Frequently Asked Questions
In the Gospel of John you hear the timeless question,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Real Presence Renewal is a spiritual exercise that proposes an answer to this question by laying out a clear path you can follow across 8 weeks and beyond. This path consists of daily prayer, weekly spiritual reading, weekly spiritual challenges, small group fellowship, and most importantly, more frequent encounters with Jesus in Holy Communion and Eucharistic Adoration. Real Presence Renewal is a powerful tool designed to strengthen, renew, and reignite your faith in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. It was created for every Catholic, from the teenager to the retiree, from the recent convert to priests and those with advanced degrees in theology.
How does it work?
Real Presence Renewal focuses primarily on prayer, catechesis, and encounter with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. There are two goals wrapped up in this approach.
The primary goal is to put you in more frequent proximity and communion with Jesus Christ Himself who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. It is from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that you will receive the illumination and grace you need to understand, believe, and live out this beautiful mystery of faith.
The second goal is the strengthening of your intellectual understanding of the Holy Eucharist. The Church has been afflicted by decades of poor faith formation and catechesis. At the turn of the 20th century, Pope Saint Pius X summed it up well. “Most of the evils which beset the Church and most of the problems with which the Catholic Church is plagued, are not due to bad will. No, they are mainly due to ignorance of Christ’s revealed truth.” It is essential that you have a clear and orthodox understanding of Jesus' teachings, especially regarding the Real Presence. This clarity of mind will enable you to more readily and generously live the Catholic faith.
Why should I commit to this spiritual exercise?
The primary crisis in the Catholic Church today is the widespread loss of faith in the mystery of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Many lay people and priests have abandoned their faith completely or have a faith so weak that it will be unable to withstand the pressures of the enemy, the flesh, and the world. Only a supernatural solution has any chance of alleviating the problems in the Catholic Church, the world, your country, your family, and your own life.
This supernatural solution, simply put, begins and ends with the Holy Eucharist. In order to be a part of this divine solution, by God's grace you must ignite and maintain a deep unshakable faith and devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Real Presence Renewal provides a clear path for you to do this.
What am I committing to?
- 5 minutes of daily mental prayer with a goal of 15 minutes daily by Week 4
"If you do not pray, this [Blessed] Sacrament in which Jesus comes to you will not diffuse its divine remedy within your soul. Without prayer we are powerless to do any great thing for Jesus. Prayer invests us with His virtues; and if we do not pray, neither the saints nor God Himself will bring us forward on the road of sanctity.” - Saint Peter Julian Eymard
- One daily Mass in addition to your Sunday obligation every week
“I do not understand how one can keep oneself pure in the world without Communion. The result is that hardly any progress is made. Some pious persons say: ‘I do not need [Holy Communion] often; I feel at peace.’ Yes, too much so; this dead calm forebodes a storm! Oh! Do not admire your little virtues; have no faith in your peace; do not place so much confidence in yourself; have an eye to advancement, and for that [receive Holy Communion] often.” - Saint Peter Julian Eymard
- 30 minutes of Eucharistic Adoration every week (Tabernacle or Monstrance)
"Eucharistic adoration is the holiest of actions. It is so because it is the perfect exercise of all the Virtues.” - Saint Peter Julian Eymard
In Eucharistic Adoration, we draw close to Jesus as the crowds did during His ministry in ancient Palestine. We receive abundant graces by simply being in His presence. Like the sick and the dying in the ancient crowds, we can expect miracles of healing for the many wounds and sins that we carry today.
- Fasting as well as abstinence from meat on Fridays (as your health allows)
"[Jesus] wishes to continue His Passion of love in generous souls: it is through them that He will suffer without ceasing, in them that He will still be crucified. This is the beautiful and true motive of mortification. Let us make this motive our own and clothe ourselves with the garment of Jesus Christ, mortification and the Cross, which alone can please the heavenly Father." - Saint Peter Julian Eymard
- Openness to weekly spiritual challenges
These challenges are an invitation for you to embrace the basic spiritual practices that all Catholics are called to. The challenges will build on each other, and they will help you to establish a personal rule of life that you can follow after the spiritual exercise ends.
- Weekly spiritual reading
Frequent spiritual reading is a pillar that is absolutely necessary for advancing in love of God. If your intellect is not well formed in the truths of the Catholic faith then you will not be able to withstand the present day pressures of modernism and secularism which threaten to devour you, just as the seeds sown on the path were devoured by the birds.
- 60 minute weekly small group meeting
One of the primary ways God works in your life is through others that act as channels of His grace. You need communion, unity, and fellowship with other Catholic disciples to provide the support, accountability, encouragement, and intercessory prayer necessary for your advancement in love of God and neighbor.
How will I strengthen my intellectual understanding of the Holy Eucharist?
Real Presence Renewal utilizes the supernaturally clear and orthodox writings of Servant of God Father John A. Hardon S.J. In December of 1991, Father Hardon led a Eucharistic Retreat consisting of 26 talks. He then distilled these talks into short readable meditations. Each week, you will take a set of these meditations with you to prayer in order to grow in your understanding of the mystery of the Real Presence.
Father Hardon was commissioned directly by Pope Saint John Paul II to combat America's widespread loss of faith in the Real Presence during the 1980s and 1990s. He spoke, wrote, and led retreats all over the country in a heroic effort to restore the American Catholic Church’s faith in the Holy Eucharist. He also catechized and was spiritual director to Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity.
Real Presence Renewal faithfully shares in Father Hardon's mission to combat the widespread loss of faith in the Real Presence.
In addition to weekly meditations from Father Hardon, you will be presented with short quotations from Saint Peter Julian Eymard, who Pope Saint John Paul II calls the Apostle of the Eucharist. These quotes will preface the weekly spiritual challenges.
What happens at small group meetings?
Before the spiritual exercise begins, you will be organized into small groups with an assigned leader. Small groups will be single gender. Assignments will be released the week before the spiritual exercise begins.
During small group meetings, a set of discussion questions based on the week's spiritual reading will help to generate intentional and holy conversation. The goal of these meetings is to draw you more deeply into the mystery of the Real Presence, challenge you to amend your life, and provide you with the fellowship, support, accountability, and encouragement that is essential in the spiritual life.
Are there any fees, charges, or costs to undertake this spiritual exercise?
No. Plain and simple.
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