“In the Old Testament also there was show-bread; but this, as it belonged to the Old Testament, has come to an end; but in the New Testament there is Bread of heaven, and a Cup of salvation, sanctifying soul and body.” — St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Israel kept the custom of placing twelve loaves of bread — one for each tribe — in the tabernacle (eventually the Temple), in the presence of God. The loaves were changed each Sabbath, with the old loaves being consumed by the priests. This bread was made holy by being placed in the presence of God. The Eucharist, which is truly God’s presence, is the opposite. The Eucharist is holy and makes those who consume it holy. Saint Augustine relays a vision of Jesus in his famous Confessions in which Christ says to him, “You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me.” The Eucharist is not like regular food which is assimilated into the body. Rather, the Eucharist is a food which changes us into itself. It is not holy because it has been in the presence of God, it is the Presence of God!


Lord Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Eucharist. Strengthen the eyes of my faith that I may see you there, under the veil of bread. May I, with every Communion, become joined more perfectly to you. Amen.


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

-Collect for the Feast of Corpus Christi, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas