Friday, November 12, 2010

A miracle of the Eucharist at GW?

Anon posted the following questions: “Padre, I just stumbled upon this thanks to Google...can you explain it to me? Isn't this totally wrong?” The site that is linked here is troubling, to say the least. It is for the “Ray of Hope Church” which seems to include many Catholic devotions but isn’t Catholic. The site shows a store which advertizes the Church and “Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”. There are pictures and descriptions of their Eucharist, even a mention of a “Eucharistic miracle” performed in their store. However, this is totally wrong….like, scary wrong...because it is treating the Most Holy Eucharist in an unholy manner (outside a Church or chapel without the permission of the Church). It is sacrilege. The Catechism defines sacrilege in paragraph # 2120: “Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.” (#2120)

Tuesday night, several students here viewed a video on the miracles of the Eucharist. The 30 min. video, “This is my body, This is my blood”, was done years ago by Bob and Penny Lord. It narrates the stories of four Church-approved miracles of the Eucharist. It is sensational. The students seemed to be very intrigued and asked many penetrating questions in our discussion. They asked what it is like to celebrate Mass as a priest, why God works miracles in the first place, do miracles give faith or build on faith that’s already there, and why haven’t there been miracles anytime recently or in the United States. Great questions, huh? We even discussed what would happen around GW if God worked a miracle of the Eucharist here.

Here is some info on two of the miracles which I wrote about in my post from 11/15/06, “Eucharistic miracles”. Also, there is a very short clip of the video we watched the other night.

1) In 1263 a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is described as being a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host. While celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St. Christina (located in the church named for this martyr), he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal.

The priest was immediately confused. At first he attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the neighboring city of Orvieto, the city where Pope Urban IV was then residing.

The Pope listened to the priest's account and absolved him. He then sent emissaries for an immediate investigation. When all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the Bishop of the diocese to bring to Orvieto the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood. With archbishops, cardinals and other Church dignitaries in attendance, the Pope met the procession and, amid great pomp, had the relics placed in the cathedral. The linen corporal bearing the spots of blood is still reverently enshrined and exhibited in the Cathedral of Orvieto.

2) On August 14, 1730,... thieves entered the deserted Church of St. Francis. Taking advantage of the friars' absence, they made for the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was kept, picked the lock to the tabernacle and carried away the golden ciborium containing consecrated Hosts.

The theft went undiscovered until the next morning, when the priest opened the tabernacle at the Communion of the Mass... Two days later, on August 17, while praying in the Church of St. Mary of Provenzano, a priest's attention was directed to something white protruding from the offering box attached to his prie dieu. Realizing that it was a Host, he informed the other priests of the church, who in turn notified the Archbishop and the friars of the Church of St. Francis.

When the offering box was opened, in the presence of local priests and the representative of the Archbishop, a large number of Hosts were found, some of them suspended by cobwebs. The Hosts were compared with some unconsecrated ones used in the Church of St. Francis, and proved to be exactly the same size and to have the same mark of the irons upon which they were baked. The number of Hosts corresponded exactly to the number the Franciscan friars had estimated were in the ciborium -- 348 whole Hosts and six halves.

Since the offering box was opened but once a year, the Hosts were covered with the dust and debris that had collected there. After being carefully cleaned by the priests, they were enclosed in a ciborium and placed inside the tabernacle of the main altar of the Church of St. Mary. The following day, in the company of a great gathering of townspeople, Archbishop Alessandro Zondadari carried the Sacred Hosts in solemn procession back to the Church of St. Francis.

To the amazement of the clergy, the Hosts did not deteriorate, but remained fresh and even retained a pleasant scent. With the passage of time the Conventual Franciscans became convinced that they were witnessing a continuing miracle of preservation...

As a test to further confirm the authenticity of the miracle, the Archbishop, during this 1789 examination, ordered several unconsecrated hosts to be placed in a sealed box and kept under lock in the chancery office. Ten years later these were examined and found to be not only disfigured, but also withered. In 1850, 61 years after they were placed in a sealed box, these unconsecrated hosts were found reduced to particles of a dark yellow color, while the consecrated Hosts retained their original freshness...

By this miracle the Hosts have remained whole and shiny, and have maintained the characteristic scent of unleavened bread. Since they are in such a perfect state of conservation, maintaining the appearances of bread, the Catholic Church assures us that although they were consecrated in the year 1730, these Eucharistic Hosts are still really and truly the Body of Christ. The miraculous Hosts have been cherished and venerated in the Basilica of St. Francis in Sienna for over 250 years.

1 comment:

Liesl said...

wow... that website...

The Eucharistic miracles video was AWESOME! So amazing to see!