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The Guardian Angel: Eucharistic Miracle Avignon, France 1433 Another Look

Always awesome when Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us in a Miraculous way, and yes that Miracle is very special at every Mass as the Presence is true when Consecration happens, we are able to receive what was once bread and wine, by transubstantiation we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. Please love those that God has put into your path, by sharing this beautiful Miracle that has touched so many lives. To Jesus through Mary, GregoryMary

On November 30, 1433 a small church run by the Gray Penitents of the Franciscan Order was exposing a consecrated Host for Perpetual Adoration. After days of rain the rivers swelled, and surprisingly, Avignon was submerged. By boat, two friars of the Order succeeded in reaching the church where the Holy Sacrament had been left for adoration. When they entered the church, they saw that the waters were divided to the right and to the left, leaving the altar and the Sacrament perfectly dry. he Eucharistic miracle of Avignon occured in the Church of the Holy Cross, home of the Gray Penitents of the Franciscan Order, whose founding goes back to the times of pious King Louis VIII.At the time of this miracle, Avignon was considered the center of Christendom, and the city’s “Palais des Papes” was home to a series of seven popes.

After several days of heavy rain, the Sorgue and Rhône Rivers rose steadily and reached a dangerous height. Finally, on November 30, 1433, Avignon, was flooded. The friars were certain that their little church, which stood along the Sorgue, had been destroyed by the raging waters. Fearing that the Blessed Sacrament, which was exposed for Perpetual Adoration, had been swept away, the head of the Order and another friar rowed to the church.

Getting there was difficult, but when they finally arrived they found a miracle. Although water around the church was four feet high, a pathway from the entrance of the church to the altar was perfectly dry. The Sacred Host was unscathed. The pathway from the entrance to the altar called to mind the parting of the Red Sea in the time of Moses, for all along the sides of the church, water steadily rose, but the pathway remained completely dry.

Amazed by what they were seeing, the friars had others from their Order come to the church to verify the miracle. The news spread rapidly, and many people, including those in authority, came to the Church, singing songs of praise and of thanks to the Lord. Several hundred people witnessed this miracle.

Later on, the Gray Penitents determined that the anniversary of the miracle would be celebrated in the church every year on the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle. Even today, every November 30th, the brothers reunite at the Chapelle des Pénitents Gris to celebrate the memory of the miracle. Before the blessing of the Holy Sacrament, the brothers perform a sacred chant taken from the Canticle of Moses, which was composed after the parting of the Red Sea: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant… At a breath of your anger the waters piled up, the flowing waters stood like a mound, the flood waters congealed in the midst of the sea… In your mercy you led the people you redeemed; in your strength you guided them to your holy dwelling.” (Exodus 15, 1-18).

Cardinal Raymond Burke

Our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II called us repeatedly to take up the work of the New Evangelization, that is, to bring Christ to a totally secularized world by teaching, celebrating and living our Catholic faith as if for the first time. He constantly directed us to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the saints, also of our own time, as examples of the holiness of life, to which the New Evangelization calls us for the salvation of our souls and the transformation of our world, and as friends and intercessors in meeting the many challenges of leading a holy life. He urged us to be one with our Blessed Mother and the whole communion of saints in looking upon the Face of Christ, in hearing His invitation to put out into the deep (Lk 5:4), and in putting aside our doubts and fears in order to bring Him to the world.

The last three major documents of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate form a unity in presenting to us the program of the New Evangelization and in urging us to embrace it with the enthusiasm and energy of the first disciples and the first missionaries to our continent and nation. They are the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, “At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000” (January 6, 2001); the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, “On the Most Holy Rosary” (October 16, 2002); and the Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church” (April 17, 2003 – Holy Thursday).

The goal of the New Evangelization is, as Pope John Paul II explains in the Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “to rekindle” our loving wonder before the Holy Eucharist, the great Mystery of Faith. Let us read again his words to us:

I would like to rekindle this Eucharistic “amazement” by the present Encyclical Letter, in continuity with the Jubilee heritage which I have left to the Church in the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte and its Marian crowning, Rosarium Virginis Mariae. To contemplate the Face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “program” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the Third Millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the New Evangelization. To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize Him wherever He manifests Himself, in His many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of His Body and His Blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by Him she is fed and by him she is enlightened (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 6).

The Holy Eucharist is the source at which Christ’s life is nourished within us with the incomparable food which is His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The Holy Eucharist is the highest expression of our life in Christ, for it unites us sacramentally to Christ in the Sacrifice of the Cross, which is made always new in the celebration of the Holy Mass.

In the last years of his pontificate, our late and beloved Pontiff directed his attention, above all else, to teaching us about the Holy Eucharist, and to restoring the discipline by which the Holy Mass is celebrated, and the Holy Eucharist is reposed in the tabernacle and worshiped outside of the Holy Mass. In the final year of his service as Vicar of Christ, he called us to observe the Year of the Eucharist (October 2004 to October 2005). The Year of the Eucharist began with the International Eucharistic Congress, held at Guadalajara in Mexico, and concluded with the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod Bishops, “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and the Mission of the Church,” at which Pope John Paul II’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, presided.

As we carry forward the work of the New Evangelization, the Eucharistic Mystery is the source of our direction and strength. At the same time, the deeper knowledge and love of the Holy Eucharist, born of our loving wonder and “amazement” at the mystery of God’s love for us in His Son, Jesus Christ, is our goal. To assist us in reawakening and deepening our love of the Holy Eucharist, The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association, an apostolate founded by the late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., tireless apostle and catechist of the Eucharist, has worked with the Pontifical Academy Cultorum Martyrum (founded to promote and deepen the veneration of the Holy Martyrs), to present, in English, the story of 126 miracles associated with faith in and worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Each of the miracles is venerated at a shrine, all of which have been approved by the Diocesan Bishop and some of which have the approval of the Holy See. Cooperating with the Pontifical Academy, the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association has made available in English the Vatican International Exhibit, The Eucharistic Miracles of the World.

The miracles presented in the Vatican International Exhibit, like all miracles, are gifts from God “to witness to some truth or to testify to someone’s sanctity” (Father John A. Hardon, S.J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 352). It should not surprise us that God has granted so many miracles to deepen our knowledge and love of His greatest gift to us, the gift of the Body and Blood of His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Heavenly Food of our earthly pilgrimage and the Medicine of eternal life.

The Eucharistic Miracles of the World provides a wonderful service to the work of the New Evangelization. The popular devotion associated with each miracle is a most worthy vehicle of the New Evangelization. As Pope Paul VI taught us, in his Magna Carta on the New Evangelization, the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, “On Evangelization in the Modern World” (December 8, 1975), popular piety, “if it is well oriented, above all by a pedagogy of evangelization,” offers a great good to the life of the Church. Describing the fruits of popular piety, Pope Paul VI observed:

It manifests a thirst for God which only the simple and poor can know. It makes people capable of generosity and sacrifice even to the point of heroism, when it is a question of manifesting belief. It involves an acute awareness of profound attributes of God: fatherhood, providence, loving and constant presence. It engenders interior attitudes rarely observed to the same degree elsewhere: patience, the sense of the Cross in daily life, detachment, openness to others, devotion (Evangelii nuntiandi, n. 48d).

The piety and devotion surrounding the Eucharistic miracles down the Christian centuries has borne its richest fruit in the total love of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and in the readiness to give one’s life for love of our Eucharistic Lord. The devout study of the Eucharistic miracles inspires in us a deeper awareness and more ardent love of our Lord’s Real Presence with us in the Holy Eucharist.

With the publication of The Eucharistic Miracles of the World, the remarkable Vatican International Exhibit of the same title can be brought into the homes of the faithful, into parishes and schools, and into the hands of all who desire to come to know or to ponder anew the Mystery of Faith, which is inexhaustible in its richness for our life and salvation. It is my hope that the study of The Eucharistic Miracles of the World will inspire in every reader a greater holiness of life, a life patterned on and nourished by the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ. In a particular way, it is my hope that it will lead all to a deeper appreciation of the call which our Lord gives to each of us, the call to “put out into the deep,” especially by embracing our vocation in life with an undivided heart. For children and young people, may it lead them to reflect upon God’s call in their lives and especially to ask God whether He may be calling them to the ordained priesthood or to the consecrated life.

What can bring us greater joy and peace than to draw near to our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. May both the Vatican International Exhibit, The Eucharistic Miracles of the World, and the book which memorializes it be worthy and effective instruments of the New Evangelization. May they lead us to Christ in the Holy Eucharist, so that, one with Christ, we can bring Him to our world.

Adoremus in aeternum Sanctissimum Sacramentum.

The Most Reverend Raymond Leo Burke

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