Stories

March 11, 2018

St. Thomas of Aquinas and the Answer to His Question

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At one time, a significant controversy arose concerning the Holy Eucharist. Many doctors of the Church submitted the matter to St. Thomas of Aquinas, content with such resolution as he might write. St. Thomas, as had been his custom throughout his life, prayed before the altar and the tabernacle, seeking guidance.

Then he turned his efforts to paper, and when he had finished, he returned to the tabernacle and One who he knew to be there. Laying his work down on the ground before the tabernacle, he prayed, “O, Lord Jesus, who in this marvelous Sacrament are truly present, all of whose works are miracles, incomprehensible miracles, I implore You most humbly to verify to me whether this that I have written of You agrees with the truth.”

Thomas was not alone at this time. Many of his brother theologians had followed him into the church. They attested that, for a reply, Jesus Himself appeared, and pointing at the books Thomas had written, said in a tone full of love, “You, my son, have spoken worthily of the Sacrament of My Body.”

That was not the end of the wonderment the other theologians beheld. Thomas continued in prayer, deep prayer, and was lifted up into the air.

After a time, he came out of his ecstasy and quietly returned to his room.

Shapcote, Emily Mary, Legends of the Blessed Sacrament (London, Burns & Oates) p. 42.

March 10, 2018

St. Bernard and the Possessed Woman

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Once there was an elderly woman of high social rank in Milan,Italy, who had been possessed by an evil spirit a good number of years. She no longer had the use of her sight, hearing or speech. Some people brought her before St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was then in the church of St. Ambrose. Many others came along to see whether the holy man could do anything for her.

St. Bernard ordered that she be brought before the altar and firmly held. She was kicking and writhing and going through terrible convulsions. St. Bernard then began to celebrate Mass.

After the consecration, and following the Our Father, St. Bernard descended from the altar and went up to the woman. Holding the chalice and the Host above her, he challenged the demon to resist, if he could, the power of Jesus Himself and ordered the demon to leave the woman.

The convulsions and writhing increased dramatically. Then St. Bernard returned to the altar, broke the Host and gave the pax to the deacon, so that he could in turn give have the congregation engage in the kiss of peace. The peace of the Lord, there Himself on the altar, about to spread through the congregation, the demon left the woman. Peace returned to the woman.

At that same time, she regained the use of her senses.

The news of this event quickly spread.

Source: Ratisbonne, Abbe Theodore, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books 2010) p. 183-85.

March 9, 2018

A Parish Transformed

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In Ottawa, Ontario, in Canada, a newly assigned parish priest had difficulty attracting people to Sunday Mass. No matter what he tried, the most that he could get to come were 20-30 people.

He had compassion for those who did come. He felt they were suffering because they could not experience the peace and happiness of having brothers and sisters around them. He told his congregation this, but also told them there was always something that could be done. When nothing else avails, what recourse is there but to the Holy One. He told his congregation they needed to start Eucharistic Adoration. With such a small group to begin it, they begun it nonetheless.

After three years, the church was full on Sundays. Soon enough, nine boys from that parish had made the decision to commit the direction of their lives to the path of priesthood and had entered the seminary.

The parish had been transformed.

Source: My Daily Eucharist, by Joan Carter McHugh, relating an excerpt from a piece in Immaculata Magazine written by Cardinal Edouard Gagnon.

March 8, 2018

St. Angela

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While St. Angela Merici was attending Mass one day, she became visibly fell into an ecstatic state. To the sight of the entire congregation, she not only was lifted into the air, she also remained there for an extensive period of time.

Source: Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 289-90.

March 7, 2018

Always In Proportion to the Soul’s Desire to Receive Him

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Sr. Catherine Anne Emmerich, beatified by the Church on October 3, 2004, spoke of her experiences during Communion:

“At the moment of communicating, I used to see my Savior like a bridegroom standing by me and, when I had received, He disappeared, leaving me filled with the sweet sense of His presence. He pervades the whole soul of the communicant just as sugar is dissolved in water, and the union between the soul and Jesus is always in proportion to the soul’s desire to receive Him.”

Source: My Daily Eucharist, by Joan Carter McHugh, relating an excerpt from Life of Catherine Anne Emmerich, by Very Rev. K. E. Schmoger, CSSR.

March 6, 2018

The Rap on the Door, Followed by a Rap on the Door

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St. Clement Mary Hofbauer was sent to Warsaw, Poland. He lived there on very meager means with his two companions, making do with the little they had. One day, they ran completely out of food. They had no money and no way to secure any.

Fr. Hofbauer then went into the church, knelt before the tabernacle and prayed. Then, with simple confidence, he walked up to the tabernacle, tapped on its golden doors as if knocking on the door of a friend, and said, “Lord, we are in great need; come quick and help us.”

A little while later, someone rapped on the door of the rectory. He was a total stranger, but for some reason, left a large sum of money that supplied their needs for a long time.

What possessed the stranger, unknown to Fr. Hofbauer, to come to his rectory and donate such a sum at that particular time?

Source: My Daily Eucharist, by Joan Carter McHugh, relating an excerpt from a piece in the December, 1984 issue of Immaculata Magazine, written by Rev. Armand Dasseville.

March 5, 2018

St. Gregory’s Sister

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St. Gregory had a sister, Gorgonia, who died around the year 372. At her funeral, St. Gregory told the following tale.

Gorgonia suffered from a palsy. One night, she cast herself down, before the Blessed Sacrament, which was reserved on an altar in her home. She declared that she would not leave until she received a cure. Crying over the matter, it seems that some of her tears even fell upon the Sacred Host.

It was then that she felt, and in fact was, healed.

Shapcote, Emily Mary, Legends of the Blessed Sacrament (London, Burns & Oates) p. 23.

March 4, 2018

Onil

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Onil is a town about 85 miles south of Valencia, in the eastern part of Spain. Nicolás Bernabeu had been an altar boy in the church there since he was little. On November 5, 1824, he stole the pyx that contained the Most Holy Sacrament and some other sacred objects from the church. The news of the robbery spread quickly, and when Bernabeu tried to sell the stolen objects to a businessman named Alicante, Alicante reported it to the authorities. Bernabeu was arrested, but did not want to reveal where he hid the pyx, which still contained the Blessed Sacrament. The faithful and the civil authorities looked for days all over the countryside but could not find the stolen goods.

On November 28, in the nearby town of Tibi, where Bernabeu lived, a woman named Teresa Carbonell found the Hosts. Immediately she returned her find to Onil, where she was received with great celebration.

Exactly 119 years later, on November 28, 1943, Don Guillermo Hijarrubia, delegate of the archbishop of Valencia, verified the complete preservation of the Host contained in the stolen pyx and confirmed that the uncorrupt condition of the Host was in fact miraculous.

To this day, one can admire the miraculous Host that has remained intact for almost two centuries in the parish church of St. James the Apostle in Onil.

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/Onil1.pdf.

March 3, 2018

St. Peter of Verona And The Devil

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St. Peter of Verona had a friend in Milan. Once when St. Peter came to see him, the reception he received was different than usual. It seems that his friend had found that the “truth” did not reside with the Catholic Church, but in Manichaeism. That religion believed in a world split between forces of good and evil, in which God was not all-powerful.

His friend had been to a Manichaean shrine where a person no less than the Blessed Virgin herself appeared and told him: “the real faith is here, not with the Catholics. I, the Mother of Jesus, am telling you this.”

Upon hearing this, St. Peter said that he too would like to like to go and see the Blessed Mother. He was taken to the place and a woman, acting as a medium, soon went into a trance. Then, the figure of a beautiful woman appeared before them on the altar.

It was at that moment that St. Peter held up a Sacred Host that had been consecrated at Mass earlier that day. St. Peter declared, “if you really are the Mother of God, then pay homage to your Son.”

The image immediately disappeared.

Source: Weible, Wayne, Medjugorje and the Eucharist (Hiawassee, Georgia, New Hope Press 2014) p. 91-92).

March 2, 2018

A Rose By Any Other Name

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St. Rose of Lima lived in the city of Lima, Peru. She was born in 1586. At the time of her First Communion, she was already concerned with humility and chastity. Unbeknownst to her mother, she cut off her hair and offered it to God.

She was also worried that her name, “Rose,” was not her baptismal name, but was a name by which people called her because of her beauty. She feared this and wished it were not so.

She prayed about this to the Mother of God. Then, she received Holy Communion, and heard a voice tell her, “Your name pleases my Son, whom I bear in my arms, and, furthermore, you shall no longer merely be called Rose, but you shall take the name ‘Rose of St. Mary.’”

Shapcote, Emily Mary, Legends of the Blessed Sacrament (London, Burns & Oates) p. 109.

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