Tuesday, 4 October 2011

"Eucharistic Miracles"

St Thomas: "My Lord and my God!"
A Reluctant Sinner posts news of a dramatic event in Poland which suggests that a "Eucharistic miracle" has taken place in the Church of St Anthony, Sokolka.  The Holy See has yet to confirm the event to be of divine origin but...

Every Blessed Host is of divine origin. "Miracles" of the Eucharist are outward, visible manifestations of that which the Church teaches to be the case for every Blessed Host.

The phrase Eucharistic "miracle" is understandable, when that which is taught is made visibly manifest, but perhaps a little misleading, since every Holy Eucharist is a Miracle, a Wonder worked by God through His priests, at every Mass, in every Catholic Church, around the whole World, something attested to by St Thomas Aquinas in his Eucharistic hymn, Adoro te Devote:

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.

On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory's sight. Amen.

I find A Reluctant Sinner's speculation that Eucharistic miracles are possibly more common in these ages when belief in the Real Presence is, to put it mildly, on the wane, fascinating. It would seem that this Host fell to the floor and that it was after the Blessed Host fell to the floor that the 'brown patch' appeared. I find the speculation of 'rationalists' fascinating too - suggesting that someone nipped out after Mass, dug up a dead body from a nearby graveyard, got a carving knife out and glued some rotting human flesh to the Host in order to 'prove' the Eucharist to be the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is, dare I say, even more outlandish than the more reasoned speculation that it was a Miracle of God - a visible manifestation of that which is true, even when the Real Presence is totally and utterly invisible as is the near universal norm. Of course, it is in a sense, a joyous wonder for a Parish priest that such a Miracle should happen at his parish Church, but there is also a real sense of warning attached to such Miracles. Let not that which is holy be trampled underfoot or be treated carelessly. Let Priests be holy and responsible custodians of the Lord's Body and Blood. Let men and women approach the Lord's Body and Blood with reverence with and with awe.

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