Previously, a friend asked me if I actually believed that the host turns into the body of Jesus at consecration leading to communion. I didn't know how to reply. Years of school catechism (or my understanding of it) has ingrained in me the concept that transubstantiation happens, matter of factly. The consecrated host I receive is His Body. No questions asked. I even recall viewing photos previously showing a bloody host on a communicant's tongue. I think it was part of the photos of some miracle, maybe related to Padre Pio. But I'm not sure. Those photos were supposed to reinforce the transubstantiation that actually happens.
As a Catholic, am I supposed to believe that it really happens?
I thought I was. Yet as I searched my heart, I knew that I swallow a host that symbolizes his body, his death offered for my sins. It was not going to turn into his flesh. Am I not being true to my Catholic faith by believing in this?
Now I think that my faith does not dictate believing in transubstantiation. I pondered on the events of the Last Supper. As Jesus was instituting the Sacrament, he did not turn that bread into his own flesh. For one thing, he was still alive and well. Even Jesus himself was raising that bread and breaking it as a symbol of his impending death and sacrifice. And as I eat the bread or the host, and consider it as His Body, I am reminded of this ultimate loving sacrifice. "Do It In Memory Of Me.", he commands.
I don't think I am less of a Catholic because this is what I believe in. I continue to remember His Death and His Victory over death and sin every time I hear mass. And that memory serves to reinforce my resolve to be a better human being - loving, caring and real.
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