On August 9 of this year, a very disturbing pew study came out that said only three in ten Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. I don’t know about all of you, but I find this very disturbing. As Catholics we should all be disturbed at this unfortunate statistic. As members of the Catholic Church, the heart of our faith is the Eucharist. Our Lord makes it very clear in John 6 that “this is my body and this is my blood”. Nowhere does Jesus say it might be, or it could be. He says this is my body and blood. Our Lord also tells us that if you do not eat my body and drink my blood you will have no life in you. Yet, only one-third of Catholics believe this.
When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops saw this disturbing statistic, they asked the laity for advice on how to restore belief in the real presence. In an article from ‘LifeSite’ news, dated August 14 of this year, the laity overwhelmingly responded by calling on the USCCB to reinstitute traditional liturgical practices. More than 1100 comments and hundreds more ‘likes’ revealed Catholics want Bishops to combat on belief in the real presence by such things as: giving communion on the tongue; saying mass ad orientem; moving tabernacles to the center of the church; restoring Latin chants; and scaling back on the role of extraordinary Eucharistic ministers. Other things we can do is encourage more confession before communion. Encourage communion kneeling. It would also help to have more Corpus Christi processions. Increasing Eucharistic adoration would help in this cause as well.
The question for the bishops and all of us Catholics is: Are we really ready to do what it takes to bring back belief in the real presence? I think another thing that would help is making sure we use proper terminology when referring to the Eucharist. So often I hear “I’ll be a bread minister,” or “I’ll be a cup minister.” Instead, we should be saying “I’ll administer the precious body of Christ” and “I’ll administer the precious blood of Christ”. Why this? Because when it comes to the Eucharist, this is exactly what it is: the precious body and the precious blood of Christ. Reverence for the Eucharist begins with us. Let us pray that we will do our part to be a disciple of reverence for the holy Eucharist. This may not be popular for some of you, but it is certainly worth the prayerful consideration of each and every one of us.
May God bless you, and may God bless holy mother Church.
Father Todd Mlsna