What is the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist? Is Christ truly present in the Eucharist? Are Catholics idolaters when they adore bread and wine as the body and blood of Jesus Christ? These are all questions we had to deal with when we were on the journey to the Church.
“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer,” wrote the great St Ignatius around 107 A.D., “because they do not confess the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which was offered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.” Apart from those referred to by Ignatius, we know of no church or Christian movement in the first millennium of Christian history that did not confess Jesus to be truly present in the Eucharist.
This was the faith of the fathers of the early Church, the faith of St Augustine, the universal faith of Christians essentially until the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. St Ignatius referred to the Eucharist as “the medicine of immortality” through which we receive the very life God. Vatican II described it as “the source and summit of the Christian life.” It’s critical that Catholics understand and feel confident to defend what scripture, tradition and the Church teach about this most important subject.
Hear Our Stories
Here are a collection of testimonies from converts to Catholicism for whom the discovery of the Eucharist played an important part.
There are a great number of solid resources for learning about the Eucharist. Here are some of our favorites.
Recommended Articles & Documents
by Brant Pitre
This is a book of biblical theology, meaning that the author works to help us understand the Eucharist within the context of Jewish history and practice and as the fulfillment of all the Old Testament images of the Passover, the Manna, the Bread of the Presence in the tabernacle. This book will really open your eyes to the Scriptural background to our Lord’s institution of the Blessed Sacrament!
by Scott Hahn
Bestselling author Scott Hahn sheds new light on the Mass, offering readers a deeper appreciation of the most familiar of Catholic rituals. Of all things Catholic, there is nothing that is so familiar as the Mass. With its unchanging prayers, the Mass fits Catholics like their favorite clothes. Yet most Catholics sitting in the pews on Sundays fail to see the powerful supernatural drama that enfolds them. Beautifully written, in clear direct language, Scott will help readers see the Mass with new eyes, pray the liturgy with a renewed heart, and enter into the Mass more fully, enthusiastically, intelligently, and powerfully than ever before.
by James T. O’Connor
“This book is a comprehensive study of the Church’s meditation on the Mystery of the Eucharist from the first centuries to our won times…. For the lay reader who wants a rich understanding…The Hidden Manna is a superb work” – John Cardinal O’Connor
by Mark Shea
This little book is a great place for a convert to start reading about the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. Mark Shea tells the story of his own discovery of the Real Presence in terms engaging and accessible to Evangelical Protestants. He treats standard misconceptions and objections to the Catholic teaching showing the errors in thinking Evangelicals make. Great book!
by Thomas J. Nash
In this profoundly insightful and highly readable book, Thomas Nash brilliantly refutes the common charge that the Mass is “unbiblical.” As you’ll discover in The Biblical Roots of the Mass, the story of the Mass goes deeper than the Last Supper and Christ’s Passion and Death. Indeed, it’s part of an unbroken story that begins in the Garden of Eden and continues today in your local parish.
edited by Scott Hahn & Leon J. Suprenant, Jr.
Catholic for a Reason III will help readers develop a better understanding of the Mass, through the personal study and reflection of 12 well-known Catholics. Each chapter explores the biblical foundation of the Mass in light of Church teaching, going to the heart of topics like “The Mass and Evangelization” and “The Eucharist in the Apostolic Church.”