Friday, July 15, 2005

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Of the many beautiful things that happened when I returned to the Church, one of the most wonderful was my discovery of Her doctrine on the Real Presence. When I was prepared for my first Holy Communion as a child, I was not taught anything about the true and abiding Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord in the consecrated bread and wine. Instead, the Eucharist was presented simply as a mirror of the community - our oneness and how much we all love each other, etc. etc. Now, of course, the Eucharist does represent the unity of all those who partake. But it's not just a symbol. Actually, my teachers did not even adopt the Protestant position that the Eucharist was only a symbol of the Body and Blood. They just didn't bring it up the significance of the Body and Blood at all.

It would not be melodramatic to say that this was a great tragedy. When I think of how I spent my childhood and much of my young adulthood entirely ignorant of the Truth, it's easy to get angry at the people responsible for my religious education (I guess that would be both my CCD instructors and my parents). However, it doesn't do any good to sit and stew. I should spend my time not in bitterness but in contemplating Christ's wonderful sweetness in bringing me back into His fold.

I am sorry to say that many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. That's what you get from more than thirty years of bad catechisis! As part of an effort to remedy this, the late, great John Paul II decreed that this year (from October 2004 to October 2005) should be celebrated as the Year of the Eucharist. As the Eucharistic Year ends, a synod - a meeting of bishops from all around the world - will be held to discuss the Eucharist and how the appreciation of all the faithful for this most sacred Gift of our Lord may be increased and sustained.

If you would like to learn more about the Eucharist I highly reccomend the website of the Real Presence Association. Their section of "testimonials" includes many beautiful quotes from the saints.

(Hat tip to for the picture)

1 comment:

  1. Great writing, but allow me to sound totally ignorant and simply say....

    Pretty picture! It's all... glowy! ;) (And "phatmass" is a cute name! Lol!)