Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
“And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’“
The Roman Catholic Church has consistently held fast to the belief in the Real Presence. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
‘The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”
“This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present”.’
The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1374
Has human language sufficient words to express what the Eucharist is?
A truly indescribable mystery!
Simple with the greatest simplicity!
Rich with supreme richness!
Pope John Paul II,
Irreversible teaching of the Council of Trent about the Real Presence:
The Body and Blood of Christ together with the soul and divinity of Christ and therefore the whole Christ, is truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist.
By that wonderful and extraordinary change, called transubstantiation (trans = change, substantiation = of substance) the whole substance of the bread is changed into Christ’s Body, and the whole substance of the wine is changed into His blood, so that only the species’ properties of bread and wine remain.
In the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under each and every portion of either species when it is divided up.
After the consecration, the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are present in the marvellous sacrament of the Eucharist. They are present not only in the use of the sacrament while it is being received, but also before and after. Consequently, the true Body and Blood of the Lord remain in the consecrated hosts or particles that are kept or left over after Communion.
Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is to be adored in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist with the worship due to God and including external worship. The Blessed Sacrament is therefore to be honoured with extraordinary festive celebrations, solemnly carried from place to place in processions, and is to be publicly exposed for the people’s adoration.
The Holy Eucharist is to be kept in a sacred place
Council of Trent, October 11, 1551
The visit to the Blessed Sacrament … is a great treasure of the Catholic faith. It nourishes social love and gives us opportunities for adoration and thanksgiving, for reparation and supplication. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Hours and Eucharistic processions are likewise precious elements of your heritage – in full accord with the teaching or the Second Vatican Council.
Every act of reverence, every genuflection that you make before the Blessed Sacrament, is important because it is an act of faith in Christ, an act of love for Christ. And every sign of the Cross and gesture of respect made each time you pass a church is also an act of faith- May God preserve you in this faith – this holy Catholic faith – this faith in the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope John Paul II Phoenix Park, Ireland, 1979
(L’Osservarore Romano, English edition. Vatican City, 1978-1999)
If we really understand the Eucharist, if we really centre our lives on Jesus’ Body and Blood, If we nourish our lives with the Bread of the Eucharist, It will be easy for us to see Christ in that hungry one next door, The one lying in the gutter, that alcoholic man we shun, Our husband or our wife, or our restless child. For in them, we will recognise the distressing disguises of the poor: Jesus in out midst.
Mother Teresa, Loving Jesus, trans. Susana Labastida. Harper Collins Publishers, London, 1991
In the tumultuous events of our time, it is important to look to the Eucharist: it must be at the heart of the life of priests and consecrated people; the light and strength of spouses in putting into practice their commitment to fidelity, chastity and the apostolate; the ideal in education and in training children, adolescents and young people; the comfort and support of those who are troubled, of the sick and all who are weeping in the Gethsemane of life.
It must be for everyone the incentive to fulfil the testament of divine charity in humble and Joyous availability to our brothers and sisters, as the Lord taught by His own example, washing the Apostles’ feet.
Pope John Paul II General Audience, Rome, 1995 (L’Osservarore Romano, English edition. Vatican City, 1978-1999)
What happens in Holy Communion?
Christ Our Lord and Saviour unites Himself to us in a visible way, visible in so far as He comes to us under the appearance of bread. This, surely, is a sublime condescension, which we can never sufficiently admire. In Holy Communion Jesus works on our souls.
What He works out in us is God’s highest self-communication, His incredible self-surrender to the soul. By giving sanctifying grace, Christ unites us to the Blessed Trinity Through His sacred Humanity we become partakers of His Divinity. Through the Son we are united to the Father and the Holy Ghost and share in the splendour of Their eternal life. He thus turns the incurable restlessness of the soul to it’s true object, gives it an anticipation of heaven.
In Holy Communion He intensifies our divine life, our union with the Infinite. He makes God penetrate more deeply into the essence and faculties of the soul – like fire permeating piece of iron.
Putz, Joseph, SJ. My Mass, Douglas Organ, London, 1947
‘He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in me and I in him.’
‘I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’