Have you ever wondered what would happen if the sun didn’t rise tomorrow? It would be, to say the least, an absolute tragedy, because the sun is the Earth’s principle of life. Think about it... the Earth would be wrapped in complete darkness, and we could do very little to remedy the situation with the use of electricity. Plants would soon die, because they need sunlight to carry out the process of photosynthesis. As a result, the organisms that need oxygen to breathe—yes, human beings, too—would die, even if not immediately. Moreover, the Earth would slowly cool down until reaching such an extremely cold temperature that the oceans and the entire planet’s water would freeze, making life nearly impossible. All of that would come to nothing if we further consider that, without the sun’s force of gravity, which keeps the Earth in perfect orbit and harmony with the rest of the Solar System’s planets, the Earth would shoot out at a velocity of 20 miles per second in any direction in outer space. The results of this “field trip” wouldn’t be very positive.
Ok, so it’s not hard to understand why the sun is absolutely necessary for life on Earth. More necessary than the sun for natural life is the Eucharist for our spiritual life. Yes, the Eucharist is the source of life because it is the living and true Presence of Christ among us. And just like we can get used to having the sun and not attach much importance to it, we can also get used to the Eucharist and lose that wonder that should continually fill our heart when we think that the Lord has loved us so extremely.
In fact, sooner or later our natural life will come to an end, but the Lord wishes to grant us eternal life. He gives it to us through the Eucharist. The Lord continues His work of Redemption through the Eucharist. He redeems us, that is, He applies the merits of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, through the Eucharist. In this way, the Eucharist transforms and purifies us, gives us true life and gives us the strength to be faithful.
Do we really believe this? If we do, why have we gotten used to the greatest miracle the Lord gave us as if it were the most normal thing in the world? Why do we attach so much importance to our health while we put the Eucharist to the side, if not despise It or show complete indifference?
Unfortunately, there have been moments throughout Church history, when the faith of the People of God has wavered. But the Lord always comes to our aid if we pray with confidence. Now that we are drawing close to the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we would like to share two Eucharistic miracles that can teach us two important truths. First, the power of this Sacrament, where Jesus is alive and active. Second, that Christ is the Lord of history and can always draw great goods from apparent failures, weaknesses, and tragedies.
In 1263, Fr. Peter of Prague, Bohemia, assailed by doubts regarding the mystery of Transubstantiation, that is, the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ through the consecratory words pronounced by the priest during Mass, decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome to pray at St. Peter’s tomb for a strong faith.
On his return home, he stopped at Bolsena to celebrate Mass in the crypt of St. Christina, a young martyr of his devotion. During Mass, as he broke the Host after the consecration, he saw that the corporal was stained with blood that issued forth from the Host.
Amazed and bewildered at such a miracle, hoping to hide what had happened from those present and ask the competent authority for help and an explanation, Fr. Peter decided to interrupt the celebration of Mass. After gathering the Eucharistic species together with holy cloths, he ran to the sacristy. He didn’t notice that drops of the Precious Blood fell upon the marble floor.
News of the miracle spread rapidly. The holy cloths were brought to Pope Urban IV, who was temporarily residing in Orvieto. After a thorough examination, the Pope not only approved the authenticity of the miracle, but also decided to institute a special feast day in honor of the Body of Christ, commissioning St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the Liturgy. This is how Corpus Christi came about. Thanks to this miracle, the Lord strengthened the faith not only of Fr. Peter, but also of the whole Church.
The second miracle shows us what the Lord can do when we have true faith in his omnipotence. On January 31, 1906, the inhabitants of a tiny Pacific island named Tumaco felt a powerful earthquake that lasted nearly 10 minutes. The whole town rushed to the church to beg the parish priest to organize a Eucharistic procession. Meanwhile, the ocean rose, already having plunged inland a kilometer and a half and threatening to form a gigantic wave. The terrorized priest consumed all of the consecrated Hosts except the large one. Then, turning to the people he exclaimed, “Let us go, my people. Let us go toward the beach, and may God have pity on us.” Trusting in Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence, everyone went forth, crying out and praising God.
When Fr. Larrondo arrived at the beach, he bravely walked towards the shore carrying the monstrance. When the wave drew near, he raised the Host firmly and traced the Sign of the Cross. His heart was full of faith. It was an extremely solemn moment. The wave continued its course, but before the priest realized it, the marveled and moved population cried out, “Miracle, miracle!” Indeed, the powerful wave that had threatened to erase Tumaco from the face of the earth started to recede, as if an invisible superior force stopped it, and the sea went back to its normal level. The inhabitants of Tumaco made fervent acts of thanksgiving in the midst of the euphoria at being saved from death, thanks to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
The Lord said, “I will not leave you desolate,” “I am with you always, until the close of the age,” and “All things are possible to him who believes.” Let us turn to Him, inexhaustible source of life and the only One who can quench our deepest thirst. He desires to pour Himself into our hearts. Are you going to ignore Him?