If you’re a sagging-in-the-faith-Catholic that refuses to believe Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist (as most Catholics do), then these words of Jesus may be just the shot-in-the-arm you need.
“Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. FOR MY FLESH IS MEAT INDEED: AND MY BLOOD IS DRINK INDEED.” (John 6:54-56)
There’s more than 35 historical miracles attributed to the Holy Eucharist. They range from Saints who lived on the Eucharist alone, levitations, visions, locutions, tears of fire, raptures, ecstasies during Holy Communion and Hosts that have become hard as stone upon being received by a person in mortal sin. And mortal sin it indeed is to refuse to believe the Word of God written in John 6:54-56.
The miracle that most impresses, is the miracle of the Host changing into Flesh and the wine changing into the Blood of Jesus. This miracle of the incorrupt Body and Blood of Jesus is displayed in a Monstrance at Lanciano, Italy, as it has since the year 700.
Lanciano is a small, medieval town, near the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Italy. Everything about Lanciano smacks of the Eucharistic Miracle. Even the name of the town was changed from Anxanum to Lanciano, meaning “The Lance”. Tradition has it that the centurion Longinus, who thrust the Lance into the side of Jesus, striking Him in the Tip of His Heart from which He shed blood and water (Matthew 15:29) was from this town.
After the events which followed the piercing of Jesus’ Heart, Longinus believed that Christ was the Savior. A more germane sign, however, was that Longinus had poor eyesight, and after having touched his eyes with the blood and water from the side of Jesus, his eyesight was restored. He gave up the Army, went to Cappadocia, and was martyred for the faith.
In the year 700 The Church of the Eucharistic Miracle was named Church of St. Legontian and St. Domitian, and was under the custody of the Greek Orthodox Rite. This was prior to the Great Schism of 1054.
A Basilian monk, wise in the ways of the world, but not in the ways of faith, was having a trying time with his beliefs in the real presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. He suffered through the routine of his priesthood with these doubts gnawing at him.
The situation in the world did not help strengthen his faith. There were many heresies cropping up all the time, which kept chipping away at his faith. They were not all from outside the church either--just as we witness today. This priest couldn’t seem to help being more and more convinced by the logic of these heresies, especially the one concerning his particular problem- the physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
On morning, while he was having a strong attack of doubt, he began the Consecration of the Mass for the people of the town. He used the same size host which is used in the Latin Rite masses today. What he observed as he consecrated the bread and wine caused his hands to shake. He stood for a long time with his back to the people, and then slowly turned around to them and said:
“O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God, to confound my disbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in the Most Beloved Sacrament and to render Himself visible to our eyes. Come, brethren, and marvel at our God so close to us. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our beloved Christ.”
But that’s not all. The miracle is ongoing. The Host turned-Flesh, and the wine-turned-Blood, without the use of any form of preservative, is still present in the reliquary—I have personally visited there and seen it.
Many tests have been made on the Flesh and Blood since 1574 ending with an unexplainable phenomenon. In 1970, an extensive scientific research using the most modern scientific tools available revealed the following test results:
- The flesh is real flesh. The blood is real blood.
- The flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart (myocardium).
- The flesh and blood belong to the human species.
- The flesh and blood have the same blood type (A B positive).
- In the blood, there were found proteins in the same normal proportions as are found in the sero-proteic make up of flesh, normal blood.
- In the blood, there were also found these minerals: Chlorides, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
The preservation of the flesh and the blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries (without any chemical preservatives) and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remain an extraordinary phenomenon.
In 1978, a group of scientists from NASA performed an intensive examination of the on the Shroud of Turin, using all the sophisticated scientific equipment available to our Space Agency at that time. Among the many findings the scientists made in support of the authenticity of the Shroud, a very significant discovery was found regarding the blood type of the Shroud. It was A B positive, the same blood type found in the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.
Unfortunately, 70 % of Catholics FAIL to believe in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. There are those “Catholics” who say eating the bread is only symbolic of believing that Jesus is present (just as Protestants believe). Well…that’s sublimating…but wrong! Look at the language that Jesus uses:
“For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed”. This is not the language of symbolism.
For those doubting “Catholics”, a visit to Lanciano to witness this miracle given us by God would be the “Shot-In-The-Arm” needed to raise them up from their sagging Catholicism.
Pray the Rosary, wear the Brown Scapular, and pray to the Holy Ghost for faith and understanding that all may come to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.