Sep 1, 2019
I recently mentioned a Pew Research Center study which found that about only 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, meaning that 70% assert that the bread and wine are merely symbols of Christ's Body and Blood. One of the documents from the Second Vatican Council teaches us that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life,” so it's disheartening—to say the least—to hear so few Catholics adhere to this central teaching.
Eucharistic miracles are amazing, and there have been a multitude of such miracles for centuries in many places. In Siena, Italy in 1730, consecrated hosts were stolen from the tabernacle and were found days later. Those consecrated hosts remain intact, free from corruption and decay to this very day; such hosts, even if they are consecrated, should have broken down by now. I witnessed this miracle while on pilgrimage in Italy a few years ago. A different type of Eucharistic miracle in Orvieto, Italy in the Medieval Period led to the creation of the feast of Corpus Christi and led to St. Thomas Aquinas writing the classic hymns Pange Lingua and Adoro Te Devote for that specific feast.
Two Eucharistic miracles deserve extra consideration. In 1996, a consecrated host was discovered on the floor in the back of a church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The priest of that parish, wanting to properly dispose of it, placed it in water and in the tabernacle. Days later, he discovered the consecrated host had turned to flesh and blood. A sample of the consecrated host turned into actual flesh and blood was sent to an atheist scientist in New York with the intention that he analyze it. This scientist was never told exactly what the sample was. His discovery was the sample was the heart tissue from the left ventricle of a male with white blood cells present—meaning the person had undergone great suffering and the person was alive because white blood cells aren't present in the dead. The blood type was AB.
This Eucharistic miracle reminded many of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy from the 8th Century. In this instance, a priest with doubts about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist celebrated Mass, and after the consecration, the sacred host turned to flesh and the Precious Blood coagulated in the chalice, leaving five globules. When samples of this were tested in the 1960s, they discovered it was tissue from the left ventricle of a male who had undergone suffering and still had white blood cells present in it. They discovered type AB blood. Additionally, when they analyzed the five globules of the coagulated Precious Blood, they discovered it was indeed type AB blood, and they discovered that when weighed individually the globules weighed the same weight and when weighed all together, they weighed the same as the individual weight.
It's clear from these Eucharistic miracles that Jesus Christ is giving us His heart, asking that we give Him our hearts. These Eucharistic miracles reveal the permanence of Christ's love for us. May we in turn give Him our lives as well. Have a great week!