The Catholic Defender: The Importance Of The Holy Grail And The Blood Of Christ
Passover, April 9, 32 A.D. (John 6:4), Jesus lifted up his eyes recognizing a great multitude takes two fish and five barley loaves feeding 5,000 men not counting women and children and afterwards, gathered up twelve baskets of leftover fragments.
Following this great sign, that evening, Jesus walks on the water (sea of Capernaum) and when he got into the boat, the boat miraculously was on dry land (John 6:21). Two great signs in one recorded incidence.
On April 10, 32 A.D., the next day, the mass of people realizing that Jesus and His Apostles had left the area, took rides in boats that had arrived from Tiberias and went across the sea seeking Jesus.
Upon catching up with Jesus, the throng of people were in great wonder how Jesus got there without them knowing it and so quickly, Jesus knew what they were thinking, as they wanted more signs. The question was asked, "So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?" John 6:30
Jesus responds giving the "Bread of Life" discourse (John 35-71) to include these words, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." John 6:53-55
Through the next and last year of Jesus public Ministry, Jesus takes His Apostles on a journey that leads to Jerusalem, there, Jesus tells His Apostles he will be turned over by the Jews to be crucified by the Romans. Matthew 16:21-28
On Passover (Thursday night) 2 April, 33 A.D., at one point during the Last Supper, Matthew 26:28 states, "And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
The Psalmist wrote, "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD..., (Psalms 116:13)" Why is the the cup at Mass the "cup of Salvation"? Because of the consecration from wine to the Blood of Christ. Consider what St. Paul writes, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)? The answer to both questions is yes. At Mass we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the consecration.
In the garden, at one point Jesus sweated a bloody sweat (Hematidrosis) because of how grieved He was knowing the coming Passion (Luke 22:24).
This is the clear foundation of New Testament writings.
From the cross we read, "But one of the soldiers (St. Longinus) pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water (John 19:34)." St. Longinus previously having been wounded in a past battle, he was blind in one eye. He was healed when he pierced the side of Jesus with his spear and some of the blood and water from Jesus fell into his eyes. Upon his healing, St. Longinus gives his profession of faith, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Recognizing the power of the Blood of Christ, gathered a portion of blood-soaked earth at the foot of the cross.
Clearly, the Blood of Christ brings healing, body, mind, and spirit. We are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1st John 1:5-7)."
The Sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God ends the animal sacrifices and the old Testament Covenants. Hebrews 9:12-15 states, "he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant."
Because of this foundation related to the Blood of Christ and the affect this has on liberation, it is only part of Christian veneration to honor those things that Jesus used such as the cup of Christ at the Last Supper, the Holy Grail.
In the search for the Holy Grail, who can forget the story of Indiana Jones and his search for the Holy Grail? Well, sorry Indy, this is the story of the Holy Grail.
There are many other legends and stories surrounding the Holy Grail coming from the Knights of the Round Table in England to other countries like France and Germany.
We start our journey in Jerusalem, just like everything else associated with Jesus, places that Jesus was known to perform the greatest of miracles, the early Christians build Shrines and Churches in honor of those events. You can go to the Holy Land and find these places today and many pilgrims go there every year.
There are many stories and legends when, where and how the Holy Grail traveled throughout Europe.
According to tradition, the Holy Grail was taken to Rome initially with St. Peter. According to this tradition, the Cenacle (Acts 1:13) , the room where the Last Supper took place , the Holy Cup used by Jesus was the property of the family of St. Mark the Evangelist. St. Mark's written Gospel was recognized through the authority of St. Peter, Mark served as interpreter for St. Peter while in Rome.
It is probable that St. Mark would give the Holy Grail to St. Peter recognizing St. Peter's authority and closeness to Jesus.
Taken to Rome, the Holy Grail was maintained through the successors of Peter until the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Valerian (258).
Due to the extreme danger of the precious relic falling into the hands of the Romans, St. Sixtus II, knowing that he would soon be martyred, entrusted the cup to his treasurer and deacon, St. Laurence.
St. Laurence in turn gave it to a Spanish soldier with the request to take it to Huesca, Spain, where he knew that his family would care for it.
From this we learn that the Holy Grail went from Rome and was taken to Spain when in 1055, a unique miracle takes place. In the Middle Ages, great Eucharistic Miracles began to be reported throughout Europe. The Lord Jesus certainly wanted to counter the heretics who began challenging the truth of the Catholic Church. Many times such a miracle was taking place through the consecration of a doubting priest.
Father Ivorra Bernat Oliver was one such priest who doubted transubstantiation (1055 A.D. just 11 years following the Schism of the Greek Orthodox in 1054). Father Oliver reports that while he was celebrating Mass, at the moment of consecration, a miracle occurred at that point of the Mass. The wine contained in the chalice changed in appearance to bright red blood which spilt out onto the corporal, the altar cloth, flowing down to the ground.
Father Oliver, afraid and excited at the same time, informed his local bishop (Urgell), St. Ermengol who after verifying the miracle, reported the events to Pope Sergius IV in Rome. The Pope signed a Pontifical Bull to certify the true miracle.
The relics of the miracle and the papal document are placed in the Church of Ivorra called San Cugat, and history reminds of of this event taking place in 1055 beginning with the Bishop Guillem de Urgell.
Now you might be wondering what this miracle might have with the Holy Grail? Today, in the gothic chapel of the “Santo Caliz” (“Holy Chalice”) in the city’s cathedral (Holy Chalice of Valencia), a miraculous chalice identified by tradition as the Holy Grail, is kept and shown for the veneration of the faithful. To this very day, the altar cloth with blood stains and relics were given from Pope Sergius IV to St. Ermengol and maintained in a gothic reliquary since 1426.
In the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, especially with the heretical teachings of John Calvin who rejected the Holy Mass and the consecration of the Eucharist, the Holy Grail caused much interest.
Since 1663, a sanctuary was built to increase opportunity for pilgrims to honor the Lord Jesus and the miracle taking place there reaffirming the sign of the Holy Grail. Sorry Indiana, by drinking from the cup does not bring you eternal life, but it brings you to the one who does offer eternal life. On the second Sunday of Easter, the Feast "La Santa Duda", a reference to the doubt of Father Oliver, is celebrated.
According to professor Salvador Antunano, “When we know the mystery of the Chalice of the Holy Grail we realize that in it there is nothing enigmatic or esoteric. The history of this precious Chalice concerns the most dramatic, most sublime episode ever lived by humanity: the history of the Word made Man and Eucharist”.
Thanks to their personal strength and dedication, in 1982 the St. Pope John Paul II, became the first Pope to say Mass with the Holy Grail since St. Sixtus II in the third century, and today Christians worldwide are able to venerate this very special cup.
The story of the Holy Chalice of Valencia is a beautiful reminder of the importance of this sacrament in the life of the Church, so evident in the care the vessel used by Christ to institute the Eucharist has received throughout the ages.
According to Janice Bennett, author of "Lawrence and the Holy Grail", MS Bennett states, "Only the Holy Chalice of Valencia, with its upper cup of agate stone, fits St. Jerome's description of the cup used by Christ for the consecration. When one examines its tradition and history in detail, it is quite evident that everything makes perfect sense. I don't believe that anything could ever disprove the theory that the Holy Grail is indeed the Holy Chalice of Valencia, Spain."