To encourage the participation of students in the Year of Real Presence, all high school students in public, private, homeschool, or Catholic schools were invited to submit an artistic expression of the meaning the Holy Eucharist holds in their lives. Thirty students submitted essays, poems, and original artwork that expressed their own thoughts on Real Presence and their relationship with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Items were shared on Diocesan social media, YRP website, and at special events like the Eucharistic Congress. Samples of submitted work can be found below.
Real Presence Artwork
Real Presence Poem
Submitted by Annie Hohl
Holy Eucharist, most constant and true,
My Lord and Savior, I know is you.
Through every which way, you are my guide,
In you, I find my pride.
No matter how difficult life may be,
You are the one thing I can guarantee.
The grace that fills me when I have taken you in,
You are irreplaceable, nothing else could have been
greater than that which is the greatest gift of all.
You remind me to come back, you are my call.
Eucharist, most holy, divine, and alive,
From nothing other than our God could you derive.
Real Presence Essay
Celebrating the Real Presence
Submitted by Bernadette Spear
Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross destroyed sin and death, reconciled humanity to God the Father, and opened the gates of heaven. It was the perfect sacrifice, the most pleasing possible sacrifice to offer to God, and every time we share the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we glorify God in the best possible way. The “Real Presence” emphasizes the literal reality of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist, without which the sacrifice of the Mass would be merely metaphorical and not nearly as powerful or perfect. Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist combines with his real presence in every human being we encounter in the world to fill our lives with love, awe, and joy.
One testimony to the Real Presence involves the angels and their gathering at the altar during the Mass. Altar servers like myself have a very special opportunity when we kneel right by the altar while the consecration happens. St. John Chrysostom, along with other saints, reveals that “when Mass is being celebrated, the Sanctuary is filled with countless Angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.” During those moments of the consecration when heaven opens up and touches earth, you can also feel the presence of the angels worshipping alongside us. Jesus is really and truly present on the altar, and even if we humans too often take him for granted there and doubt his reality, the angels never do.
Our guardian angels accompany us wherever we go, and when we receive the Eucharist regularly and remain in communion with Jesus, we also carry him out of the church and into the world in a very unique manner. However, we must never forget or downplay the fact that Christ is really and truly present in each and every human being. When Jesus describes Judgment Day, he identifies himself as the King who judges, and states that all of the angels will be there by his throne. He makes extremely clear that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40), and I think that this is part of what the Real Presence means. Jesus is really physically present in the Eucharist, but he is also truly present in a real way in everyone in the world.
When we contemplate Jesus’ description of Judgment Day as recounted in Matthew’s Gospel, we realize that it doesn’t make sense to go to church and worship Jesus in the Eucharist if we don’t recognize the presence of Jesus in everyone around us. However, our ability to serve Christ through our brothers and sisters will also be diminished and incomplete without the graces received from reception of the Eucharist. Christ has given God the most perfect sacrifice, but our own acts of sacrifice and service to our neighbors are also pleasing to the Father, and Jesus leaves no doubt that those sacrifices will help to save our souls. Christ is truly present in the world, most literally in the Eucharist but also in so many other ways. He is certainly present in our hearts too if we choose to be open to him, to receive him reverently in the Eucharist, and to serve him with love and joy in the form of our fellow humans.
Jesus’ sacrifice, recreated in the Mass, is his great gift to us, and our sacrifices for our neighbors are our gifts to him. By participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we express our gratitude for his gift, and when we model our lives on his sacrifice, we then emerge from the church into the world and serve our fellow humans. Together these activities allow us to fulfill the two great commandments of love of God and love of neighbor, and so to prepare our souls for Judgment Day. The reception of Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity – in the form of the Eucharist enriches us with the grace that we need to live lives full of love and sacrifice, and the service that we give to our neighbors, in turn, renders us more and more holy and worthy to approach the Real Presence at the altar.
Real Presence Poem
Submitted by Claire Duffy
Oh my Jesus,
You alone are the greatest source of life.
Let the bread through which you provide your greatest revelation sustain me.
Help me to accept and appreciate this revelation,
And to never reject or turn from you.
Your presence is everlasting.
And I desire to find you in my everyday activities.
Let me never forget you are with me.
You are my greatest ally and my truest friend.
Keep me holy in my thought and actions,
So that I am worthy to receive you and belong to your love.
Allow me to share you with others,
And let us be united as one in your family.
With this family let us grow stronger in our faith,
So that one day we may be with you in eternal rest.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.