Friday, August 21, 2009

Eucharistic Miracles

In his homily for August 16 Deacon Greg Kandra wrote about a Eucharistic miracle I had long forgotten about:

It happened almost exactly 280 years ago, on the Feast of the Assumption. August 15, 1730. At that time, there were special services and festivals held around the town in connection with the feast. And so while most of the town was out celebrating, and the church was deserted, a thief went into the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was kept, picked the lock to the tabernacle, and carried away the gold ciborium with the consecrated hosts.

Nobody discovered the theft until the next morning, when the priest went to the tabernacle for communion. He alerted his superiors and the entire town began searching for the hosts and the ciborium. The Archbishop even ordered public prayers of reparation.

Two days later, in another church in town, a priest noticed something white sticking out of the offering box. He took a closer look and discovered it was a pile of hosts. Since the offering box was only checked every few months, it was filthy. Some of the hosts were suspended on cobwebs. Authorities soon confirmed that they were the same hosts that had been stolen from the Church of St. Francis – nearly 400 of them.

The hosts were cleaned off, placed in a ciborium and returned to the Church of St. Francis.

And at this point, the friar telling the story paused to explain the miracle that followed.

Across nearly 300 years, those hosts have remained intact.

They have not deteriorated. They haven’t crumbled or decayed. In fact, they still smell as if they were freshly baked.

And then the old friar walked over to a side altar, pulled a small chord, and a curtain behind him parted, revealing those hosts, in a glass ciborium. Each one was perfect and white and appeared, for all the world, brand new.

As we knelt before the ciborium, the friar told us that theologians and scientists had all examined the hosts over the centuries – most recently in 1922. They could find no explanation for what had happened. One doctor even wrote that the preservation of the hosts was “a fact unique in the annals of science.”

What makes this especially significant, the friar explained, is that this miracle has never stopped. It continues. It is ongoing – even as I speak. Since the hosts are in a perfect state of conservation – still maintaining completely the appearance, taste and smell of bread – the Church has declared that they are still truly and completely the Body of Christ.

This prompted me to do a little research and I found a site dedicated to the Real Presence which I had also forgotten about having discovered some time ago. I hope you spend some time there.