The Fathers of Vatican II call the Eucharist the source and summit of Christian life. Everything that we are as Christians flows from the Eucharist and is directed back toward the Eucharist. Why? Because the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is really and truly present in the Eucharist. This is the Catholic faith. The Eucharist is not a symbol. It is not merely a communal meal or a nice ritual. It is not bread and wine. It is Jesus Christ. All Catholics must believe in the Real Presence, or they cease to be Catholic.
As Catholics, we have a responsibility to learn as much as we can about the Eucharist. We begin with faith in the Real Presence, and then we seek to help this faith grow and deepen by study. This is one of the most important things we can do with our time and energy, for by studying the Eucharist, we get to know Jesus better. We learn about His great love for us, a love that is so strong that He humbles Himself to appear in the form of bread and wine and come to us as our food.
Over the next few weeks, set aside a bit of time each day to read about the Eucharist. Five or ten minutes will do to begin, but you will probably find yourself so caught up in your study that you forget the time. Below are some suggestions to start you off.
* Scott Hahn's excellent presentation “The Fourth Cup: The Sacrament of the Eucharist”
* Fr. John A. Hardon's article “The Real Presence”
* Fr. John A. Hardon's article “The Eucharist as the Living Christ”
* “Introduction to the Eucharist” on the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association website
* “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World” exhibit
* “Mass and Liturgy” on the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association website
* Catechism of the Catholic Church #1322-#1419
* The article “Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist” at Catholic Online
* “The Holy Eucharist” page at EWTN
This will be enough to get you started. For further study try these books:
* The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn
* Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper by Brant Pitre
* A Biblical Walk through the Mass by Edward Sri
* Eucharist by Robert Baron
* Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn
* 7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn
* God is Near Us by Pope Benedict XIV
Make a commitment to learn something about the Eucharist every day. You will never regret it, and you will only grow in your faith and strengthen your relationship with our Eucharistic Lord.