First reason to believe, The miracles…
Yes it’s a miracle in the change from bread and wine to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord but I’ve always wondered why such a miracle is not visible as all the other miracles our Lord did like those described in the Bible as the lame walk and the blind could see. Why is it that the greatest miracle of all, our Lord and God making Himself present to us in such a way as being visible and concrete to our senses, is only seen as ordinary bread and wine? To answer this, I guess we’ll first need to have a closer look as to why miracles happened in the first place.
A miracle was most commonly performed by God for the purpose of convincing the listeners of the authority of the message. That the message does indeed come from God. The splintering of so many different denominations believing differently on key salvific issues is an important factor in showing the most obvious problems of finding the one who is truly speaking God’s Word (In this particular case whether the consecrated bread and wine turns into the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ).
One possible solution to this dilemma in determining who’s got it right is by recognizing that the individual that is being sent directly by God will perform miracles so as to authenticate his message. You see, because there is a definite possibility that many will be deceived into believing that they, themselves, were sent by God, there must be a way to verify their ‘pedigree’, as you can appreciate the difficulty in finding someone teaching God’s Word amidst a sea of different ideologies and beliefs. Indeed, we find many examples of these in the Bible where these individuals, who are sent directly by God, performing supernatural signs to prove they were speaking God’s Word.
Examples like in the Book of Exodus where we find Moses performing miracle upon miracle to convince the Pharaoh to release the Jewish people.
Or in the first Book of Kings, chapter 19, verses 36 through 39 we read:
“Then at the time of the offering, Elijah the prophet came near and said, O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be seen this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things by your order. Give me an answer, O Lord, give me an answer, so that this people may see that you are God, and that you have made their hearts come back again. Then the fire of the Lord came down, burning up the offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and drinking up the water in the drain. And when the people saw it, they all went down on their faces, and said, The Lord, he is God, the Lord, he is God.”
But most notably in the Gospel of John, specifically in John 10:37-38 where even Jesus admitted “Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father."
So why am I speaking of miracles to prove that a message is from above? Because throughout history, our Lord has shown us that he is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. Catholics believe that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, under the appearance of bread and wine. Therefore, Jesus, through many Eucharistic miracles, manifests His Presence in a more tangible way through visible and undeniable miracles. So, in the case of Eucharistic miracles, the miracle itself is the message.
Miracles like in Sienna, Italy on August 17, 1730 where the consecrated Hosts remain unprotected and yet perfectly preserved for over 250 years.
Or in Amsterdam, Holland in 1345 where a Eucharist is thrown into fire overnight and is miraculously unscathed.
Or in Blanot, France on March 31, 1331 where the Eucharist falls out of a woman’s mouth unto an altar rail cloth. The priest tries to recover the Host but all that remains is a large spot of blood the same size and dimensions as the wafer.
Or in Bolsena-Orvieta, Itatly. A priest has difficulties believing in the Real Presence, and blood begins seeping out of the Host upon consecration. Because of this miracle, Pope Urban IV commissioned the feast of Corpus Christi, which is still celebrated today.
As a last example we can look at the Eucharistic miracle which happened in the eighth century in Lanciano, Italy. Again, a priest has doubts about the Real Presence; however, when he consecrates the Host it transforms into flesh and blood. This unexplained event has undergone extensive scientific examination and can only be explained as a miracle. The flesh is actually cardiac tissue which contains arterioles, veins, and nerve fibers. The blood type as in all other approved Eucharistic miracles is type AB!
The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs. These analyses sustained the following conclusions:
The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB
In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh normal blood.
The preservation of the Flesh and Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
To read further about these and other Eucharistic miracles please go to therealpresence.org
So we do in fact have extra-ordinary events, by that I mean unexplainable by scientific means, that prove the message of the True Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. But as the Lord said to ‘doubting’ Thomas when he finally touched the wounds of Christ and believed: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Many have done just that, they have believed even when their senses tell them otherwise. And so I come to my second reason to believe, its history.
Next week, we will look at the history of this belief.