What is the significance of transubstantiation?

I believe the Eucharist to be of great importance, as does the Church, I know. When I’ve tried to explain why it’s so important to me to some Protestant friends, and why communion in other churches doesn’t compare, I’m countered with statements like “Christ is always with us, always present. Why should it matter whether it’s actually his body and blood or just a symbol?”

I’m relatively familiar with the arguments for the reality of transubstantiation, but I couldn’t seem to find anything to directly address what my friends said, and I’m having trouble finding my own words to describe it. How would you explain why it matters that Christ’s body and blood are actually present on the altar?

The following link should help answer your questions about the Eucharist. If you have any further questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:

Eucharist Encyclical

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