There are many Eucharistic miracles all over the world. In August of 2008, my husband and I went on a pilgrimage with our church to Italy. We witnessed several Eucharistic miracles, but the one in Lanciano has to be the one the impressed me the most.
We went to the little church of St. Francis right after lunch and Fr. Joel celebrated Mass with a mere curtain separating us from where the miracle was on display. After Mass we were allowed a brief time there before being told that we were going to watch a video on the history behind the miracle. I stepped into the hallway not really wanting watch the video and when I saw that no one was there, I said to the person next to me that I didn't want to go when I was with "the real thing". The resident priest heard me and said, "Yes, you come and enjoy." He took me by the arm into a little darkened chapel behind the miracle and there in front of me at eye level was Jesus.
I fell to my knees and wept. Who was I to be brought here? Nothing! For half an hour, though I had no concept of time, I contemplated the God who humbles Himself to become a prisoner of the tabernacle - Who takes the form of bread and wine to nourish our souls. How can we resist the call to be a house for God - to receive Him every day if we can? It was my wish before going on the pilgrimage to have the desire to be a Daily Communicant. He graciously granted me that wish.
I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure" --for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God." ~ Revelation 19: 6-9
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, became the New Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament held:
- The stone tablets with the Word of God (the Law) given to Moses (the 10 Commandments)
- The manna from the desert that nourished the people
- The rod of Aaron (representing his priestly authority)
- The Word of God made flesh in Jesus, the Living Word, Who will write His law on our hearts
- Jesus, Who was born in Bethlehem (House of Bread) and placed in a manger (a feeding trough), becomes for us Living Bread from Heaven
- Jesus, the sprout from the stump of Jesse, is the new High Priest Who speaks with a new authority given to Him by the Father.
"...this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ~ Jeremiah 31:33
But we must not pretend that we can build this house of our own efforts, for
"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." ~ Psalm 127:1He has promised the gift and He shall do His work in us.
"A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you ...and I will be your God." ~ Ezekiel 36:26, 27a, 28b
So, let us harden not our hearts when today we hear His voice. Let us be open to Him, the Author of Life who is Living Word and Living Bread.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." ~ Revelation 3:20
May God richly bless you with His Grace and Peace.
"...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." ~ Joshua 24:15Will you be "a house for God?"
"Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. . . . you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy." ~ 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10