Tag Archives: Real Presence


Question: “I would like to know whether watching Mass on television fulfils one’s obligation. My husband never goes to church, but he does watch Mass on TV every Sunday. I attend Mass regularly, although I have missed church recently because of my health.

Answer: The simple answer to your question is ‘no’. Watching Mass on television does not fulfil one’s Sunday obligation. Assuming that your husband is a Catholic and is in reasonable health, he is required to be at Mass in person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in section 2180, specifies that the Sunday obligation is satisfied by ‘assistance’ at Mass, and every commentator I have read views that to mean attendance at a Eucharistic celebration.

Such reading would seem logical since Jesus said (Matthew 18:20): ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ The Eucharist has a community dimension which strengthens the faith of participants. It was with deliberate purpose that Jesus directed his memory to be kept alive by his disciples sharing a meal.

Although taking holy Communion at Mass is not required to satisfy the Sunday obligation, it seems clear that those who participate most fully are the ones who receive back from the Lord the sacred food offered in sacrifice. That gift, of course, is not available to television viewers.

The televised Mass has great value for those whose illness or infirmity precludes them from being in church. It would be incorrect to say watching TV fulfills their obligation. Simply put, there is for them no obligation. They are dispensed.

But the housebound can derive real spiritual benefit from following the prayers and readings of the Mass on television. I would suggest that they can multiply that benefit by asking to be placed on their parish’s Communion list so that a Eucharistic minister will visit them regularly.”

– This article by Fr Francis Doyle was published as part of the feature “Questions and Answers” in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue Friday 14th August, 2015. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


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Adoro the devote

Thee we adore, O hidden Saviour, thee.

Who in thy Sacrament art pleased to be;

Both flesh and spirit in thy presence fail,

Yet here thy Presence we devoutly hail.

O blest Memorial of our dying Lord,

Who living Bread to men doth here afford!

O may our souls for ever feed on thee,

And thou, O Christ, for ever precious be.

Fountain of goodness, Jesu, Lord and God,

Cleanse us, unclean, with thy most cleansing Blood;

Increase our faith and love, that we may know

The hope and peace which from thy Presence flow.

O Christ, whom now beneath a veil we see,

May what we thirst for soon our portion be,

To gaze on thee unveiled, and see thy face,

The vision of thy glory and thy grace.

– St Thomas Aquinas, 1227-74

Tr. Bishop J. R. Woodford


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“This heart, in tabernacle small, beats for us
and lingers mysteriously hidden there
in that circle, still and white.

That is your royal throne, O Lord, on earth,
visibly for us by you erected.
You are pleased whenever I draw near.

You lower your gaze, full of love, into my eyes,
leaning your ear to my softly spoken words,
and filling with peace the depths of my heart.

But your love remains unsatisfied with this exchange;
we are still left separate,
you heart longing for more.

Each morning, you come to me – my early meal;
your flesh and blood become my food and drink
and something wonderful takes place.

Your body, mysteriously, penetrates mine;
your soul unites itself with mine:
I am no more what once I was.

You come and go, but the seed remains behind,
sown by you for future glory,
hidden in a body of dust.

In the soul, a spark of heaven remains;
in the eyes, a deep radiance that never fades away;
and in the voice, a soaring, lilting tone.

A band remains, that binds us heart-to-heart:
the life stream flowing out from you,
giving life to every member.

How marvellous, the wonders of your love –
surpassing thoughts and words!
Filled with awe, we stammer and fall silent.”
– Edith Stein


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The Eucharist! This is the greatest gift of the most generous Heart of Jesus. It is a gift of such magnitude, that though He is omnipotent, He could not have given us a greater one; though He is infinitely rich, He could not have given us more, since He has given us all of Himself.

This is the most prestigious invention of His sagacious love and of His loving wisdom. It is the miracle of miracles, the mystery of mysteries, through which He who is forever in heaven, is also with us forever on earth, becoming the true life in life, the true soul in souls and the true heart in hearts. It is the sign of the love of Jesus, which the Church tells us was born and became man’s companion; in the Blessed Sacrament He became our food, on the cross became man’s redeemer and in heaven becomes his prize! Christian, learn to appreciate this immense treasure, whose holiness all the saints have loved; this sea of all that is good, this heaven on earth.


Through the Eucharist the Heart of Jesus is present like a loving father in the midst of his children, like an amorous bridegroom drawing near to the bride and like a faithful friend walking with his friends. Herein is contained the Heart of Jesus, with all its flames of love, with all the graces of His mercy, with all the infinity of its merits. By this method He sends His chosen ones heavenly light, divine inspiration, holy ardour and gentle comfort. Herein the marvels of His infinite charity are worked in the most secret and intimate places. Herein He speaks to, works with, teaches and forms the saints.


Days, months, years and centuries pass, but in the Eucharist the Sacred Heart, despite all the immeasurable ingratitude, has never stopped beating for us. Come, unite yourself to the Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, stop often and long to visit Him. Make it a habit to keep Him company, talking to Him while He stands among the angels who, bowing, surround His altar. If He is a prisoner out of love for you, so you should be a prisoner out of love for Him, and in this sweet prison of love, you will find the freedom of the children of God.
– Mons. Nicola Tafuri


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“Everything begins, one might say, from the heart of Christ who, at the Lest Supper, on the eve of His passion, thanked and praised God and by so doing, with the power of His love, transformed the meaning of death which He was on His way to encounter.

The fact that the Sacrament of the Altar acquired the name ‘Eucharist’ – ‘thanksgiving’ – expresses precisely this: that changing the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is the fruit of the gift that Christ made of Himself, the gift of a Love stronger than death, divine Love which raised Him from the dead. This is why the Eucharist is the food of eternal life, the Bread of Life.”
– Pope Benedict XVI


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“‘This is my body.’ ‘These four words choke me,’ said Luther, in one of those outbursts of frankness combined with rage, which used frequently to escape this too celebrated heresiarch, in the impetuosity of his nature.

And he said truly, for they are there, these four words, at the very beginning of the dogma of the Real Presence, clear, precise, sovereign, defying in their unclouded transparency all ambiguities, all denials, all sophisms.

The more wonderful this institution is, the more did the Master wish that the formula which established it should be convincingly clear.”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905


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“My eyes and my heart shall be always there, and not only during the day, but even during the long hours of the night, when the churches are closed, and men, having retired into their dwellings, give themselves up to sleep. Thus bound in a certain sense by the tender love which He bears us, Jesus cannot leave us a single moment.

There, then, He awaits us, even inviting and pressing us to go and find Him. From the depths of the Tabernacle, He addresses to us unceasingly these sweet words: ‘Come to Me all you who labour and are burdened; come, and I will refresh you.’ Come to Me, you who are poor, and you who are sick, and you, also, who are in desolation; come, all you, the just and the sinners; and all, such as they are, will find in Me healing, strength, and consolation.

It is not permitted to everyone to approach the kings of the earth. ‘But You,’ says Saint Teresa, ‘You, O my Jesus, may be approached by all; anyone can find You when he wishes, and no one is ever sent away.’ And, she remarks further, ‘if Jesus veils His majesty completely in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, it is that He may inspire in us no fear, but only the most complete and filial confidence.'”
– St Alphonsus, Pratique de l’armour


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“Christ was a man; but he still is; he is always a man. He is always someone living, whose face we know, to whom we speak, and who speaks to us. The union of the least of Christians, if he be in the state of grace with the Word Incarnate is a union beyond all commentary…


Vigils, sleep, agony, death – God shares all of these states of the human condition with us because he was also a man, but a man present everywhere because he was God. He is present first of all in the Church; he is present by his grace within us as he is present in the Sacrament of the Altar; he is present wherever two or three are gathered together in his name as he is present in each of our brothers. There is no encounter in which we do not encounter him; no solitude in which he does not join us; no silence where his voice is not heard deepening, rather than troubling, that silence.”
– Francois Mauriac, 20th century


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“Holy Communion may be received either on the tongue or in the hand. Each communicant is free to decide how to receive and no one may seek to persuade someone to receive in one way or another. However you may receive try to do so in a dignified and reverent manner.


After making your response ‘Amen’ present your tongue to the minister who will place the Host upon it. Just opening your mouth is not sufficient as this makes it difficult for the minister to place the Host reverently. The tongue needs to be easily accessible.


As you approach the altar, place one hand upon the other and extend them forwards so that the minister sees clearly that you wish to receive in the hand, otherwise he will assume that you wish to receive on the tongue. The palm of the upper hand should be flat and fingers straight. When the minister has placed the Host upon the palm of the hand, BEFORE WALKING AWAY, REVERENTLY CONSUME THE HOST BEFORE THE PRIEST OR THE MINISTER.

Since we believe that Our Lord is present in any particle of the Host, however small, care must be taken to ensure that no particles are lost and that any which remain in the palm of the hand are reverently consumed.”
– From Westminster Cathedral newsletter, 22 December 2013. More information about Westminster Cathedral: (external link)


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“Not only is Jesus Christ corporally present in the very act of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in that of Communion, but He resides in a permanent manner in the Eucharist. He is not only our victim and our sustenance, He is also the companion of our lives here below. Therefore our duty towards Him is not limited to assisting at His sacrifice and receiving Him at the Holy Table; since in addition He dwells constantly in our Tabernacles, we should bring to Him there our adoration and our prayers.

Such an exhortation would be superfluous, if we were penetrated with this thought, that the God present in the Host is the same God who maintains our existence from moment to moment, on whom depend, not only our lives, our health, and that of all mankind, but also the course of the seasons, and consequently the fertility of the fields; that He is also the sole master of men’s hearts, even when, in the folly of their pride, they rebel against Him, and proclaim themselves their own masters, and the sovereign lords of the world.”
– Mgr Belmont; Lettre Pastorale

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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time


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