The Happy Priest Reflects on the Eucharist, the Bread of Life
I have never really understood why people who could attend Mass or make Eucharistic visits during the week simply choose not to do so
Romano Guardini once wrote: "The Holy Eucharist is the final link in the sacred chain of life-giving nourishment reaching from the remoteness of God into the here and now of human existence" (The Lord 238-239). Do you understand why this is so? The Eucharist is the most perfect of the seven sacraments. God dispenses sanctifying grace through the sacraments. Moreover, not only is the Eucharist an aqueduct of divine life, the Eucharist is Jesus Christ himself!
Angels adoring the Eucharistic Lord
The Eucharist allows us to experience the Lord's unconditional love. He loves us so much, that he cannot leave us.
When people are in love they always have pictures of those whom they love in a very special way. True love is unconditional. True love of spouses for each other and their children knows no boundaries. Parents always have pictures of their children, and children, when they leave home, always have pictures of their parents. Anyone who is truly in love always, in some way or another, always has pictures of those who are unconditionally loved.
When Jesus ascended to the Father, it would have been very simple for him merely to leave us with a record of all that he had said and done; however, he could not contain his love within the confines of time and space. Because of his unconditional love, he had to remain with us. The Eucharist is not a symbol, it is a reality. Jesus is truly with us.
Romano Guardini once wrote: "The Holy Eucharist is the final link in the sacred chain of life-giving nourishment reaching from the remoteness of God into the here and now of human existence" (The Lord 238-239). Do you understand why this is so?
The Eucharist is the most perfect of the seven sacraments. God dispenses sanctifying grace through the sacraments. Moreover, not only is the Eucharist an aqueduct of divine life, the Eucharist is Jesus Christ himself!
"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 the 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 of 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" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1374).
Transubstantiation means "change of substance", or "change of reality." When the priest repeats the words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, the bread is no longer bread, and the wine is no longer wine. Instead, the entire substance of the bread and the entire substance of the wine have been changed into the substance of The Body and Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation occurs only by the power of God, and in a way that we cannot empirically detect. We know that transubstantiation takes place through the certainty of faith. Jesus, the Son of God; Jesus the Messiah; Jesus the Lord and Savior of the universe said: "This is my body"; "This is my blood". Faith is a vision superior to reason, but it does not contradict reason, precisely because faith relies upon the authority of God who neither deceives, nor can be deceived. Jesus is the truth and thus is incapable of lying.
Many Catholics throughout the world no longer believe in the Real Presence. What could be a cause of this alarming loss of faith in something so basic to Catholicism?
Pope Benedict XVI provides an interesting answer to this question in his book God and the World. He writes, "Johann Baptist Metz once said that the formula today is: No to God, Yes to religion. People want to have some kind of religion, esoteric or whatever it may be. But a personal God, who speaks to me, who knows me personally, who has said something quite specific and who has met me with a specific demand, and who will also judge me - people don't want him."
"What we see is religion being separated from God. People don't want to do without this sensation of the Wholly Other, this special religious feeling, entirely; they want it available in many shapes and forms. But there is in the end no guarantee of its continuing to be there, unless the will of God and God himself are also present. In that sense we are not so much in the middle of a religious crisis - religions are springing up all over the place - as in the middle of a God crisis" (69).
Look at the tabernacle. Our Lord is truly there.
Remember what Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote in his first encyclical letter, "Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make ...
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