This morning at Mass our pastor was directed by the Bishop of our diocese to give a catechesis talk on the Eucharist. Our pastor makes no bones about it, Catholics believe in what we call transubstantiation, the bread and wine becoming Christ's true body and blood, each and every time Mass is celebrated.
He went on to say that those who can receive the Eucharist are those who completely believe in the 'real presence', are baptized Christians, and in good standing with the Church.
And as they were eating, He took bread, and blessed, and broke it,and gave it to them, and said,'Take; this is my body.'(Mark 14:22)
And he took a cup, and when he had given thankshe gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them,'This is my blood of the covenant,which is poured out for many.(Mark 14:23-24)
That is what our Catholic Faith demands of us that we believe. If we believe this, we are Catholic. If we do not, we are not, no matter what people may think we are. Fr. John Hardon
In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistica, Pope John Paul II shares with us,
I have been able to celebrate Holy Mass in chapels built along mountain paths,on lakeshores and seacoasts; I have celebrated it on altars built in stadiums and in city squares... This varied scenario of celebrations of the Eucharist has given me a powerful experience of its universal and, so to speak, cosmic character. Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar
of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar
of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all
creation. The Son of God became man in order to restore all creation, in one
supreme act of praise, to the One who made it from nothing. He, the Eternal High Priest who by the blood of his Cross entered the eternal sanctuary, thus gives back to the Creator and Father all creation redeemed. He does so through the priestly ministry of the Church, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Truly this is the mysterium fidei which is accomplished in the Eucharist: the world which came forth from the hands of God the Creator now returns to him redeemed by Christ.
Pope John Paul II saw the wonder of the Eucharist and Christ's redeeming gift in a very deep and pure fact of our existence. It is very difficult to believe in something that is not tangible, viewable, and responsive in the way we humans enjoy daily in every moment of our lives. As a sit here pondering my own beliefs on the Eucharist and what God has done for me in my life, I cannot but think that faith is what we have which opens ourselves to God and His work within us.
Come then, good Shepherd, bread divine,
Still show to us thy mercy sign;
Oh, feed us, still keep us thine;
So we may see thy glories shine
in fields of immortality.
O thou, the wisest, mightiest, best,
Our present food, our future rest,
Come, make us each thy chosen guest,
Co-heirs of thine, and comrades blest
With saints whose dwelling is with thee.
~St. Thomas Aquinas