This weekend we celebrate the great and beautiful gift of our Lord’s True Presence with us in the Holy Eucharist or Corpus Christi Sunday! The Second Vatican Council states that the ineffable gift of the Holy Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of our spiritual lives. The Eucharist is the very Heart of the Church and it is the very Heart of Jesus. At every Holy Mass throughout the world (providing that the proper instructions of our Lord and the Church are followed) a miracle happens: the bread and wine are substantially changed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Jesus Christ!
Our good Lord, due to His merciful love and to confirm our Faith in His True Presence in the Holy Eucharist, has chosen to reveal in a sensory manner His Presence in the Eucharistic in different places throughout the world. Each Eucharistic miracle confirms what we know and believe about this unfathomable mystery of our Catholic Faith: the Holy Eucharist is literally the physical Heart of Jesus! This week I offer for your meditation the true story of a very special Eucharistic miracle located in Lanciano, Italy:
“In the city of Lanciano, Italy, around the year 700 of Our Lord there was a priest of the order of St. Basil who, though learned in the sciences of the world, was ignorant in ways of God, and was not strong in his Faith. He was plagued by a doubt as to whether the consecrated Host was truly the Body of Christ, and the consecrated wine truly His Blood. He had difficulty believing in the mystery of transubstantiation (the miraculous changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ). One morning, as he was celebrating Holy Mass, he had already said the most holy words of Consecration ("This is My Body..., This is my Blood..."), as Jesus had taught it to His Apostles, his doubts and errors weighed upon him more heavily than ever. By a most singular and marvelous grace, he saw the Bread changed into Flesh and the wine into Blood. Frightened and confused by such a great and stupendous Miracle, he stood quite a while as if in a divine ecstasy; but eventually, his fear gave way to the spiritual happiness that filled his soul, and he turned his joyful yet tearful face to those around him, exclaiming "...Behold the Flesh and the blood of our Most Beloved Christ." At those words, the bystanders ran to the altar and began, with tears, to cry for mercy. The faithful, who, having become witnesses themselves, spread the news throughout the entire city.
Today twelve centuries after the miraculous occurrence it remains intact, a sustained miracle! Upon a superficial examination, the Host of Flesh, which is still in one piece and has retained the dimensions of the original "Large Host", has a fibrous appearance and a brown color, which becomes light-reddish if one places a light in the back of the Ostensorium. The Blood, contained in the chalice, has an earthly color, inclined toward the yellow of ocher, and consists of five coagulated globules. Each of the parts is uneven in shape and size, and when weighed together, the total weight is equal to that of each piece. The actual spot of the miracle is located beneath the present day tabernacle of the Church of St. Francis. The Miracle Itself is preserved in the second tabernacle, which is found in the high altar. The Host, now changed to Flesh, is contained in a silver monstrance. The wine, now changed to Blood, is contained in a crystal chalice.
Official Position of the Catholic Church: Local Church and Vatican officials have authenticated the Eucharistic miracle on many occasions since the middle ages. In 1672, Pope Clement X declared the altar of the Eucharistic Miracle a privileged altar on all Mondays of the year. In 1887, the Archbishop of Lanciano obtained from Pope Leo XIII a plenary indulgence in perpetuity to those who visit the Church of the Miracle during the eight days preceding the annual feast day, which falls on the last Sunday in October.
Scientific Studies: A rigorous scientific analysis was performed in 1970-71 by Professor Dr. Odorardo, a university professor in anatomy, pathological histology, chemistry and clinical microscopy, head physi- cian of the United Hospitals of Arezzo, Italy. Professor Linoli was assisted by Professor Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, a Professor Emeritus of anatomy at the University of Siena, Italy.
The research done on the fragments of the Blood and the Flesh yielded
the following results:
-The Blood of the Eucharistic Miracle is real blood and the Flesh is real flesh.
-The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the myocardium (heart wall).
-The Blood and the Flesh belong to the human species.
-The blood type is identical in the Blood and in the Flesh, type AB.
-The proteins in the blood are in the same proportions as those found in normal fresh blood.
-There is no trace whatsoever of any materials or agents used for preservation of flesh or blood.
Science, when called to testify, has confirmed what we have believed in Faith and what the Catholic Church has taught for the last 2,000 years; echoing the words of Christ, "My Flesh is real food; my Blood real drink. Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood dwells continually in Me and I dwell in him."-John 6:56-57” (taken from http://www.acfp2000.com)
Finally, my brothers and sisters, what a joy and consolation our Lord grants us through His True Presence in the Holy Eucharist! However, how sad it is that so many souls who are called by God to believe in our
Lord’s True Presence do not do so. We must pray and offer penance for the conversion of souls to Jesus, Truly Present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist!
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist, St. Joseph, St. Paul and St. Michael, may our Lord Jesus increase our belief in and love for His True Presence in the Holy Eucharist!