Friday, June 8, 2007

Corpus Christi ... The Reality of the Eucharist

For me, Eucharistic chat is all well and good, but it does not make me believe in the Real Presence. What does that is the Eucharist itself - with each encounter, with each breaking of the bread, with each hour of Adoration, Jesus’ Real Presence becomes more undeniable as he reels me in and I flop down before him, a landed grouper, both unable to escape and not wanting to. For me, His Presence in the Eucharist cannot be talked…it must be experienced. A half-hour before the monstrance, an hour before a closed tabernacle in an empty church…nothing compares, nothing instructs so sweetly, or sears me with such unrelenting gentleness. John Paul II wrote every one of his encyclicals while seated before the Tabernacle in his chapel.
This is also my experience of the reality of the Eucharist. The Anchoress has given us a veritable feast for contemplation in preparation of this coming Sunday's Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Included in that, she leads us to a deacon whose site I certainly shall be visiting often in the future.
In 1995, a Gallup poll reported that only 30 percent of Catholics – less than a third -- believe in the Real Presence, that the bread and wine truly become the body and blood of Christ. Another 30 percent said it’s just a symbol.

I wish they could see what I've seen.

A few years ago, my wife and I had the good fortune to make a pilgrimage through Italy. One of the stops was in a town called Lanciano.

About 1200 years ago, a priest there had begun to doubt the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Then one morning, during mass, he was stunned to discover that the bread and wine in his hands had become actual flesh and blood.

Today, it’s been preserved in a glass case, on its own altar. You can walk around it and see the host from many different angles. The blood has congealed naturally into five distinct pellets – just like the five wounds of Christ. In 1970, scientists were given permission to take samples and analyze it.

They weren’t prepared for what they found.

The bread is actually myocardial tissue -- tissue from the heart.

And what had been wine is, in fact, type AB blood. The universal recipient blood type.

It has been so perfectly preserved, the investigators ruled out any kind of fraud. They determined it was human, and could not have come from a cadaver, or it would have spoiled.

Instead, the flesh and blood that were hundreds of years old appeared new.

In other words: ageless.
Do go read all of both, as well as The Anchoress' linked posts at the bottom.

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