In the previous post, Msgr. Pope gives us insight into a question that many Catholics fail to ponder. As evidenced by his brilliant answer to a young Catholic, our Holy Father certainly does not fall into that category. However, I fear that some of us who have been Catholic for a while may lose an appreciation for the gift of the Eucharist.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
A few years ago, one of my high school students was in the process of coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. We would dialogue often during her journey and like most converts, she had many questions. By the grace of God, I usually had the answers.
Is this really the Body of Christ?
I recall one issue that she had a hard time understanding and I had a hard time explaining – Transubstantiation. The concept that a simple piece of unleavened bread and wine can become the actual Body and Blood of our Lord was hard to explain and hard for her to fully understand.
During a break though conversation I said, “Listen. When the minister of Holy Communion says, ‘The Body of Christ’, they are really saying, “This is the actual body of our Savior. It is not a symbol. It is not a representation. It is the actual body of Christ. This is true because this is how Jesus instituted it.” I went on to say, “When you say ‘amen’, what you are really saying is that you agree with that proclamation. With all of your heart, mind and soul, you believe that you have come into the presence of Jesus is a very tangible way!” After months of dialogue, my student finally seemed satisfied with the conversation. She was finally able to accurately reflect back to me her own understanding of the Eucharist.
At the first school Mass following her reception into the Church, I was distributing Holy Communion. In the distance, I could see this young women maneuver herself so that she would end up in my line. When she approached, I raised the Eucharist and said, ” The Body of Christ.” Her response was remarkable. Instead of the expected ‘amen’, she smiled and in all of her excitement replied, “Absolutely!!!”
Now, I knew that the proper response is ‘amen’ but theologically, that was probably one of the most correct responses I have ever heard.
Say and think what you believe.
If you have lost an appreciation for the incredible gift of the Holy Eucharist, the next time you are in line for communion and receive God, please say “amen.” But think to yourself, “Absolutely!”