When I read the Bible I am being taught by the Word (Jesus Christ), is it correct that my Bible contains the presence of Christ? And if I ask Jesus to come dwell in my heart during prayer, He does come to me, correct?Jesus comes in His spiritual presence when you read the Scriptures or pray, but only through the Eucharist do you receive His substantial presence (which is NOT the same as His physical presence). Distinguishing between these three ways that God is present to us requires some careful thought and it doesn't hurt to have a grounding in philosophy.
So if those things are true then how does receiving Holy Eucharist differ from and why is it better than what the Bible & prayer can do for me?
Instead of going through the whole philosophy of Aristotle, let's see if we can boil this down a bit. Historically speaking, Jesus permits us to experience His presence in three different ways:
1) Let's begin by comparing the physical and spiritual presence:
Certainly we would agree that Jesus standing in front of us is a much different kind of presence than reading the Bible.
The opportunity to experience His physical presence - the touch of His hand, the sight of His face, etc. - is simply not the same as reading the Bible and imagining these things.
His physical presence includes our physical sensing of the Body He owns - the caress of His Hand, the sound of the air that He has formed into His Words, etc. When He is present to us in a physical way, our body physically experiences the five sensations produced by His human body (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell).
It is clear that there is a big difference between the physical and the spiritual presence of God.
This is especially true since God does not have a body in the same way we do: although He owns a human body, that human body is not a necessary part of His divinity. Thus, even after the Incarnation, God doesn't have a physical presence in the same way we do - our physical presence is a necessary part of our identities, but God doesn't NEED a body in order to be God. This is why, even though the apostles experienced God physically, they did not immediately or fully understand that they were in the presence of the living God.
2) This leads us to our second comparison: the difference between the physical and substantial presence of God:
Even if I had had the honor of experiencing Jesus' physical presence, God Incarnate standing in front of me, that doesn't mean I would recognize the substance of divinity present.
I would see His flesh, feel His touch, smell Him, hear Him, perhaps even be physically healed by Him, but even with all of that, I would not necessarily fully understand that He is fully God, that I am physically in the presence of the substance of God, the substance of divinity. After all, pretty much everyone who met Him, with the possible exception of His parents, physically interacted with Him but didn't recognize the substance of divinity He is.
The Divine Nature *IS* God. Every time we encounter the substance of divinity, we necessarily encounter God in the core of His Being.
So, we can distinguish between the physical and the substantial presence of God as well.
3) Now, here's the question we need to consider: what is the difference between the spiritual presence and the substantial presence of God?
Since the encounter with the substance of divinity is God Himself, if God were substantially present in the Scriptures, then the Scriptures would - by themselves - necessarily *BE* God in exactly the same way that Jesus *IS* God.
Now, no one believes the Scriptures are such a thing, not even the most ardent supporter of Scripture. We recognize that the Scriptures are God-breathed, have immense authority, are inerrant, etc., but no one thinks the Scriptures *ARE* God in the same way that Jesus *IS* God.
And just as encountering the substance of divinity - even hidden behind the veil of human flesh - is really superior to reading the Bible, so receiving the Eucharist - Who is the substance of Jesus hidden behind the veil of bread and wine - is really superior to reading the Bible.
Now, it would be wonderful if we were able to experience the physical, substantial presence of Jesus in His glorified body as the apostles did after the Resurrection, but that is reserved for heaven. Here, we see as though through a glass, darkly. At His Ascension, He carried His human nature, including His human flesh and blood, with Him into heaven for the eternal, perpetual sacrifice He offers the Father.
His Ascension moved His glorified body "beyond the veil", as it were. So, instead of experiencing His physical presence, we experience the glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the resurrected Christ, the substantial presence of God, *as He offers Himself to the Father in the heavenly temple*. Because our eyes cannot stand such glory, He presents this to us hidden behind the veil of bread and wine.
Even though His Body and Blood are truly present in the Eucharist, substantially present, He is not said to be physically present precisely because our senses do not perceive His Body as a physical human body. In fact, there is no physical (i.e., scientific) test that is capable of detecting His Body and Blood. The substance of His Body and Blood are present, but His physicality is not.
So, God opens the door to heaven through the veil of His own flesh, yet His flesh is itself veiled in Beth-le-hem (Hebrew for "the House of Bread"), it is veiled under the appearance of bread and wine.
This double veiling of the substance of His divinity corresponds to the double veiling aspect of the Tent of Meeting that Paul speaks about in Hebrews 9:1-5. The bread and wine veil the Body, Blood and Soul, which in turn veil the Divinity.
This is also why John talks about Jesus having "pitched His tent among us" (John 1:14). Jesus' tent (His Body) is not just the normal, single-veiled tent. Because He is God, He pitches among us the double-veiled Tent of Meeting - the Eucharist.
He took human flesh precisely in order to establish the Holy of Holies, He provided the Eucharist in order to create the outer tent within which the Holy of Holies is hidden.
And that's the difference between the Bible and the Eucharist. One is a God-breathed book, the other is God Himself.