Week of 8/27/2017
In 1996 an incredible event happened. A Eucharist that fell to the ground in a Bue- nos Aires Catholic Church is placed inside a container to dissolve before it would be reverently pour down the sacrarium. After a few days flesh begins to become appar- ent, as well as blood stains. With the permission of the archbishop, scientific testing is permitted. The results indicate it is a muscle within the heart that is DNA of a Middle Eastern man who suffered severe trauma. When compared with the miracle of Lanciano in Italy, which occurred over 1200 years ago and also underwent scientific testing about 40 years ago, the blood type and other characteristics matched!
While science is not why we believe in the transubstantiation of the Most Holy Eucharist, neverthe- less God will use science to remind us of the greatest miracle in the world today. And with this reminder, it engenders a deeper reflection on not only the power of the Eucharist, but how also I should approach such a miracle and how can I gain the most from such a unique and powerful en- counter.
As written here last week, the Holy Eucharist, being God in the Flesh, by its very nature demands unique comportment and unique preparation. God is daring us to believe in Him by once again making Himself not only helpless and vulnerable as a little baby, but also now as what seems to be a mere piece of bread. As people walked away from Him in the Gospel, so many have unfortunate- ly faded away from this powerful miracle today.
How to regain the love needed for revering the Holy Eucharist? As mentioned last week, we must approach Communion reminding ourselves this will be an encounter with Jesus Christ in the Flesh. We could not ask for anything more. Such an encounter requires proper preparation: one hour of fasting, freedom from mortal sin, and an immediate disposition of great awe and gratitude for this Holy Gift. The Church cannot emphasize enough the importance of proper reception: the norm is receiving on the tongue (please open wide and put the tongue well out!). Receiving on the hand is a special indult (permission from the pope) that requires one to place one hand on top of the other, never cupped (cupping hands can easily lead to dropping the Eucharist). One is not permitted to receive with one hand; if a hand is preoccupied (even a rosary) then one receives on the tongue. Hands must be thoroughly washed prior to reception in the hand. In order to facilitate an act of rev- erence, many people simply kneel at the altar rail to receive Our Lord. Kneeling at the altar rail ac- complishes a great deal of reverence; it enables the communicant to ponder and prayerfully pre- pare, receive very reverently, and then take a moment to pause in prayer as the priest moves on to distribute to others. If you feel so inclined don’t hesitate to kneel at the altar rail!
Why so many “rules,” one might ask! It is akin to attending a banquet with a great king. One dress- es and comports oneself with dignity because it acknowledges the gravity of the moment and that this facilitates proper respect for authority that actually stems from the 4th commandment. Since God’s authority is prior and greater than all, we really must acknowledge His infinite majesty, espe- cially as we prepare to become one with Him, in as a powerful and loving way as possible.
As we prepare for perpetual adoration beginning on October 1st, we remind ourselves that any en- counter with the Most Holy Eucharist is an encounter with Jesus Christ in the Flesh. The more the world worships Christ in the Flesh, the more graces that flow and engender great conversions and greater peace of heart and soul.
God love you, Fr. Brian Gannon