The Church does not believe that the bread and wine we receive in communion simply resembles or represents the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe and profess that, by the power of Christ acting in his ordained ministers, the substance of bread ceases to be bread but becomes Christ’s Body, and the wine his Blood.
While the bread and wine retains their physical qualities (which we call “accidents” in philosophy/theology), the real substance (that quality that the senses cannot perceive which makes a thing what it truly is), is changed.
A man is man because he is a composite of matter and mind. His color, height, weight, shape etc are all “accidental”, not “substantial”.
Hope this sketchy explanation suffices for the purpose of this article.
This is the story of a monk who doubted the validity of the Church’s teaching about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
In the sayings and deeds of the Fathers of the Desert, we find the description of an ancient Eucharistic miracle. Fr. Daniel the Faranite attests:
“Our Fr. Arsenius told us of a monk of the Scete who was a hard worker but lacked instruction in the Faith. In his ignorance he would say: ‘The Bread we receive is not really the Body of Christ, but is a symbol of that Body.’
Two of the more experienced monks heard his statement and, aware that he was a good and pious monk, decided to speak to him since they attributed his words to his ignorance and not to malice. So they informed him:
‘What you are saying contradicts our Faith.’
The accused replied:
‘Unless you can show me evidence, I will not change my mind.’
The older monks told him:
‘We will pray to God about this mystery and we believe God will show us the truth.’
A week later, on Sunday, all went to the church. At the consecration, in place of the Host, a young Boy was seen. When the priest raised the Eucharistic Bread an angel appeared with a sword and pierced the Boy and when the priest broke the Host, Blood ran into the chalice. At the Communion, the angel took Bloodied Particles from the Host and brought them to the monks to receive. At this the doubter cried out
‘Lord, I believe that the Bread is Your Body, and that Your Blood is in the chalice.’
Immediately the Bloodied Flesh he had in his hand became the Eucharistic Bread and he communicated reverently.”