Are you tired of regular school already? Want to take a quick “Apologetics” break with your 7th through 12th grader? Want a lesson that is contained and easy for just two days? Try a “quick study” on the proofs for the Eucharist being the real Body and real Blood of Christ.
You will need:
-Your child, aged 11-17 (You judge readiness…much of this can be distilled to a child much younger but the ideal age for this series is middle school and high school)
Helpful will be:
Beginning Apologetics 1 by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham (San Juan Catholic Seminars) You will probably want to get the whole series but you can do this quick study without the book if you don’t want to wait. I highly recommend the whole series. Each book is under $6.00.
Read the reason you are doing this study:
Apologetics is giving a reasoned explanation for your Faith. A Catholic apologist charitably explains and defends Catholic doctrine using Scripture, history and common sense. Apologetics fulfills the command of St. Peter: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence…” (1 Pet 3:15-16) (From the book Beginning Apologetics by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham)
Explain to your student that you are preparing him to address the issue of the Real Presence in the Eucharist when others ask about it in both formal and informal settings. This will serve him well for the rest of his life. This is relevant.
Find a comfortable spot where you will not be interrupted for 30 minutes.
1. Read John 6 together. Point out John 6: 55, where Jesus says, “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Commit that verse to memory. When someone asks why you believe the Eucharist is Jesus’ true Body you will kindly say, “Because Jesus said so.” And follow up with this verse.
Note: It is good to read John 6 many times in the years to come. Much can be gleaned from repeated reading, and many good Catholic books use this as a starting point for discussing the Eucharist so becoming familiar with it will be helpful.
2. Point to the fact that many disciples left Jesus after He taught the above in John 6. (See John 6:66). If Jesus had only been speaking symbolically, some of His followers wouldn’t be so upset and would not have left. They could not accept the literal meaning of His words.
3. Point to the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper. (Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:17-20; )
Each, written by different authors to different audiences, recount Jesus’ words, “This is my Body. This is my Blood.”
“This is a symbol of my Body.”
“This represents my Body.”
“This will help you think of my Body.”
“This is meant for community building or fellowship.”
“This IS my Body.”
4. Note that St. Paul reiterates this in 1 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NAB)
“ …Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way after the supper he took the cup, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood….”
Again, Jesus says “This IS my body.”
5. All the early Church fathers recognized Jesus spoke literally about the Eucharist being His true Body.
-St. Ignatius of Antioch
-St. Justin Martyr
-St. Cyril of Jerusalem
(See recommended book for citations from each of these early Church Fathers or if you don’t have the book yet, find them on the internet.)
Point out that until the ‘Reformation’, all Christianity accepted the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Even Martin Luther affirmed this doctrine. (Again, specific citations are in the recommended book if you want them)
6. Discuss the Eucharistic Miracles. Several excellent books exist on this topic (pictures included). You can start with these below which are readily available.
Have your student write down the six points mentioned above.
Again, allow 30 minutes of study.
You and your student review the six points above. Allow him 10 minutes or so of private study. Have him explain them to you. Then, do some old-fashioned role-playing-you with your student, your student with other students (your own children or others if this is done in a group). For extra practice, find arguments on the internet against the Real Presence and address each argument.
There’s so much more to delve into but this is a good start.
Why not do this on a Friday morning and top it off by attendance at holy Mass or Eucharistic Adoration?
For more information on Eucharistic Adoration, click HERE.
Can’t leave the house to make it to Mass or Adoration? Visit HERE.