The Guardian Angel: The Eucharistic miracle of Santarém
The Eucharistic miracle of Santarém, together with that of Lanciano, is considered among the most important Eucharistic miracles. Numerous studies and canonical analyses were carried out on the relics. The Host changed into bleeding Flesh and Blood flowed out of the Blessed Sacrament. Both relics are preserved to this day in the Church of St. Stephen in Santarém.
Some Popes granted plenary indulgences to this Eucharistic miracle: Pius IV, St. Pius V, Pius VI, and Pope Gregory XIV. Still today, in the Church of St. Stephen of Santarém, it is possible to admire these precious relics. According to the date recorded in the document commissioned by King Alfonso IV in 1346, on February 16, 1266 in Santarém,
A young woman overcome with jealousy for her husband, consulted a sorceress who told her to go to the church and steal a consecrated Host to use for a love potion. The woman stole the Host and hid the Holy Eucharist in a linen cloth that immediately became stained with Blood.
Frightened by this, she ran home and opened the kerchief to see what had happened. To her amazement, she saw that the Blood was gushing from the Host. The confused woman stored the Particle in a drawer in her bedroom. That night the drawer began to emit brilliant rays of light which illuminated the room as if it were daytime. The husband was also aware of the strange phenomenon and questioned his wife, who was obligated to tell him everything.
The next day, the couple informed the pastor, who went to the home to remove the Host and return the Blessed Sacrament to the Church of St. Stephen in solemn procession, accompanied by many religious and lay people. The Host bled for three consecutive days, and was then placed in a beautiful reliquary made of beeswax. In 1340 another miracle occurred.
When the priest opened the tabernacle, he found the beeswax vase broken into many pieces: in its place was a crystal vase containing the Blood mixed with the wax. The Sacred Host is now preserved in an 18th century Eucharistic throne above the main altar. The Church of St. Stephen is now known as the Shrine of the Holy Miracle. Throughout the centuries, on various occasions the Host gave new emissions of Blood, and in some cases various images of Our Lord were seen in the Holy Eucharist.
Among the witnesses of this prodigy is St. Francis Xavier, the apostle of the Indies, who visited the shrine before going on the missions. Every year since the miracle occurred, on the second Sunday of April, the precious relic is processed from the home of the couple to the Church of St. Stephen. The couple’s home became a chapel in the year 1684.
"And according as we say, "Our Father," because He is The Father of those who understand and believe; so also we call it "our Bread," because Christ is The Bread of those who are in union with His Body. And we ask that this Bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ, and daily receive The Eucharist for the Food of Salvation, may not by the interposition of some heinous sin...be separated from Christ's Body."
- St. Cyprian (210?-258)
When we say "Give us this day our daily bread," by "this day" we mean "at this time," when we either ask for that sufficiency, signifying the whole of our need under the name of bread, which is the outstanding part of it, or for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary at this time for attaining not so much this temporal as that eternal happiness."
- St. Augustine
"It is happiness to be in heaven, no doubt, because it is to be with Jesus; but have we not almost the same happiness here? Do we not possess Him in the Most Holy Sacrament? Did we but know how to profit by His Divine Presence, we should in some way have no reason to envy the inhabitants of the Heavenly City."
- Marie Estelle Harpain (1814-1842)
Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples: "I am The Way, The Truth and The Life. Nobody can come to the Father except through Me. If you had recognized Me, you would have recognized My Father too. And from now on you will recognize Him, since you have seen Him." Philip said to Him: "Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him: "Have I been so long a time with you and you have not learned who I am? Philip whoever sees Me, sees My Father too" (Jn. 14, 6-9).
Now, the Father dwells in light that cannot be penetrated (1 Tim. 6,16), and God is a spirit (Jn. 4, 24), and nobody has ever seen God (Jn 1, 18). Because God is a spirit, therefore He can be seen only by means of the spirit, for it is the spirit that gives life, where as the flesh is of no avail (Jn. 6, 64).
But since the Son is like the Father, he too is seen by nobody otherwise than the Father is seen or otherwise than the Holy Spirit is seen. And so it was that those who saw our Lord Jesus Christ only in a human way and did not see nor believe that He was the true Son of God, as the spirit and his Divine nature demand - they all stood condemned.
And so now with all those who see the Blessed Sacrament, sanctified by our Lord's words on the altar, through the hands of the priest, in the form of bread and wine: if they do not see and believe, as the spirit and the Divine nature demand that it is truly the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, they stand condemned. For it is the Most High who bears witness to it. He says, "This is My Body, and the Blood of the New Testament" (Mk, 14, 22-24) and, "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, has life everlasting." (Jn. 6, 55)
- from the writings of St. Francis of Assisi on The Blessed Sacrament
"Prayer is the best preparation for Holy Communion. Prayer is the raising of the mind to God. When we pray we go to meet Christ Who is coming to us. If our Creator and Savior comes from heaven with such great love, it is only fitting that we should go to meet Him. And this is what we do when we spend some time in prayer."
- St. Bernadine of Siena (1380-1444)
Do you know what Mass is? In the Church it is what the sun in our world, it is the soul of our faith, the center of our religion, the end and center of all the ceremonies, rites and sacraments. In a word it is the summary of all that is beautiful and good in the Church of God."
- St. Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)
"In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life - to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us. Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving, and our hands by serving. In loving and serving, we prove that we have been created in the likeness of God, for God is Love and when we love we are like God. This is what Jesus meant when He said, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
"And just as He appeared before the holy Apostles in true flesh, so now He has us see Him in the Sacred Bread. Looking at Him with the eyes of their flesh, they saw only His Flesh, but regarding Him with the eyes of the spirit, they believed that He was God. In like manner, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, let us see and believe firmly that it is His Most Holy Body and Blood, True and Living.
For in this way our Lord is ever present among those who believe in him, according to what He said: "Behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world." (Mt. 28, 20)
- St. Francis of Assisi
"The humility of Jesus can be seen in the crib, in the exile to Egypt, in the hidden life, in the inability to make people understand Him, in the desertion of His apostles, in the hatred of His persecutors, in all the terrible suffering and death of His Passion, and now in His permanent state of humility in the tabernacle, where He has reduced Himself to such a small particle of bread that the priest can hold Him with two fingers. The more we empty ourselves, the more room we give God to fill us."
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
"Thus it is the spirit of the Lord, which dwells in those who believe in Him, that truly receives the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord. All the rest, who have nothing of that spirit and presume to receive Him, eat and drink judgment to themselves (1 Cor. 11,29)
So, you children of men, how long is your sense going to stay dull? (Ps 4,3) Why do you not see in the truth and believe in the Son of God? (Jn. 9, 35) See, day after day He humbles Himself, as when He came down from His royal throne. (Wis. 18, 15) into the Virgin's womb. Day by day He comes to us personally in this lowly form. Daily He comes down from the bosom of His Father on the altar into the hands of the priest."
- from the writings of St. Francis of Assisi
Prayer of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, inaugurating Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at St. Peter's at the beginning of Advent 1981:
Lord stay with us. These words were spoken for the first time by the disciples of Emmaus. Subsequently in the course of the centuries they have been spoken, an infinite number of times, by the lips of so many of Your disciples and confessors, O Christ.
As Bishop of Rome and first servant of this temple, which stands on the place of St. Peter's martyrdom, I speak the same words today.
I speak them to invite You, Christ, in Your Eucharistic Presence to accept the daily adoration continuing through the entire day, in this temple, in this basilica, in this chapel.
Stay with us today and stay, from now on, every day, according to the desire of my heart, which accepts the appeal of so many hearts from various parts, sometimes far away, and above all meets the desire of so many inhabitants of the Apostolic See.
Stay! That we may meet You in the prayer of adoration and thanksgiving, in the prayer of expiation and petition, to which all those who visit this basilica are invited.
Stay! You Who are at one and the same time veiled in the Eucharistic Mystery of Faith and are also revealed under the species of bread and wine, which You have assumed in this Sacrament.
Stay! That Your presence in this temple may incessantly be reconfirmed, and that all those who enter here may become aware that it is Your house, "the dwelling of God with men" (Rev. 21:3) and, visiting this basilica, may find in it the very source of life and holiness that gushes forth from Your Eucharistic Heart...
One day, O Lord, You asked Peter: "Do you love Me?" You asked him three times - and three times the Apostle answered: "Lord, You know everything, You know that I love You." (Jn 21:15-17)
May the answer of Peter, on whose tomb this basilica was erected, be expressed by this daily and day-long adoration which we have begun today.
May the unworthy successor of Peter in the Roman See - and all those who take part in the adoration of Your Eucharistic Presence - attest with every visit of theirs and make ring out again the truth contained in the Apostle's words: "Lord You know everything; You know that I love You." Amen.
"How sweet it was, the first kiss of Jesus to my soul! Yes, it was a kiss of Love. I felt I was loved, and I too said: 'I love Thee, I give myself to Thee forever!' Jesus asked nothing of me, demanded no sacrifice. Already for a long time past, He and the little Therese had watched and understood one another... That day our meeting was no longer a simple look but a fusion. No longer were we two: Therese had disappeared as the drop of water which loses itself in the depths of the ocean, Jesus alone remained; the Master, the King! Had not Therese begged Him to take away from her, her liberty? That liberty made her afraid; so weak, so fragile did she feel herself that she longed to be united forever to Divine Strength.