A Thousand Years

April 10, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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“A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”

– St. Padre Pio

A Miracle – Maybe

April 9, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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On December 6, 2018, the EWTN program, “The World Over,” carried a story about an event that had taken place outside of Buffalo, N.Y. Sometime in mid-November, a consecrated Host was inadvertently dropped on the floor during a Mass being said at St. Vincent de Paul Church, in Spring Brook, N.Y. According to appropriate custom, it was placed in a cup filled with water to dissolve, so that it could be disposed of later. On November 30th, it was reported that a red substance had appeared on that Host. Pictures were taken and were disseminated on the internet.

Again in accordance with appropriate procedure, the pastor, Fr. Karl Loeb, contacted the office of the Bishop, Richard Malone. Fr. Loeb was instructed to immediately dispose of the ablution cup contents. The Bishop did not want to conduct any investigation into this particular occurrence. Fr. Loeb complied with his instructions. Tests were not taken and it is not known whether the reddish substance was human blood or whether this could be regarded as miraculous.

So why include this account here? It is included for the purposes of making a statement on the scandal currently plaguing the Church.

On March 20, 2018, the Diocese of Buffalo released a list of 42 priests who had been removed from ministry, were then retired or had died after allegations of sexual abuse had been made against them. One woman noticed that the list did not include the name of a particular priest. She wrote a letter to the Bishop with her story. In May of that year, the Buffalo News carried her story. In August, the local ABC affiliate, WKBW, began a 3-part series on the priest scandal, uncovering an internal list of over 200 priests that had some allegations reported to or investigated by the Diocese. In September, the Attorney General for New York issued subpoenas to all 8 dioceses in the State, including Buffalo. In October, the national CBS program, 60 Minutes, ran a feature with a whistleblower revealing details of a cover-up that she said her conscience would not allow her to conceal any longer. On November 5th, the Diocese updated its earlier list, adding 36 more names to it. Also on that day, the Bishop held a meeting with a number of priests from the Diocese on the ongoing scandal, and two of them asked him to resign. There had already been a number of calls from laypeople for the same thing. Outside the meeting with the priests, the Bishop held a news conference in which he stated that he would not resign his post. In December, reports began to surface that the FBI was interviewing witnesses in the Diocese, as part of an investigation into possible federal crimes.

It was into this troubling series of events that the episode at St. Vincent de Paul Church, in a rural location, just outside the edge of the metropolitan area, took place. Was it a case of the Lord sending a message for all to be at peace, that He was still the Head of the Church and that He was all they needed?

One eyewitness to the events, as she stated on the EWTN program thought for sure that it was Him, saying: “… so I went to the rectory and I actually saw Jesus at that time, what I thought was Jesus. There was a presence there and I instantly, when I saw him, I kneeled down to the ground and I was in awe. It was, it was absolutely fantastic to me. It was so simple but so majestic at the same time. I don’t know how else to describe it.”

Why would not the spiritual leader of the 700,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Buffalo be interested in determining whether a message of consolation was being given by Christ Himself? Speculation can often lead to erroneous conclusions, so we will readily disavow any conclusions and affirm this is mere speculation, but could it be that the Bishop simply did not want the extra notoriety? Could it be he did not want to have to deal with speculation that a miracle story was being furthered in an effort to divert attention from the scandal?

Still, if so, would any such reasoning be sufficient? If it was a miracle, then why not, “His will be done, not ours?” How are we to possibly guess at what good He could have been intending if a miracle it was? Would it not be almost always an act of humility to assume nothing and admit the possibility of a divine act, at least to the point of investigating further?

According to published reports, at least some Catholics in the Diocese have felt betrayed, in that the only way of ever knowing the possible gift of a Eucharistic miracle here has been denied them. That sense only adds to the sense of betrayal with which they have been besieged by the continuing stream of revelations of abuse and cover-up.

It is troubling to even recount all of this, and perhaps only add to levels of disappointment with Church leaders that are already present. Yet, healing requires self-reflection. Healing requires a reminder, such as perhaps was being given here, that there is one true Leader of the Church and, with that remembered, a sense of peace can be regained.

As a closing personal note, this story is not only important to the writer for the reasons given above, but also because Buffalo is my hometown, the place where my parents and grandparents are buried and the place where a part of me still remains. As it is said of the Body of Christ, when one part is harmed, the rest feels the hurt. From hundreds of miles away, I can feel the hurt of those who are there.

Source as to the EWTN program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X22I-fz8x9U.

The Same As On The Cross

April 8, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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In commenting on the following passage,

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world … Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:51,53),

the son of a fundamentalist preacher and Catholic convert wrote:

“Jesus says the bread of life is his flesh. Lest we not understand whether he means ‘flesh’ in a real, physical, touchable way, he tells us next that it is the same flesh that will be given up on the Cross! He goes on to say that this flesh must be eaten by his followers.”

Source: Currie, David B., Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1996).

The Beggar Saint

April 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Benedict Joseph Labre was known as the “beggar saint of Rome.” Normally, his face was said to have a colorless hue. When he prayed before the tabernacle, however, he lost all sense of everyone around him and his face glowed with a rosy hue. This was seen to last for the five or six hours that he frequently spent in such prayer.

Source: Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 285.

The Mind of Christ

April 6, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Our union with the Lord in the Eucharist does this for us — it helps us to have the mind of Christ. Where two hearts are fixed together, they usually think alike.

Source: Mbukanma, Fr. Jude O., Power in the Bread (Clifton, VA, MET Publishers, Ltd., 1994) p. 55.

From St. Boniface Church, Piqua, Ohio

April 5, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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In 1990, Fr. Angelo Caserta was the pastor of St. Boniface Church in Piqua, Ohio. The June 10th bulletin for his parish contained the following account that he wrote:

I don’t recall the exact time when this happened but that does not really matter. Some two months ago or more someone had received Holy Communion and then took the Sacred Host out of his/her mouth, leaving it in the church pew. Annie Koenig was cleaning up the church when she noticed the host and brought it to her mother, Carol, who gave it to me. Someone had definitely put it in his/her mouth. I took the Sacred Host to the sacristy, put water in a small glass container and then broke up the Sacred Host into small pieces so that it would disintegrate. I placed it on the far end of the counter but shortly forgot about it.

On May 25th when I was putting things in order I noticed the glass container had something in it. When I had it to the rectory to clean it I noticed that there were blood stains on the glass. Upon examining it I saw where there was a great deal of blood and not just a faint sprinkling of it. I know with certainty that it is the precious blood of Jesus. There is no other explanation. Jesus let this all happen and while I do not know the reason, yet I am also sure that He had something definite in mind…

Source: Kaczmarek, Louis, Hidden Treasure, The Riches of the Eucharist (Plattsburgh, N.Y., Trinity Communications, 1990) p. 100-01.

“Papa, why is that lamp burning there?”

April 4, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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“Papa, why is that lamp burning there?” This was the question that a 5-year-old girl asked her father when she first entered a Catholic church. Her father was a Protestant minister. He answered her that the lamp, “signifies that Jesus is in the church, behind the little golden door which you see upon the altar.”

When they later entered a Protestant church, the girl asked, “Papa, why is there no lamp here?” He said, “Because Jesus is not here.” Over and over afterwards, she would tell her father, “I want to go where Jesus is.”

The family later converted to the Catholic faith.

Source: Kaczmarek, Louis, Hidden Treasure, The Riches of the Eucharist (Plattsburgh, N.Y., Trinity Communications, 1990) p. 74-75.

The Daughter of General Clement

April 3, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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A woman, the daughter of General Clement, had suffered severe pains for 17 years. One leg had lesions that went all the way to the bone. Although she could not walk, she decided to go to Lourdes, Frances. Her condition was so infirm and weak that, on the way from the station to the Sanctuary, she fainted 3 times. On the morning of September 16, 1903, she received Communion, and in the afternoon, she attended the procession of the Blessed Sacrament. The Savior passed by her and she fell backward on her couch, as if, according to at least one there, she was disappointed. The Bishop, Monsignor Dubillard, who was carrying the ostensorium, noticed her and turned back. He blessed her and placed the ostensorium on her very head. The woman felt she was cured, uttered a cry and leaped down onto her feet. Although her feet had not touched ground for a number of years, she now walked behind the Holy Eucharist, following the procession on her own. The crowd was not unperceptive and gave her a loud reaction.

Source: McHugh, Joan Carter, My Daily Eucharist, (Lake Forest, IL, Witness Ministries, 2012), entry for August 13 with an excerpt from The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist by Cardinal Gaetano De Lai.

Seventh Century Eucharistic Hymn

April 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Body and Blood under sacramental veil,
Rescue all Christians from the gates of hell,
Bringer of salvation, Christ the Son of God,
Saved all mankind by his cross and blood.

– from the oldest known Eucharistic hymn (c. 680-91)

Source: Gaudoin-Parker, Michael, The Real Presence Through the Ages (New York, Alba House, 1993) p. 69.

He Loved the Junk Parts

April 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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A couple was having marital trouble. They ran a business together and had two children. The woman, however, was very critical of her husband, as well as her children. Apparently, she had grown up in a home where her father was very critical of her, leading to the lasting and stinging impression that she could never measure up to his expectations.

Marriage counseling revealed an inner turmoil from knowing she could not achieve perfection in how she lived her life but trying to maintain the façade that she had. Trying to overcome that scared her, because removing the façade meant removing God from her life. She equated God with the reason for her need to be perfect, saying, “to think of God as a father and me as his daughter is totally suffocating.”

Her friend advised Eucharistic Adoration, once a week, for an hour each time. He told her to hold nothing back, relax and just bring all her feelings, frustrations and anxieties to Him. It was very hard, but after only a few weeks, she reported back to him, that:

“one night I experienced for the first time in my entire life the feeling of being washed with unconditional love from God the Father. You know what a big deal that is. I was a total wreck … but here’s the million dollar insight I got—I can only love myself when I know I’m loved like that by somebody who knows me through and through and not just the fake me that was most of my life … God noticed everything inside of me. All the [blank] especially. But here’s the new part: that’s what he loved. The [blank]! Not just the “perfect” parts of me which were the only parts I ever felt were lovable. Excuse my French, but that’s just [blank]ing wild…

Show Me the Father

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