May 31 | comments icon 1 COMMENT     print icon print

7-BLESSED-SACRAMENT

Strong in Faith: What does the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament mean to you?

— A fortnightly discussion chaired by our Catholic university chaplaincies

GERALD BONNER

Strathclyde University

There is a unique peace when one prays before the Blessed Sacrament. And the Blessed Sacrament truly is the beating heart of our churches —a church feels empty when the Blessed Sacrament is not there.

It is difficult to comprehend just how close God is to us when we receive Holy Communion, closer than we can ever be to another person. Under the old covenant, the people of Israel could boast: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” Yet how often do we consider that even that is nothing compared to what God now does in the Eucharist? I once read an article by a priest asking whether or not we really expect Holy Communion to have an effect on our lives—do we really expect to be changed for the better when we receive Him?

 

CLARE PALMER-FAIRBAIRN

Love this page but never have the confidence to share anything! But it’s The Year of Faith so here goes. It is at times difficult to explain this gift, spiritual refreshment, food for my soul. The true presence of Jesus received in us brings me calmness, strength, joy and often a fresh courage to try to love and live my Faith in action, trust God, love generously and see the best in folk. Two things I read recently have helped me understand more this gift: a wee ancient book my dad gave me called My Daily Bread (1954!) a great wee chapter on ‘Invitation to Holy Communion.’ Yes, it reminds us of the need for Confession, prayer and reflection but also how we shouldn’t let our conscience stop us from rushing into Jesus’ arms as He loves us in spite of our faults. That is comforting. The other thing I read was a wee First Holy Communion day poem that begins:

“May you always stay as close to Jesus, as you are today…”

I think this post is long enough and folk probably know the poem so I’ll leave it there!

-Strong in Faith is taking a haitus during the summer and will return in September. Visit http://www.facebook.com/scostronginfaith

 

 

-The real presence lives in the fullness of Faith

 

When we enter a Catholic church and see the red light of the sanctuary lamp announcing the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle—the presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in our midst – we experience something that has no parallel. Enter a non-Catholic church, or a Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved, and something is missing.

Of course, God is not limited to the Blessed Sacrament, but in the words of one of the Marian Masses: “He whom the whole world cannot contain enclosed Himself within your womb, being made man.” And so as the old Catechism of Christian Doctrine -states: “As God, Jesus Christ is everywhere. As God made man, He is in heaven, and in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.”

The Jesus Christ really present in the Blessed Sacrament is the same Jesus Christ who ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Entering into His Presence on earth, we enter into His Presence in Heaven. Could we imagine a more incredible gift? The Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament means being able to come into the presence of our Lord and Saviour, to bring Him all our worries and concerns, to throw ourselves at His feet and offer ourselves unreservedly to Him. Such an opportunity is simply irreplaceable.

But there is more. Not only can we enter into His Presence but, if we are in a state of grace, we are able to enter into Holy Communion with Him, so that eating Him we might have eternal life, so that receiving Him, Body Blood, Soul and Divinity, we might become what we consume.

The Eucharist is the heart of the Church, the source and summit of Christian life. The Eucharist is more than the Real Presence alone, but to have such a wonderful gift within a gift is one of the many treasures of the Church. It is a treasure that we could all do well to make better use of, taking time every day to come into His presence and spend time in prayer before Him in the Tabernacle.

“The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the Sacraments as ‘the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.’ In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.

“This presence is called ‘real’—by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1374.

 

 

 

Comments - One Response

  1. Kevin Porter says:

    There is nothing more spiritually nourishing, nothing more comforting than just kneeling silently in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It brings into focus, Christ’s sacrifice for us and his healing and forgiveness. It also reminds me that all He asks in return is for me to love Him and see his presence in those I meet. Sitting in the silence, I’m often struck by the simplicty of Jesus’ message and the stark contrast with the world around me. I totally understand the contemplative life. On the other hand, I am saddened by the lack of respect for the Eucharist. I’m almost moved to tears as I watch, on a Sunday, as children and adults leave to take part in the children’s lirurgy and not one genuflects as they pass the tabernacle. I am appalled by the noise in chapels as those who should know better, have conversations about the mundane while they could be spending 5 minutes in silence with Christ – or at least allowing those who are trying to pray, to do so in peace. Reverence and respect for the Real Presence has diminished. At the time, I never appreciated what my father meant when he said that removing the altar rails was a big mistake. Now I understand.

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