April 5, 2014

“Look at the Blood, It’s Disappearing”

Michael Forest was married, with several children. Raised as a Baptist, he had been taught that the instruction to “do this in memory of me,” given to the Apostles at the Last Supper, was quite straightforward and simple. It meant only that, from time to time, they should break bread to remember their last night together, a time of peace when He was still among us. It did not mean that the bread would be the means by which He would in fact still be among us. It did not mean that at all, contrary to what He said in John 6: “Amen, Amen I tell you. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” Although many of his disciples turned away at this, He did not retract any of the stark meaning contained in these words. This teaching caused many doubts in Michael. Although he had converted to Catholicism and accepted the Church’s view on the Eucharist, he did not believe this in his heart. On June 9, 1996, that changed in a profound way.

That day was a Sunday. He was preparing to go to Mass with his wife and children. As he was buckling his oldest son into his seat, his wife accidentally closed the sliding door of their Dodge Caravan across three fingers of his left hand. After he managed to free himself, Michael could observe the damage. Blood had been “ejected through the skin” on two of his fingers and was dripping onto his palm. Both of those two fingers were swollen to about twice their normal width and all three fingers had been “flattened” in some areas.

After deciding they should drop off their children at his brother and sister-in-law’s home and then proceed to the hospital, Michael suddenly received a “compulsion” to pray. Wrapping his hand in a paper towel and face towel, he announced his intention to his dismayed wife. With her in their family room, he prayed that his hand would be healed and that he could continue his career as a professional pianist/keyboardist.

After concluding the time of prayer, he told her that they were going to Mass anyway. She responded, “Michael, what is wrong with you.” Despite the incredulity of his wife, brother and sister-in-law, they did drop off their children and then go to Mass.

As they listened to the homily given by the priest, Michael was struck by the forcefulness with which he spoke about the Real Presence in the Eucharist. This seemed an answer to his recent prayers, some answers to his doubts on the Eucharist.

As they had arrived late for Mass, they had sat in the very back of the church. When the time came for Communion, Michael was the last person in line. As he drew near the priest, with his hand wrapped in a blood-soaked towel, he “heard” a command to “kneel.” He recalls his reaction at the time. He asked, “Did I just think that?” Then he heard “kneel” once again, more forecefully than before. This was an odd experience for him, as he had never “heard” anything like this before or since.

Still, when his time came, and as the priest glanced at his hand somewhat quizically, Michael asked whether it was all right to kneel. Receiving an affirmative response, he did.

Upon standing up, he felt a “vague sensation of warmth.” As he walked back to his pew, he kept his head bowed and eyes down, fearing that some may think he was haughtily trying to seem more pious than everyone else. Back in the pew, he was looking at his wife while unwrapping his hand and quietly asking her for some fresh tissues. She said, “Oh my goodness, look at your hand.” Then she added: “Look at the blood. It’s disappearing.” He describes what he saw: “The blood that had collected under the surface of my skin appeared to be receding back into my fingers before our eyes, to the point where it was barely visible anymore.”

After Mass, they met the priest and explained what had happened. He asked them whether they knew what day it was. Michael responded that, as far as he knew, it was just another Sunday. The priest then informed them it was the Feast of Corpus Christi, the day the Church celebrates the real presence of His body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. He also told them of a strong feeling he had that day about his homily needing to be an important one. He did not understand at the time, but now he did.

Then two older women approached. They thanked Michael for kneeling like he had to receive Communion, in front of the whole church. His reverence had touched them. Upon hearing that, the priest asked if they understood what was taking place. He explained that this happening was not just for Michael, but for the whole church.

That was Sunday, June 9, 1996 for Michael Forest, his wife and their church.

His story, given in fuller detail can be read at https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=5864.


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