Christ’s Real Presence: Weekly Message for 06-14-16

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

I am a convert to Catholicism. I grew up in a secular humanist household, was born again through an evangelical church when I was a teenager, and didn’t enter the Catholic Church until after graduating from college.

I often reflect on the path that led me into the Church. It’s amazing to see how patient and gentle God can be, and yet how effective! Two of the most significant experiences along that path of conversion had to do with the Eucharist.

Both of these Eucharistic experiences happened before I knew about the doctrine of the Real Presence. And they both occurred in Assisi, Italy. One happened while I was visiting the Franciscan novitiate there on my Christmas vacation during a year of study abroad. I couldn’t sleep one night. I made my way to the chapel, where the little red candle was flickering. There I encountered God in a powerful, unforgettable way. It was a real milestone. (I describe it in more detail in Chapter 8 of “Summer Meditations”). 

The second experience happened a few months later, when I was back in Assisi. I lingered in a little chapel after Mass, and my short visit to the Eucharist turned into an entire evening – I couldn’t tear myself away. Soon afterwards, I knew it was time to seek out some formal instruction in the Catholic faith. God was working in my life through his Eucharistic presence even when I didn’t know what that presence was. He is like that.

I truly hope you are able to take enough time (especially each Sunday) to celebrate the Eucharist as it should be celebrated – as if we have received the gift of God’s very own divine presence in our world and our lives through the Eucharist. And if you would like a little bit of help, check out our Retreat Guide on this amazing sacrament, Food for the Journey. It’s part of our complete series of Retreat Guides on the Seven Sacraments, and it’s one of my favorites, and I am sure it will help remind you of just how much love the Lord has for you, personally, as is evidenced by the unfathomable gift of his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament.

Praying you have a blessed and restful summer.

God bless you!
In Him, Fr. John Bartunek, LC, SThD

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