Jose Guadalupe Trevino who stated that "fortunate, indeed, are the souls called by God to a life of Perpetual Adoration!" Yet some believers hold that the Monks of Adoration are actually worshiping an idol. Are they correct?
During the course of Perpetual or Eucharistic Adoration, Catholics the world over worship the host of bread and the cup of wine - this is believed to hold the very spirit of Christ Jesus himself. Generally speaking, at the moment the priest consecrates the bread and wine, it is transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ. Thus, Jesus Christ is no longer simply present spiritually, but is actually present physically. Very often a consecrated host and cup of wine is placed in a monstrance, an artfully crafted containing vessel which showcases its content while it is displayed on the altar. At times, the host and wine may also be shut up in a tabernacle, which is a less elaborate containment that may hold the Eucharist as well. These tabernacles are incorporated into a church's design to give the faithful the opportunity to come and pray to Christ, who is present in the guise of host and wine, when they are willing to do so. A concerted effort at worshiping the Eucharist is now rarely made in the scope of everyday Catholic life, and is much more left to the monks and nuns who devote their lives to the perpetual adoration.
Of course, there are those who believe that the importance paid to such visible signs of the faith as hosts, monstrances and tabernacles is akin to worshipping an idol. Quoting the words of God as they are recorded by Moses in the book of Exodus, detractors from the practice of Perpetual Adoration claim that it is against God's directives to make any image for the sake of adoration. Bowing down to such an image is considered idol worship.
Of course, the Catholic Church is quick to point out that written in the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent it was held and affirmed that the host and wine were indeed the places in which Jesus Christ himself dwelt upon consecration. Thus it would stand to reason that Catholics and other believers bow to the elements of the Eucharist and pray to it, yet in direct opposition the Lord God stated that the "Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands" as it is written in the book of Acts.
So, are the monks worshiping an idol? Do you commit idol worship if you bow down to the host and cup? Looking at the evidence, it appears that the Bible is very clear in stating the extent of such idol worship, and also what constitutes such inappropriate worship to begin with. On the other hand, the commands to worship the host and cup are recorded not in the Bible but in the writings of the greats of the faith. It appears that the question comes down simply to this: are you following the Bible or the sayings of men?
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