Guardian Angel: The Eucharistic Miracle of Cava Italy 1656
The “Feast of the Castello” has been faithfully celebrated since 1657 and it recalls the plague epidemic which visited the City of Cava on May 25, 1656, Ascension Thursday. The plague was stopped by a religious Corpus Christi procession which started from the Castle of the Annunciation and proceeded to the higher terrace of Monte Castello.
In May of 1656, a terrible epidemic of the plague overtook the city of Naples as a result of the invasion by Spanish troops from Sardinia. The plague spread so quickly to the neighboring villages and surrounding countryside that it was soon at the gates of the city of Cava dei Tirreni. The victims numbered in the thousands both in the villages and the urban centers. Fr. Paolo Franco was one of the few priests who had been spared and who had not succumbed to the epidemic. Despite the danger of contagion, he was divinely inspired to lead the people in a procession of reparation within a few kilometers of the summit of the Castello. When they arrived at the summit of the mountain, Fr. Franco blessed Cava dei Tirreni with the Blessed Sacrament.
The epidemic miraculously stopped. To this day the townspeople commemorate the miracle with a solemn annual procession during the month of Jun The “Feast of the Castello” has been faithfully celebrated since 1657 and it recalls the plague epidemic which visited the City of Cava on May 25, 1656, Ascension Thursday. The plague was stopped by a religious Corpus Christi procession which started from the Castle of the Annunciation and proceeded to the higher terrace of Monte Castello.
Jesus Christ finds means to console a soul that remains with a recollected spirit before the Most Blessed Sacrament, far beyond what the world can do with all its feasts and pastimes. Oh, how sweet a joy it is to remain with faith and tender devotion before an altar, and converse familiarly with Jesus Christ, who is there for the express purpose of listening to and graciously hearing those who pray to him; to ask his pardon for the displeasures which we have caused him; to represent our wants to him, as a friend does to a friend in whom he places all his confidence; to ask him for his graces, for his love, and for his kingdom; but above all, oh, what a heaven it is there to remain making acts of love towards that Lord who is on the very altar praying to the Eternal Father for us, and is there burning with love for us. Indeed that love it is which detains him there, thus hidden and unknown, and where he is even despised by ungrateful souls! But why should we say more? "Taste and see."
- St. Alphonsus Ligouri
Nothing can compare with the ardor and power of a soul as it seeks its Beloved and longs for Him; it finds its happiness in longing for Him and seeking Him. The God of the Eucharist conceals Himself in order to be desired, veils Himself in order to become an object of contemplation; He wraps Himself in mystery in order to spur on and perfect the soul's love. The Holy Eucharist thus becomes food ever new, ever powerful over the heart it inflames. Something akin to what happens in heaven then takes place: a hunger and thirst for God ever keen and ever satisfied; the loving soul penetrates the depths of divine love and never ceases discovering new riches therein; Jesus manifests Himself by degrees to the soul to draw it ever more purely and strongly to Himself,"
- St. Peter Julian Eymard
"The devotion which leads the faithful to visit the Blessed Sacrament draws them into an ever deeper participation of the Paschal Mystery. It leads them to respond gratefully to the gift of him who through his humanity constantly pours divine life into the members of his body. Dwelling with Christ our Lord, they enjoy his intimate friendship and pour out their hearts before him for themselves and for their dear ones, and pray for the peace and salvation of the world. They offer their entire lives with Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit, and receive in this wonderful exchange an increase in faith, hope and charity. Thus they nourish those right dispositions which enable them with all true devotion to celebrate the memorial of the Lord and to receive frequently the bread given to us by the Father,"
- from Vatican Council II
"Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is the queen of all devotions. It is the central devotion of the Church. All others gather round it, and group themselves there as satellites; for others celebrate his mysteries; this is Himself. It is the universal devotion. No one can be without it, in order to be a Christian. How can a man be a Christian who does not worship the living Presence of Christ?,"
- Fr. Faber
"I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before, I place myself there.
I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary's womb, and lay in Mary's bosom; which grew up to man's estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven. I praise, bless, and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul, and my everlasting joy,"
- Venerable John Henry Newman
The 'yes' of Mary gave us the Holy Eucharist, as the body of Jesus was formed from the Immaculate Heart of His Mother, from whose flesh Jesus took the flesh He gives us in the Blessed Sacrament.
The joy of the Annunciation continues to sound in our ears today, because the good news of the Gospel is God's love for us, "The Virgin shall give birth to a Son and they shall call Him Emmanuel, a name which means 'GOD IS WITH US' This is our joy today! Jesus chose the name 'Emmanuel' BECAUSE OF HIS INFINITE DESIRE TO DWELL WITH US ALWAYS IN THIS MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT, as absolute proof of HIS EVERLASTING LOVE and CONSTANT AFFECTION for each of us.
- from the book Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament
The following is a meditation written by Melito of Sardis, a Second Century Monk:
He came on earth from heaven for suffering man, becoming incarnate in a virgin's womb from which he came forth as man; he took on himself the sufferings of suffering man through a body capable of suffering, and put to an end the sufferings of the flesh, and through his spirit incapable of death he became the death of death which is destructive of man.
For led like a lamb, and slaughtered like a sheep, he ransomed us from the slavery of the world of Egypt, and loosened us from the slavery of the devil as from the hand of Pharaoh, and sealed our souls with his own spirit, and our bodily members with his own blood.
This is the one who covered death with the garment of reproach, who put the devil in mourning garb as Moses did Pharaoh. This is he who smote lawlessness and rendered injustice bereft of children as Moses did Egypt.
This is the one who rescued us from slavery to liberty, from darkness to light, from tyranny to the kingdom of eternity (who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen, eternal).
This is he who is the Passover of our salvation; this is he who suffered many things in many men. This is he who in Abel was slaughtered, in Jacob was exiled, in Joseph was sold, in Moses was exposed, in the lamb was immolated, in David was persecuted, in the prophets was maltreated. This is he in whom the virgin was made incarnate, on the cross was suspended, in the earth was buried, from the dead was resurrected, to the highest of heaven was lifted up.
This is the lamb without voice, this is the lamb slaughtered, this is the lamb born of the fair ewe this is he who was taken from the flock, and dragged to immolation, and at evening slaughtered, and by night buried.
This is he who on the cross was not broken, and in the earth did not decay, but from the dead rose again, and raised up man from the depths of the tomb.
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge for future glory is given to us,"
- Vatican Council II
THE RESURRECTION "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, glory and praise!" (Rev. 5:12)
THE GLORY OF FAITH
"Indeed, this is the Will of My Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day." (JN 6:40)
The glorious resurrection of Our Lord continues in the glory of this most Blessed Sacrament BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE OUR RISEN SAVIOR DWELLS, pouring out His life, His light, and His love to all who come into His presence.
We pray through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that You help our parish and all parishes to become a faith community by responding to Your appeal to be loved day and night in this most Blessed Sacrament, where You call us to "pray without ceasing", for this is where You, Our Risen Savior, dwell, helping us by the power flowing from You resurrection to share in the pattern of Your sufferings, that we may share also in the glory of Your resurrection. "ALL I WANT IS TO KNOW CHRIST JESUS..."
- from "Come to Me"
"The voice of my Beloved knocking: Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled" (Song 5:2).
Such are the words which Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament speaks to those who love and desire him. Open to me, he says, O soul, thy heart, and there I will come to unite myself to thee; so that, being one with me, thou mayst become my sister by resemblance, my friend by participation in my riches, my dove by the gift of simplicity, my undefiled by the gift of purity, which I shall communicate to thee. And then he goes on to say, "Open to me, for my head is full of dew and my locks the drops of the night." As if he said: Consider, my beloved, that I have waited for thee all the night of the bad life thou has led in the midst of darkness and error. Behold, now, instead of bringing scourges to chastise thee, I come in the Blessed Sacrament, with my hair full of heavenly dew, to extinguish in thee all impure desires towards creatures, and to kindle in thee the happy fire of my love. Come, then, O my beloved Jesus, and work in me what Thou wilt.
- St. Alphonsus Ligouri
"This worship, given therefore to the Trinity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, above all accompanies and permeates the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy. But it must fill our churches also outside the timetable of Masses. Indeed, since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship. And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament, both when we visit our churches and when the sacred species are taken to the sick and administered to them,"
- Pope John Paul II
A Third or Fourth Century prayer to our Eucharistic Lord: Today we have seen our Lord Jesus Christ on the altar. Today we have gained possessions of the burning coal in whose shadow the cherubim sing. Today we have heard a voice say, sweet and strong:
This body burns the thorns of sin. This body gives light to the souls of all believers. This body the woman touched that had the flux of blood, and gone was her bitter anguish... See, children, what a body we have eaten, see what blood we have drunk, what a covenant we have made with our God. O to be proof against shame on the day of requital.
We can sufficiently praise the mystery of your grace? We have been enabled to take our share of the gift; may we keep it safe to the end, that so we may come to hear the blessed voice, the sweet, the holy, saying: Come, you that have received a blessing from my Father; take possession of the kingdom that awaits you.
"O Jesus! on this day, you have fulfilled all my desires. From now on, near the Eucharist, I shall be able To sacrifice myself in silence, to wait for Heaven in peace. Keeping myself open to the rays of the Divine Host, In this furnace of love, I shall be consumed, And like a seraphim, Lord, I shall love You."
- from St. Therese of Lisieux's poem,
"Canticle of a Soul Having Found the Place of Its Rest!..."
When Christ manifested Himself to Margaret Mary, and declared to her the infinitude of His love, at the same time, in the manner of a mourner, He complained that so many and such great injuries were done to Him by ungrateful men — and we would that these words in which He made this complaint were fixed in the minds of the faithful, and were never blotted out by oblivion: "Behold this Heart" — He said — "which has loved men so much and has loaded them with all benefits, and for this boundless love has had no return but neglect, and contumely, and this often from those who were bound by a debt and duty of more special love." In order that these faults might be washed away, He then recommended several things to be done, and in particular the following as most pleasing to Himself, namely that men should approach the Altar with this purpose of expiating sin, making what is called a Communion of Reparation — and that they should likewise make expiatory supplications and prayers, prolonged for a whole hour — which is rightly called the "Holy Hour." These pious exercises have been approved by the Church and have also been enriched with copious indulgences.
- Pope Pius XI
O Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Pure crystal for my heart, You are my strength, O sturdy anchor! You are the weak heart's shield and protection. O Mary you are pure, of purity incomparable; At once both Virgin and Mother, You are beautiful as the sun, without blemish, And your soul is beyond all comparison.
Your beauty has delighted the eye of the Thrice-Holy One. He descended from heaven, leaving His eternal throne, And took Body and Blood of your heart And for nine months lay hidden in a Virgin's Heart.
O Mother, Virgin, purest of all lilies, Your heart was Jesus' first tabernacle on earth.
- St. Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament
From the Diary Divine Mercy in My Soul, by St. M. Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament:
The mercy of God, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, the voice of the Lord who speaks to us from the throne of mercy: Come to Me, all of you...
Behold, for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth — the tabernacle — and from this throne I desire to enter into your heart. I am not surrounded by a retinue of guards. You can come to me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and I desire to grant you grace.
...You left us Yourself in the Sacrament of the Altar, and You opened wide Your mercy to us. There is no misery that could exhaust You; You have called us all to this fountain of love, to this spring of God's compassion. Here is the tabernacle of Your mercy, here is the remedy for all our ills. To You, O living spring of mercy, all souls are drawn; some like deer, thirsting for Your love, others to wash the wound of their sins and still others, exhausted by life, to draw strength.
O Jesus, concealed in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, my only love and mercy, I commend to You all the needs of my body and soul. You can help me, because You are Mercy itself. In You lies all my hope.
Be adored, O God, in the work of Your mercy, Be blessed by all faithful hearts On whom Your gaze rests, In whom dwells Your immortal life... In Your inconceivable love, You allowed Your most holy side to be opened, And streams of Blood and Water gushed forth from Your Heart. Here is the living fountain of Your mercy, Here souls receive consolation and refreshment.
In the Blessed Sacrament, You left us Your mercy; Your love deigned to arrange it so, That, going through life, suffering and toil, I might never doubt of Your goodness and mercy...
Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena (Third Order Dominican and Doctor of the Church) O boundless charity! Just as you gave us yourself, wholly God and wholly man, so you left us all of yourself as food so that while we are pilgrims in this life we might not collapse in our weariness but be strengthened by you, heavenly food. O mercenary people! And what has your God left you? He has left you himself, wholly God and wholly man, hidden under the whiteness of this bread. O fire of love! Was it not enough to gift us with creation in your image and likeness, and to create us anew to grace in your
without giving us yourself as food, the whole of divine being, the whole of God? What drove you? Nothing but your charity, mad with love as you are!
"Come, blessed soul! enter the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world. It is Himself. If we saw Him eat fish and honeycomb by the lake, we could not be more sure. O how He is drawing our soul to Him! Sweet compulsion, which makes the will more free than ever! beautiful constraint, that emancipates by its captivity! whence come these attractions that are now drawing us to themselves? They come from the altar-throne, and from the Human Soul and Body that are there. I will draw them, says He in the monstrance, with cords of Adam, the bands of love.
"Ah Lord Jesus! we spoke of Thee as in heaven and lo! Thou art here, and all heaven is with Thee here. O Blessed Sacrament! Thou makest all life now like one continued walk to Emmaus. Our hearts burn, and it is not that we know not why, but that we will not remember why. "I was like a foster-father to Ephraim: I carried them in my arms; and they knew not that I healed them." But how long shall these things be. O that our hearts were modelled upon Thee as creation was, and crowned by Thee as creation is, and that since thou hast our nature, we might participate more abundantly in Thy grace, and that as Thou wilt lead us to glory hereafter, so now Thy hidden Sacramental presence might already be our glory here!"
- Fr. Faber