St Francis Q&A

Friday, February 17, 2006

"This is my body"

One of our SFA bloggers wrote this comment earlier in the week (btw, the Real Presence refers to Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity under the signs of bread and wine):

"On an on-line forum once, the question was asked, 'What would you do if Jesus walked into the room, right here and now?' It was in thinking of my own answer to this question that helped me to realize the truth of the Real Presence. Wow! That was a mighty revelation that steered me out of cafeteria catholicism."

How many of us Catholics truly believe that the Eucharist is really Jesus' body, blood, soul, and divinity? If we pay attention to statistics, the numbers are not good: about 70% of Catholics* believe the Eucharist is only a symbol of Jesus' body and blood. Whatever the percentage, there is a problem here. I think it's because Catholics, by and large, don't really know the Church's teaching about the Real Presence. I didn't know it the first twenty years of my life.

When I was 21, I remember sitting in the office of a priest who was a good friend of mine. We hung out together, played golf, went on trips, etc. We would talk about everything under the sun - sports, religion, poilitics, whatever. On this day, we started talking about the Eucharist. I said, "well, you know, Father, the Eucharist is just a symbol". He said, "what?", with his jaw halfway to the floor.

"It's a...symbol??", I said, very shakily. He replied firmly and plainly, "'This is my body', Greg, means THIS IS MY BODY."

That conversation changed my life. I walked away thinking, 'you mean, that stuff is for real? What happens at Mass is for real? That isn't just bread and wine? It really is Jesus' body and blood? Whoa!!' At that point, God became real for me. Before that time, my approach was that God was way up in Heaven and I was down here on Earth. I realized that He was much closer to me. He was right in front of me, about 20 feet away... (to be continued)


*from studies done within the last 10 years

2 Comments:

  • I'm with ya man. Somehow, after 12 years of Catholic education, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist eluded me. It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I became aware that the Eucharist we receive IS the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    That blew me away. At first, I couldn't believe it. I started going to Eucharistic Adoration and would just stare are the Host trying to wrap my brain around it. I could not understand the Real Presence.

    Then I read a book called 'Confession of a Roman Catholic', by a Protestant minister that converted to Catholicism. That booklet really helped. I then started reading and re-reading John 6 (The Bread of Life Discourse), and then it hit me...like a ton of bricks!

    Realizing this was THE turning point in my faith too.

    By Blogger Ty Roach, at 9:08 AM  

  • Okay, this is my first time logging onto a Blog site. I'm not really sure how this works but here goes.....
    My husband told me I would enjoy reading Deacon Greg's Blog site, and I truly did and will continue to.
    I just finished reading several of your past discussion topics (or are they called posts ?? UGGGG.)
    I was so moved by so many of them and wanted to comment on each of them but decided to pick one that moved me the most and I have to admit it was regarding the Eucharist. Thank-you for your honesty and for sharing your very personal experiences. I wish more priests would share their own personal experiences, from the altar, about how they came to be enlightened over different matters. It helps us simple folk see that yes even our Priests had to start somewhere on their spiritual journey. And it is usually in the same place that so many of us are.... deep in sin.
    As a Cradle Catholic, I too didn't realize what we truly believe to be receiving at communion. I learned this as a 35 year old going through the RCIA program to be confirmed. All adult catholics should have to go through the RCIA progam. To relearn, and many times start to learn, just what we truly believe. When I learned of the True Presence, I was stunned... WE BELIEVE THAT ??? And too asked the question how can that be? But deep down inside I wanted very much to believe that. Really, who wouldn't want to believe that every time we receive the Eucharist we are physically taking Christ into our very self. I NEED THAT. I NEED HIM IN ME TO HELP ME TO BE MORE LIKE HIM IN THIS WORLD. of course I don't understand it. I can't explain how it happens. But Christ said outright what it is we are receiving... and I believe. I will not be one of the many people who heard him say this and walked away because they didn't understand or it just sounded too horrible a thing. He didn't go after them and say...Wait, Wait don't go. I was just meaning that as a symbol. He let them walk away because they wouldn't believe his actual meaning. AND SO I BELIEVE IT BECOMES HIS TRUE BODY AND BLOOD, AND HE PHYSICALLY BECOMES JOINED WITH MY BODY EVERY TIME I RECEIVE. WOW !!!!! THANK-YOU JESUS FOR SOMETHING SO SIMPLE.
    And yet after having just reaffirmed what I (and we as Catholics) believe, why don't I figure out how to get to mass every single day of the week !!! I am caught up in the daily struggles of balancing work and family life. Oh how I wish I could start my days with receiving Christ but time committments just don't allow right now. and I hate to admit that. I am embarrassed to admit that. But for now I will try to get to Wednesday night mass and Sunday.
    I am afraid there are many many cradle catholics like ourselves (ty roach & myself) who also don't really understand what we are receiving at communion. I am thankful to God that he enlightened me early enough in life (if you can say 35 is early)to maybe try to help share it with others and my kids.

    I hope I haven't overstepped my blogging boundaries here.....
    please let me know if I have. It is just refreshing to hear others stories. It reminds me of mine own.

    By Blogger Linda, at 5:28 PM  

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