The Antidote for Death: Living Bread

Editor’s note: Today Dr. Anthony Lilles continues a series of posts on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  We invite you to read more about the most powerful way Christ remains with us and why so few believe in the Real Presence.


In the Eucharist, Christ’s countenance shines with a personal energy that the Church calls “Real Presence.”  He is wholly surrendered to us in a way that is meant to bring His passion to bear in our lives. Not passive, He actively enters into our company and knocks at the door of our hearts.  He shines on us and evokes the deepest and most tender desires. His subtle presence invites the most radical conversion of heart. In this Sacrament, He can even baptize us in deep silence until our whole being joins the hosts of heaven in the aching joy of hymns of praise. In this Real Presence, His very adoration of the Father can suddenly shake the deepest foundations of our existence.

He means for us to be pierced with the love of the Father until we finally begin to live. He yearns for us to be free from self-contradictions.  He wants to lead us beyond the banality of desires unworthy of the greatness to which we are called.  In this Sacrament, He is present so as to give us a foretaste of the resurrection itself if we would only allow Him.Through this great mystery, under the humble signs of bread and wine, the Divine Physician reaches out to touch us in the most delicate and saving ways. In the Host, the Almighty stretches out to hold us fast as we suffer loneliness and alienation. This Living Bread offers to feed us with immortality in this dying world, and to be for us the antidote for death even as we approach the final moments of our lives.  Such a personal presence of the Living God is utterly undaunted in the face of disaster and tragedy, but quietly persists with hidden intensity until every evil exhausts itself and all that is good, noble and true remains.

His face turns to us in this Holy Sacrament with real and meaningful force -in an instant that never seems to end, filled as it is with eternity. Here, the Glory of the Father gazes on us with a transforming but disguised splendor. Reason kneels before such inestimable beauty and faith grows as it is led only by love. This veiled radiance draws us out of ourselves without our ever being aware. Unfelt, the Divine Impact of this Real Presence resonates to our deepest core. In the shadow of this mystery, the Lord can reveal us to ourselves and help us begin to see the inexhaustible immensity of love being poured out for our sakes – in this moment, in every moment if only we would surrender to Him.

To sanction even a single instant of this love is to render oneself vulnerable to be lifted up with Him on high.  One thought open to Him can open up a pathway down which the most exciting of all human adventures await. Faith is made perfect by such a gift. Yet, who remain indifferent when the One who looks on us with such tender and saving love is not loved.


Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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