Catholic? Why, yes. Yes I am.

Last week over lunch a dear friend asked me simply, “So why are you Catholic?”  I was surprised.  Not by the question, because this is one of those treasured friendships where hardly any inquiry is off-limits or too personal.  What surprised me was how quickly my answer came to mind.  “The Eucharist,” I told her.  There.  I didn’t even have to think about it.  The reason I chose the Catholic faith thirty-four years ago this summer was and still is, the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Whenever anyone asks me about Catholicism, I point them to the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.  If you want to know what it means to be Catholic, read it.  No matter what’s been written or thought or taught about the Eucharist over the centuries, this chapter is Jesus speaking to us in His own words, sharing His Heart with us.  “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life in you.”  (John 6:53)
My Catholic faith preserves the truth of Christ’s words at every Mass.  The Eucharist is not crackers and grape juice, which are understood as symbols of His Body and Blood.  The bread and the wine aren’t secondary reminders of a risen God living in a far-off heaven, and benignly looking down upon us.  The Eucharist IS Christ, just as He tells us: “This is My Body…this is My Blood” ( Matthew 26:14-15 ).  It is He—my Savior.  He comes to me from His throne in heaven and offers Himself to me in Holy Communion.  Just as He gave Himself for me on the Cross, broken and poured out for my sake—He offers Himself again, broken and poured out in the appearance of bread and wine.  Other churches may talk about Calvary, but at every Mass, we Catholics go there.  In the Eucharist, Christ is as present to us as He was to His disciples and His Blessed Mother.
But in the Eucharist, we are even more privileged and more blessed because we are able to physically receive Him in an intimate and cellular encounter.  Christ comes to me and longs to bring His life into my own.  This is not theory or symbol or remembrance.  This is God, physically present in the here and now of this very moment.  “The Word became flesh…”  (John 1:14).  There’s no theory in the Cross of Christ—it’s blood and nails and a pierced side.  There’s no theory in the Eucharist—it’s His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  The same Christ, risen from the dead, Who appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room, is now on our altar, now in my hand, now in my mouth.  Jesus, the Christ. 
The Mass is the words of Jesus when He gives us Himself and tells us:  “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).   These are six words that have changed the world.  We remember Him at the altar at every Mass and He, unfailingly, comes to us, comes into us, to make His home inside us.  And if we meet Him with an open heart, He promises to transform us into Himself.  “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him” (John 6:56).  This is the gift of my Catholic faith, the truth from Christ’s own mouth preserved, protected, defended and celebrated for 2000 years.  So yes, my friend, I’m Catholic because of the Holy Eucharist.
“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”
      – St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941) Catholic priest martyred in Auschwitz concentration camp

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth Ann
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 23:07:02

    You stated what we believe beautifully. I, too, would answer the Eucharist. The Eucharist is what has kept me Catholic and it will continue to do so.


    • tiberjudy
      Jun 07, 2012 @ 15:22:08

      Hi Ruth Ann,
      Thank you for reading the post. We are so very blessed as Catholics to have been given God’s great gift of Himself in the Eucharist. He drew me to His Church by the Most Blessed Sacrament and, like you, has kept me safely in Her arms since my college years.
      Bless you and your family,


  2. Marisol
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 11:55:48

    This is the most moving, amazing, and beautiful reply I have EVERY heard in my life. It’s enough to transform any heart! Thank you for your testimony! You have truly inspired me to look further, and dig deeper into myself and make your words stick. Many blessings to you!


  3. Trackback: Catholic? Why, yes. Yes I am. – sanctusdominusdeus

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