The Guardian Angel: Eucharistic Miracle Legnica Poland, Faustina & John Paul II
In St. Hyacinth’s church in Legnica, during Holy Mass, on December 25, 2013, a Host accidentally fell on the ground, during the distribution of Communion. It was immediately placed in a container with water and closed in the tabernacle as required by code of Canon Law. A few days later, a red spot appeared on Its surface. The Bishop of Legnica at the time, Stefan Cichy, decided to establish a commission for a scientific analysis. The results were surprising, and confirmed that It had similarities to “human heart muscle with alterations that often appear during the agony”.
In St. Hyacinth’s church in Legnica, during Holy Mass, on December 25, 2013, a Host accidentally fell on the ground, during the distribution of Communion. It was immediately placed in a container with water and closed in the tabernacle. St. Hyacinth’s priest, Father Andrzej Ziombra, said that on January 4th, along with other priests, he went to see if the consecrated Host had dissolved in the water after nearly two weeks: "Immediately we noticed that the Host had not dissolved, and that a red spot covering a fifth of Its surface appeared. We decided to inform the Bishop, who established a special theological scientific commission to analyze the event.
We noticed that over time the stain on the Host changed color from deep red to red brown (...). The sample was taken directly by the scientists on 26 January 2014. For the priests the miracle was evident. The commission checked if It was some fungus, mold or another external agent (...). The Wrocław Forensic Medicine Institute immediately excluded the presence of bacteria or fungi as a cause for the Host turning red.
A second histopathological analysis pointed out that some fragments seemed to belong to myocardial tissue. An additional opinion was sought using the same samples at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Szczecin without specifying where the samples came from. The Institute used a different analysis method. After the analysis, The Pomeranian Medical University’s Department of Histopathology in Szczecin announced that “tissue fragments containing fragmented parts of cross-striated muscle” was found in the histopathological image. This is similar to “human heart muscle with alterations that often appear during the agony.
We have not tested the blood found on the Host, we only know that human DNA was found.” The results of the analysis were presented to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which recognized the supernatural nature of the event. It is striking that the examination results were similar to those of the Lanciano Eucharistic Miracle of 700 A.D. and other Miracles that occurred recently such as Sokolka in 2008, in Poland, Tixtla in 2006 in Mexico, and Buenos Aires, in Argentina in 1996. On April 17, 2016, following the instructions received by the Holy See, Monsignor Zbigniew Kiernikowskiego, the new Bishop of Legnica, announced during Mass that the parish priest Fr Andrzej Ziombra should "prepare a suitable place for the exhibition of the precious relic, so that the faithful can express their adoration properly".
Doctor and cardiologist Professor Barbara Engel, who was one of the scientists involved in the scientific analysis, said during the press conference: "The material was analyzed using UV rays with an orange filter and the results were univocal. We have identified myocardial fibres, typical of myocardial tissue with alterations that often appear during the agony."
The fact that the Legnica miracle happened in a church dedicated to St. Hyacinth (1185-1257) is significant. St Hyacinth was a Dominican saint who was devoted to the Eucharist and who also experienced a Eucharist Miracle. When the fierce Mongolian troops had reached the outskirts of Kiev, St. Hyacinth took the ciborium containing the consecrated Hosts and was taking them to safety. He arrived at the back of the church and heard a voice coming from the Madonna statue near the altar calling him, "Hyacinth, Hyacinth. I see you're rescuing my Son, but you will not want to leave His mother in the hands of the desecrating barbarians?" He apologized saying it was impossible for him to lift such a heavy weight, but Our Lady replied: "If you had a little more faith and love for me, it would be easy for you to carry this burden." "I do not want anything but to love you and trust in you," said St. Hyacinth. Immediately the statue became as light as a feather and St. Hyacinth, accompanied by his fellow friars, miraculously crossed the wide river Dnieper and went unnoticed amid the Mongolian troops
The most recent practical link to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the devotional icon of the Lord’s Merciful love came from the Polish nun Saint Faustina Kowalska. Jesus appeared to her on February 22, 1931, with His right hand bestowing blessings and His left hand pointing towards His Sacred Heart, which emitted two rays: one pale; the other a bright red. These rays represent the Water and Blood that came out of Jesus’ pierced side while on the Cross. This symbolizes the purifying virtues of Baptism and Confession and the regenerative virtue of the Holy Eucharist.
Let’s report the words of Jesus to St. Faustina: “I desire that this image be venerated by the entire world. I promise that the souls of those who attribute veneration to this image will not perish. I even promise victory over their enemies, already here on earth, but especially at the hour of death. I will defend that soul in the name of glory.” Jesus, Himself explained the significance of this devotion: “My daughter, tell all that I am love and mercy personified. The wound in my Heart signifies the unlimited living waters of Mercy. Tell all the souls that I protect them with my shield of Mercy; it is for them that I fight, bearing the just umbrage of my Father […] My daughter! Tell suffering humanity to secure itself to the Mercy of my Heart and I will fill them with peace […]
Souls are perishing, regardless of my sorrowful Passion. I concede to them the last table of salvation, meaning my merciful feast […] this icon is a sign of the end days, after such, the day of judgment is upon you.” After showing His Infinite Mercy, the Lord also showed St. Faustina “hell”. “Today, under the guide of an angel, I went into the abyss of hell. It is a place of extreme torments in the entire, huge, terrifying surroundings. These are the various tortures and torments that I have seen: First torture: This consists of hell as being the loss of the Presence of God; Second: the continuous remorseful conscience; Third: the knowledge that such a destiny will never change; Fourth: This torture is a pain that penetrates the soul, but does not nullify it; it is a terrible torture and it is a purely spiritual, living fire lit only by God’s wrath. Fifth: This is the torture of eternal darkness, a horrible suffocating, putrid odor; even if it is dark, the demons and the condemned souls can see each other among themselves and see all the evil that others have done as well as their own evil. Sixth: This torture is the knowledge of having Satan as a constant companion. Seventh and last: This torture is the incomparable desperation of God’s wrath, in blasphemy, cursing and swearing.
The sinner should realize the same ways that he sins is the way he is going to suffer for all eternity. I am writing this by the Lord’s direction, so that no one can say that there is no hell, or that no one has ever been there or that no one knows how it is. I, Sister Faustina, under the Lord’s direction, have been in the abyss of hell, for the simple reason of being able to tell everyone and to witness that hell does exist. What I have written is only a weak shadow of what I have actually seen.”
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II. Building on the teaching of his predecessors, John Paul II has come to be known as the Pope of the Real Presence. In one document and address after another, he has repeated what needs repetition for the sake of emphasis: "The Eucharist, in the Mass and outside of the Mass, is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and is therefore deserving of the worship that is given to the living God, and to Him alone" (Opening address in Ireland, Phoenix Park, September 29, 1979). But the Pope has done more than merely repeat what had been said before. He placed the capstone on the Eucharistic teaching of the magisterium that we have been examining. He did so by explaining in the most unambiguous language that there is only one Sacrament of the Eucharist. Yet this one Sacrament confers grace in three different ways. Each manner of giving grace corresponds to the three forms in which the Eucharist has been instituted by Christ. It is at one and the same time a Sacrifice-Sacrament, a Communion-Sacrament, and a Presence-Sacrament (Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, March 4, 1979, IV, 20). The revealed foundation for this conclusion is the fact of Christ's abiding presence in the Eucharist. It is the "Redeemer of Man" who by His Passion and death on the Cross merited the grace of our salvation. But it is mainly through the Eucharist that the same Jesus Christ now channels this grace to a sinful human race. It is in this comprehensive sense that we can say, "the Church lives by the Eucharist, by the fullness of this Sacrament." This fullness, however, spans all three levels of its sacramental existence, where, by "sacrament" the Church means a sensible sign, instituted by Christ, through which invisible grace and inward sanctification are communicated to the soul. The Mass is the Sacrifice-Sacrament of the Eucharist. As the Council of Trent declared, the Sacrifice of the Mass is not only an offering of praise and thanksgiving. It is also a source of grace: "By this oblation, the Lord is appeased, He grants grace and the gift of repentance, and He pardons wrongdoings and sins," the blessings of Redemption which Christ won for us by His bloody death on Calvary are now "received in abundance through this unbloody oblation" (September 17, 1562). Holy Communion is the Communion-Sacrament of the Eucharist. As the same Council of Trent defined, Christ present in the Eucharist is not only spiritually eaten, but also really and sacramentally. We actually receive His Body and Blood, and we are truly nourished by His grace. It was Christ's will "That this Sacrament be received as the soul's spiritual food, to sustain and build up those who live with His life." It is also to be "a remedy to free us from our daily defects and to keep us from mortal sin" (October 11, 1551). The Real Presence is the Presence-Sacrament of the Eucharist. How? The Real Presence is a Sacrament in every way that the humanity of Christ is a channel of grace to those who believe that the Son of God became man for our salvation. Chapter VII GRACE THROUGH THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST The underlying theme of the Church's Eucharistic teaching is the fact of "Christ's consoling presence in the Blessed Sacrament. His Real Presence in the fullest sense; the substantial presence by which the whole and complete Christ, God and man, is present" (Pope John Paul II, September 29, 1979). Once this fact of faith is recognized, it is not difficult to see why prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is so efficacious. Indeed it explains why, without a second thought, Catholics have simply referred to the Real Presence as the Blessed Sacrament. It is a Sacrament, or better, it is the one Sacrament which not only confers grace but contains the very source of grace, namely Jesus Christ. As we read the Gospels, we are struck by the marvelous power that Christ's humanity had in effecting changes in the persons who came into contact with Him. Already in the womb of His mother, He sanctified the unborn John the Baptist the moment Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary. At Cana in Galilee, at His Mother's request, Jesus told the servants, "Fill the jars with water." When the steward tasted the water, it had turned into wine. Jesus spoke with human lips when He preached the Sermon on the Mount, when He taught the parables, when he forgave sinners, when he rebuked the Pharisees, when He foretold His Passion and told His followers to carry the cross. Jesus touched the blind with human hands, and healed the lepers by speaking with a human voice. On one occasion a sick woman touched the hem of His garment. "Immediately," relates St. Mark, "aware that power had gone out from Him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, 'who touched My clothes?"' The woman was instantly healed. Significantly, Jesus told her, "your faith has restored you to health." All through His public ministry, the humanity of Christ was the means by which He enlightened the minds of his listeners, restored their souls to divine friendship, cured their bodies of disability and disease, and assured them of God's lasting peace. That is what St. John meant when, in the prologue of his Gospel, he said, "though the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth come through Jesus Christ." Why? Because Christ is the only-begotten Son of God who became flesh, and not only lived but, in the Eucharist, continues to live among us . In order to draw on these resources of infinite wisdom and power, available in the Eucharist, we must believe. In the words of the Adoro Te, we can say: "I believe everything that the Son of God has said, and nothing can be truer than this word of the Truth. Only the Godhead was hidden on the cross, but here the humanity is hidden as well. Yet I believe and acknowledge them both." Those who can thus speak to Christ in the Eucharist will learn from experience what the Church means when she tells us that the Real Presence is a Sacrament. It is the same Savior Who assumed our human nature to die for us on Calvary and who now dispenses through that same humanity, now glorified, the blessings of salvation.