For any sincere Catholic, the solemn moment of receiving the Blessed Sacrament in Communion is one of humble adoration and gratitude. As recorded by John in his Gospel (6:51), Our Lord told his listeners: "I am the living bread from Heaven ... whoever eats this bread will live for ever." And at the Last Supper, his words (as repeated by the priest at Mass) were: "This is my body, which will be given up for you." No "if's" or "maybe's".
This Real Presence of Our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar is the badge of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church ... the main distinguishing feature of the Church founded by Jesus himself.
The Host is the true God, come down to us every day in the Holy Mass, and living with us in a hundred thousand tabernacles in Catholic churches the world over. What a wonderful and joyful privilege to receive Our Lord at the Altar daily ... and how important to prepare ourselves beforehand with prayer and penance!
Correspondents John Young and Theo Jorna (August AD2000) quote the overwhelming theological support for the Real Presence, and we might add the suggestion that anyone having doubts should read a most amazing book, Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz (Tan Books). This book (with an imprimatur) recounts 33 authenticated miracles involving the Blessed Sacrament through the centuries.
For example, in the year 1194, a woman at Augsburg, Germany, decided to take a consecrated Host home for private devotion. She kept it in a wax casing for five years, but her conscience eventually drove her to report the matter to her parish priest, who recovered the Host and returned it to his church.
When one of the priests opened the wax reliquary, he and his colleagues were amazed to find that the Host had become flesh and blood. They consulted the bishop, who ordered that the miraculous Host be placed in a crystal container. Returned to its original church, the living Host has been kept in perfect condition for 800 years, and special services are held annually on 15 May to commemorate the miracle and venerate the Host.
This is just one of the miracles which place the Real Presence beyond doubt ... some of them involving abused Hosts bleeding and showing other signs of life, and many have been preserved for adoration. Let no-one doubt, but believe!
Mt Warren, Qld