The Real Presence

by Brother Craig

The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is believed by most Catholics. It is the teaching of the Church that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Sacred Host. I didn't write in the Blessed Sacrament or in the Holy Eucharist because He is the Blessed Sacrament or Holy Eucharist. If one thinks about the logical consequences of the doctrine of the Real Presence long and clearly enough sever thoughts occur

-Jesus, God is really IN a Catholic Church!!!
-Why aren't Churches filled with people day and night!?!
-Why don't I spend all the time I can before Jesus in the tabernacle or monstrance!?!

It is interesting to note that the more one logically (or even calmly) thinks about the doctrine of the Real Presence the more radical are one's actions that follow, the more wild his or her excitement leading to such things as

-Jesus is in the nearest Catholic Church!
-What am I doing at home!?! And why am I wasting my time watching a sitcom!?!
-I love Jesus! So why don't I go and be with Him?

The more I ponder the reality of the Real Presence the more I think our response has to be dynamic, determined and with the ardor of someone in love. In other words it should make us at least seem delightfully fanatical. Now, it is not a good thing to be fanatical but some dynamic enthusiasm is definitely needed by all those people who say things like the following

-Well, I'm too busy to go pray in Church.
-Mass on Sunday is enough.
-I have to have time for recreation.

To these people, who are no doubt good and even pious, maybe I should not tell the story of a young man whom I met, who parks his car in a church parking lot and prays to Jesus in the locked Church. I especially should not tell the story-also true-of a young man who found a church locked but the church basement unlocked. He found a way into the heating duct, climbed up to the Church and pushed off the grate in the floor (of course, I don't know for sure but I have suspected that Jesus commented about his creativity to the Holy Angels). He prayed in the church for some time and then exited through the heating system. I also knew a hermit who ate his supper right next to (but not in) his chapel. By sitting on the stairway he was just where the tabernacle was on the other side of the wall.

Some would say this is all nonsense. True, it does lack the sense of wisdom of the world that puts its efforts into sensible things like making money, ruining marriages and fighting wars. True, not everyone can spend as much time before the Blessed Sacrament as I can-not only as a monk but a monk in a community of Eucharistic Adoration. But we all can spend more time than we do. Even I can. And I'm working on it.

Of course, as you calmly read this you might gently think, "This monk needs a sense of proportion. One must be sensible." I hope you don't mind but I don't want to be sensible! Remember the Jesus People back around 1970. I remember them well (and admired them then.) That's me. I'm a Jesus Person. But hey, I don't have to be the only one. Spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and you'll catch the fire, too! St. Padre Pio said, "A thousand years of enjoying human glory is worth even an hour spent in sweet communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

There is another wonderful problem that really believing in the Real Presence causes: it puts all other things in perspective. Reading, watching a video, playing baseball might be nice. Being with Jesus is awesome! Right away people say, "Yes, but I need to relax, etc." And I say, "but you need to the have awesome, wondrous, transforming, powerful experience of being with Jesus!" Choices have to be made. You can live a dull life or make the time to spend with Jesus. And you can make the time. Pope Paul VI said, "There is no better use of your time than that in fervent adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

No, you don't have to neglect your duties or family or cat. Not at all. People in love go to work, and do their duties but somehow find plenty of time to be together. (So I've read as I haven't been in love since I was about twelve. Her name was Joan.) Don't think I'm the only one who thinks adoration is vital. Pope John Paul II wrote, "The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic worship. Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love. May our adoration never cease." This great man also stated, "The best, the surest and most effective way of establishing peace on earth is through Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." Awesome.

Jesus in our Churches waits for and enjoys our visits. If so when we don't bother to show up He can't enjoy our visits (I'd say He is lonely in many churches but then theologians will get all excited and write long letters to the editor with German footnotes). But if He likes our visits He must miss them when we do not visit Him. He is (still) human, you know. How we forget that! He has feelings, you know. (Or maybe you really didn't know that?) Jesus is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. Are we present often enough there with Him?

Please take inspiration from the words (in a letter to his son) of scholar and author J.R.R. Tolkien-"I fell in love with the Blessed Sacrament from the beginning and by the Mercy of God never have fallen out again." Powerful words.

So stop reading this paper, get in the car, or walk, and visit Jesus. Now! And do so with enthusiasm and excitement! You are going to be with Jesus!

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