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Catechism on the Real Presence

Exhortation to Promote the Cult of the Eucharist

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

…104. Against what does Pope Paul VI especially warn the bishops?

He warns them to be perfectly loyal to the teaching of Christ on the Real Presence and to promote tirelessly the worship of Jesus Christ who is living among us in the Blessed Sacrament. (MF 75)

105. What is the Holy Father's great hope for the faithful?

His hope is that we may come to realize and experience the truth of St. Augustine's teaching about the Real Presence. According to St. Augustine: "He who desires life finds here a place to live in and the means to live by. Let him approach, let him believe, let him be incorporated so that he may receive life. Let him not refuse union with the members, let him not be a corrupt member, deserving to be cut off, nor a disfigured member to be ashamed of. Let him be a grateful, fitting and healthy member. Let him cleave to the body, let him live by God and for God. Let him now labor here on earth, that he may afterwards reign in heaven." All of this is assured those who profess and practice their faith in Christ's eucharistic presence now on earth. (MF 76)

106. To what will this devotion to the Real Presence lead?

It will lead to daily participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass and daily reception of Holy Communion. (MF 77)

107. What are the spiritual benefits which this faith in the Blessed Sacrament will produce?

It will obtain for us the strength to master our passions to purify ourselves of our daily venial sins, and to avoid the grave sins to which our human weakness is constantly exposed. (MF 77)

108. What does Pope Paul VI encourage the faithful to do every day?

He encourages them to make a daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament. He reminds the bishops that the Holy Eucharist is to be kept in a most honorable location in every Church. He declares that such visits are at once a proof of our gratitude, and expression of our love, and a profession of our faith in Christ's presence now on earth. (MF 78)

…110. Is Christ in the Eucharist also to be imitated?

Yes, there are especially two virtues that the Eucharistic Christ wants us to imitate. They are humility and love. When God became man, He humiliated Himself by becoming like one of us who are His creatures. But when He dwells in the Holy Eucharist, He reveals a humility that is beyond human description.

So Too, God showed the sublimity of His love by becoming man, so that He could suffer and die on the cross out of love for us. Now, He shows His love for us in the Eucharist by allowing Himself to be ignored, desecrated, received by brazen sinners, and brought down on the altar even by priests who may be steeped in sin.

111. How valuable is conversation with Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist?

Pope Paul VI assures us that "there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness." The reason is obvious. Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is the same Jesus who gave courage to His contemporaries during His visible life in Palestine. He is the same Jesus who performed miracles, not only in healing human bodies, and even raising people from the dead. He performs miracles of moral conversion and sanctification now through the Holy Eucharist, provided we believe. (MF 80)

112. How is the Eucharist the spiritual center of the Catholic Church

The Holy Eucharist reserved in the Churches and oratories is the spiritual center of a parish, a diocese, a religious community, of the Universal Church, and of the whole human race. Why? Because under the appearance of what looks like bread is contained Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, "by whom all things are and by whom we exist." (MF 81)

…114. What is the single most important means for reuniting a dismembered Christianity?

The single most important means is the restoration of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. One reason for the tragic separation of so many people from the Catholic Church in the 16th Century was the widespread loss of faith in the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Present-day Catholics should do everything possible to reunite a sadly divided Christianity. (MF 83)

115. What was the main theme of Christ's long prayerful discourse at the Last Supper?

He prayed especially for unity among His followers. This unity is to be maintained, fostered, and, when lost, restored through the Eucharist as Sacrifice-Sacrament, Communion-Sacrament, and Presence-Sacrament. That is why the Holy Eucharist has been especially identified as the Sacrament of unity. It is mainly through the Eucharist that the Church over the centuries has been united as the One, Holy, Catholic Church founded on Calvary. Christ remains the Church's foundation even as He was the Church's Founder by His death on the cross. (M F 86)

…117. What Is Mary's role in the Holy Eucharist?

Without the Blessed Virgin Mary, there would have been no Incarnation. It was she who gave her divine Son the flesh and blood which Christ her Son now possesses in the Holy Eucharist. We should especially invoke Our Lady to restore unity among Christians where it has been lost, and strengthen his unity among the followers of Christ who believe that, in the Eucharist, "the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary," as expressed by St. Augustine in speaking of the Real Presence. (MF 88)

(Mysterium Fidei)
By Father John A. Hardon, S. J.
Pages 32, 33, 34, 35, 36

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