Stories

March 6, 2017

Rebecca

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Rebecca lived in Lancaster, N.Y. While in her teens, she started going back to church, but had a question that lingered in the back of her mind – “is there really a God?”

At one point, she agreed to attend an overnight retreat in Olean, about two hours from her home. She had never been to an Adoration event before, but when the priest conducted the Benediction, and brought the Host out before those gathered in a school gymnasium, she says that she, “felt a chill through me, and I just got this overwhelming feeling, unlike anything I have ever felt before.”

She talks about how all her doubt was removed at that moment, and that she felt sad as she left Adoration, because she, “had never been happier.”

Source: “Adoration Changed My Life,” The Spirit of Adoration, ed. June Klins, Issue No.1, Erie, PA, July, 2008, http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/files/AdorationIssue1.pdf.

March 6, 2017

Nicholas of Flue

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St. Nicholas of Flue, Switzerland died in the year 1487. As a young man of 25, he had married. He and his wife had 10 children. Then, at the age of 50, he asked his wife if he might leave her, to live as a contemplative. She consented.

To sever himself from the world and worldly desires, he began a fast. After the first 11 days, he spoke with Oswald Isner, parish priest at the nearby village of Kerns. Isner knew him well, and in this period of his life, was more familiar with him than any other person. After the death of Nicholas, Isner wrote that Nicholas took no food or drink for a period of twenty and one half years. Nicholas told him that, “he received the Sacrament once a month and felt that the Body and Blood of Christ communicated vital forces which served him for meat and drink.”

Nicholas was well-known in his homeland before his life as a recluse. He had earned honors in military campaigns and served as a judge for nine years. News of his allegedly extraordinary life without food did spread. The Bishop of Ascalon came to reside with him and see for himself. After several days, he ordered Nicholas to eat a little bread and drink a little wine. Nicholas had such a violent reaction to them, however, that the Bishop withdrew his directive.

The Archduke Sigismond of Austria was also dubious. He sent his royal physician, Burcard von Horneck to investigate. Emperor Frederick III also sent emissaries to look into the case. All the reports confirmed the earlier indications.

If this seems too incredible, note the more recent case of Alexandrina Maria da Costa, who died in 1955. As reported previously on this website, she similarly lived under a total fast, save for the Eucharist alone, for over 13 years. In her case, a strict medical examination confirmed what was “scientifically inexplicable.”

Source: Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 236-237.

March 4, 2017

The Heretic

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In the third and fourth centuries a certain Christian presbyter named Arius (250-336) lived in Alexandria, Egypt. He was the founder of a heretical sect, which believed that Jesus was not part of the Trinity as that is understood today. Instead, the adherents of this group maintained that, as the Son of God, He was separate and distinct from God.

A few generations after Arius lived, his beliefs were still current with some in the eastern Mediterranean. A woman who was married to a disciple of St. John Chrysostom (349-407), Archbishop of Constantinople, was one of these. One day, she went with her husband to St. John Chrysostom’s church. She received a consecrated Host in her hand, but kept it until she arrived home.

There she attempted to eat it, without reverence, as simply a bit of food. She found, however, that it the short interval of time since she had taken possession of it, it had become petrified, as hard as stone.

She then took it to the Saint and implored forgiveness.

Source: Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 203-04.

March 3, 2017

Graduation Day

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It was graduation day for Larissa. She had finished her years in grammar school. In her home, she was upstairs getting ready for the ceremonies; her mother was downstairs ironing her dress. They were preparing to go to their parish church, where there would be Mass and then the graduation formalities.

Suddenly, Larissa heard her mother scream. She raced downstairs to find her mother holding an ice pack on her arm. There was a huge burn mark that extended from her wrist to her elbow. Many people would have, with disappointment, nonetheless gone to the hospital at that time. Not Larissa’s mother. She simply instructed here daughter to get ready, because “Jesus is waiting.”

Larissa’s mother had not grown up Catholic, but had converted some years earlier. Clearly, she had a deep and sincere faith about His Presence in the Eucharist.

During the Mass, Larissa prayed very hard for her mother. After the graduation, Larissa and her best friend posed beside the Tabernacle for Larissa’s mom to take their picture. It was then that Larissa noticed her mother’s arm. The large burn mark was gone. There was not even a blister.

From that day on, Larissa not only had a much stronger understanding of His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament but also that He is a “real, live, breathing, loving Lord” who is “still showering us with miracles of love.”

Source: “The Lesson I Learned at Eighth Grade Graduation,” McMaster, Larissa, The Spirit of Adoration, ed. June Klins, Issue No.3, Erie, PA, http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/files/AdorationIssue3.pdf.

March 2, 2017

An Animal Sense

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In 1995, Saint John Paul II was making a trip to the United States. He was going to stop in at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Among the things he wanted to do was offer some time before the Blessed Sacrament in the seminary chapel.

In preparation for his visit, security personnel were tasked with conducting a sweep of the building to search for anyone with unkind intent. To aid in this search, highly trained dogs were brought in. They went through the classrooms, offices, hallways and other areas. Then they were brought into the chapel. They went up and down the aisles and then into a side chapel. They reached a certain spot and began to sniff, point and whine. They remained there, eyes fixed on one spot. Finally, their handlers commanded them to leave and they obeyed.

The one spot that had so drawn their attention – the Tabernacle.

Source: “Animals Know He Is There,” The Spirit of Adoration, ed. June Klins, Issue No.1, July 2008, Erie, PA, http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/files/AdorationIssue1.pdf.

March 1, 2017

St. Clare

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There is a famous miracle that occurred in the year 1240. It involved St. Clare of Assisi and the Eucharist.

St. Clare left life in a relatively wealthy family to become a follower of St. Francis of Assisi. She founded an order of nuns dedicated to his principle of humble poverty, an order she called the Poor Ladies. Today, it is frequently known as the Poor Clares.

In the year 1240, the convent of this order was located in San Damiano, the simple church located outside the walls of Assisi in which Francis had heard his so well-renowned directive to “rebuild My church.” At that time, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, monarch over a kingdom that stretched from Germany and parts of France in the north and west to the island of Sicily in the South, was engaged in war with the Papal States, headed by Pope Gregory IX.

Troops belonging to Frederick were invading Assisi and were threatening to overrun the convent. The safety and chastity of the nuns were sorely threatened.
Tommaso de Celano was a friar, poet and author who lived at that time. He wrote History of Saint Clare, Virgin. In it, he describes what happened on the day Saracen soldiers of Frederick II came calling.

“The women swooned in terror, their voices trembling with fear as they cried to their Mother, Saint Clare. Saint Clare, with a fearless heart, commanded them to lead her, sick as she was, to the enemy, preceded by a silver and ivory case in which the Body of the Saint of saints was kept with great devotion.

“And prostrating herself before the Lord, she spoke tearfully to her Christ: ‘Behold, my Lord, is it possible You want to deliver into the hands of pagans Your defenseless handmaids, whom I have taught out of love for You? I pray You, Lord, protect these Your handmaids whom I cannot now save by myself.’

“Suddenly a voice like that of a child resounded in her ears from the tabernacle:
‘I will always protect you!’

“‘My Lord,’ she added, ‘if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.’

“Christ replied, ‘It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.’ Then the virgin, raising a face bathed in tears, comforted the sisters: ‘I assure you, daughters, that you will suffer no evil; only have faith in Christ.’

“Upon seeing the courage of the sisters, the Saracens took flight and fled back over the walls they had scaled, unnerved by the strength of she who prayed.

“And Clare immediately admonished those who heard the voice I spoke of above, telling them severely: ‘Take care not to tell anyone about that voice while I am still alive, dearest daughters.’”

The notable part of this story, the part depicted in paintings down through the years, is the specter of marauding warriors turning away from the conquest of a city, when faced with the Blessed Sacrament being held aloft. Others could of course submit that it was not any power within the Eucharist that caused the change of heart, that it was compassion for nuns in devout prayer. To that, reasonable questions need to be asked. Is that likely? Was that type of respect something encountered elsewhere, something that could be expected of Saracen soldiers at the time, or now? Were not Saracen (Muslim) soldiers known for their contempt of all Christians? Did they not consider prayer to the Blessed Sacrament as paganism? Did not soldiers such as these look forward to and relish the all the spoils of a conquest such as this? Were they not there, under orders of the Emperor, to take the city? The suggestion is easy, today, from a comfortable distance, to say that respect for pious nuns produced an act of compassion, on the part of many all at the same time. How would it have seemed, however, to have been there at the time?

Still, putting all that aside, there is another aspect of the story that is not as often considered. It is revealed in an almost parenthetical comment made by de Celano, “those who heard the voice.” Evidently, other women at the time disclosed that they too had heard an unearthly voice. This puts this episode into an entirely different realm. If this part of the story it true, there is no issue as to its miraculous character.

An objection could of course be raised here too though. The sisters lied. Women willing to devote their entire lives to the pursuit of holiness lied. It is certainly true that members of religious orders are capable of such things. Yet, it is always the case, is it not, that to disbelieve stories such as these, we have to believe the worst in people? Perhaps, if only at a few times, people do act from motives which are not base.

Source: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Assisi.pdf

December 24, 2016

She Asked, He Gave

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It was a few days before Ascension Thursday in 2003 and something happened for which Carol Ann needed to go to confession. There were no confession times that were scheduled to take place before Thursday. She did have a spiritual director whom she could ask for a personal confession time, but she was too embarrassed ask him.

Carol Ann seriously wanted to receive Communion on Thursday, but knew she had to be reconciled to Him first. Her town, however, had a church with perpetual adoration. She went there without exactly knowing why. She prayed for His understanding if she did not receive Him on Thursday.

Then she went out of the chapel to where some books and reading material were kept. At that very time, a priest passed her on his way into the sacristy. It was an unusual time of night for a priest to be there.

She returned to the chapel, knelt and resumed her prayer when she heard, “You asked for a way.” There were other people in the room, but they were all silent. Carol Ann asked, “what?” Once more she heard a voice. It said, “You asked for a way, and that way is outside.” She now understood.

Still not satisfied to some degree, she mildly protested that she did not even know this priest and was not comfortable confessing to him. For a third time, there in His presence, she heard a voice beckoning to her. It said simply, “You asked, I gave.”

She once more located the priest and made her confession. He was most understanding and helped her with her difficulty.

She went back into the chapel and felt very much at peace.

Source: Proctor, Sr. Patricia, OSC, 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, The Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, 2004) p. 179-80.

December 23, 2016

A Visit of the Christ Child to Eten, Peru

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It was the night of June 2, 1649, during the Vespers and the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in honor of the feast of Corpus Christi. At the end of the service, the Franciscan monk Jerome de Silva Manrique, was about to return the monstrance to the tabernacle, but he suddenly stopped. In the Host there appeared the brilliant face of a Child, framed by thick brown curls falling to the shoulders. All the faithful present in the church observed the same vision.

A few weeks later, on July 22, during the celebrations in honor of the Patroness of the City, St. Mary of Magdalene, another spectacle took place. According to the testimony of Brother Marco Lopez, superior of the convent in Chiclayo, during the exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament, “The Divine Child Jesus again appeared in the Host, dressed in a purple tunic. Beneath it he wore a shirt up to the middle of the chest.”This conformed with the custom of the Mochican Indians, inhabitants of the city. The symbolism for those inhabitants was that they too were accepted and loved by the Christ Child.

In the same apparition, which lasted about 15 minutes, many also saw appearing in the Host three small white hearts, united among themselves, symbolizing the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, present in the consecrated Host.

To this day, the feast in honor of the miracle of the Divine Child of Eten, continues to attract thousands every year.

This event is among those included in an international exhibition of Eucharistic miracles approved by the Vatican.

Source: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Eten.pdf

December 22, 2016

Sandra and the Heart of Peace

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Sandra grew up Catholic. Even from a young age, every time she went into a Catholic church, she felt a curious “tugging” of her heart. She never told anyone about it, however.

At one point in her adult life, she moved to Irondale, Alabama, the home of the Eternal Word Television Network begun by Sister Angelica. She started to visit the Our Lady of the Angels Chapel on the EWTN grounds. She felt the same tugging. It progressed such that she felt even if she simply drove by the chapel.

Finally, she asked someone about it, who told her that it was because Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, was inside the chapel. She felt like someone who has just made a dramatic discovery. She phoned childhood friends to ask if they knew about this. She was surprised to find that they had. She had grown up Catholic, but was only now learning a good deal about her faith.

She began to visit the chapel often just to stare at Him and be there. One day she was in the chapel praying for help. She was divorced and was raising two children herself, without any child support. She asked Jesus to reveal Himself, to show that He was really hearing her prayers.

She says that she suddenly saw a beam of light come towards her. She looked at the monstrance and saw Jesus’ human heart beating and pulsating, surrounded by fire. Rather than feeling uneasy or disturbed, she says that she “never felt such peace before in my life.” that she “knew in that instant that He was really there,” and that “He loved me.” She says that it felt as if “time stood still,” and that she wanted this experience to go on forever, but that it lasted only a few minutes.

She has told this story to many people, and they all say that they themselves feel a peace about them just listening to her.

Source: Proctor, Sr. Patricia, OSC, 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, The Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, 2004) p. 171-72.

December 21, 2016

Walldurn

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It was during the year 1330, in Walldurn, Germany, that Fr. Heinrich Otta was saying a Mass. By accident, he spilled consecrated wine, the Blood of Christ, onto the corporal, a linen altar cloth. Immediately upon spilling, the Precious Blood formed on the corporal an image of the Crucified Christ, surrounded by eleven identical images of the Head of Christ crowned with thorns. The priest did not have the courage to reveal the miracle and for many years he kept the corporal hidden under the altar. It was only near the point of his death that he confessed, then told the story of the event and revealed the corporal.

From the beginning, the corporal has had much veneration and many extraordinary healings are attributed to it. Pope Eugene IV confirmed the miracle in 1445. The miracle was famous across Europe and for centuries was depicted by many artists.

A basilica, the Church of Saint George, was constructed in Walldurn between 1698 and 1728 by Franz Lothar von Schonborn, the Archbishop of Mainz. The relic of the corporal with the Blood is preserved today, placed on the side altar in the basilica. Every year, several thousands of pilgrims visit Walldurn to venerate the sacred relic.

Source: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Walldurn.pdf

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