What a grace it is to have investigated Eucharistic Miracles the past number of years. These Miracles come in so many ways, the Lord is always praised through His glorious work. The following is a little different as this story is centered in the fourth century with St. Satyrus, Brother of St. Ambrose.
During this time, there were a number of signs of the Eucharist that revealed great bravery. I recall the story of St. Tarcisius. In the year 258 A. D., St. Tarcisius, a young boy became known as the first martyr for the Eucharist. While taking consecrated Hosts to Christians in prison, he was caught and killed by Roman soldiers. They could not open his hands which held the blessed Sacrament. Our Lord was not desecrated and clearly St. Tarcisius recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread.
All of the teachings of the Catholic Faith come directly from Jesus through His Apostles and then His Church for nearly 2,000 years. St. Paul would refer to the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth” 1 Timothy 3:15.
Like Saint Satyrus, St. Paul would know what being shipwrecked is like.
Acts 27:27-28 states, “When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they sounded and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms. And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let out four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it go. As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food; it will give you strength, since not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said this, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all two hundred and seventy-six persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to bring the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders; then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.”
St. Paul was important for the continued teaching on the Eucharist that the later Church Fathers would center their faith. St. Paul instructs St. Timothy “Do not lay hands too readily on anyone…” It is from tradition St. Paul instructed St.Titus to appoint Presbyters at every church (Titus 1:5). Acts 14:22-23 says, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. They appointed presbyters for them in each church and with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they put their faith”.
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 states, “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? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” The cup of bless was the third cup in the Passover meal, it has prime importance to the Christian as Christ is our Salvation.”
Later, St. Paul would add, 1 Corinthians 11:26-30, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”
From the earliest Church Fathers it is easy to see why the Eucharist was so important, and Jesus continued giving signs and wonders of the Eucharist to His people.
In his work, De excessu fratris Satyri, St. Ambrose himself describes this Eucharistic Miracle in which his brother Satyrus played a key role. St. Satyrus was able to save himself from shipwreck thanks to the Eucharist.
About his brother, St. Ambrose writes: “What shall I say about his reverence in the worship of God? One episode will suffice. Before being fully initiated into the sublime mysteries (First Communion), he experienced a shipwreck. When the ship on which he was traveling ran aground on some reefs and while, all around, the waves were tearing it apart, he was not afraid of dying but of having to die without having been nourished by the Sacred Mysteries. So he asked for the Eucharist from those whom he knew to be initiated into the Divine Sacrament of the Faithful and placed the Holy Eucharist in a handkerchief, which he hung around his neck.
Then he threw himself into the sea and looked for a plank loosened from the hulk of the ship to hang on to, but did not try to swim away to save himself, because he had put his trust only in the weapons of the faith. Since he was convinced that he was sufficiently protected and defended by this faith, he did not look for any other help.
Then, as soon as he was saved from the waves and reached land, he paid tribute to the Leader to whom he had entrusted himself. As soon as he was saved and realized all his servants had been saved, he went to the church of God, without complaining about the goods he had lost, to thank Him for having saved him and to get to know His Eternal Mysteries. He said there was no more important duty than that of giving thanks… He who had experienced the great help of the Heavenly Mysteries wrapped in a handkerchief considered it important to consume the Holy Eucharist and receive the Eucharistic Christ into the depths of his heart.”
People want to challenge the basic teachings of the Catholic Church claiming that we hold fast to simple rituals, but they are really showing their own lack of faith in the words of Jesus who gave us His teaching on the Eucharist. The Catholic Church continues to offer Mass all over the world offering His grace to all who believe.