When did you first believe in the Real Presence?

The sister sat across from me in a big chair, her face expressionless, in spite of the fantastic tale I was weaving on how I ended up in her office. It was my first official inquiry into the Catholic Church and my first conversation with a Catholic nun.

I knew I wasn’t supposed to receive communion in a Catholic Church but I was so eager I asked her if it was OK if I received communion at the Presbyterian church on the corner. ‘No’, she said, ‘Catholics are the only ones who believe is Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.’

‘That’s strange’, I thought and I finished up our conversation and went on my way.

Later that afternoon, I was stopped at a stop light contemplating what I had just heard, and I thought to myself, ‘Why not?’ And that is when I first believed in the Real Presence. It was a gift from God, and not anything I did by myself.

When did you first believe in the Real Presence?

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Great question. When I sponsored my friend Patrick in 2012-2013. I learned about it at 27. I was missing much of the catechism though I had been confirmed, a 4th degree Knight and lector. I enjoy being a lector. I’m also a greeter and teller.

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I’m still trying to figure out exactly what “the Real Presence” means.

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My dad was Catholic and of course had told me about it when I was a kid. I thought, well that’s weird, but if it was good enough for my dad (whom I idolized) it was good enough for me. I went to Mass with him sometimes, and I got this feeling Something Was Going On, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I didn’t quite believe it, I guess now you could say I ignored it, but I thought “that’s fine”. LOL.

Later, when I was confirmed in the Methodist Church and had communion there, I thought - this seems a bit empty to me. Symbolic? I don’t get this either. (Especially grape juice? Seriously? Even though I know the historical significance of it. Remember, my dad was an altar boy and I grew up with all the stories and explanations.) Again - “that’s fine”.

Secretly I wondered what the point was, and I mean no disrespect to any Protestant. Heck, I was one for years.

Scroll forward to my journey to the Church. I went to Mass at the Cathedral because it reminded me of going to Mass with my dad. And one day - maybe my third Sunday? - I was kneeling, and really, really listened to what the priest was saying - I was trying to make some sense out of this whole thing, why was I there, how did I end up there, should I even really be there, did I deserve to be there, so I thought you really need to listen - and I am not kidding when I say it hit me like a lightning bolt. And it wasn’t “that’s fine”, it was like tad, but for me a very emphatic “WHY NOT?” It was like someone said it.

That was it.

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We were taught in second grade by good sisters of Charity and Jesuit priests.
My parents had a powerful belief.
It was easy to believe in those days.
I didn’t know any doubters, I never had to explain it to people, I never was attacked for it.
Heady times.

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From the Catholic Understanding Real Presence is the belief that Christ is truly really and substantially present in the Eucharist. Catholics believe in something called Transubstantiation, which holds that at the moment of Consecration (in other words when the Priest speaks the Words of Jesus saying this is my Body… this is my blood of the new and everlasting Covenant…) the Substance of the Bread and Wine are changed into the Substance of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, while the accidents remain the same. Accidents in Philosophy mean the outward appearance of a thing. What it tastes like, looks like, smells like, Substance is its deepest reality or what a thing is. For an example: Think of a chair. That chair could be made out of wood or steel it could be black or red or orange. The outward appearance can change but it still remains a chair. For Catholics we believe a miracle has happened through the power of the Holy Spirit at every Mass. For although the outward appearance remains the Substance of the Bread and Wine are changed into the entire Christ. So Jesus Christ comes to us through the appearance of Bread and Wine. This is what Catholics mean by Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. However this does not mean that Christ is not everywhere, since he is God and God is Omnipresence (Everywhere). Rather Christ is uniquely present to us in the Eucharist and that is why we call it “Real”.

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For Catholics it means transubstantiation, though for Protestants it has a variety of meanings. I prefer to leave it in the form of a Divine Mystery, since I think it is beyond the ability of human intellect.

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I had this same experience. I sojourned in a Methodist community for six years, and the whole time, it didn’t seem right, but I could not put my finder on it.

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For me, it was when I realized that a literal interpretation of Scripture (especially the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel, the Last Supper narratives in all the Gospels, and the 11th chapter of 1st Corinthians) required a belief in the Real Presence.

Secondarily, my readings in the earliest of the Church Fathers showed me that the Church believed in the Real Presence from the very beginning.

D

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I always did, since I was very little and my mom had to explain to me why I wasn’t allowed to go up and have a host along with everybody else. Never thought too much about it.

Honestly, if it was just a matter of “symbolic” unleavened bread and wine, I wouldn’t want to bother.

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The sister needs to read up a little. :slightly_smiling_face: Lutherans believe in the Real Presence too.

As for believing in the Real Presence it came right along with faith. I still struggle a little between my believing in God’s presence everywhere (omnipresent & omniscient) and just in communion. I can’t really tell the difference, other than the Eucharist being more concentrated, shared, commissioned by Scripture.

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A couple things: First, Unfortunately the Sister was sadly mistaken. Most Protestants believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They just have a different understanding of how Christ is Present, than Catholics do. Most Protestants hold to Consubstantiation which is very similar to transubstantiation which is what the Catholic Church professes. What the Sister should have said was that Catholics are the only ones who hold to transubstantiation as being the way to understand Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Secondly, it was while I was investigating the Catholic Church’s claims. Also reading the Scriptures especially John 6 and coming to understand that You have to Eat the Lamb that was Sacrificed!!! I came from a Protestant Christian background. Was confirmed Catholic Easter Vigil April 4th , 2015.

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i didn’t ever not believe in the “real preasance”

i don’t know any other way to think about the subject…

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Growing up Protestant, I would take communion and it would feel so strange to me. It just seemed like there was supposed to be more. Pastors would always emphasize how it was symbolic. And I would think “why do they always stress how communion is symbolic?” I had read John 6 plenty of times as a Protestant. But it had never crossed my mind that Jesus could be speaking literally. Then one day I was reading about Catholicism and the Eucharist came up and suddenly all these puzzle pieces fit together and I knew I had to be Catholic.

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I feel so ashamed to say this because I was a cradle Catholic. 12 years of Catholic school. baptized and confirmed. Still the Eucharist wasn’t REAL to me until I was an adult and had been married for many years. DH was raised Presbyterian but not practicing and not wanting to practice, however we went together to the mass when we moved to a different state. Maybe he was searching… he never told me. But he had become friendly with a family, a mom, dad and two grown boys. Father gave a sermon on the REAL presence and after mass DH asked one of the boys DO you believe that is really Jesus in communion? The boy just kind of shrugged and smiled. I said to DH quickly “I Do” but really I didn’t have a clue what it meant. I started praying really hard and sincerely after that event and things began to happen that lead me to belief, even to the point of hearing a voice at Eucharist Adoration! Now, I say that short prayer with St. Augustine… “Late have I loved Thee!” And I’m so amazed that he (Jesus) has loved me all this time!

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Trust me. I agree, and you’re right.

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I am a convert. I had wanted to be Catholic for twenty years before I finally became one, as my father was an Episcopal Priest. Once he retired and Francis became the Pope, I was finally moved to covert and did.

On Maundy Thursday, days of course before the Easter, the most important day of my life, I went into the Chapel after the service. They had put the Monstrance back out in the Chapel, which was packed with people. It was then and there I first felt the presence of our Lord. I am a very private person when it comes to public display of emotion, but I burst into tears the moment I walked through the doors. I don’t know what people must have thought, but there was no escaping it.

It was a joyous and important moment [if not embarrassing] but no one seemed to mind, and were very kind as I recall. The entire experience was incredible, that Easter, and the entire experience. I am sure it is a wonderful thing to be a cradle Catholic, but I would not trade that experience for all of the gold in the world.

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I’m not so sure about that.

From the Baptist Press:

The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the means by which God’s salvation was secured on our behalf. The unleavened bread is a symbol of the perfection of the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ in His body, soul and spirit. The fruit of the vine symbolizes the substitutionary, propitiatory and covenantal blood of an innocent sacrifice, shed for the remission of the sins of the guilty (see Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 2:5-17; 7:27-28; 9:26-28; 1 Peter 3:18).

The Lord’s Supper, also called communion, demonstrates the doctrine of substitution – Christ died for me (1 Corinthians 11:26). Baptism demonstrates the doctrine of identification – I died with Christ (Romans 6:3-4).

From the UMC document This Holy Meal, the official document of communion for the UMC:

We do not embrace the medieval doctrine of transubstantiation, though we do believe that the
elements are essential tangible means through which God works. We understand
the divine presence in temporal and relational terms.

Presbyterian:

This, then, is the Presbyterian understanding of Communion: Is Jesus physically present in the elements of the Eucharist? Have the molecules of bread been changed into molecules of the body of Jesus? No.
Is Jesus spiritually present in the elements of the Eucharist, authentically present in the non-atom- based substance with which he is con-substantial with God – that is, is he genuinely there to be received by us, and not just in our memories? Yes.

United Church of Christ:

The broken bread and poured wine represent—present anew—the crucified and risen Christ. The wheat gathered to bake one loaf and the grapes pressed to make one cup remind participants that they are one body in Christ, while the breaking and pouring announce the costliness of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Some churches provide non-alcoholic and gluten-free elements. As we grow increasingly aware of the rich cultural diversity of the church, the use of elements other than bread and wine is becoming an issue for global ecumenical reflection.

None of that is the same as transubstantiation, which is the Real Presence.

The Episcopalians and the Anglicans are an exception. But I wouldn’t say that most Protestants believe in it.

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Well done!

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It was a month or two after my reversion. I reverted when I was eighteen, and I just turned 21 a few weeks ago (for reference). I was taking a quiz that was supposed to help you “find out what kind of Christian you should be”, and was asked on my belief about the Real Presence. I thought, “What? Who thinks that?” I quickly learned that we think that, and conformed my view to that of the Church.

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