Communion is expression of God’s unchanging love Print
Guest column

Spirituality for Today
Fr. John Catoir

Holy Communion is the most precious gift that Jesus gave us. It is the perfect expression of God's unchanging love. The Eucharist is the real presence of Christ on all the altars throughout the world.

In 2005, Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote, "This teaching surrounding the Eucharist, remains as true and as normative today, as it did from the beginning. The Council of Trent described the real presence of Jesus with three adverbs: truly, really, and substantially."

Dulles continued, "The fathers and doctors of the Church have confidently proclaimed the real presence century after century . . . the essential facts surrounding the mystery will always remain the same."

As with all other mysteries of faith, we stand in awe. We may not fully comprehend the mystery itself, but we are clear about the facts that surround the mystery.

Mystery of divine love

Take the mystery of divine love. The first fact about it is that it transcends human love. Humanly speaking, it is incomprehensible to us.

God is love. God loves the sinner. We know this to be true, because he died that sinners may be saved.

However, since we cannot put our arms around God, difficulties arise. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who believe, even though they have not seen." One might express it this way: blessed are those who believe, even if they do not fully comprehend the mystery itself.

However, difficulties do not amount to a single doubt. Doubters deny the truth and withhold their assent to all divine mysteries. It's their loss. Believers accept the mysteries of revelation, and they study the facts that surround each one.

Real presence in the Eucharist

For instance, we use the term 'transubstantiation' to describe how Christ's real presence comes about in the Eucharist. The very substance of the bread and wine is changed into the hidden reality of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus becomes truly and substantially present at every Mass, under the appearances of bread and wine.

The Mass itself is a ritual, which memorializes the one true sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave up his life on Calvary in atonement for our sins. Jesus said, "Do this in memory of me," and we unite with him, again and again, offering ourselves to the Father. God in turn says, "Fear not little one, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32.

Catholics have been attending Masses from the early days of the formative Christian community. The crucifixion took place over 2,000 years ago, and the faithful have celebrated Christ's redemptive act of suffering and death on the cross, every day since, century after century, all over the world.

Jesus speaks to his beloved people and says, "Come to me all you who and weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).


Fr. John Catoir is president of St. Jude Media Ministry.