Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Reason no. 1 why I remain Catholic: The Eucharist

I grew up Catholic. Well, I grew up culturally Catholic. The only thing I recall from the catechism of my youth are the Our Father and the Hail Mary. That is it. Growing up, I had no idea why we attended Mass. It was boring. It was pointless. The best part of Mass was when it was over. 
It wasn't until my late twenties that I discovered the core of my faith. It wasn't until I read the words from the Gospel of John, Chapter 6, that I finally understood the "real presence."
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." John 6:51-55
The real presence is the understanding that Jesus is truly and literally present in the consecrated host: body, blood, soul and divinity; under the appearance of bread and wine. Once I understood and accepted this in faith, my life changed. 
I was able to go beyond the "duty" of attending Mass every Sunday and instead I desired to be in communion with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, whom had given His life for me, through His sacrifice on the Cross. "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Matthew 28:20 Jesus' promise here was fulfilled in His presence in the Eucharist. No matter how corrupt the institute of the Church becomes or how sinful those within her fold are, the Eucharist, Jesus himself, is still present to us. 
The Protestants have it right. We need to have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior and in the Eucharist we can do just that. It is in consuming His body that I began to have a relationship with Him. It is in visiting Him in the adoration chapel (a chapel where the consecrated host is reserved and exposed so you can pray and adore Christ in the Eucharist) that I was able to speak with Him and listen to Him. 
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1324) it says that "the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life." In the Eucharist is found all that the Church is, it exists for and by Jesus Christ. The Eucharist therefore, is the number one reason I remain a Catholic. How could I ever leave Jesus himself and how could I ever leave the one Church that brings Jesus to me at every single sacrifice of the Holy Mass?
I remain Catholic because of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Cheaib @ pixabay

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