Kitty Cleveland was struggling. She had given up a career as a lawyer, was beginning a transition into a career as a teacher and was wondering whether she should, instead of either, pursue a career as a singer. Her father, a lawyer and a Catholic deacon, had just been wrongly convicted on charges of tax fraud and political corruption, charges that were later to be thrown out by U.S. Supreme Court. Her life was in turmoil.
In advance of a retreat being hosted by Sister Briege McKenna (who has been the source for several stories reported earlier on this site), Ms. Cleveland went to a local Eucharistic Adoration chapel. While in the midst of her prayers, she was “interrupted” by a vision. She was sitting on a hill of green grass, under a live oak. Christ was there beside her. He was carving his initials and hers, “JC + KC,” on the tree. He said that he had always loved her, that he had called her personally by name, that she had given part of her life to Him, that He wanted her to give Him all of it, so He could live more fully in Him and He in her.
A few nights later, at the retreat, she found herself saying “ave nomine cantora,” which means “you name me a singer.” One of her other gifts, that manifested itself as early as high school, was an ability at times to speak in tongues. At a retreat in high school, she similarly found herself saying “Christe aria,” which although she did not know if then, means “song of Christ.”
Ms. Cleveland did become a “music missionary” as she calls it. She goes to Eucharistic Adoration to write songs. Two of her greatest songs, “Surrender” and “Now You Come to Me” were written before the Real Presence.
The following was submitted by someone as a:n understanding gained at Mass, after the consecration:
The gap between God and man was not settled by the Incarnation. Once divinity and humanity were combined at the Incarnation, when His human body was given up, it was given up with His divinity combined with it, so there had to be another body connected with His divinity that followed. That is the Eucharist. That is why the Last Supper was so necessary. That is why I have been feeling for months there is a connection between the Last Supper and the Cross that I was not grasping.
The Incarnation was the start. The Last Supper and the Cross were the culmination. He combined divinity with humanity at the Incarnation. He combined it at the Last Supper and the Cross. When He came into the world to be one with us, He did not intend that to stop. That is why Christmas is so special.
The Jewish people believed that God dwelt among them in the Ark of the Covenant, first in the tent that housed it and then in the Temple. With Christ, that changed. He was the New Covenant. He dwelt among us, in us. With the Incarnation, a dramatic change took place. He came into this world to replace the Old Covenant, to replace how He dwells among us. He came in knowing the Cross would be the end. He came in knowing the Last Supper would precede it. With His death on the Cross, He could not dwell among us in the body His disciples called Jesus. He would, once the change was made from Old to New at His birth, continue the change through the Last Supper.
The Eucharist is not optional. If we choose not to believe in it, it is still real. It is the culmination of His decision to enter this world and change how He dwells among us.
Imelda Lambertini was born in Bologna, Italy. At the age of 5, she asked to make her First Communion and receive the Blessed Eucharist. At that time, a child was normally not able to do this until he or she was 12 years old. Imelda’s request was declined. Sometime afterwards, she began asking her parents to join a convent. Again, she was extremely young, but her parents relented. At the age of 9, she entered a Dominican convent at Val di Pietra, near her home.
In the convent, she asked to receive her First Communion a number of times. Each time, she was reminded that she was too young. One morning, when she was 11, she went to Mass. She watched all the sisters go up and receive the Eucharist but had to remain in her place, as she had so often done before. The Mass ended and all the sisters left, but Imelda stayed behind to pray. She was alone in the church, except for the Sacristan, who was cleaning the altar. As she did, she happened to look at Imelda. She saw a light above her head and a Sacred Host suspended in the light. She immediately summoned the chaplain. He came and saw the same unusual occurrence. He understood its meaning. Imelda was then given her First Communion.
Afterwards, the prioress allowed Imelda to remain still longer, so she could offer prayers of thanksgiving as she wanted. The time for breakfast arrived and word was sent for Imelda to come. She was found still kneeling, with a smile on her face. When the message about the meal was given, she remained motionless. She did not respond at all. She had, in fact, left this earthly life.
The date this occurred was May 12, 1333. The body of St. Imelda lies today in the Church of San Sigismondo, in Bologna. It is incorrupt.
Alphonsus Liguori heard the story from a priest who was an eyewitness. On January 28, 1772, in the local parish church of a place called St. Pietro-a-Paterno, a grim and sorrowful discovery was made. The tabernacle was open and two ciboriums, containing many consecrated Hosts, were missing. An extensive search revealed nothing.
On February 18th, a youth named Giuseppe Crefici saw something strange. As he passed by property belonging to the Duke of Grotelle, he noticed a number of bright lights that seemed to resemble stars. Soon the neighbors began to notice these lights as well. Night after night they appeared. On February 23rd, a large flame was observed around a pile of straw. Giuseppe was there with his brother, Giovanni and two friends, Carlo Marrota and another boy named Piccino. As the approached the phenomenon, Piccino suddenly fell upon his face. Giuseppe then felt himself pushed on the shoulders and he also fell. The other two similarly went to the ground. All four got to their feet. As they did so, they saw a brilliant light coming from beneath a poplar tree. Out of this light a dove appeared and fluttered in the air, at a height of about five feet. The dove descended to the base of the tree and then vanished, as did the light.
Intrigued by this, several persons began digging at the base of the poplar tree. They found the Sacred Hosts buried in the ground there. There were fifty of them. They had lost none of their whiteness, although they had been buried for most of a month. The Hosts were carried back to church and returned to the tabernacle.
The next night, lights again appeared in the same field. A search was made for more Hosts, but without success. On the following evening, a number of tiny flames appeared around the pile of straw. Another search was made. This time, more of the Blessed Sacrament was unearthed.
Many people were witnesses to these events. They occurred not just on one night, but two. Lights that had not been observed before, were suddenly seen, and were seen in precisely the area where the Sacred Hosts were buried. Would this have occurred if mere bread had been left in a field?
(Adapted from an account in Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament by Rev. Frederick A. Reuter, K.C.B.S.)
About 140 A.D., Justin of Neapolis moved from Ephesus to Rome. A Greek philosopher, he was not a Catholic until his conversion about 10 years earlier. Between 153 and 155 A.D., he wrote his First Apology, a defense of Christian belief against all the accusations then prevalent in Rome. It was addressed to the Emperor, Antoninus Pius, his son and the future Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, the Senate and the Roman people in general.
On the subject of His Body and Blood, Justin wrote: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior having been incarnate by God’s logos took both flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food eucharistized through the word of prayer that is from Him, from which our blood and flesh are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who became incarnate. For the Apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus handed down what was commanded them: that Jesus took bread and having given thanks said: ‘Do this for my memorial, this is my body” (1 Cor. 11:24); and likewise He took the chalice and having given thanks said: ‘This is my blood’ (cf 1 Cor. 11:25); and gave it to them alone.”*
Here we have a glimpse into the early Church. What had been handed down by Christ to the Apostles and then by the Apostles to others alive in Justin’s day is recounted and explained in this work of his.
He demonstrates there is no confusion in the early Church about the Real Presence. They understood that they received His Body in the Eucharist, the same Body that was sacrificed on the Cross. The Mass they celebrated was not just a memorial, but a continuation of that sacrifice by Christ. As with the Passover feast practiced and revered by the Jews, it was a timeless event that joined those celebrating it with those that had been witness to the original event.
For this, they would forfeit their earthly lives rather than renounce it. And so was the fate of Justin as well. Around the year 165, Justin was brought before the Roman prefect Rusticus. After refusing to declare his allegiance to Roman gods, he was sentenced to death and beheaded. He is known today as St. Justin Martyr.
*Martyr, Justin and Barnard, Leslie William, Ancient Christian Writers, The First and Second Apologies (Mahwah, N.J., Paulist Press), vol. 56, chap. 65, p. 70-71).
One year ago, on March 15, 2012, I left home to visit a very special place – Medjugorje in Bosnia – Hercegovina. There are countless stories of people who have had signs, spiritual gifts, and miracles take place during or after their visit to this small town nestled in a small mountain range in the former Yugoslavia. I am one of those people.
Our Blessed Mother has been visiting and making Herself physically present for over 31 years to six young people. Countless thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to this place; each with their own purpose and their own story. This place is a spiritual home to all people, all faiths, and those with no faith.
My first spiritual gift was the trip itself. In my heart, I absolutely knew that I was meant to go; that I was invited. One evening a few days into the trip, I heard a few of my fellow pilgrims chatting animatedly about the miracle of the sun that they had seen. I had earlier split from that group to tour the cemetery with another pilgrim. On hearing the news from the excited women, I was genuinely elated for them and not the least bit envious. My gift was the trip itself so I was most content. I did notice that the sunset had a beautiful periwinkle glow. The sun itself had already gone down. The next evening, I saw it with one of my fellow pilgrims and then saw it a number of times in the beautiful Medjugorje evenings.
Fast forward to May 2012…
I was driving home and saw the miracle of the sun on the way home from work. Since that time, I’ve been able to see it at sunrise and sunset whenever the weather, time, seasonal timing, and my schedule coincide. I pray very fervently to My Heavenly Family and I watch and enjoy the Gift. Each time is truly gift and I don’t take it for granted. I am grateful for these “Heavenly Kisses.”
I am a daily Communicant and will travel to different churches to fit my schedule whenever necessary. My Lord nourishes me and I look forward to my encounters with Him. This includes Saturdays when I go to Marytown for morning Mass.
This particular morning when I arrived at Marytown a bit early for Mass, I knew that if I could wait oustide for just a bit, I would perhaps receive my “Heavenly Kiss” for the morning. So as not to draw attention to myself, I stepped close to a sitting area with a covered bench and looked to see if it would occur again. . As I had hoped, Mother and Jesus didn’t fail me; They gave me a beautiful Heavenly Kiss. I lovingly lingered in those most precious moments, but knew that I had to go inside. For as much as I loved the Gift, I knew My King awaited me in Person just inside those doors. There is nothing in the world that is more sacred, more incredible, more fulfilling than sitting at My Lord’s Feet… except for receiving the totality of Him into my heart and soul at Communion.
As I stepped into the chapel proper, I was astonished at what I saw. At Marytown, the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament is located under a large domed structure, a baldachin. This particular morning, as I stepped inside, I saw the entire area beneath the dome bathed in the very same rose color as I see when I look at the sun. The light did not appear anywhere outside of the structure. I rubbed my eyes to be sure that I hadn’t suffered some form of residue from my encounter outside; I wanted to be very sure that I really knew what I was seeing. My eyes didn’t betray me; the rose was really there, just like I see it outside. I have not seen the rose color indoors since that time.
During one of my earlier Heavenly Kisses when I first started to see the rose color in addition to the beautiful blue that I had always seen, I asked My Family if the rose signified Jesus’ Presence – as in His Precious Blood and Water which was poured out for us when His Side was pierced with the lance. I had a sense this was so, but could not be sure. This was my answer. The rose lingered until just before Mass when Our Lord was taken from the monstrance. Mass was a most peaceful and loving experience that morning.
Submitted by Karen
The Mel Gibson movie, The Passion, painfully portrays the suffering and death of Our Lord that took place on Good Friday. It was based on revelations given to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. She had revelations, as well, of events that took place on Holy Saturday. She saw the Blessed Virgin, John and others going to the Temple early in the day and being conducted through it by the nephews of Joseph of Arimathea, who had the care of the Temple that morning. They saw the curtain enclosing the Holies of Holies torn in two. In the vestibule, there came upon a large hole in one of its walls, through which Mary walked without difficulty, left from a large stone that had crashed through it. Everywhere, they looked upon cracked walls, displaced beams, leaning pillars and sunken portions of floor. They felt a sadness at all of this. To the Jews, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was a living God who dwelt among them in the Temple. Emmerich says that, “the Temple and the holy places were to the Jews what the Most Blessed Sacrament is to Christians.”*
On Holy Saturday, the Temple lay in ruins and was quite deserted. It would be built up by His Resurrection on the third day. After that, God would still dwell among His people in the Eucharist. On Holy Saturday, however, the people were still waiting for this.
Today, we likewise await the joy of Easter. After that, He will once again dwell among us in the Eucharist.
*Emmerich, Blessed Anne Catherine, The Life of Jesus Christ (Rockford, Illinois, Tan Books and Publishers, 2004), vol. IV, p. 346.
St. James Church, Medjugorje, March 22, 2012
This is the story of the battle for a soul that has changed my life. It is a heavenly personal battle of the love of Jesus and our Blessed Mother Mary that will never, never give up, and of the agony and passion with which they fight right now for every soul, and for all eternity.
My husband and I and some dear friends were at Eucharistic Adoration at St. James Church in Medjugorje. It was the last night of our pilgrimage to Medjugorje, where our Blessed Mother has been visiting visionaries daily since 1981. The entire church was packed; every pew and the aisles were filled with people sitting, kneeling and standing in every inch of space just to be in the sacred presence of Jesus.
We were standing at the back of the church in the center aisle, at the very last pew. I had a direct view of the monstrance that holds the sacred host. I also had a clear view of the statue of the Blessed Mother which is off to the right of the altar and of the small crucifix that was on the altar between the monstrance and the statue.
I had two rosaries with me. The first rosary was my Father’s, from his first communion. My Grandmother had given it to me years before, and I had brought it to Medjugorje with the intention of praying for him and his health, and giving it back to him upon our return. The second rosary I bought the first day of our trip. I had been holding these two rosaries and praying on them at every event and for every blessing we received the entire week.
A light shined on the monstrance and the sacred host. During Adoration, they sing songs and say prayers in the multiple languages of the pilgrims.
But almost immediately, for me, the crowd seemed to fall away. The sacred host began to glow and grow larger in my sight; even the monstrance fell away from my view. I had the need to pray directly to our Lord, Jesus with all my heart. It was a prayer I had heard only a time or two before:
Oh, my Jesus. Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
At the time, I had no idea that this prayer was called the Fatima prayer; named so because it was given by our Blessed Mother to the visionaries at Fatima. All I knew was that I desperately needed to pray the prayer withl my very soul.
I first started praying the prayer on my rosary – every bead – with all my heart. My eyes on the Host, only the host. Faster and faster, more urgency, more emphasis. I can’t remember ever being so deep in prayer. Every bead faster, the same prayer, but more powerful with every breadth. Focused only on the Christ – critically important. If the sounds of the others’ prayers or a song came to me, I pushed them away. Only my prayer, only my Lord.
I glanced over to the statue of the Blessed Mother, but she urged me back to her Son – this is only a statue – look to the true Christ. The same thing with the crucifix. Look only to the Christ – the Host – the living presence of God. Not even the monstrance in my view. Pure white, pure Jesus. Mother Mary urging me directly to her Son. Tears streaming down my face.
When I finished the prayers on the beads of my rosary, I started praying the same prayer on the beads of my Father’s rosary. I don’t know how many times I said the prayer. Faster still, more urgent.
All of a sudden, I became aware that my prayer had changed. No longer was I praying the Fatima prayer, but I was now ‘talking’ directly to a soul. I was saying, “No, look one more time at Jesus’ eyes. See his endless love. See his endless mercy. Don’t choose hell! Look again! Look one more time! Look again, look at Jesus! Don’t choose hell! Look again!”
I was praying for a tortured soul standing on the brink – making the choice between heaven and hell. I don’t know who’s soul – it didn’t matter. The same words over and over, endless tears, agony. “Don’t choose hell! Look at His eyes! See His endless mercy, His endless love. Don’t look away! Don’t choose hell! Don’t choose hell!”
At some point, I became aware that I was speaking directly to Jesus – my eyes still fixed on the Body of Christ and begging him to save this tortured soul. “Dear Jesus, look again, one more time. Look into his eyes, don’t let him choose hell. Look again! Please, please Dear Jesus!!”
At the same time, begging, pleading to the troubled soul, “Look again. Look at His eyes, His endless love, His endless mercy. Don’t choose hell! Don’t choose hell! Don’t choose hell!”
Faster, deeper, pleading. Tears. Terrible agony and pain shooting up my back. Never such pain, but my eyes still fixed on our Lord, shining, brighter, bigger, stronger.
A war for a soul. Any soul, this soul. A ‘knowing’ now came to me, that our Blessed Lord Jesus and our Blessed Mother fight this hard over this soul, over every soul! The fight is this hard, every time, because it is a fight for all time!
Suddenly I was begging Jesus, “No! Jesus you MUST save this soul! You MUST save ten souls, a hundred souls, a Million souls, a Billion souls” over and over. I think back now and can’t believe I would have the audacity to speak to our Lord this way, but at the time, it was the prayer that needed to be prayed and Jesus was with me.
I am not sure how long it all lasted – the tears, the pain, the agony over the soul – so much to bear. Then I realized I was back to the original prayer.
Oh, my Jesus. Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
A seat opened up and my friend tried to lead me to the seat. At first I resisted, I didn’t want anything to break the connection with our Lord. But then I took the spot, kneeled and continued my prayer. The pain in my back still agonizing, paralyzing. An overwhelming sense of urgency to not let this soul go. Pleading, begging our Lord.
The tears came harder, faster. I felt a warm ‘hug’ cover my entire back. It was the end. They took my Lord away. The people were gone. I was sobbing. Spent. Empty. I don’t remember the people leaving, just my husbandhelping me up. They were turning off the lights, we had to go.
I didn’t think my legs could carry me even out of the church. We got out of the church and sat on the steps. I told my husband, “I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough. It’s too hard!” How do the visionaries do this day after day? So much burden, yet so much love!? He told me, “Pray.”
The warm ‘hug’ was not from a person, it would have been impossible given where and how I was kneeling, so it was a special blessing sent from our Lord.
So much has happened since that night in Medjugorje. Countless blessing that have come down like soft golden raindrops. They are warm and comforting – and the blessings are so happy and joyous – so happy that when they hit the ground, they bounce and make more blessings.
I don’t know the answer to what happened to that tortured soul. What confirms for me this was all real, is that I feel no desire, somewhat surprisingly to myself, to to know who the soul was or what happened to him or her. I am satisfied that I am not supposed to know. What I do know, and what we are all supposed to understand, is the intensity of the battle over EVERY soul, EVERY time. YOUR soul. Jesus and Blessed Mother fight this fight for EVERY soul, every time, for all time!
Prayer and the rosary are our most powerful weapons. For ourselves, for our loved ones. For everyone! We need to pray for one another. We need to prayer for the souls in most need of God’s mercy. We need to pray for the souls in purgatory. For the souls in this world and the next. We need to pray, pray, pray.
Submitted by Diane
“For almost fifty years, I never thought much about having any relationship with Mary. Then she reached down to me. A young man I knew had fallen into a coma. The doctors feared he would not survive, or if he did, would at least have permanent brain damage. I was praying for him during an adoration hour before the Blessed Sacrament. The church was empty. It was about 4:30 a.m. I had prayed to Jesus for over 30 minutes, imploring Him in every way I could. When I could think of nothing else to say, I begged the Blessed Mother to take my prayer to her Son. All at once, I heard ‘God.’ It was clear and distinct. Instinctively, I looked up and around, but no one else was there. Inside, I knew what it meant, that my prayer was being taken to God. A week later, the young man recovered. He had no brain damage and returned to a completely normal life. Recently, I began to read St. Louis de Montfort’s book on the total consecration to Jesus through Mary. At the end of the second to last chapter, he writes that she is an echo. When we say ‘Mary,’ she says ‘God.’ As soon as I read that, I stopped myself, and put the book down. St. Louis was right. That is exactly what she does.”*
On Holy Thursday, the Lord gave us Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, to stay with us after he left this life. The next day, He told John, “behold, your mother.” Who was John that he should tell him this? Who was John to her, other than a person, just like any other person? If she was a mother to John, then she is a mother to all of us. She is a mother to all of us for precisely the reason given in the story above – to take our prayers to Her Son. There, before the Lord still with us, a prayer was submitted, and a prayer was heard.
This Lent, let us trust that He hears all that we submit when we are in His Presence. Let us offer Him all the praise, honor and glory it is ours to give.
*The Miraculous Medal Magazine, Fall, 2011.
St. Theresa of Avila was a simple nun. She preferred a life with few material possessions, in humble service to God. This simple nun, however, was connected with many extraordinary events. They included physical healings and even one instance where life was restored to a dead child.* Many a witness also reported seeing her rise in the air and levitate after her receipt of the Blessed Sacrament.** There were also people who saw her in two different places at the same time, a gift manifested by some saints that is known as bilocation. While each of these is notable, none of them is that aspect of her life for which she is best remembered.
Despite a meager education, she wrote books on “mental prayer” and contemplation that have become classics of Catholic literature. It was her ability, in common language, to peel back the curtain on the most hazy of subjects that earned her recognition as a Doctor of the Universal Church. In these works, she tried to help others quiet their minds and open their hearts to receive what He may wish to impart. She had many such experiences herself. They frequently occurred before the Holy Eucharist.
She describes them: “Almost invariably, the Lord showed Himself to me in His resurrected body, and it was thus too that I saw Him in the Host. Only occasionally, to strengthen me when I was in tribulation, did He show me His wounds, and then He would appear sometimes as He was on the Cross and sometimes as in the Garden. On a few occasions I saw Him wearing the crown of thorns and sometimes He would also be carrying the Cross – because of my necessities, as I say, and those of others – but always in His glorified flesh. Many are the affronts and trials that I have suffered through telling this and many are the fears and persecutions that it has brought me … Nevertheless, I could never regret having seen these heavenly visions and I would not exchange them for all the good things and delights of this world. I always considered them a great favor from the Lord.” ***
Perhaps these were merely the imaginings of a desirous mind. Perhaps she only conjured up things she wanted to see. We should therefore be able to discount this. Do we also discount all the physical healings that took place with her intercession? Do we discount the witnesses who saw her rise in the air during an ecstasy of prayer? Do we discount those who saw her in one location while she was in another?
This Lent, let us not look a reason to disbelieve. Let us remember the virtuous and inspiring life of St. Theresa and know that what she saw on this earth we will one day see as well when we are beyond it.
*Walsh, William Thomas, St. Theresa of Avila (Rockford, Illinois, Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1987) p. 186-87.
**Ibid, p. 137.
***Taken from an account in My Daily Eucharist by Joan Carter McHugh, containing an excerpt from The Life of Teresa of Jesus: The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, E. Allison Peers.