Practicing Real Presence

companions present to each other

Sometimes we make theological concepts harder to understand than is necessary. One such is example is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. I tell parents all the time that practicing real presence is one of the highest demands of parenting. As a parent, you make every effort to be truly present to your child, especially for special occasions such as his or her birthday, first day of school, graduation, recitals, and big games. Likewise, you strive to be truly present to them when they are in need—feeling sad, hurt, frightened, lonely, or left out. Children want to know that their parents are there for them and parents, in turn, strive to practice real presence.

We all experience moments—highs and lows—when we don’t want to be alone but want assurance that God, our Father, is present to us. God, as a loving parent, reveals his presence to us in many ways, the greatest of which is the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, in turn, gives himself to us in the Eucharist. The message is that we are not alone. God, Emmanuel, is truly with us. We have God’s real presence in our midst. And upon receiving the Eucharist, we, in turn, are called to be like Christ—truly present to those in need.

As we begin this New Year, let’s make an effort to practice real presence to those around us.

About Joe Paprocki 2741 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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