Bread of Life

 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.


Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


by Helen Keeler and Susan Grimbly

The Church has seesawed between an emphasis on faith — that you achieve salvation through private worship of the Lord — and stress on good works. Clearly, it takes a combination of both things to be a good Catholic and to live life as Christ wished us to do. But how can we achieve this balance.

What Is Salvation?

Salvation means overcoming sin and the basic flaws of the human condition and returning to the ultimate, longed-for state of spirituality. The example we have of salvation is Christ's Resurrection, in which he was transformed into a new mode of existence. That transformation is what we are all striving to achieve.
While there is a strong judgmental quality to this idea — that the wicked will be punished — we must also remember that it is tempered by Jesus' compassion. So we trip and fall, ask forgiveness, and soldier on again.
It is every Catholic's individual responsibility to work out his or her salvation, and the framework of the Church provides plenty of help for every Catholic to reach that goal. As the bishops proclaimed at Vatican II, the values that we cherish on earth, “human dignity, brotherly communion, and freedom,” are of “vital concern to the kingdom of God.”

A Full Catholic Life

To be a Catholic, it is not enough to observe the outward signs of worship, such as going to Mass and confession and having sacramentals around your house. That falls short of achieving the state of inner worship that is critical to becoming one with the Lord. It is not enough to only do good works. No matter how generous you are with your time, you must still observe the obligations of worship that membership in the Church requires.

It is the Catholic's responsibility to permeate society, strengthened in purpose by faith, and to try to be a force for good. As the Catholic Catechism attests, “If a bad apple affects the good ones, cannot we as Christians and Catholics reverse the procedure and be the good ones that affect the bad?” We want to help those systems of justice whose aim is to save humanity from its sometimes misguided cultural and temporal interests.


Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as minimum quota of good works for salvation in Catholic’s teaching!

The accurate Catholic position on salvation is Catholics believe that we are saved by God’s Grace. Without God’ Grace that first moves us, both to believe in Him & Christ and to obey His commandments, we cannot reach our salvation. The teaching that Grace precedes all our actions in relation to our salvation was declared by the Catholic Church in Council of Orange in 529 AD and reaffirmed in the Council of Trent in 1547.

If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” [1 Corinthians 4:7], and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” [1 Corinthians 15:10]. Canon VI of Council of Orange

Anonymous said...

For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God,

Council of Trent, Decree on Justification XVI

If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.

Council of Trent, Canon III of the Decree on Justification

Anonymous said...

Some non-Catholics and even some Catholics think that Catholics believe in salvation by faith plus works. But this does not give accurate presentation what the Catholic Church teaches for two reasons.

First, “faith plus good works” says nothing about the role of God’s Grace in both faith and obeying Him through good works.

It makes good works become our own efforts, which, as we will see later, is not the teaching of the Catholic Church. Second, faith plus works might lead to the question: how much good works a Catholic must perform in order to secure a place in heaven?

One former Catholic rhetorically asked me: how many Masses? How many good works? Another former Catholic, James McCarthy, founder of Good News for Catholics Ministry, developed sets of card to “evangelize” Catholics.

He called it Pocket Evangelism Kit. Unwary Catholics are asked to pick card of which brief statement describes their understanding of how to be saved – whatever card he/she picks McCarthy will point out that it does not work.

If he selects the “Doing Good Works” card, the question is, “How many good works do you have to do to get into heaven?”

McCarthy, Conversations with Catholics, page 51