As Roman Catholics, what is our belief regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist?
As participants in the pews we realize there are differences among Catholics that should not be there. Most accept and believe Jesus spent around 3.5 years in ministry preaching salvation and God’s forgiveness. We are certain believers adhere to his crucifixion/resurrection and his ascension back to heaven. But when the theological premise regarding the real presence in the eucharist here is where many withdraw from conversations even among fellow Catholics.
Many mysteries relating to God suddenly may come up and I believe a lot of cradle Catholics side-step any discussion about their reality and existence. Some of these might be; “God had no beginning, and especially the Holy Trinity.” These being beyond our finite comprehension is not mysterious in itself, but the one serious belief centers on the real presence of Christ being the body and blood, soul and divinity within the host we receive at Holy Communion.
Can we back up this truth to the average person in the pew with rhetoric without tangible evidence? No, and the old adage of “For those who believe no proof is necessary; for those who do not believe no proof will suffice.”
Within the latest booklet written by Bishop Robert Barron titled “This is My Body” he wrote that after reading data regarding the real presence that only one-third of those questioned subscribed to the Church’s official teaching that Jesus is really, truly, and substantially present under the signs or appearances of bread and wine. Fully two-thirds held that the Eucharistic elements are merely symbolic of Jesus’ presence. This survey was among Catholics and not other Christians.
Just recently on EWTN the story of a Catholic priest who doubted the real presence. While during the consecration he said the host turned into human flesh and the wine turned to human blood. It was years later when the species that had been preserved were examined. The flesh was that of a heart and the blood was diagnosed as type AB blood. These examinations along with others were not performed by the Catholic community but scientific personnel.
In the past I have written articles regarding the Body and Blood of Christ; Two from 2019. One in January titled “The Holy Eucharist” and the second in July titled “Holy Eucharist; Real flesh and real Blood.” With these I alluded to the term “The Collapse of Time” wherein when the priest is about to elevate the host saying this is my Body given for you; Christ is there and he is raising that host at the Last Supper, which is the very moment he is nailed to the cross. Likewise, when the priest elevates the chalice containing wine Christ is there lifting the cup at the Last Supper and as the cup is raised he says this is my Blood given for the remission of sins. At that instant he dies on the cross. And how do we respond to the Mystery of Faith? “When we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death until you come again!”
The very words of the Mystery of Faith indicates our belief of his death which was proclaimed at the Last Supper. Therefore, as we witness to this truth, the further truth is no less real that as Jesus’ Body and Blood are real in this consecration, they never leave the elements we receive.
If historically recorded events through scientific standards proved that the reserved elements of human flesh and blood are still intact then the same consecrated hosts and wine are real human flesh and blood wherever in the world they are consecrated at a Catholic Mass by any priest or bishop.
Even those satanic cohorts who wish to destroy the church send people to take a consecrated host to desecrate at Black Masses. Even these evil worshipers of Satan believe once the host is consecrated, it is the living Body and Blood of Christ, the living Son of God. If these enemies of God accept the real presence shouldn’t we who say we believe but live with doubt also adhere to the real presence of the living Christ in holy communion?
A postscript to this revolves around those Catholics who do not attend church. These are people who have decided they don’t want the requirements of church doctrines anymore. One thing they have decided is not relevant to them is believing theological ideas that aren’t in their minds real as the church tells them they are absolutely true, including the teaching of the real presence in the Holy Eucharist. That is no different than the two-thirds that promote the same unorthodox reality. Their failure to trust the Church is setting a precedent across this nation where belief in God means whatever they decide, and this is becoming a nation starving for a truth that has eluded what God and the Church are all about. This is the lost generation that we may not be able to get back. Here is where a lot of extra prayer is needed.
Ralph B. Hathaway