February 18, 2013

An Escape in Buchenwald

At 6:00 p.m., on August 23, 1944, Father Leloir was standing in line, awaiting inspection along with the other prisoners. This was the same time each day that the Nazi S.S. troops inspected the prisoners at Buchenwald.

This day was different, however. Father Leloir had an envelope carefully concealed on his person. The envelope contained six consecrated Hosts that he had intended to distribute secretly among his fellow inmates.

The inspection proceeded down the line. Several of other prisoners knew of the envelope and its contents. Fear and consternation gripped them. They knew well the punishment that would be Father Leloir’s fate if his act of disobedience was revealed. They also knew of the unspeakable desecration that would be performed on the Blessed Sacrament. At last, the guards came to the quiet priest. They searched him thoroughly and, sadly, the fears of his friends were realized. A guard produced the envelope. With an air of accomplishment, he tore it open. Father Leloir stood erect, praying silently

To his amazement, the guard tossed the envelope to the ground, explaining “just an empty envelope.”

Father Leloir knew the contents of the envelope. He knew the Sacred Hosts were there earlier. Now, they were not. There was no explanation, not in human terms at any rate.

The men who were there remembered this event well. They remembered how they were saved by the Lord in the Eucharist from pain and torture. This Lent, let us remember too how the Sacrifice that gave us this Holy Eucharist has also saved us.

(Adapted from an entry in My Daily Eucharist by Joan Carter McHugh, containing an excerpt from Immaculata Magazine, the Eucharistic Adoration Issue.)


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