When I was a member of the Assemblies of God I believed quite firmly, but wrongly, that bread and wine could never become the body and blood of Jesus. It seemed preposterous at that time.
Then I returned to the church of my childhood, the Episcopal Church, where I didn’t think about what I was receiving except that I believed I was receiving Jesus, although just how I didn’t know.
A few years later I entered RCIA and still thought of communion as I had in the Episcopal Church (I don’t think we’d dealt with the Real Presence in RCIA, as yet). So, I had continued to receive, knowing no better.
I felt prompted in my heart to ask the priest if I could receive. He asked me if I believed in the Real Presence. To the best of my knowledge I’d never heard the expression before, but suddenly I not only understood what it meant, but I instantly believed in it.
I can’t explain it except to say that God graced me with the gift of knowledge and faith in that one second of time. From then on the Eucharist has been alive to me in every way, and the thing I cherish most about going to Mass.