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, June 5, 2013


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

—Gerard Manley Hopkins

We begin the new weekly column “The Catholic Imagination and You” by taking our inspiration from one of the great poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins; the great artist Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (who carved Ecstasy of St. Teresa); and the mystic and writer St. Teresa herself. We propose that the Catholic imagination is what sets apart the Catholic artist, writer and reader from the naturalist or secularist. God and the Catholic faith illuminate a Catholic artist’s imagination in much the same way that a candle will shed its light in the recess of darkness.

The Catholic imagination for the artist brings alive what we, as Catholics know to be the Truth: The living God is among us in the world. His presence serves as an inspiration for great artistic achievement and beauty. Through the Catholic imagination, the Catholic artist depicts concretely in fine art, sculpture, poetry, and literature those hallowed and epiphanic moments of God’s grace, which come unbidden to every soul.

The Catholic artist and writer live in a larger universe – a universe of the temporal and the divine. As the great Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor so clearly states in one of her essays on writing, “ . . . [T]he chief difference between a novelist who is an orthodox Christian and the novelist who is merely a naturalist is that the Christian novelist lives in a larger universe. He believes that the natural world contains the supernatural.” O’Connor is echoing the sentiment Hamlet expresses to his friend Horatio:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

We Catholics understand that everything in this world is not as it appears – that there is a depth of meaning that the philosopher taps through reason, the theologian taps through faith and reason, and the fiction writer taps through faith, reason and the imitative act of the imagination. We know God is acting in the world around us. He walks every day in “the garden of the world.” Rather than hiding as our first parents did when God called to them, Catholic writers go out to greet God with their art and bring Him into the works they create.

If you are a writer or artist, how does the Catholic imagination inspire you? Or, if you’re a reader (like us) and consider yourself a patron of art, we’d like to know your perspective. How does the Catholic imagination affect you personally?

We are opening up this column to everyone. Please consider writing a piece on the Catholic imagination for Catholic, Ink.

Perhaps you have an original take on the Catholic imagination. Some insight into the process of composition or the imitative act by which the writer, poet and painter produces art. You may consider reflecting on the words of some great Catholic artist. Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Graham Green, J.R.R. Tolkien and T.S. Eliot, among others, who have important things to say in both their creative works and their critical works about this topic.

Another suggestion, consider highlighting some classical artist – Homer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, etc. – and bring these great masters into the conversation, pointing out how what they’ve created for the ages might relate to this same illuminating principle we call the Catholic imagination. Help us bring alive the Catholic imagination to the readers of Catholic, Ink. We look forward to reading your words and, through them, inspiring readers, writers and artists.

Please e-mail your 400 to 2,500 word column (include your name and e-mail address in the MS Word file) to

Subscribe to Catholic, Ink. – click here – Be part of the Catholic Literary Revival – receive the weekly column “The Catholic Imagination and You”.

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