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Real Presence, The Gift of Eternal Life

Recently I read a reflection by Sara Mani from Jamestown, Tennessee on what the Eucharist means to her. I find it powerful and want to share it with you. She writes, "The Real Presence in the Eucharist brought me to my spiritual home - the Catholic church. My previous religion had failed to satisfy my need for a deeper faith experience. But I never considered other churches until my daughter married a devout Catholic and converted to Catholicism. I often went to Mass with them and was gradually awakened to the beauty and holiness of the Catholic faith. One Saturday during Mass, I heard the familiar words of the consecration in a new way. When the priest said, 'this is my body' and 'this is the cup of my blood...' I felt as if lightning had struck me. For the first time, I realized that Jesus had said 'is my body' and 'is the cup of my blood' not 'represents' as I had been taught. That epiphany haunted me. I felt so deprived every time I heard a priest say, 'This is the

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper'. My yearning was satisfied when I was confirmed in the Catholic Church and received my First Holy Communion, our Lord's real presence." Perhaps those of us who have been Catholics from birth need to re-discover the wonder and awe as well as the joy that those who come to the faith later in life find in Christ's promise to share his life with us in the Eucharist. What a gift! Ultimately it is all that matters because it is the gift of eternal life.



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