If someone were to ask me what I think is the biggest single problem facing the Catholic Church today, I would answer that it is the widespread loss of faith in Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament; and this had led many to think that since God is everywhere, then going to the Blessed Sacrament is not really important.
When you receive Holy Communion, the priest presents the sacred Host and says, “The Body of Christ,” and you say, “Amen.” That word “amen” is not just a ritualistic response but an affirmation of the truth of the priest’s declaration. When you say “amen,” you are acknowledging before God that you believe that what you are receiving is, in fact, of the Body and Blood of Christ hidden under the appearances of bread and wine. You are affirming that in the Holy Eucharist you receive Jesus Christ’s Body, Blood; everything that goes to make up a true body, such as bones, nerves, and so on, together with his soul and Divinity…Christ whole and entire! Consequently, the Eucharist contains Jesus Christ in the fullness of his divinity and the completeness of his humanity.
Having established this fact, then going to spend some time in a place where our Lord Jesus Christ is made present, not just spiritually as God, but both physically and spiritually is indispensable.
Now, we must make an extremely important theological distinction in regard to the ways in which God is present. Obviously, as God, Jesus is present everywhere; He is omnipresent. There is no place in the heavens or on the earth where He is not.
But, in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word made flesh, true God, and true man, is uniquely present. He is not only spiritually present: He is also substantially present and bodily present. In the Most Blessed Sacrament, He is present in His divinity and His humanity! By the Will of God the Father, the sacred humanity of Christ is the greatest source of graces, blessings, strength, divine assistance, and consolation given for our lives — for those who believe!
This is why the Holy Eucharist is the greatest of the seven sacraments because in it we are receiving not just the grace of Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ Himself. The Eucharist is “the source and summit of Christian life.” As Archbishop Sheen was fond of saying, without Christ’s Eucharistic Presence, the Catholic Church is just another Christian denomination among thousands. Above all, we must make use of what we’ve got and appreciate it before others do that for us.
Bottom line: spend time before our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, that’s where the secret of the hidden graces and powers lies.
Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?