The Guardian Angel: Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy 750 A.D.
Tonight's story about the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano took place in the middle 700's, but long before that the story begins at the cross which Jesus hung there and died on April 3, 33 A.D.
While on the Cross, a Roman Centurion, Longinus, pierced the heart of Christ with a lance, “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier(St. Longinus) thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe.” (John 19:33-35)
St. Longinus was reported to have had poor eye sight before the crucifixion scene. Once the lance penetrated the heart of Jesus and water and blood flowed out from Him, St. Longinus confessed, “Truly, this was the Son of God”! I was meditating on this after Communion and how I just received this same Blood of Christ. We are truly cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, Revelation 12:11 states, “They conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
Longinus was also the chief of the watch that guarded the tomb. When the Romans and the elders in Jerusalem learned of the Resurrection of Christ, they bribed the soldiers to spread the false news that Christ did not resurrect, but rather that His disciples stole His body.
St Longinus secretly left Judea to preach about Jesus Christ the Son of God in his native land (Cappadocia), and two of his comrades followed him. Hearing that he was in Cappadocia, Pilate dispatched a company of soldiers to Cappadocia to kill Longinus and his comrades. St. Longinus foresaw the approach of his executioners and went out to meet them. He brought them to his home, not telling them who he was.
He was a good host to the soldiers, and soon they lay down to sleep. But St. Longinus stood up to pray, and prayed all night long, preparing himself for death. In the morning, he called his two companions to him, clothed themselves in white burial clothes, and instructed the other members of his household to bury him and his companions on a particular small hill. He then went to the soldiers and told them that he was that Longinus whom they were seeking.
The soldiers were perplexed and ashamed, and could not even contemplate beheading Longinus, but he insisted that they fulfill the order of their superior. Thus, Longinus and his two companions were beheaded.
The soldiers took Longinus’s head to Pilate, and Pilate gave orders to throw the martyr’s head on a trash-heap outside the city walls.
At that time, a certain blind widow from Cappadocia arrived in Jerusalem with her son to pray at the holy places, and to ask that her sight be restored. After becoming blind, she had sought the help of physicians to cure her, but all their efforts were in vain. The woman’s son became ill shortly after reaching Jerusalem, and he died a few days later. The widow grieved for the loss of her son, who had served as her sighted guide.
St. longinus was clearly exposed to the teaching of St. Paul. 2 Timothy 1:16-19 states, “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me–may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day–and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.”
St Longinus appeared to her in a dream and comforted her. He told her that she would see her son in heavenly glory, and also receive her sight. He told her to go outside the city walls and there she would find his head in a great pile of refuse. Guides led the blind woman to the rubbish heap, and she began to dig with her hands. As soon as she touched the martyr’s head, the woman received her sight, and she glorified God and St. Longinus.
Taking up the head, she brought it to the place she was staying and washed it.
The next night, St Longinus appeared to her again, this time with her son. They were surrounded by a bright light, and St Longinus said, Woman, behold the son for whom you grieve. See what glory and honor are his now, and be consoled. God has numbered him with those in His heavenly Kingdom. Now take my head and your son’s body, and bury them in the same casket. Do not weep for your son, for he will rejoice forever in great glory and happiness. The woman carried out the saint’s instructions and returned to her home in Cappadocia. There she buried her son and the head of St Longinus. Once, she had been overcome by grief for her son, but her weeping was transformed into joy when she saw him with St. Longinus. She had sought healing for her eyes, and also received healing of her soul.
St. Longinus’ relics are now in the beautiful church of St. Augustine, in Rome, not far from the body of Saint Monica. His Lance is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peters in Rome.
Bernini also created huge niches in the four piers of the crossing at St. Peters. Each niche holds a colossal statue, over 30 feet high. In the first pier on the right is the statue of St. Longinus, who pierced the side of Jesus, from which blood and water flowed.
Consider when St. Longinus converted, he Left the army, took instruction from the apostles and became a monk in Cappadocia. There he was arrested for his faith, his teeth forced out and tongue cut off. However, St. Longinus miraculously continued to speak clearly and managed to destroy several idols in the presence of the governor.
The governor, who was made blind by the demons that came from the idols, had his sight restored when St. Longinus was being beheaded, because his blood came in contact with the governors’ eyes
This Eucharistic Miracle literally is taken from the foot of the cross. Saint Matthew the Evangelist, in describing the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, says: “The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”(Matthew 27:54).
Now you might be wondering why I am associating St. Longinus with the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano? Lanciano Italy was the place of St. Longinus and was literally where the town received it's name. St. Longinus was at the foot of the cross where he was healed. He was so moved to took blood soaked earth which Christ shed His blood. This would become the back drop for what the Lord was going to do.
From time to time we find in history where a priest struggled with their faith. That happens to be a human trait that God sometimes will use to enrich His people with great signs and wonders.
I remember the story of a Basilian Monk who was celebrating Mass at the Monastery of St. Longinus (Lanciano Italy) 8th century when he had the strong urge to doubt the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Lord has given us a great sign that continues this very day which has endured scientific scrutiny in modern times.
Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk's doubt about Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist.
During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size.
The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back.
The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre. Various ecclesiastical investigation ("Recognitions") were conducted since 1574.
In 1970, 1971, and later in 1981, a scientific investigation was encouraged by the Catholic Church. The illustrious Professor and Doctor, Odoardo Linoli, an Anatomic Professor of Pathologic Histology, and of Chemistry and of Clinical Microscopy and Doctor in Chief for the whole of the hospitals of Arezzo, began a long series of analyses and tests in order to determine the exact nature of the said Miracle. He was assisted by Doctor Ruggero Bertelli, the highly skilled Professor from the Department of Anatomy at the Siena University.
The investigations were all carried out with state-of-the-art technological procedures of which observations were widely confirmed by a series of photographs taken with a microscope. The analyses, once completed, gave us the following conclusions:
1. The blood of the Eucharistic Miracle is real blood and the flesh is real flesh.
2. The flesh is made up of cardiac-muscle tissues. The way in which this piece of flesh was obtained through dissection from the myocardium supposes an exceptional ability on the part of the “Practitioner.”
3. The blood type is the same in the flesh and in the blood clots, AB. (Note: The blood type is identical to the one found by Professor Baima Bollone on the Holy Shroud of Turin). Several minerals were found in the blood: chlorate, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium. Proteins were found in the same-normal proportions that are found in the sero-proteins of ordinary blood.
4. The diagram of this blood corresponds to that of human blood that would have been taken from a human body that very same day. The blood is real. It is made up of five-unequal clots, but each clot weighs exactly the weight of the five clots weighed together, be it 15.85 grams.
5. No trace of material or chemical agents was detected in the flesh or in the blood.
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 worth repeating:
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 (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
The preservation of the Flesh and of the 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.
The scientific testimony confirms that which we believe through faith and that which the Catholic Church has been teaching us for 2000 years, thus echoing the Words of Jesus Christ: “In truth I say to you, the one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has Eternal Life, and I shall raise him up on the last day. The one who eats this Flesh shall Live Eternally.” (John 6, 53-59)
I worked at the Fort Campbell Blanchfield Hospital in the Emergency Room and I went to our lab just to ask them actually how long does the components of the blood remain consistant outside the body before chemically breaking down? The answer was when the blood is exposed to the air, it begins breaking down in about 15 minutes.
When placed in test tubes the blood can last up to 8 hours, when placed in ice for blood drives the red blood cells will die so they can't use this blood after 30 days. The point made is the Miracle of Lanciano took place a thousand years plus ago and is as if just taken from the body. How do you fake that? You would have to be the worst of cynics!
The Passion of Christ
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Since the dawn of Christianity, the Passion of Christ has been the deepest inspiration of the followers of Christ. His sufferings and death have been the deepest motive that believing Christians have had to follow in His bloody footsteps. What He endured out of love for us is meant to inspire us out of love for Him.
No matter how young the persons whom we instruct, they are not too young to have learned the deepest lesson of life, that life means endurance and only strong love can inspire people with the strength necessary to remain faithful to the teachings of Christ from childhood to old age, and into eternity.
The four verbs that now 2,000 years of Christian history has associated with Christ’s Passion are crucial to a correct understanding of what the Catholic religion is all about. Jesus suffered willingly in order to redeem a sinful human race. He was crucified in an agonizing execution, along with two notorious criminals. He died as a result of His bloody crucifixion. And after His death He was buried in a stranger’s tomb because even in death He did not have a place of His own whereon to lay His head.
Whatever else students are taught about the faith, they must be taught to believe and, as far as they can , understand that God became man in order that, as man, He might suffer for us. Since life on earth, even for the most peaceful and prosperous has its share of suffering, we must have strong motivation for the patient endurance of pain. There is no more powerful motive we can have than the realization on faith that God suffered and died out of love for us; so we should be willing to suffer and, if need be, die out of love for Him.
I can make no better recommendation to the catechists than to urge them to read and meditate on the apostolic letter, On the Christian Meaning of Suffering of Pope John Paul II. Especially the fifth chapter on, “Sharers in the Suffering of Christ,” is a goldmine of clear inspiration for every follower of Christ to want to be an imitator of Christ by sharing in the Savior’s own experience of the Passion.
Here are some of the lessons the catechist can bring out to his students, to show them that Christ’s Passion is not only a historical memory but a constant, present-day reality.
Every believer in Christ in greater or less measure is called to share in the Passion of Christ.
This sharing in Christ’s suffering is not only psychological. We are not only to be strengthened in our willingness to carry the cross by knowing that Christ carried His cross before us. No. Our daily cross is mysteriously necessary if the work of the Redemption is to be fulfilled.
This necessity, as we may call it, grows out of the need for our voluntary cooperation with the graces won for us on Calvary. True enough, we were redeemed by Christ’s Passion and death. The graces we need to be saved were merited by the Savior. But we are now required to cooperate with these graces by submitting our wills to the will of God. In Christ’s words, we are to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
Patience under trial should be taught as simply part of what it means to be, and not merely be called, a Christian. What the faithful need to know is that the cross is not to be a source of discouragement. It is one of the marks of a true lover of Jesus. If we really love someone, we expect to pay for our love.
Catechists dare not forget that the opportunity to show their selfless love of Jesus already begins with children. It goes on through life. And it is one of the glories of Christianity that it provides its believers with the most powerful motive available to human beings for not only weathering the difficult ties of life but actually maturing spiritually and psychologically through the experience.
For a believing Catholic, the Passion of Christ should become part of one’s spiritual life. There are many simple ways in which this can be done, depending on a person’s age and religious development.
Every Friday is meant to be a commemoration of Calvary. According to the Church’s law, we are to perform some kind of sacrifice in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross on each Friday of the year. The Code of Canon Law is clear. The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent (Canon 1250). Abstinence from meat or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (Canon 1251).
Give those whom you are teaching the clear idea that every Friday is a day of special remembrance of the first Good Friday when the Savior died for our redemption.
Make sure that in every Catholic home there is at least one crucifix on the wall.
Encourage your charges to have a crucifix, at least a small one, on their person. Women and girls may want to wear it around their neck. All should carry a Rosary with a crucifix attached.
The Sign of the Cross is made by Catholics as a profession of their faith in two mysteries: The Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion.
Certain prayers should be learned by heart, for example, “Soul of Christ…sanctify me.” They are powerful reminders of Christ’s Passion and of our sharing in His saving grace.
Encourage attendance at Mass during the week and not only on Sunday. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the re-presentation of what took place on Calvary. The Mass is our principal source of divine mercy.
Explain to those you instruct how to make short aspirations during the day, especially when they meet with some painful experience. A single word, “Jesus,” will both give strength to cope with the situation and draw the person closer to the Savior.
“Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within your wounds hide me. Permit me not to be separated from you. From the wicked foe defend me. At the hour of my death call me. And bid me come to you. That with your saints I may praise you. Forever and ever, Amen.”