The Real Presence
During the Mass, when the priest pronounces the words of Eucharistic consecration, “This is My Body . . . This is My Blood”, the underlying reality of the bread and wine – their essential substance – change into the Body and Blood of Christ, given for us in sacrifice. Christ Himself is really, actually and substantially present, in a mysterious way, under the appearances of bread and wine.
The Greek word eucharist means thanksgiving, and the description of Christ’s action at the Last Supper that we hear at every Mass tells us that He gave thanks to the Father before He broke the bread. And so we, too, give thanks after we receive Holy Communion. Returning to our places, we take some moments of silent reflection to thank the Lord for what He has given us in life. And we realise that each time we receive Holy Communion we are fortifying ourselves to live our lives in such a way that we will always be prepared for the call to leave this world.
Jesus says, He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the Last Day. This ‘Last Day’ refers to the end of time when Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead; but it also can refer to our own personal ‘last day’ when we breathe our last and our eyes open to see God, face to face.
On that day, may we welcome Him with joy, just as we hopefully welcome Him into our souls each and every time we receive Him in the Eucharist.
A good way to expand our Eucharistic awareness and grow in devotion is to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. This can be done during the day whenever we can visit a Catholic church, where the Lord awaits us in the Tabernacle.
All we have to do is kneel or sit quietly, put aside our cares and activities aside for a moment, and say, “Lord, here I am.” And then just give the Lord the simply gift of your presence. That’s all. No big words are necessary – He just enjoys your presence.
But another way to grow in Eucharistic faith is to come to adore Him during our Wednesday evening Holy Hour, 6.15 – 7.15pm. You can pray, read a bit of a spiritual book, and then just quietly bask in the Sonshine of God’s love. You can stay for a few minutes, or for the entire hour – it’s up to you.