Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955) was a Jesuit priest, a philosopher, paleontologist and geologist. He took part in the discovery of Peking Man and developed the theory of the Omega Point, a maximum level of consciousness and complexity toward which the universe is purportedly evolving. Hymn of the Universe, a book published after his death, is a collection of various essays he wrote from 1916 to 1955. In one such essay, he recounts an encounter his a friend of his.
“The light was fading. I pressed a switch, and the lamp on my desk lit up … My friend gave a start; and I noticed that his gaze remained fixed on the lamp, as though to draw from it memories of the past, as he began again to confide in me.
“‘On one occasion,’ he said, ‘I was again in a church had just knelt down before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance when I experienced a very stange impression.
“‘You must, I feel sure, have observed that optical illusion which makes a bright spot against a dark background seem to expand and grow bigger? It was something of this sort I experienced as I gazed at the host, its white shape standing out sharply, despite the candles on the altar, against the darkness of the choir. At least, that is what happened to begin with; later on, as you shall hear, my experience assumed proportions which no physical analogy could express.
“’I had then the impression as I gazed at the host that its surface was gradually spreading out like a spot of oil but of course much more swiftly and luminously. At the beginning it seemed to me that I alone had noticed any change, and that it was taking place without awakening any desire or encountering any obstacle. But little by little, as the white orb grew and grew in space till it seemed to be drawing quite close to me, I heard a subdued sound, and immeasurable murmur, as when the rising tide extends its silver waves over the world of the algae which tremble and dilate at its approach, or when the burning heather crackles as fire spreads over the hearth.
“’Thus in the midst of a great sigh suggestive both of an awakening and of a plaint the flow of whiteness enveloped me, passed beyond me, overran everything. At the same time everything, though drowned in this whiteness, preserved its own proper shape, its own autonomous movement; for the whiteness did not efface the features or change the nature of anything, but penetrated objects at the core of their being, at a level more profound even than their own life. It was as though a milky brightness were illuminating the universe from within, and everything were fashioned of the same kind of translucent flesh.
“’You see, when you switched on the lamp just now and the glass which had been dark became bright and fluorescent, I recalled how the world had appeared to me then; and indeed it was this association of images which prompted me to tell you this story.’”*
*Gaudoin-Parker, Michael L., The Real Presence Through the Ages (Staten Island, N.Y., Alba House, 1993), p.175-176, quoting Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., Pierre, Hymn of the Universe (London, Collins 1965) p. 47-48.
“Some years ago, on my annual retreat, I found myself under terrible temptaions and discouragement. Every temptation you can think of, I had that night. On my way to Mass the next morning, I felt very battered and discouraged because of the attacks and temptations of the preceding night.
As I walked up to Communion, I made an act of faith. I said, ‘Jesus, I know I am receiving You, but I feel so discouraged, so downhearted, and so unworthy to receive You.’
This was the way I felt as I received Communion. As I received the Sacred Host and turned to go back to my place, I received a clear image of a tent. I remember looking at the tent and thinking, ‘Well, that poor tent is really battered.’ I remember examining it and saying, ‘It must have gone through a terrible storm.’
As I got to my pew and knelt down, I saw a man coming to go into the tent. I saw myself in the image and I was telling the man, ‘Oh, you can’t go in there, it’s a mess. It’s all battered. There are big holes in it.’
The man looked at me and smiled and said, ‘What do you mean? I live in here.’
At that moment, I realized that I was the battered tent, that I had been battered with the temptations to sin and discouragement and all those things that had harassed me during the night. Now, Jesus was showing me that, battered and all, He still made His home in me—and that He had just come to me again under the appearance of the sacred Host. “
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Miracles Do Happen by Sr. Briege McKenna)
During his stay at the new abbey which he had established at Floreffe, when he (St. Norbert) was saying Mass, he noticed upon the paten just before communion a large drop of the Precious Blood, all red and surrounded by rays of light … He turned to his deacon and said, “Brother, do you see what I see?” “I do, Father,” he replied. The altar upon which the miracle occurred has always been kept in the Monastery at Floreffe.
St. Norbert was known for his devotion to the Eucharist, his frequent pronouncements on maintaining the utmost cleanliness about the altar and for combatting the Sacramentarian heresy. The Sacramentarians believed that consecrated Hosts held only metaphorical power and that they did not contain the Real Presence. St. Norbert was called to Antwerp to quell this heresy there. He succeeded. Afterwards, he was known afterward as the “Apostle of Antwerp” and the “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament.”
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Witnesses to the Eucharist by Father Hugh F. Blunt, LLD)
“A little boy was brought to this outdoor Mass who was suffering from very severe burns and sores on his body. I remember thinking, ‘My goodness, there’s really nothing that can be done. It’s so bad. We have no doctors or medicine here.’
I admired the priest. We prayed with the little boy, then the priest said to the old woman who had carried him to the Mass, ‘Just leave him under the table here and let’s continue with the celebration of the Eucharist.’
As we approached the Consecration, I had my eyes closed. When I opened them, I discovered that people were prostrate on the ground. They lifted up their eyes to adore the Lord (in the Eucharist). The look on their faces made me think, ‘They really believe this is Jesus.’ Then when I looked at the Sacred Host, in my imagination, I got the most beautiful image of Jesus with his two hands out. He was smiling with great love and compassion. He was embracing these poor people and saying, ‘Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you life and faith.’ After the Mass, I went around to see how the little boy was. I looked at the child and he was fine. There wasn’t anything wrong with his little body.
During the Mass as in all Masses, the priest had put his hands over the bread and wine, and he called upon the action of the Spirit to make this action holy ‘that it may become the Body and Blood’ of Jesus. When the priest said this prayer, the Holy Spirit came, but He of course was not limited to do only what the priest asked. The Spirit also put His power over the little boy and the boy was changed. He was healed and made whole.”
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Miracles Do Happen by Sr. Briege McKenna)
The following is a seemingly simple story. It does not contain any astonishing supernatural event, and can be discounted as something due entirely to the personal capabilities of the storyteller herself. Yet she thought otherwise. She knew the level of hostility in her heart and the depth of the change she experienced. She says:
“When I went forward to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, the Lord gave me a greater love for Charlie … Jesus had worked a great healing in me and I wanted to tell someone. How I wished I could go home and tell Charlie!
As soon as we got home I phoned Charlie at his motel. When he answered I said: ‘Honey I want you to know that I love you just the way you are and that it doesn’t matter to me where you go or how long you stay or who you go with. I’ll be waiting for you.’ Then I hung up.
Charlie says that he just stood there in the motel room not knowing what to do. When he heard my voice on the phone, he had expected me to tell him he was a sorry excuse for a man and that three lawyers would be waiting for him when he returned. He would have known how to handle that. But he didn’t know how to handle love or how to respond to it.
That was November 14, 1976. The following February 8, Charlie Osburn, the ‘wild man of Warrington,’ the man who could never change, the man who I ‘had to teach a lesson to,’ went down on his knees with Father Jim Smith … and asked for the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit.” (Jeanne Osburn)
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from The Charlie Osburn Story by Charlie Osburn, with Fred Lily.)
The Holy Eucharist is the continuation of Christ’s incarnation on earth. The mystery of the Eucharist gives us the joy of having Christmas everyday. When we come to the Blessed Sacrament we come to Bethlehem, and name which means “house of bread.” Jesus chose to be born in Bethlehem because He would dwell with us forever as the “Living Bread” come down from heaven. When the shepherds and the Magi came to adore Him, they brought Him so much joy with their humble visit to Bethlehem that their visit has been praised and retold down through the centuries. God has never stopped honoring them for honoring His Son in Bethlehem.
So, too, your humble visit to Jesus today in the Blessed Sacrament brings Him so much joy that it will be retold for all eternity and bring the world closer to His promise of peace on earth.
We are as privileged in being called to adore Him today as were Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi then, because here Jesus continues His incarnation on earth…The Word again becomes flesh and dwells among us, veiled under the species of the Sacred Host, where the same Jesus born two thousand years ago as a little babe in Bethlehem is truly, really, bodily and personally present to us in this most Blessed Sacrament.
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Rosary Meditations from Mother Teresa of Calcutta by Fr. Martin Lucia, MSS.)
On August 21, 1879, Mary McLoughlin and Mary Beirne were walking past the Village chapel in Knock, Ireland. They both saw something unusual. Word soon spread after that and others came. Fifteen people gave testimony to the commission of inquiry that formed later.
They all attested to seeing, with some minor variations, a lamb on an altar. Behind the lamb was a cross. To the right side of the lamb, stood a figure holding a book that was taken to be John the Evangelist holding a book of the Gospels. To his right, was the Virgin Mary and Joseph. The vision did not come and go, nor was it momentary. It lasted for several hours. The scene was bathed in a brilliant light and, though it was raining heavily that night, the ground under the apparition was quite dry.
The scene clearly represents the Catholic Mass. The first part of the Mass involves readings from Scripture and the Gospels. This leads to the second part, and the re-presentation to the Father of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the Cross. At every Mass, Mary and Joseph are in attendance.
The Holy Family that was present at the first Christmas is thus present at every Mass, when Christ comes again and again to His people in the Blessed Sacrament.
(Source: “The Official Testimonies of the Fifteen Witnesses to the Knock Apparition on August 21, 1879,” http://www.knock-shrine.ie/uploads/documents/The%2015%20Depositions%20arranged%20alphabetically.pdf.)
Giovanni Savino and his wife were devoted followers of Padre Pio. One day after Mass, Padre Pio uncustomarily embraced him and said, “Courage, Giovanni, I am praying to the Lord that you might not be killed.” For the next two days, Padre Pio repeated this ominous warning.
Savino had been among those working on an addition to San Giovanni Rotundo, Pio’s monastery. On the third day, February 15, 1949, Savino and another man placed some dynamite under a boulder. When the fuse failed to ignite the charge, Savino went forward to investigate. The dynamite went off in front of him.
His face was badly mangled, his right eye was a “bloody pulp” and his left eye had many “foreign bodies” in it. Doctors gave up any hope of saving the right eye but thought perhaps they could save the left one.
Padre Pio asked everyone to pray for Savino. He exposed the Blessed Sacrament and prayed before His Presence himself for three days. On February 25, Savino smelled a sweet fragrance, something that others frequently reported in connection with an intervention by Padre Pio. Savino also felt three slaps on his forehead. The understanding he had at the time was that Pio was next to his bed.
Later that same morning, the ophthalmologist came to examine him. Savino told him he could see. The ophthalmologist asked him to turn his head so he could see his left eye. Savino responded that it was the right eye with which he could see. The doctor said he must be mistaken, but Savino insisted to the contrary. Upon examination, the left eye was found to still have its horribly distorted condition. Still, Savino could see with it. For the following 25 years of his life, Savino could still see with it. The left eye never regained the power of sight.
The ophthalmologist had been an atheist at the time. He converted to the Catholic Faith as a result of this incident.
Padre Pio was said to be a procuring cause of more than a thousand physical healings. This one time, when he asked others to pray for a miracle, he asked them to pray before the Eucharist. He asked them to pray to Real Presence. He asked them to pray directly to Christ Himself.
(Source: “The Miracles of St. Padre Pio,” by Brother Lawrence Mary, M.I.C.M., Tert., http://www.basilica.org/pages/ebooks/Brother%20Lawrence%20Mary-The%20Miracles%20of%20Saint%20Padre%20Pio.pdf.)
Julius Stephi was a twenty-month-old baby. He had meningitis and pneumonia. The agony he experienced was causing him to literally pull his hair out. Three physicians had been unsuccessful in trying to reverse the tide of his illness.
His grandmother, Magdalena Vogel visited him and saw the child’s torment. She then continued on her way to Mass at St. Augustine’s Church in Pittsburgh. As the time of consecration approached, when the priest asks for Jesus to descend and be with his people in the Blessed Sacrament, Mrs. Vogel saw an image in her mind of Fr. Seelos, her confessor from years before. She prayed to him: “Father Seelos, while you were on earth you had the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Now that you are in heaven, you are not less powerful. Please ask God to heal my grandchild.”
While she was saying this prayer, she heard the large the bell ring. This church had a tower and, at the precise moment of the Consecration during the Sunday High Mass, they rang that bell.
After Mass, Mrs. Vogel returned to her grandson. She was met at the door by her daughter. Julius had stopped writhing from pain. He had stopped as the bell rang. An hour later, he woke up. For two days, he had refused all food. Now he was hungry. Julius was again healthy.
(Based on an account stated in My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Nothing Short of a Miracle by Patricia Treece.)
A little boy was brought to this outdoor Mass who was suffering from very severe burns and sores on his body. I remember thinking, “My goodness, there’s really nothing that can be done. It’s so bad. We have no doctors or medicine here.”
I admired the priest. We prayed with the little boy, then the priest said to the old woman who had carried him to the Mass, “Just leave him under the table here and let’s continue with the celebration of the Eucharist.”
As we approached the Consecration, I had my eyes closed. When I opened them, I discovered that people were prostrate on the ground. They lifted up their eyes to adore the Lord. The look on their faces made me think, ”They really believe that this is Jesus.” Then when I looked at the Sacred Host, in my own imagination, I got the most beautiful image of Jesus with his two hands out. He was smiling with great love and compassion. He was embracing these poor people and saying, “Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you life and faith.” After the Mass, I went around to see how the little boy was. I looked at the child and he was fine. There wasn’t a thing wrong with his little body.
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Miracles Do Happen by Sr. Briege McKenna, OSC.)