On this Feast of Corpus Christi lets enjoy some Eucharistic Miracles to bolster our own faith in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist each and every Mass.
Whether experiencing visions of heaven, like Teresa of Avila, or Christ Crucified like St. Gregory the Great, or those saints who lived years eating nothing but daily Eucharist, no story of Miraculous Communion sticks in my mind like Blessed Imelda. Imelda Lambertini learned from her family a love of the Catholic faith, she cooked and sewed for the poor with her mother, and at just 9 years old she asked to enter a nearby convent! She was well-loved by the Dominican sisters, but back in the 1300s First Communion happened at 14 years old and Imelda was too young. For years she begged to be allowed to receive the Eucharist, but was denied. Imelda was so in love with Jesus she could not wait. At 11 years old, on the Feast of the Ascension, she stayed after Mass to pray. The sacristan found her in ecstasy before a Sacred Host suspended in the air shining brightly above her! The priest was called at once and he obeyed Jesus’ clear desire to be with Imelda in the Eucharist, administering her First Holy Communion. She died almost instantly. Imelda was so ready to be with Jesus that her soul flew to Him in heaven the moment she was united to Him in body and soul.
Every Mass is a miracle, but some stories remind us of the supernatural power behind what can seem commonplace. Charles Martel, ruler of France and grandfather to Charlemange, had committed a grave sin and was mortified at himself. He sought out an abbott, now known as St. Egidio, for Reconciliation, but could not bring himself to utter the sinful crime out loud. Charles sat in Mass racked with guilt and shame. Egidio, however, witnessed an angel bring a scroll before him where Charles’ sin was written, and as the Mass progressed the writing bearing the sin faded slowly until the paper was left blank. Charles, for his part, experienced in his heart the grace of absolution and the sweet release from sin and shame that we all value from a good confession. While receiving the Eucharist with a truly repentant heart dissolves venial sin for anyone, in this miracle Jesus allowed His grace to pour even one step further and wipe away Charles’ grave sin. It is a beautiful witness to us of the grace, majesty, and power of Jesus truly present in the consecrated Eucharist.
Archbishop Boyea has a huge heart for people who were raised in the faith but have fallen away. We all have friends and family we wish to be reconciled with God and together with us at Mass. Here, too, is a place we can lean on the Eucharist. St. Bernard of Chiaravalle sought out a Duke who had left the Church. He traveled to see him, but the Duke refused reconciliation and was excommunicated. Bernard went into the church to celebrate Mass while the Duke waited for him outside, but after the consecration Bernard placed a Sacred Host on a paten and marched outside to the Duke and rebuked him:
“‘We prayed for you and you ridiculed us. Here now, He, the Son of the Virgin, the Lord of the Church, He Whom you persecute, has come to you. Here, you have before you that Judge whose hands one day will hold your soul. Perhaps you will reject Him as you have rejected His servant? Resist Him if you can.”
The Duke shook in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, fell prostrate before Him, and obediently did all that Bernard asked of him for penance. Recently, the Bishop asked that in our hearts we offer the Masses we attend for the sake of those that we love and wish would return. Let us ask boldly for that grace to flood our loved ones on this feast of Corpus Christi.
Not all Eucharistic Miracles are ancient stories. Several times throughout history Jesus has unveiled Himself of the bread and wine and transformed fully into flesh and blood. A few of these survive today and have even undergone scientific analysis which boast beautiful findings about Our Lord in the Eucharist. Lanciano is one of the most famous, but my personal favorite is from Sokolka, Poland in 2008 where only half of the Eucharist transformed into flesh and blood. The bread and flesh are intricately intertwined showcasing the unity of Jesus and the bread. It reminds me of Christ ever-present in all Sacred Hosts.
If you would like to explore Eucharistic Miracles both ancient and modern, please visit St. Rita’s during the month of June as they host a traveling museum. You can also explore the virtual museum created by Blessed Carlo Acutis at miracolieucaristici.org
Join Bishop Boyea and Jackson-area Catholics in Eucharistic Procession today at 3pm over at St. Joseph’s. Let this tradition bolser your faith and take advantage of this opportunity to honor the Eucharist more profoundly.