February 14, 2018

The Hasty Return

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.


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