Stories

February 19, 2018

The Annoying Impulse

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Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman was the first cardinal to reside in England since the Reformation, the first archbishop of Westminster, and one of the chief architects of the 19th-century revival of Roman Catholicism in England. He was asked to help dedicate a chapel to be used for perpetual adoration. During his sermon for the occasion, he related the following story.

It seems there was a very distinguished German woman who was known for her piety and charity. In terms of faith, she was a Protestant. She was also very critical of and strongly opposed to the Catholic Church.

Once, while on a trip to Rome however, she happened into a church where perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was being practiced. She took note of the people there. Some stared intently toward the altar. Some lay prostrate on the ground before it. In looking at the altar, the only thing she noticed of any significance were the many candles, situated upon it, that were lit and glowing. She was completely unmindful of the real focus of the reverence she was amidst. She said to herself, “Great God, these people are surely not adoring the candles?”

Then, she felt some compulsion, some interior impulse, to kneel herself. Her reaction, though it undoubtedly included some elements of surprise, consisted primarily of great annoyance.

On another occasion, she had a quite similar experience.

It was a year later that she first learned of the One in whose presence she had been in those prior instances.

Afterwards, when recollecting the year in which she had rebuffed these callings of a special character, she cried.

Source: Etlin, Rev. Lukas, O.S.B., Eucharistic Miracles (Clyde, Missouri, Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration 1947), p. 51-52.

February 18, 2018

He Didn’t Know Better

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He (my father) used to go very often to the church of Notre Dame des Victoires, a stone’s throw away (from his office). What drove him there? He couldn’t say. This church simply drew him as it still attracts those who are searching. One day while Mass was being celebrated, my father joined the line of people going up for communion in good faith, and received the Holy Eucharist. This was utterly irregular. Be he didn’t know better. Sometimes, it pleases God to overlook all the rules. Like me, my father instantly believed and got in touch with our friend Roselys, who gave him the address of a religious. The rest followed without difficulty.

(An account by the American-French novelist Julien Green, of the conversion of his father, while the latter was stationed as an American businessman in Paris.)

Source: Gaudoin-Parker, Michael, The Real Presence Through the Ages (New York, Alba House, 1993) p. 170.

February 17, 2018

Marge’s Story

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Marge was in Tampa, Florida one Saturday afternoon in 1997. Something had been causing her a good deal of sadness, and she had been crying. Then, she decided to take her troubles to church. She would go to the Saturday vigil Mass, but she would also go early, so she could spend some time praying before the tabernacle.

As she prayed, there before the Blessed Sacrament within, she suddenly saw a beam of light come from the tabernacle. It slowly grew closer and closer to her. It then penetrated her body and, for a few seconds, she felt “that I could move a mountain.” After it quickly ended, she “was no longer sad.”

Source: “Guardians of the Eucharist,” The Spirit of Adoration, ed. June Klins, Issue No.2, Erie, PA, p.6, http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/files/AdorationIssue2.pdf.

February 16, 2018

The Forgiveness of Charles Martel

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Charles Martel reunited and, from 718 to 741, was the de facto ruler of Francia, which contained much of present-day France and Germany. In 732, at Poitiers, he won a historic victory over the Muslims, stemming their invasion of Europe.

Apparently carried away with exuberance over the event, he committed, prior to the ensuing victory celebration, an extremely grave sin. So grave was the sin that he could not bring himself to confess it, his shame being so great. Determining upon a solution, he decided to go to Provenza and see a well-known abbot of the time named Egidio. He hoped that he could find absolution through this priest, even without confessing the sin and keeping it still a secret to himself. The sin was that of incest, and the other party involved was his sister.

After he arrived, Fr. Egidio was presiding at Mass when he beheld an angel carrying a book. In the book, the sin had been written. As Fr. Egidio progressed with the celebration of the Eucharist, the writing slowly faded, until it was no longer visible.

Martel took from this that his sin had been forgiven.

Today, the priest is known as St. Egidio.

Source: “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” a Vatican international exhibition, as reported by The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration and Association,

http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Egidio.pdf.

February 15, 2018

Never In All His Life

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Sylvan Dutheil was 16 years old when he enlisted in the army. During his time of military service, he contracted a pulmonary disease that sent him home. One day, he was walking with his sister down a street in Montpellier, in southern France. He came across a portrait of Fr. Jean Vianney and scoffed. His sister had a different reaction. She knew of this man, who was the cause for many pilgrims to journey to his small village of Ars, about 170 miles distant from Montpellier. She told her brother, “you might obtain your cure were you to put your trust in that holy man.” That only increased his derisive attitude toward the priest and the esteem accorded him by others.

That night, however, changed this attitude. He had a dream in which saw Fr. Vianney. Fr. Vianney was holding an apple, an apple that had a two-part appearance. Half of it was fine. The other half was rotten. It shook Sylvan. He then asked to go to Ars.

He arrived there, with his mother, in the middle of November, 1855. Fr. Vianney visited him at his hotel each day. On December 8, 1855, he converted and received absolution of his sins. Due to his ill health, he was carried to the foot of the altar. He received Communion and was carried back to the sacristy.

He then declared, “never in all my life have I felt such happiness.”

After being taken back to the hotel, he told his mother: “the joy of this Communion makes me forget all my sufferings. I do not wish to leave … I want to die here.”

That very night, he did.

For those who believe, it is God who decides to give us life and it is God who decides the time when each life shall end. For Sylvan Dutheil, that decision allowed an end to his sufferings, but only after he had experienced “the joy of this Communion.”

Source: Trochu, Abbe Francois, The Cure D’Ars (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books 2007) p. 322-323.

February 14, 2018

The Hasty Return

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A priest was travelling on horseback, during the early 1800s, near Albany, New York. He was answering a call to come to the bed of a sick man. The wind and rain was heavy and the priest was compelled to stop at a roadside inn. At this establishment, the priest encountered a messenger who was there to inform him that the man was no longer in imminent danger of death. He was still ill and it was desired that the priest should continue his journey, but there was no urgency to do so that night.

The priest was relieved and settled into a room for the night. He had been carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a pyx, in order to distribute Holy Viaticum when he reached his journey’s end. Now, the priest carefully placed the pyx in a drawer and went to sleep.

The next morning, the priest arose early and set out once again on his trip. When he had just about arrived at his destination, he suddenly had an alarming realization. The pyx was still in the room. Guilt and worry overtook him as he thought about the people at the inn who might discover the forgotten case and its holy contents. All the others were unbelievers who might treat the Sacred Host with contempt or desecration. The priest immediately rode back to the inn, despite the fact that the weather was still difficult.

When he finally came to the inn, the priest located the keeper of the house and inquired whether anyone had gone into his room from the night before. The response he received was most curious. The priest was asked, “what have you done to that room? We cannot get into it by any means. Not one of us can force the door open, though the key is in the lock.” That was not all he was told, however. The innkeeper also said, “And what is more, if one looks through the keyhole the whole room seems lighted up.”

The priest quickly ascended the stairs, followed by the innkeeper, his wife, the servants and several strangers, all of whom wanted to learn the answer to this riddle.

The priest turned the doorknob without any unusual effort and prostrated himself on the floor before the chest of drawers that had served as a makeshift tabernacle. He had forgotten and inadvertently abandoned the Lord of Lords. Apologetic and humble, he rose to his feet and retrieved the pyx. Then he began to speak to those gathered, with especial eloquence, on the mystery of the Eucharist.

Due to the gravity of the occurrence that had taken place and the desires of the people, the priest stayed at the inn for several days. He baptized the whole household into the Catholic Church, as well as some additional persons.

When he was done, the priest continued on with his journey. He found the man for whom he had originally started out on his trip. The man had recovered from his malady.

Source: Etlin, Rev. Lukas, O.S.B., Eucharistic Miracles (Clyde, Missouri, Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoratio 1947), p. 5-8.

December 24, 2017

Marthe Robin

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Marthe Robin is a name unknown to many. She was born to a peasant family in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (Drôme), in France, on March 13, 1902. She grew up and lived in her parents home her entire life.

In 1925, she started to experience the pains of the Passion. In 1928, a serious neurological illness left her hardly able to move, and even to swallow as her throat muscles were also affected. By this time, she was also almost completely blind and lived in a world of darkness. In 1930, she received the stigmata, the visible signs of the wounds of Christ. Every Friday, she would relive Christ’s sufferings during the Passion. At night, she could not sleep. The ecstasy would last until Monday or Tuesday.

One other thing needs to be mentioned. She was, now, also not able to eat or drink. For over fifty years, according to numerous witnesses whose testimony was submitted to the Vatican, she lived on the Bread of Life alone, the Eucharist.

There have been others who have lived only on the Eucharist, including Alexandrina Maria da Costa whose story has also appeared on this website. She underwent comprehensive testing by a team of doctors in a hospital for forty days. They confirmed she did not eat or drink during that time and, defying the laws of biology, underwent no changes in body weight, blood pressure or other measurables. Alexandrina Maria da Costa lived on the Eucharist alone for over 13 years.

Marthe Rodin did it for over fifty.

She died in 1981.

Source: “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” a Vatican international exhibition, as reported by The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration and Association, http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Robin.pdf.

December 23, 2017

How a Pagan Prays

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Fr. Richard Heilman is a priest in the Madison, Wisconsin area. He was ordained in 1988, after receiving degrees in divinity and theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, in Mundelein, Illinois. He maintains a website called RomanCatholicMan (www.romancatholicman.com), on which a friend of his, Mark “Doc” Kimble related a story.

It seems Mr. Kimble was a self-described “pagan.” Sometimes, when out in nature, he would put himself into a meditative state, open his heart, and ask the elements, “what are you trying to tell me.” That was what he understood as prayer.

Living in Atlanta, he had been renting a room from his boss and his wife. They were into “Catholic stuff.” One day, Carmella said to him that she needed a ride to Christ the King Cathedral on Peachtree Street. She needed to cover a Holy Hour for someone who was sick. Mark had no idea what that was, but said he would take her.

He determined to pray there with her, thinking sarcastically to himself, “I’ll show these Catholics how a pagan prays. When they arrived, he proceeded to pray as he typically did out in nature. He noticed that Carmella was looking at something at the front of the chapel. He had no idea what It was. To him, in the monstrance, It had some appearance of a tree.

Then he heard, interiorly, “This is the Tree of Life.” Following this, he experienced some private revelations concerning a time in Yosemite National Park when he was lost. Symbols and signs from that time were now made apparent to him. He was given a message, “I saved you through the agency of an angel then, and I am here now.

He says that, at the end of that hour, he walked out of the chapel as a “Catholic by desire.” He had previously regarded the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the mere “inventions of men.” After this hour, he says, “it all began to make sense.”

Though less dramatic, this story shares some similarities with that of Andre Frossard recounted on this website in the past. A firm unbeliever changes completely after a short period of time in the company of the Real Presence.

Source: https://www.romancatholicman.com/whats-your-adoration-story.

December 22, 2017

St. Gertrude and the Sacrament of the Altar

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Once, the Lord told St. Gertrude, “Know that I communicate Myself to you entirely in the Sacrament of the Altar, which after this life cannot be; and in this union there is more blessedness and delight than in any human love, for that is often vile and transitory; but the sweetness of this union ennobles and dignifies the soul.”

From this, the last segment this Advent featuring St. Gertrude, it almost sounds as if there is a level of union for her in this life that might be envied in the next. Does that not also give us pause, pause and wonder as to the magnitude of the gift also available to us in the Eucharist?

Source: St. Gertrude, and a religious of her monastery, The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 526.

December 21, 2017

St. Gertrude and the Scandalous Friend

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Once, there was a person known to St. Gertrude who refrained from taking Communion because of the talk it would elicit from those who thought she was too great a sinner. As St. Gertrude prayed for this person, she heard the Lord tell her that souls “become more agreeable to Me by their repentance and humility, but there are some who contradict My designs in this, by neglecting the interior beauty which I desire to see after their penance, thinking of the exterior, and of the judgment of men, and this they do, when they deprive themselves of the grace which they might receive in the Sacrament, from fear of scandalizing those who do not think them sufficiently prepared.”

Source: St. Gertrude, and a religious of her monastery, The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 169.

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