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The Catholic Defender: The Eucharist, The Sacrament of love

St Thomas Aquinas: “The Eucharist is the sacrament of love: it signifies love, it produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.”

St Francis de Sales: “When the bee has gathered the dew of heaven and the earth’s sweetest nectar from the flowers, it turns it into honey, then hastens to its hive. In the same way, the priest, having taken from the altar the Son of God (who is as the dew from heaven, and true son of Mary, flower of our humanity), gives him to you as delicious food.

St John Chrysostom: “It is not the man who is responsible for the offerings as they become Christ’s Body and Blood; it is Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The standing figure belongs to the priest who speaks these words. The power and the grace belong to God. ‘This is My Body,’ he says. And these words transform the offerings.”

St Maximilian Kolbe: “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”

St John Vianney: “I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master.”

St Pio of Pietrelcina: “A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”

St Angela of Foligno: “If we paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.”

St Augustine: “What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ, and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction.”

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

This French saint, who increased devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, spent her life in Burgundy. A pious child, Margaret was bedridden from ages 9 to 15 with a rheumatic illness. She gradually understood a call to religious life, and already had a mature prayer life when she entered a Visitation convent near Lyon in 1671. Between 1673 and 1675, she received four visions of Christ’s heart in flames, burning with love for humanity, with instructions to promote a special feast and First Friday devotions. Margaret, aided by a Jesuit priest, overcame disbelief and jealousy within her own convent and saw the feast celebrated there and in other French Visitation convents in her lifetime. She was canonized in 1920.

When a woman laughed at the Eucharist, thinking it was only bread, St. Gregory prayed and the host turned to flesh.

The Catholic Church teaches that after the consecration takes place at Mass, the Eucharistic host substantially changes into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. This means that while the appearances of bread and wine remain, the substance is changed (through the power of God) completely to the body and blood of Christ.

It is a great mystery of the Church, but on occasion, God lifts the veil and allows even the appearances to change!

Such was the case in a story the Golden Legend told of St. Gregory the Great.

According to the story, St. Gregory was about to give communion to a woman who baked the bread used at Mass. The woman surprisingly started to laugh, because she thought it was ridiculous to think that the bread she made was the body of Jesus.

It happed that a widow brought hostsevery Sunday [for the priest] to [celebrate] Mass with … when Saint Gregory [was about to] give to her the holy sacrament in saying, [he said] May the body of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you into everlasting life … this woman began to laugh at Saint Gregory, and he withdrew his hand, and placed the sacrament upon the altar. And he asked her, before the people, why she laughed, and she said: Because that the bread that I have made with my proper hands, you call the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Gregory put himself to prayer with the people, for to pray to God that hereupon he would show his grace for to confirm our belief, and when they were risen from prayer, Saint Gregory saw the holy sacrament in figure of a piece of flesh as great as the little finger of an hand, and by the prayers of Saint Gregory, the flesh of the sacrament turned into appearance of bread as it had been before, and therewith he gave communion to the woman, which after was more religious, and the people more firm in the faith.

This story is similar to many other Eucharistic miracles, where the faith of a person, or even a priest, was failing, and they were given a sign of the Real Presence of Jesus in the host.

God allows miracle such as this to enliven the faith of all and to reinforce the reality that he truly is present in the host at Mass, body, blood, soul and divnity.


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