Eucharistic Miracle of Rimini, 1227


Christ’s great love for us was shown when he was crucified on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and give us eternal life. He loves us without limit, and offers Himself to us in the Holy sacrament of the Eucharist. Can we not give Jesus a few minutes of love and adoration in return? We must return to that adoration and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, so that more Catholics will return to the reality that it is the King of Kings, Our Creator who we receive during Mass. To Jesus through Mary, GregoryMary

Eucharist, Worship and Custody by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The worship and custody of the Holy Eucharist, independently of Mass and Holy Communion, can be traced to post-apostolic times. St. Justin, writing in his Apology around the year 150, says that deacons were appointed to carry the Blessed Sacrament to those who were absent from the liturgy. The young St. Tarsisius was taken captive and put to death while carrying the consecrated Species on his person. St. Eudocia, martyred under Trajan, was first permitted to visit her oratory and remove a particle of the Host which she took with her to prison. What appears to be the first explicit reference to a tabernacle occurs in the Apostolic Constitutions, compiled towards the end of the fourth century, which provided that “deacons should take the remaining particles of the Sacred Species and place them in the tabernacle” (Lib. 8, cap. 13).

Implicit in these and similar provisions was the Church’s constant belief in the Real Eucharistic Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Thus, in the words of St. Augustine, “No one eats that flesh without first adoring it” (Ennarationes in Psalmos, 98:9). It was on this doctrinal basis that the cult of adoring the Eucharist was founded and gradually developed as something distinct from the Sacrifice of the Mass. At the Council of Trent, the Protestants were condemned for denying that the Eucharist is at once a sacrifice and a sacrament; that it differs from other sacraments in not only producing grace ex opere operato but containing in a permanent manner the Author of grace Himself. The Church’s prescription, therefore, on the proper care and worship of the reserved species stems from these dogmatic principles. Since 1918 the legislation has been embodied in the Code of Canon Law and, for our purpose, covers Canons 1265 to 1275 inclusive.

St. Anthony, Rimini 1227

This Eucharistic miracle was performed directly by Saint Anthony after he was challenged by a certain Bonovillo to demonstrate the truth of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The most ancient biography of Saint Anthony, L’Assidua (The Untiring), carries Bonovillo’s exact words: “Father! I tell you before all these people: I will believe in the Eucharist if my mule, after fasting for three days, adores the Host which you offer him rather than eating the fodder which I give him.” The mule, despite the fact that it was exhausted by hunger, knelt before the Host and refused its food.

In Rimini, it is still possible today to visit the church that was built in honor of the Eucharistic miracle performed by Saint Anthony of Padua in 1227. This episode is also cited in Begninitas, considered one of the most ancient sources regarding the life of Saint Anthony.

This saintly man was speaking with a faithless heretic who was opposed to the sacrament of the Eucharist and whom the saint had nearly led to the Catholic faith. But, after numerous arguments, this heretic declared: ‘If you, Anthony, produce a miracle and demonstrate to me that the Body of Christ is truly Communion, I will completely renounce my heresy and immediately convert to the Catholic faith. Why don’t we have a wager? I’ll keep one of my beasts locked up for three days to feel the torments of hunger. Then I will bring it forth in public and show it food. You will stand in front of it with what you maintain is the Body of Christ. If the beast, leaving aside its food, hurries to adore its God, I will share the faith of your Church.

Saint Anthony, illuminated and inspired from above, accepted the challenge. At the chosen day and hour, the priest and heretic entered the Grand Piazza (today the Three Martyrs Piazza). Saint Anthony was followed by Catholic faithful; Bonovillo (this was the name of the Catharist heretic) by his allies in unbelief.

The saint held between his hands the consecrated Host, contained in a monstrance; the heretic held his hungry mule. The saint, after having requested and obtained silence, turned to the mule with these words: “In virtue and in the name of your Creator, Who I, as unworthy as I am, hold in my hands, I tell and order you: Come forward immediately and render homage to the Lord with all due respect so that heretics and evildoers will understand that all creatures must humble themselves before their Creator whom priests hold in their hands at the altar.” And immediately the animal, refusing the food offered by its master, docilely approached the priest. It bent its front legs before the Host and paused there reverently.

Anthony’s adversary was true to his word, and threw himself at the saint’s feet denouncing publicly the errors of his ways. From that day, he became one of the most zealous cooperators of the miracle-working saint.

St. Catherine of Siena

Jesus appeared to St. Catherine of Siena to assure her that a great flame does not diminish, even if it is used to light many candles. Such is the flame of the Holy Eucharist, because it does not weaken while enflaming the loyal faithful who come with their strong or weak faith. The stronger and weaker charity of each of the faithful is symbolic only by the flame’s dimension of the candles.

Regarding the Eucharist, Jesus confided the following words to St. Catherine of Siena: “You receive all the divine essence of the sweetest Sacrament in the whiteness in the bread. Just like the sun cannot be divided in the whiteness of the Holy Host. Let us suppose that the Sacred Host could be divided: even if it would be possible to fragment the Holy Eucharist into thousands of tiny Particles, in each one of the tiny Particles there is the presence of Christ, the whole God and the whole Man. In the same manner that a mirror would shatter into thousands of pieces, the Sacred Host will not shatter or divide the image of God and Man that you see in the Host; the image of God and Man is in each fragmented part.

Contrary to fire, the image of the Host does not diminish in faith or divinity. Let us look at the following example: If you had one candle and the whole world would light its candle from that single candle, the light of the candle would not diminish and everybody would have a lighted candle. While it is true that those who participate in the candlelighting may have more or less flame, everyone would receive exactly the amount of fire to light their candle.

Until that time that it can be better, this example stands. “If there were a lot of people bringing candles of all sizes – one person with two candles and one with six candles and one with a candle weighing an ounce and one with a candle weighing a pound or more - then you could see all the lit candles by color. By color, by its light, by its heat, you would judge that the person that has a one-ounce candle has less light than the one with a pound candle. This is how it is for those receiving the Holy Sacrament. Man carries his own candle so that he can receive the sacrament; however, that candle is unlit, but it is ignited when he receives the Eucharist. As a matter of fact, as you are all alike, made and created in my image and likeness and as Christians you are anointed with Holy Baptism, you can, therefore, grow in virtue as much as you like through my divine grace. You are not changing your spiritual life that I bestowed upon you, but you can grow and increase in love of virtue, using your free will with virtue, with charitable affection, while you still have the time, because once time has elapsed, it will no longer be possible.”