The real presence

I received an email a while back with the following question:

I’ve been told that to be a Roman Catholic it is necessary to believe that when receiving the Eucharist we’re actually eating the FLESH and drinking the BLOOD of Christ, literally. I can understand this in a symbol sense but I really can’t see how we can believe that we are actually consuming parts of Jesus’ human body?? Please set me straight if I’m misinterpreting something and also I’d be interested to hear how you see this.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m always at a loss when I’m trying to explain the Eucharist to people. The mystery is just too big for my mind to grasp, and I struggle to find the words. But, thanks to certain prayer experiences I have been blessed to live, I have an unwavering confidence that Christ truly is present in the Eucharist.

So I’m going to take a pass on answering this question myself, and instead refer people to the Real Presence Association, which has an excellent web page devoted to education on the Eucharist. In particular, with regards to the question I received, I’d like to refer people to the section on eucharistic miracles. Some amazing stuff has happened with regards to the Eucharist over the years, and it is good to know of these events for the purpose of strengthening our faith.