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The Real Presence of Christ

By Judie Brown

A recent article explained that April has been set aside as the month of the Holy Eucharist. It shared 12 ways in which a devoted Catholic can pay special homage to Christ in the Eucharist during this month. It sparked questions in my mind, namely this: Why do Catholics need a month devoted to the real presence of the body and blood of Christ when He should be the center of our lives every day?

Could it be that most Catholics need to take baby steps in their faith because they have lost sight of the reason why we adore the Lord?

Contemplating these thoughts brought me back to a theme that American Life League has been focused on for more than 20 years: The presence is real! This is such a basic truth of the Catholic faith, yet in this era of doubt and disinformation, many have lived as Catholics in a fog of secularized ideas parading as Catholic teaching.

We thus turn to The Baltimore Catechism, which states,

The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received.

The whole Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. We use the words “really, truly, and substantially” to describe Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to distinguish Our Lord’s teaching from that of mere men who falsely teach that the Holy Eucharist is only a sign or figure of Christ, or that He is present only by His power.

Yet today false teaching is rampant. This leads some to think that disrespect for the Eucharist is a foregone conclusion given the idea that Holy Communion is “just a symbol.”

We know that Catholics today are victims of false teaching in some areas, but I would venture to say that in many cases, it is their own personal opinions that get in the way of absorbing truth. Otherwise, just as they doubt that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, they believe that the baby is not truly present prior to birth, so getting rid of him is a matter of choice.

Nearly a quarter century ago one of the most inspiring Catholic priests I have ever known, Father James Buckley, FSSP, wrote: “Now this sacrament is the greatest of all because only in the Holy Eucharist is Christ present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. All the other sacraments give graces won on Calvary but only the Holy Eucharist is Christ Himself.”

Father Buckley, who passed from our midst recently, taught with great zeal, and he never abandoned his love of Christ, the Eucharist, and truth. Today we need that inspired leadership and teaching more than ever before.

In a time when an allegedly pro-life politician can be welcomed as electable even though he condones abortion for the first 14 weeks of a baby’s life, we need more focus on the real presence of the baby, the real presence of our Eucharistic Christ, and the real presence of sin itself.

God, the Author of Life, never gave man the authority to make deals with the lives of His children. And so it is that we must keep our focus on a simple, undeniable fact: The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is real!