XI THE REAL PRESENCE, A MYSTERY
Many sincere Non-Catholics refuse to believe in the Real Presence, on the ground that it is wholly incomprehensible to them, how a little piece of bread can become the true body of Jesus Christ, and a few drops of wine can become His true blood, and how His body and blood can be in so many places at the same time and be actually received whole and entire by so many persons. They claim that, if they could understand this, they would no longer refuse to believe in the Real Presence.
We should, however, bear in mind that the truth of a thing does not depend on our understanding it. Experience shows that every one of us holds many things to be true which he does not and can not understand. Every one knows and believes, that the food he partakes of is changed into his own blood and flesh ; that the blood circulating in his body becomes flesh, veins and arteries, bones, skin, hair, and forms the different organs of his body; but does he understand all this ? how this is done is a perfect mystery to him. The same may be asserted of the vegetable kingdom: plant, for instance, a peach stone ; in the course of time it will grow into a tree ; now tell me how the very same sap of the peach tree formed in its roots and circulating in the tree forms its bark, its wood, its branches, its leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit which is composed of the stone, the seed, the pulp, the skin, each of which would naturally argue a different origin for every other part. But although we know that the same sap forms them all, can we understand how this is effected? Hence even in the natural order there are everywhere mysteries which surpass our understanding, and the only rational explanation we can give thereof is, that God made things so. Our senses, our reason testify to the existence, reality and truth of these natural facts and we act reasonably, when we believe them, although we cannot understand them. Their truth does not depend on our understanding them. Let us never lose sight of the fact that God is almighty, and is also Truth itself; that He gives existence to things by His mere word, by a mere act of His will.