“How to SEE God in the Host” re-blogged

How to See God in the Host

User’s Guide to Sunday, June 18, Corpus Christi Sunday.

Tom Hoopes

Sunday, June 18, is Corpus Christi Sunday (Year A). Mass Readings: Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58.

Do we truly recognize Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament? If we do, great and wonderful things will happen to us. If we don’t — tragedy follows.

The problem: Recognizing Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament doesn’t happen automatically.

“God and the Violinist: A Story About Beauty” teaches this lesson on YouTube. In it, a world-famous violinist stands on the street in ordinary clothes and plays one of the most difficult and beautiful pieces in his instrument’s repertoire.

Do people stop and gape? Not at all. They simply walk past him, unaware that they are in the presence of something concertgoers that evening will pay huge sums to see.

The point is that God’s beauty is all around us, but we have not attuned ourselves to it always. The same is true with the Eucharist. God is really there. Jesus Christ becomes present in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the sacrament. But we often don’t notice.

Perhaps we have objections, like the Jews do in today’s Gospel.

“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life within you,” says Jesus.

“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” some may scoff.

The readings explain. Moses tells the Jews in the first reading that they have been led into the desert as a test to “find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments.”

Those who follow his commandments learn to recognize him. They learn that he is “the living Bread that came down from heaven.”

The second reading describes what follows. By participating in the Body and Blood of Christ, we become one with him. Our perspective changes.

We can look at the Host at Mass and see what St. John Paul II saw.

“For over a half-century, every day, beginning on Nov. 2, 1946, when I celebrated my first Mass,” he said in his 2003 encyclical on the Eucharist, “my eyes have gazed in recollection upon the Host and the chalice, where time and space in some way ‘merge’ and the drama of Golgotha is re-presented in a living way. … Each day my faith has been able to recognize in the consecrated bread and wine the divine Wayfarer.”

If you don’t see him there, change your life. Pray more; serve more; listen more. Then you will see him.

Tom Hoopes is writer in

residence at Benedictine College

in Atchison, Kansas.

He is the author of What

Pope Francis Really Said. END QUOTES

 

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“A Fathers Guide to Holiness…… re-blogged

A father’s guide to holiness: The BeDADitudes

 Kathryn Jean Lopez 

Lopez talks to Dr. Gregory Popcak, on living the Beatitudes for family life.

How can a man be a father after God’s own heart? The Beatitudes! “Each of the Beatitudes Jesus enumerated in his Sermon on the Mount reveals God the Father’s love for us, teaches us how we might conform our hearts to his, and invites us as disciples to live out these same principles in our relationships with our own children,” Greg Popcak, a Catholic psychotherapist, writes in his new book BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to be an Awesome Dad. He talks about it here.

Ave Maria Press

Kathryn Jean Lopez: How is living the Beatitudes different for dads – making the need for the BeDADitudes?

Pope Francis has called the Beatitudes “a blueprint for Christian living.”  In that sense, the Beatitudes need to inform every aspect of the Christian person’s life and, since parenthood is such a basic human vocation and the primary way we pass on our faith, values, and worldview from one generation to the next, it just made sense to me that the Beatitudes would have something to say about how parents in general, and fathers in particular (who, research shows, play a significantly greater role in successful faith transmission than even mothers do) should go about their role.

I’ve written a lot on parenting and family life, and in all my books, I’ve argued for the underappreciated impact that parenting styles have on the establishment and transmission of culture.  If God, the Father, would want to reveal himself to His children, not just in a specific time, but for all times, He needs to form fathers after His own heart and in His own image.  In the BeDADitudes, I argue that the Beatitudes—those key principles Christ revealed to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount—lay out that plan.

 “God’s very own poverty in spirit allowed him to empty himself and become a slave that his children might be set free.” How does that help a dad?

The first step to being an awesome dad is making peace with the fact that “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”  It’s okay to not know.  It’s okay to not be perfect.  In fact, the more we make peace with our very real limitations, the more our hearts and minds become open to learning.  I can’t change and grow if I can’t admit that I have areas of my life that require growth or change.

The dad who exhibits “Poverty of Spirit” will be blessed because he is willing to listen and learn.  He isn’t a toddler in a grown-up body that must insist on “doing by self!”  He is a man who acknowledges both his strengths and weaknesses and is willing to bring his whole self to the task of becoming the father God created him to be.  Psychology shows that parents are the face of God to their children.  Poverty of spirit allows a father to give his children a vision of the God who loves them and works for their good until his children are able to develop their own relationship with this God who first introduced himself to them through the loving care of their mom and dad.

What if a dad does not feel free, but bound?

I think St. Augustine offers some wisdom on this. He once made a distinction between the “press of troubles” and “oppression.”   The “press of troubles” just represents the everyday hassles of living in a fallen world.  Stuff happens.  We deal with it.

But the press of troubles becomes oppression when we allow the stuff of life to separate us from hope, from love, from God.  Then, all that exists is brokenness and want.

Dads who feel bound are dads who recognize their limitations but feel like it’s all up to them.  They believe that all they have to work with are the broken tools in their box.  The dad who is free recognizes that he isn’t alone.  That God wants to give him new tools that enable him to be more than he ever could if left to his own devices.

Anyone can be an awesome dad.  It doesn’t matter how broken you think you are unless you allow that brokenness to separate you from the call to love your family, the call to hope that you and yours can be more than you currently are, and the call to faith that enables you to believe in a God who wants to show you how to become the whole, healed, godly, grace-filled man you are meant to be.

How do you get kids to pray if they’ve lost interest or if dad’s interest happens to be new?

Prayer is a conversation with the real person of Christ.  If your kids are telling you that prayer is boring, it’s because you’ve just taught them to say words into space for no good reason.  Introduce them to a God who really cares about what’s going in their lives.  Teach them to talk to Him as if He was a real person who loved them more than anything.  Because that’s what He is.  Most parents drag their kids to Church and think they’ve done their bit.  That would be like dragging your kids to grandma’s house but making them sit in the basement and never letting them meet grandma and then complaining when they didn’t want to go. When your kids actually meet Jesus, they won’t be bored. END QUOTES

 

“The Eucharist: Corpus Christi?” re-blogged

The Eucharist: Corpus Christi?

The Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation, namely, that in the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are transformed and really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Have you ever met anyone who has found this Catholic doctrine to be a bit hard to take?

If so, you shouldn’t be surprised.  When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in John 6, his words met with less than an enthusiastic reception.  How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (V 52).  This is a hard saying who can listen to it? (V60).  In fact so many of his disciples abandoned him over this that Jesus had to ask the twelve if they also planned to quit.  It is interesting that Jesus did not run after his disciples saying, Don’t go, I was just speaking metaphorically!

How did the early Church interpret these challenging words of Jesus?  Interesting fact.  One charge the pagan Romans lodged against the Christians was cannibalism.  Why?  You guessed it.  They heard that this sect regularly met to eat and drink human blood.  Did the early Christians say: wait a minute, it’s only a symbol!?  Not at all.  When trying to explain the Eucharist to the Roman Emperor around 155 AD, St. Justin did not mince his words: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Sav­ior being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him . . . is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.

Not many Christians questioned the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist till the Middle Ages.  In trying to explain how bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, several theologians went astray and needed to be corrected by Church authority.  Then St. Thomas Aquinas came along and offered an explanation that became classic.  In all change that we observe in this life, he teaches, appearances change, but deep down, the essence of a thing stays the same.  Example: if, in a fit of mid-life crisis, I traded my mini-van for a Ferrari, abandoned my wife and 5 kids to be beach bum, got tanned, bleached my hair blonde, spiked it, buffed up at the gym, and took a trip to the plastic surgeon, I’d look a lot different on the surface. But for all my trouble, deep down I’d still substantially be the same old baby boomer.

St. Thomas said the Eucharist is the one instance of change we encounter in this world that is exactly the opposite.  The appearances of bread and wine stay the same, but the very essence or substance of these realities, which can’t be detected by a microscope, is totally transformed.  What was once bread and wine are now Christ’s body and blood.   A handy word was coined to describe this unique change.  Transformation of the sub-stance, what stands-under the surface, came to be called transubstantiation.

What makes this happen?  The power of God’s Spirit and Word.  After praying for the Spirit to come (epiklesis), the priest, who stands in the place of Christ, repeats the words of the God-man: This is my Body, This is my Blood.  Sounds to me like Genesis 1: the mighty wind (read Spirit) whips over the surface of the water and God’s Word resounds. Let there be light and there was light.  It is no harder to believe in transubstantiation than to believe in Creation.

But why did Jesus arrange for this transformation of bread and wine?  Because he intended another kind of transformation.  The bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ which are, in turn, meant to transform us.  Ever hear the phrase: you are what you eat? The Lord desires us to be transformed from a motley crew of imperfect individuals into the Body of Christ, come to full stature.

Our evangelical brethren often speak of an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus.  But I ask you, how much more personal and intimate can you get?  We receive the Lord’s body into our physical bodies that we may become him whom we receive!

Such an awesome gift deserves its own feast. And that’s why, back in the days of Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope decided to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi.END QUOTES

image: Corpus Christi by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). To see more of his images and learn about his ministry, please visit his blog

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

By

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For info on his resources and pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 800.803.0118

“The Problem With Non-Judgementlsim” re-blogged

The Problem with Non-Judgmentalism

REGIS NICOLL

It took but a few decades for the law written on the human heart, engraved on stone, and honored for millennia to be largely lost on the collective conscience. Today, instead of the Ten Commandments, there is one: “Thou shalt not judge.”

Oddly, in a time when the concept of “sin” has also lost its purchase, a person called out for judging will become a social outcast until his “guilt” is purged by the penances of public apology, diversity/sensitivity training, and reparation to the offended. Even among Christians, judging the behaviors and lifestyles of others is considered unseemly at best and unchristian at worst.

Take singer Carrie Underwood. When she came out in support of same-sex “marriage” in 2012, she credited her faith for her position stating, “Above all, God wanted us to love others,” adding “It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”

A year later when Pope Francis fielded a question about a gay subculture in the clergy, his now famous response, stripped from its context, was taken by nice people of faith and social progressives as an imprimatur on non-judgmentalism.

Despite its ever-so humble patina, non-judgmentalism has deep logical, practical, moral, and theological problems.

First, if “it’s not up to me to judge,” that applies to the wrongness of actions as well as their rightness. For which ever way we judge is a de facto judgment on the opposing view. For example, when Carrie Underwood endorsed same-sex “marriage” it was her moral judgment on the social contrivance and its supporters, as well as a moral insinuation, if not judgment, about the criticisms and critics.

Second, non-judgmentalism is self-indicting. If judgment-making is wrong, so too is the judgment against judgment-making.

Third, fidelity to non-judgmentalism requires moral neutrality on all matters—an impossibility even for the entrenched non-judgmentalist. Regardless of his religious sympathies, he will consider things like cheating, rape, and exploitation as wrong and things like honesty, fairness, and charity as good.

Fourth, the person who refrains from judging truth from falsehood and good from evil quickly will find himself a victim of those adept at parading one for the other.

Lastly and most importantly for Christians, the “who-am-I-to-judge” ethic has no biblical warrant. Quite the opposite.

In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul wanted his readers to make a moral distinction between the traditions of men and the teachings of Jesus so that they wouldn’t be taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.” Likewise, Jesus’ instruction in St. Matthew’s gospel about “fruit” inspection was to help his disciples from falling in with bad teachers and their sophistry.

Too often, socially nice Christians focus on what Jesus says a few verses up (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged”), isolate it from the rest of the chapter, and couple it with the second half of the Great Commandment, reasoning,

Since I would be offended if my neighbor pointed out my moral failings, I’ll not point out his. That way I love my neighbor as myself and relieve us both of any awkward moments.

A win-win with undeniable appeal, but in direct conflict with Jesus’s instruction, “If your brother sins, rebuke him.”

Contra “who-am-I-to-judge” morality, Jesus expects his people to make moral judgments, confronting others and invoking discipline when necessary. In fact, Paul had some sharp words for a congregation that failed to do just that.

The occasion was an instance of sexual immorality that went unaddressed within the Corinthian church. Scolding the assembly for its moral complacence, Paul ordered the expulsion of the offender “so that [his] sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” In the same spirit, Paul told the Galatian believers, “if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”

According to Jesus and the early Church, judgment and discipline are duties that the Church exercises for the health of the Body and the restoration and spiritual well-being of its members.

Who-am-I-to-judge Christians will demur, referencing a Pharisaical sting operation that outed an adulteress. Although the encounter nearly led to her stoning, neither the morality of her deed nor the moral authority to judge it was at issue. The woman had sinned, plain and simple, a fact acknowledged by Jesus in his parting instruction, “leave your life of sin.”

Had the religious SWAT team done the same, this biblical vignette might never have been recorded. Instead, they condemned her to death, and Jesus called into question their license to do so.

Anyone can judge the morality of an act, knowing only the applicable standard. But condemnation requires not only knowledge of the standard and the transgression, but what was in the transgressor’s mind (what did they know about the standard) and heart (what was their intent), places that no one has access to but God.

Today a common ploy to silence Christian objections to homosexualism is to point out heterosexual sin in the camp, citing Matthew 7:3 (“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”).

Despite the stinging prose of the popular proof text, neither it nor the moral condition in the Church has any bearing on the morality of homosexualism and the novel institutions it promotes. What’s more, Jesus never said that one sinner shouldn’t judge the actions of another. Instead, in the context of Matthew chapter 7, Jesus teaches that we should be attentive to the “specks” in our eyes so that we can rightly discern the specks in others.

People who decline to do so—particularly, who-am-I-to-judge Christians—have much to answer for the moral pathologies of the church that they are quick to, uh, judge.

They are like the village physician whose patients are dying off because he doesn’t want to unsettle them with information about their life-threatening conditions. Or the best-friend-mom whose little angel has become a tyrant over momma’s fear that a “no” landing on the delicate ears of her budding prodigy would damage the sense of exceptionalness that she has worked so hard to nurture.

Love seeks the supreme good for others. Above all, love desires others to become the persons they were created to be: children of God, being transformed in the image of the Son, and enjoying unbroken fellowship with the Son and Father through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Love means that I am my brother’s keeper, with the duty to observe, question, challenge, and, yes, judge his actions—not to condemn, but to guide, coach and encourage toward life abundant. To do otherwise is not love but indifference or cowardice.

Carrie Underwood was right. “Above all, God wanted us to love others.” However, we love others not by never having to say they’re sinning; but by helping them with their “specks” and allowing them to help us with ours. END QUOTES

Editor’s note: Pictured above is “Christ Cleansing the Temple” painted by Bernardino Mei in 1655.

By Regis Nicoll

Regis Nicoll is a Colson Center Fellow, a columnist for BreakPoint, and regular contributor to Touchstone and Salvo magazines. He also serves as the lay pastor of an Anglican church plant in Chattanooga. His new book is titled Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.

 

HOLY THURSDAY & CORPUS CHRISTI ……. Re-blogged

 

HOLY THURSDAY & CORPUS CHRISTI – EUCHARIST, THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper aka the Lord’s Supper, the institution of the Holy Eucharist — why did Jesus do what he did and say what he said? What did he mean when he said “This is my body and this is my blood” and “Do this in Memory of Me”?  And what does the Catholic Church mean by talking about transubstantiation and the body of Christ?  All this is remembered & celebrated on the feast of Corpus Christi.

On Holy Thursday, the night before he died, the Lord Jesus made some startling changes in the ritual of the Passover meal.  Instead of being content with the traditional Jewish table blessing over the bread, Jesus proclaimed “take and eat for this is my body.”  Over the third cup of wine, known as the cup of blessing, he said “take and drink for this is my blood.”  Then he commanded the disciples “do this in memory of me.”

HOLY THURSDAY & THE EUCHARIST

Obedient to the wishes of the savior, we remember and reenact this solemn moment in a special way each Holy Thursday and Feast of Corpus Christi, but more frequently in every Mass.  Indeed the Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are transformed and really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Have you ever met anyone who has found this Catholic doctrine to be a bit hard to take?

If so, you shouldn’t be surprised.  When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in John 6, his words met with less than an enthusiastic reception.  “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (V 52).  “This is a hard saying who can listen to it?” (V60).  In fact so many of his disciples abandoned him over this that Jesus had to ask the twelve if they also planned to quit.  It is interesting that Jesus did not run after his disciples saying, “Don’t go – I was just speaking metaphorically!”

THE EARLY CHURCH’S UNDERSTANDING

How did the early Church interpret these challenging words of Jesus?

Here’s an interesting fact.  One charge the pagan Romans lodged against the Christians was cannibalism. Why?  You guessed it.  People heard that this sect regularly met to eat and drink human blood.  Did the early Christians say: “wait a minute, it’s only a symbol!”?  Not at all.  When trying to explain the Eucharist to the Roman Emperor around 155 AD, St. Justin did not mince his words: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him . . . is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”

The-Last-Supper---Duccio-1308-1311

REAL PRESENCE – TRANSUBSTANTIATION

Not many Christians questioned the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist till the middle ages.  In trying to explain how bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, several theologians went astray and needed to be corrected by Church authority.  Then St. Thomas Aquinas came along and offered an explanation that became classic.  In all change that we observe in this life, he teaches, appearances change, but deep down, the essence of a thing stays the same.  Example: if, in a fit of mid-life crisis, I traded my mini-van for a Ferrari, abandoned my wife and 5 kids to be beach bum, got tanned, bleached my hair blonde, spiked it, buffed up at the gym, and took a trip to the plastic surgeon, I’d look a lot different on the surface.  But for all my trouble, deep down I’d still substantially be the same ole guy as when I started.

St. Thomas said the Eucharist is the one instance of change we encounter in this world that is exactly the opposite.  The appearances of bread and wine stay the same, but the very essence or substance of these realities, which can’t be viewed by a microscope, is totally transformed.  What was once bread and wine are now Christ’s body and blood.   A handy word was coined to describe this unique change.  Transformation of the “sub-stance”, what “stands-under” the surface, came to be called “transubstantiation.”

TRANSFORMATION BY SPIRIT & WORD

What makes this happen?  The power of God’s Spirit and Word.  After praying for the Spirit to come (epiklesis), the priest, who stands in the place of Christ, repeats the words of the God-man: “This is my Body, This is my Blood.”   Sounds to me like Genesis 1: the mighty wind (read “Spirit”) whips over the surface of the water and God’s Word resounds. “Let there be light” and there was light.  It is no harder to believe in the Eucharist than to believe in Creation.

But why did Jesus arrange for this transformation of bread and wine?  Because he intended another kind of transformation.  The bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ which are, in turn, meant to transform us.  Ever hear the phrase: “you are what you eat?”  The Lord desires us to be transformed from a motley crew of imperfect individuals into the Body of Christ, come to full stature.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS

Evangelical Christians speak often of an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus.  But I ask you, how much more personal and intimate can you get?  We receive the Lord’s body into our physical body that we may become him whom we receive!

It is this astounding gift that we remember and celebrate on the feast of Corpus Christi.

This post on transubstantiation, transformation and the institution of the eucharist as the body of Christ is offered as a reflection on the scriptures for both Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi (Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 116, I Cor 11:23-26 and John 13:1-15 and Deuteronomy 8:2-3 & 14b-16a; Ps. 147, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and the Bread of Life discourse as found in John 6:51-58).  END QUOTES

“STOP All Clocks” re-blogged from A Catholic Working Mom

Post       : Stop All the Clocks
URL        : https://danardoyle.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/stop-all-the-clocks/
Posted     : June 12, 2017 at 4:29 pm
Author     : danardoyle [CATHOLIC WORKING MOM]
Tags       : death, funeral, grieving, W.H. Auden
Categories : poetry, Prayer

My heart is hurting so much for several people who have lost a loved one suddenly as of late.  When you lose someone, one of the many upsetting aspects of it all is how everyone else’s world keeps moving along (seemingly) as usual while yours has completely fallen apart.   When I heard this poem from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, long ago it touched me deeply.  I think it explains this feeling I’m talking about eloquently.  To all who are grieving, I pray that God will give you strength and peace and the certainty of knowing how very much you are loved.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

The Autopsy of a Eucharistic Miracle re-blogged

Between flesh and bread: The autopsy of a Eucharistic miracle

 Arthur Herlin/France |

Antoine Mekary/ALETEIA

 Scientists have proven existence of human tissue in many Eucharistic miracles. Their findings are part of an exhibition in Rome.

The Polish Embassy to the Holy See has examined one of the most inexplicable phenomena in history.

Do you know precisely what a Eucharistic miracle is? Do you know how many there have been in the history of the Church and what it means? These are the questions that the Polish Embassy to the Holy See in Rome sought to answer through an unprecedented exhibition.

At the Polish church of St. Stanislaus in Rome, the Polish Embassy has just inaugurated an exhibition dedicated to Eucharistic miracles around the world. It presents an overview of all the Eucharistic miracles recorded throughout the history of the Church. The display is complemented by scientific explanations.

According to scholars, the first Eucharistic miracle recognized by the Catholic Church occurred in Lanciano (Italy), in about the year 700. This miracle happened when a monk, who had doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, saw the wine in the chalice turn into blood and the bread turn into flesh. Recently, after examining the relics still in existence, researchers concluded that they were indeed made of human tissue. Since this first miracle, 134 others of the same type have been recognized by the Church.

Stolen, thrown, abandoned or forgotten

In his research, Dr. Pawel Skibinski, director of the John Paul II Museum in Warsaw, noted that in the majority of cases these miracles occur in a similar context: either the celebrant had doubts about the Real Presence (Bolsena, Italy), or the offerings were mistreated (stolen, thrown away, abandoned or forgotten). This was the case in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1996, when then-Bishop Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) was an auxiliary bishop there: a consecrated host was found on the ground. Days later, it had turned into bloody flesh.

More recently, in 2014, Father Andrzej Ziombra witnessed a Eucharistic miracle in his church in Legnica (Poland). On Christmas Day, the priest placed a host that had fallen on the ground into a glass of water. After some time, the host began turning red, as if it were bleeding.

He then warned the bishop, who asked for an analysis, primarily mycological. The results led the scientists to conclude that it was not mold but a piece of human flesh.

State of agony

As in most cases, explains the priest, the scientists succeeded in proving the existence of a sample of heart muscle. The investigation of the Eucharistic miracles also revealed the state of agony of the pieces of flesh: that is to say that the human tissue had not undergone necrosis but remained at an intermediate stage between life and decomposition.

Another phenomenon observed in all these cases: The appearance of bread and wine remains, even as the substance of flesh is scientifically identified. This is in keeping with our understanding of transsubstantiation: that the consecrated elements become the Body and Blood of Christ without losing the appearance and other sensory qualities of bread and wine. Finally, the sample does not seem to decompose, even after centuries. Thus, in Bolsena for example, the blood stains on the marble are still visible, as if being impossible to clean off.

Although flesh and blood are not always visible in the Eucharist, concludes Father Ziombra, the presence of the Body of Christ is none the less certain in the eyes of faith. “This is what these miracles have reminded us of since 1300,” says the prelate: “The miracle continues every day on the altars of all the churches in the world.”

Translated from the French. End QUOTES

&

Amazing Miracles That Communism Couldn’t Stop

God survived in Russia. Communism did not.

Patti Armstrong

Communist governments don’t like religion. They are not even too fond of their own people.  Death comes easily and frequently to their citizens.

The global communist body count is estimated to be over 149,469,000 citizens killed or starved to death by their own governments since 1918. That tally does not even include victims of war.

On paper, communism is supposed to be a utopia.  An equal share and equal opportunity for everyone! The caveat is that the state has to be in control. People can’t be trusted and neither can God. Especially God. It’s a given that the Church will be persecuted under communism.

James McCachren, an English Instructor at Halifax Community College in North Carolina contacted me after reading my blog about Fatima as an antidote to relativism, which evolved from communism. He recommended a book with a chapter on miracle stories that occurred during the communist oppression in the Soviet Union (also known as Russia), which existed from 1922 to 1991 until it broke into a Commonwealth of Independent States.

The stories were included in the book Soviet Anti-Religious Campaigns and Persecutions by Dimitry Pospielovsky. With the increase in Christian persecution throughout the world, we can use a few inspirational stories that show who is really in charge.

 

Incorrupt Bodies

Pospielovsky explains that one of the first efforts of the Soviet communist government was a decree to destroy shrines and public displays of relics.  The media propaganda presented shrines as fraudulent, claiming the relics were nothing more than cotton, wool, hair, rotten bones, and dust.  At the shrine of the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh of the14th century, the monks of St. Sergius-Trinity Monastery documented that when the relics were exposed, there was a perfectly preserved body under decaying vestments.

An angry mob of believers outside the church pulled down a police commander from his horse along with another soldier who had lied to the crowd saying the relics had rotted away. There were other stories similar to this.

At some shrines, however, the bodies actually had decomposed. The Church was charged with duping people. At the trial of Bishop Alexi, the future patriarch of Russia, he stated that the Church did not teach that saints must be immune from decay. It simply happens at times.

 

Like a Fire

Reported manifestations of the supernatural had occurred in some families hostile to the Church where some members remained faithful.  “The most common reports of miracles at that time concerned the sudden renovation of a family icon; an old darkened icon with a hardly discernible image, would suddenly, before the very eyes of the communist, begin to shine with fresh colors as if it had just been painted.” Conversions often resulted.

Leontii, a Kieve monk who later became a bishop during World War II, reported one of the most amazing stories that was witnessed by thousands.  The Sretenskaia church at the Sennoi Marketplace had two gold-plated domes that had become tarnished and looked grey. One autumn evening, someone saw a burning brightness as if the church was on fire. A fire brigade was called in. It was no fire, however. Instead there was a sudden brightening of the domes.

The monk explained: “The light shone and moved in patches from place to place on the domes as if tongues of fire.  By next morning, there was already a huge crowd in front of the church.  The police were helpless.  The news reached me by noon. I hopped on a tramway, but a long distance before the church, the tram had to stop because of the crowds.”  He went the rest of the way on foot and watched the miracle for several hours.  “The progression of the renovation of the gold plate continued for three days…. There arose a mood of unusual general religious euphoria in the city. It was a great moral boost for the believers and a catastrophe for the anti-religious propaganda.”

The government had members of the Academy of Sciences claim it was caused by a rare airwave containing a peculiar electric discharge. Yet, witness testimony noted that the gold-plated market billboards were not affected by any such airwave. Several months later the Soviets dynamited the church.

 

Blood Ran for Days

Bishop Leontii reported another widely known event in the village of Kalinov. A detachment of mounted police had been unable to disperse a large crowd outside a church. Frustrated, one of the retreating officers turned and shot at a nearby large crucifix made of metal. The bullet hit the collarbone and blood gushed forth. The crowd fell to their knees and began praying. The police officers took off.

In the following days, officers came twice to remove the crucifix but they said an inexplicable force would not let them get close. Articles in propaganda newspapers said it was just rusty water that had seeped out of the metal. But the blood ran from the crucifix for several days.  People came in processions day and night.

At the very first opportunity, the Soviets destroyed the bleeding crucifix and all the adjacent crosses. Their account was that the priests duped the poor peasants.  A government commission produced a report claiming the dark fluid coming out of the bullet hole was not blood.

The newspapers depicted pilgrims as drunkards and illiterate fools. One article claimed: “Allegedly the cross simply disappeared after the churchmen and other interested elements had made enough money from the pilgrims. The mass kissing of the crucifix was said to result in several thousand outbreaks of syphilis and mass robberies.”

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been an upsurge in affiliation with Orthodox Christianity in Russia. Between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31% to 72%, according to Pew Research Center.

God survived there. Communism did not.

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