When I was converting, this certainly was not the deciding factor, but only because I didn’t really know. Now that I am Catholic, this is the thing I am most thankful for.
The Eucharist, the source and summit of the Catholic faith. All we do as Catholics point towards our Lord, fully present in the Eucharist.
The word Eucharist comes from the Greek for thanksgiving. It derives heavily from ancient Jewish blessings, especially over a meal. We give thanks and proclaim God’s great works.
The Sacrament is also called the Breaking of Bread, which is how it is referred to in the Bible and in this action Jesus is recognized by the disciples after the Resurrection, I especially like to think of think of he disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
It’s called the Memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, for obvious reasons. Or, The Holy Sacrifice, as it makes present the sacrifice of our Lord at Calvary. And, no, we don’t re-sacrifice Jesus at every Mass. God is outside of time and space and at each and every Mass, the very moment of Calvary is what we experience.
Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper when he takes the bread, give thanks, and says, “This is my body”, and the same with the wine saying, “this is my blood” and to “do this is memory of me”. All of which are part of the consecration.
Jesus discusses the importance of the Eucharist even before the Last Supper during the Bread of Life Discourse. Here he makes it clear that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we cannot have eternal life.
The Eucharist is prefigured in the Bible by the high priest Melchizedek making a sacrifice of bread and wine. It is also prefigured in the Paschal Lamb of passover. The word for eating during the Bread of Life Discourse is the same as to consume animal meats. And, just as during the Passover, we must eat His body.
The bread and wine, during consecration, become the real body and blood of Jesus through transubstantiation. We consume Jesus’ whole body, blood, soul and divinity.
Once you know how important the Eucharist is, who could ever want leave?