Meaning of the Real Presence

Jesus of Nazareth, Rosary

Meaning of the Real Presence

Our Lord Jesus, who with God the Father and through the Holy Spirit created the heavens and the earth, fashioned the universe of a billion trillion stars and breathed life into one hundred billion souls, comes down from Heaven daily, taking the appearance of bread and wine, so that he might enter into your soul and mine and grant us, wretched sinners that we are, eternal life. This is the greatest miracle, the most incredible (but thank God, absolutely believable!) truth, and the fount of pure joy.

“What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation.”

“…In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood.”

– St. Francis of Assisi

Why does Jesus do this? So that his divinity can live inside us. This is what the Church means by communion. The Catechism describes the Eucharist as “the efficacious sign and sublime cause” of “communion in the divine life.” (CC, 1325) Elaborating further on this, the Catechism explains that in Holy Communion “we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.” (CC, 1331)

“If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.”

– St. Angela of Foligno

“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.”

– St. John Chrysostom

When a coworker asks you casually on Monday morning what you did over the weekend, how do you respond? “Went to a new restaurant.” “Caught a movie.” “Drove the kids back and forth to soccer.” Maybe you slip in that you went to church? Or you mention the coffee and donuts after the mass? (Talk about burying the lead!)

Have you ever thought to respond by saying, “I stood in the presence of the Creator of the Universe, my Lord and Savior, and he graciously let me eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, so that he could live in me, and I in him.” Full disclosure: I haven’t done this. Not yet anyway. But if I believe he is truly present in the Eucharist, why wouldn’t I share this good news?

“You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!”

“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”

– St. Maximilian Kolbe

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love…

“It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight.”

– St. Therese of Lisieux

“You are approaching to become witnesses of the intimate union of your souls with Jesus Christ. Look at the angels of the altar, dear little girls. Look at them, they envy you. All heaven is present.”

Words of Monsignor Jara to Blessed Teresa of the Andes First Communion Class at Mass before receiving Jesus for the first time

Familiarity makes it a challenge for many Catholics to approach the Eucharist with the appropriate reverence and awe. Here are three suggestions to help focus our minds and hearts during the Liturgy of the Eucharist:

  • When the priest raises the host for the consecration, look upon it, believe that it is Jesus before you, and say quietly “My Lord and my God!” Do likewise when the priest consecrates the wine.
  • Say clearly and mindfully, with a sincere and contrite heart, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” For none of us are worthy, but we are healed by his grace, out of his infinite love.
  • Receive your Savior with great reverence, and when you have received, say “Thank you, Jesus” from the depths of your heart. You have received the gift of divine life. Indeed, let your whole week be a thank you to Jesus in your words and deeds, until you come to the banquet again. (And if you can participate in the First Fridays or First Saturdays devotion, or even receive Jesus in the Eucharist every day, so much the better.)

“When Catholics are asked, ‘Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?’ they should answer a resounding YES! There is no closer union with Jesus than when you receive Him in the Eucharist. You too can say with St. Paul, ‘…and the life I now live is not my own CHRIST IS LIVING IN ME.’ (Gal 2:20)”

– Rev. Msgr. Richard L. Carroll, V.F.

“When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.”

– Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“I love so much a soul’s desire to receive Me, that I hasten to it each time it summons Me by its yearnings.”

– Words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque


All of the quotations above can be found at

Image: The Last Supper by Fritz von Uhde (downloaded from Wikipedia Commons).

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day for the salvation of souls!

Michael Haverkamp

Michael Haverkamp is a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church. He is grateful to his parents for raising him in the faith. He resides in Columbus, Ohio with his amazing wife and three sons. By day he is a (usually) mild-mannered grant writer.

One thought on Meaning of the Real Presence

  1. Beautiful and inspirational post, Mike. I especially like the recommendation about sharing my weekend Mass experience.

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