What reasons have Catholics for believing that Our Saviour gave the Apostles His real body and blood? ... His words, both on the occasion of the promise and at the Last Supper, if taken literally, denote a true, and not a merely symbolic presence of Himself in the Holy Eucharist. He could not have expressed this more clearly or more forcibly than He did: "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath everlasting life... For My flesh is meat (food) indeed, and My blood is drink indeed...This is My body...This is My blood." ... Those who deny the doctrine of the Real Presence do indeed adduce numerous arguments, but an honest examination of these arguments will show that they all have one common basis–the difficulty of understanding how Our Lord's real body and blood can be simultaneously present in thousands of places in a manner imperceptible to human senses. Now, this is only a repetition of the argument brought up by those who listened to Christ Himself at Capharnaum: "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?...This saying is hard, and who can hear it?" The weakness of this argument is that it measures divine power by human standards. He who has assured us that the Holy Eucharist contains His body and blood is the all-powerful, all-truthful God. Shall we twist His assertions to suit our ideas just because our puny intellects cannot understand how the miracle of the Real Presence takes place? Should we not rather exclaim with St. Peter: "Thou hast the words of eternal life," and humbly acknowledge as divine truth the sublime doctrine which the Son of God has made known to us with His own lips?

The Seven Sacraments
Fr. Francis J. Connell, C.SS.R., S.T.D.

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love.