by Mother Mary Angelica

One of the saddest stories from the Lives of the Saints is that of Saint Alexis. Choosing to forsake the joys of wealth and family life, the "man of God" became a bedraggled beggar. Unrecognized by his parents, he accepted the shelter they offered him under a staircase in their palace, and lived there for 17 years. Only when he'd been found dead did they realize he was their long lost son. His mother is said to have exclaimed, "Oh my son! Why have I known thee so late!"

Who among us can fail to empathize with the sorrow and grief this bereft mother must have felt? Yet we can easily fall into the same mistake with regard to the Holy Eucharist.

Who is it that hides Himself under the Form of Bread? Who is it that waits to come to us as our spiritual food, standing at the door of our souls and knocking? Who is it that hungers for our devotion and love? It is the same Jesus Who was born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem, the same Jesus Who taught daily in the temple and raised the dead to life, the same Jesus Who walked on the water and calmed the sea.

I never cease to be amazed at Our Lord's profound humility. Not only did He become a helpless infant and accept our poor human nature; now He demeans Himself even further in coming to us as a Humble Fragment of Food!

Each year in the month of June, we celebrate the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Catholics all over the world proclaim our belief in this most important aspect of our Faith. It is the Church's desire that we do so publicly, even taking to the streets in solemn processions, to express our love, adoration and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

It is not enough that we celebrate the Eucharist every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is not enough that we commemorate Its Institution at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. No, this Awesome Mystery of Faith must have Its own special day set aside each year, that we may give It our undivided attention and honor It for the Reality It is -- the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.

Throughout the centuries, there have been people who doubted this Reality. Even in our own day, despite the benefit of thousands of books on the subject written by holy men and women, we see arising the same old heresies and doubts that have assailed the Doctrine of Jesus' Real Presence since He first announced it in the Gospels. Even today, there are many who find this teaching "too hard to accept."

But this teaching just will not go away -- because it is the most important teaching Jesus ever gave to us!

It is so important, in fact, that Our Lord sometimes permits a Eucharistic Miracle to occur. Many souls throughout the history of the Church have had their doubts disappear instantly when their eyes beheld a Bleeding Host or a Consecrated Host suspended in mid-air. Others regained their Faith in the Real Presence through a vision, or from reading of someone else's visions, such as those of St Teresa of Avila who wrote:

"Whenever I approached the Altar to communicate, and remembered that exceeding Great Majesty Which I had seen, and considered that it was He Who was in the Most Holy Sacrament and that the Lord was often pleased that I should see Him in the Host, my hair would stand on end and I would feel completely annihilated. O my Lord! If Thou didst not cloak Thy Greatness, who would dare to come so often to the union of such foulness and wretchedness with such Great Majesty?"

Do YOU have doubts about the Real Presence? Don't wait for a vision or miracle; there is a much more simple remedy. Just go before the Blessed Sacrament and read the sixth chapter of St John's Gospel in the Bible. There, you will find the words of Jesus Himself explaining His Doctrine. If you really believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then it is a very small step of Faith to accept what He said about His coming to us as the Bread of Life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He could never lead us astray or teach us something false. Such a thing would be impossible for our God who is All-powerful, All-Wise, All-loving.

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