The Real Presence
The bread and wine are consecrated by the power of the Holy Spirit when the priest says the words similar to Luke 22:19-20.
And He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
These verses were taken literally by the early Church Fathers. Early Christians believed in the Real Presence through Sacred Tradition.
Other Christian churches regard lightly Jesus words “do this in remembrance of me”. They don’t believe that the bread and wine are turned to Jesus’ body and blood upon consecration.
This verse John 6:51 is believed to be related to the Holy Communion:
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.
But other Christian churches take this verse figuratively and not literally as the Catholic Church does.
Knowing that the holy host that you take during the Holy Communion is real body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ should make you appreciative of the Holy Mass celebrated everyday in the Catholic Church. And it should make you really happy that you get to be with Jesus when you receive the Holy Communion.
I didn’t really understand the importance of Real Presence before. And many Catholics who also don’t know just take for granted receiving the Holy Communion, even to the point of disrespecting it.
Catholics are to go to Confession at least once a year. I used to receive the Holy Communion without going to Confession first. And I had not gone to Confession for several years and yet I had been receiving the Holy Communion through all those years.
And I came across this verse 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
And then I remembered that I had been receiving the Holy Communion without going to Confession, without being worthy. So I told myself, that’s why my life was kind of a mess most of the time.
If you really believe the Real Presence (which you should as a Catholic), you would be careful to pay respect to Jesus – to bow down to Him, to kneel before Him, to love to receive Him and be worthy to receive Him.
You would be careful not to offend Him.
A Catholic gets to have a deeper relationship with Jesus when he understands Real Presence and the importance of being worthy before receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist.
When I learned about the Real Presence, I felt the necessity to go to Confession and so I did and do it regularly now. I now find it disrespectful of me to opt to just stand up during consecration. I need to kneel down. Standing is allowed if there is no space or if the person is physically unable to. But if you really believe in the Real Presence, you would kneel. Jesus is there in front of you!
I learned about many miracles that prove the Real Presence. I read about the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano. You should read it, too.
There are some who accuse the Catholics of idolatry and even cannibalism because of adoration and receiving of the Holy Eucharist. Now if you truly understand and believe the Real Presence, you would find these accusations really ridiculous. And you would stay at peace being a Catholic.
Know that the Holy Eucharist is the center of the Catholic faith. It is indeed the Bread of Life. The Eucharist by virtue of Real Presence is Jesus Christ Himself. He is the center of our faith. This knowledge should not only make you happy but also motivate you to share your faith with others. Always remember John 6:51.
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