Courtesy of Wikipedia'In the city of Lanciano, Italy, around 700, a Basilian hieromonk was assigned to celebrate Mass in the small church of St. Longinus. Celebrating in the Latin Rite and using unleavened bread, the monk had doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
During the Mass, when he said the Words of Consecration ("This is my body. This is my blood"), with doubt in his soul, the priest is said to have seen the bread change into living flesh and the wine change into live blood which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size (the number supposedly corresponds to the number of wounds Christ suffered on the cross: one in each hand and foot from the nails, and the wound from the centurion's spear).
Since 1574, various investigations of varying degrees of detail have been conducted upon the elements:
1636 by Father Serafino from Scanno
October 23, 1777 by Bishop Gervasone
October 26, 1886 by Bishop Petrarca
1971, by Odoardo Linoli
According to Bob and Penny Lord, the first test in 1574 found that each of the five different "pellets of coagulated Blood", though varying in size, all weigh the same and always produced the same weight no matter how many are simultaneously weighed.
The examination in 1971 was performed by Odoardo Linoli, a professor in anatomy and pathological histology as well as chemistry and clinical microscopy,and Ruggero Bertelli, a professor of the University of Siena. The report was published in Quaderni Sclavo di Diagnostica Clinica e di Laboratori in 1973.
The following conclusions were drawn by Odoardo Linoli:
- The flesh is real flesh and the blood is real blood
- The flesh and the blood belong to the human species
- The flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart
- In the flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium. The flesh is a heart complete in its essential structure.
- The flesh and the blood have the same blood type, AB
- In the blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh normal blood
- In the blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium
- Both the flesh and the blood showed no evidence of preservatives (or other added chemical agents of any kind) being used.
The Basilian monks kept custody of the elements until their departure in 1175. They were succeeded by Benedictine monks in 1176. The items were placed in different locations within the Church of St. Francis at Lanciano. They were kept in the Valsecca Chapel from 1636 until 1902 when they were relocated to a new altar. The elements can still be seen today. The flesh, which is the same size as the large host used in the Latin Church, is fibrous and light brown in color and becomes rose-colored when lighted from the back. The blood consists of five coagulated globules and has an earthly color resembling the yellow of ochre.
Now, I understand that such is 'private revelation' which happened to become incredibly public and is still open to the public, but are we really to believe that after such a miracle which has been verified by science to have no possible explanation but to be of divine origin, that this should have no bearing on how we understand the theology of the Eucharist and it is, quite simply, what the Lord said He would be for us.
My faith is simple, not particularly sophisticated so in no way would I like to go into a theological discussion with St Thomas Aquinas, who has corrected me, but the Angelic Doctor would say with Isaiah, 'Verily thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel the saviour.'
It would be pride to persist in error in discussing the Eucharist in any manner other than that which the Church teaches and if I have committed some error in my understanding and explanation, then I duly apologise firstly to Father John, who according to the Angelic Doctor is correct in his criticism of my understanding of the Holy Eucharist and then to all others.
However, I really would like to ask the question:
Why would God reveal the Miracle at Lanciano to one who doubts the Real Presence, unless He was communicating a simple truth about the Eucharist that is so often overlooked or scorned - a truth more simple than the most complex theology - that He Who Was and Is, Is present in the Eucharist by such manner in which He said He would be, that is to say, not just truly but literally?
What would that monk think having witnessed this?
"I see now that Christ is certainly not locally present and not physically present in the slightest?"
My personal understanding, erroneous as it may be, is that God would not provide the Church with such a Miracle unless He was communicating what Holy Communion truly, substantially and literally Is. It would not serve His people to receive a Eucharistic Miracle every time we received Holy Communion as we would, I believe, turn away in disgust. And so the Lord, at times, provides the Church with a reminder of what Holy Communion truly Is and that we receive what Holy Communion truly Is under the guise of bread and wine but its reality has changed even if, thank God, every sense would say otherwise. I say this from a personal understanding that God does not wish to confuse us. That said, my apologies to Fr John and to the Anglican chap who commented. I will amend the previous post later. If a Priest tells me Christ is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist but then says, 'It's certainly not physical and Jesus is not locally present', that that just makes me, a simpleton, say, 'You what?'
May God have mercy on me and enable me to do penance so that when I die, I am not greeted by those words that would cause one to shudder: "Laurence! You believed in My Real Presence too much and to an exaggerated degree which is unhealthy! I was not half as present as you thought I was!"