This is the simple answer Saint Mother Teresa offers when asked what advice she’d give anyone who doubts Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist.
She continues, “The fruit of prayer is always the joy of loving Jesus, coming closer to Him.”
When asked, “What if someone doesn’t know how to pray?” Mother Teresa responds, “I will teach him; we learn to pray by praying. Even Jesus spent hours in prayer.”
Saint Teresa of Kolkata, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, spent over 40 years of her life administering to the poor and dying.
Twenty-six years have passed since her death, yet her message and life remain an inspiration to the world.
As Catholics, we believe in transubstantiation, a controversial topic for many outside of the Church. Yet, even those who are Catholic can stumble in confusion, wondering how bread and wine can transform into Jesus' Body and Blood.
I would be lying if I did not admit that at times in my past I have fallen short, not believing or even fully understanding something so extraordinary. The simple answer Mother Teresa gives is truly our only hope: prayer.
Jesus hears our prayers, and in His goodness, answers them. As Mother Teresa has expressed many times over, we must go to Jesus in all our doubt, confusion, and disbelief.
There is no shame in asking the Lord to help us know Him better, believe in His true presence, and ask him to open our hearts and trust in Him with childlike dependence.
The mystery of transubstantiation doesn’t make sense. Nothing about bread becoming Our Lord makes sense to the human mind. Yet, it happens. In our mere humanness, we cannot possibly comprehend this mystery, and perhaps, that’s the point.
The Lord and the works of the Holy Spirit are infinitely bigger than we can possibly fathom.
We are given special time to be physically present with Jesus in the Eucharist, both during Mass and in Adoration. Mother Teresa reminds us that the more we pray, the more we learn how to pray.
Jesus wants to hear it all: the messy prayer, the confused prayer, the imperfect call to Him.
Whether you’re Catholic or not, confused or not, the fact remains: Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. If you find yourself consumed with discomfort or hesitation by this statement, as Mother Teresa so simply stated, “Pray.”
Mother Teresa's favorite prayer after receiving Holy Communion:
Dear Jesus, help me to spread
Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
That all my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
That every soul I come in contact with
May feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only You, dear Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin
to shine as You shine,
So to shine as to be a light to others
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you;
none of it will be mine.
It will be you,
shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you
in the way which you love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching,
not by words but by example,
by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love
my heart bears for you. Amen.
- "The Fragrance Prayer" by Cardinal Saint John Henry Newman