Sunday, April 18, 2021

Review: Real Presence


Real Presence

About the Book:

Most Catholics don’t believe that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. Rather, they see the bread and wine of Holy Communion as mere symbols of Christ’s body and blood. Is that disbelief just a misunderstanding or is it a blatant rejection of one of the central beliefs of the faith?

In Real Presence, University of Notre Dame theologian Timothy P. O’Malley clears up the confusion and shows you how to learn to love God and neighbor through a deeper understanding of the doctrine of real presence.

A 2019 study by the Pew Research Center found that almost seventy percent of Catholics don’t believe that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist.

O’Malley offers a concise introduction to Catholic teaching on real presence and transubstantiation through a biblical, theological, and spiritual account of these doctrines from the early Church to today. He also explores how real presence enables us to see the vulnerability of human life and the dignity of all flesh and blood.

O’Malley leads you to a deeper understanding and renewed faith in Catholic teaching about transubstantiation and real presence by helping you learn

  • how the doctrine of real presence is rooted in divine revelation and how the Church’s teaching regarding transubstantiation is spiritually fruitful for the believer today;
  • how to make your own the doctrine of real presence by worshipping Christ in the Eucharist and therefore making a real assent to real presence;
  • how the Eucharist, although not the exclusive presence of Christ in the Church’s liturgy and mission, is crucial in growing our capacity for recognizing those other presences; and
  • the important relationship between Eucharistic communion and adoration.

My Comments:

I've had an hour of Adoration--prayer in the chapel where the Eucharist is exposed--for over ten years now.  I have committed to my parish to be the person in the chapel during that hour each week.  Some weeks it is a great way to end the work week (I go on Friday nights); other weeks, I'll admit that skipping crosses my mind.  Sometimes I really feel His presence in the chapel; other times I don't.  I've always accepted the doctrine of the Real Presence in much the same way I've accepted a lot of other things I've been taught over the years--the people who were supposed to know this stuff taught it to me and I never came across a reason to disagree.  

I selected this book hoping for fodder for meditation or inspiration or something.  As I had read another book in the same series I was expecting a relatively easy read. Unfortunately I never really connected with this book.  It talked a lot about Eucharistic theology and quoted some mystics from the middle ages as well as relatively modern people like Dorothy Day.  Still, I'd read a few pages and when I thought about them, I'd have a hard time recalling what I read.  I tried reading big chunks and small and in the end I abandoned the book about 3/4 of the way through. 

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Hopefully it will speak to you more than it did to me.  Grade:  C.  

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you were disappointed in this book. That happens sometimes, and for a theological topic, I think the author has to work to make it accessible. Thanks for linking to An Open Book!


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