The dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium describes the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the Christian life.” It is not hard to imagine then, that this subject of principal importance is still being debated two millennia after its institution. Even when it was taught from the lips of Jesus himself, there were many disciples who grumbled saying: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:60) Unfortunately, this is still the case today. There are some among the faithful who no longer believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and others who simply misunderstand what is meant by “real presence.”

In an attempt to shed light on this central Catholic teaching, this paper will begin by briefly highlighting the scriptural foundations of the Eucharist. Then, using broad strokes, the historical development of the Eucharistic doctrine will be explored. Finally, this paper will examine and dispel some of the more modern misconceptions that shroud the reality of the Real Presence.