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The Guardian Angel: Eucharistic Miracles

And as they were eating,

He took bread, and blessed, and broke it,

and gave it to them, and said,

'Take; this is my body.'

Mark 14:22)

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks

he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

And he said to them,

'This is my blood of the covenant,

which is poured out for many.'

(Mark 14:23-24)

The simplest way to express what Christ asks us to believe about the Real Presence is that the Eucharist is really He. The Real Presence is the real Jesus. We are to believe that the Eucharist began in the womb of the Virgin Mary; that the flesh which the Son of God received from His Mother at the Incarnation is the same flesh into which He changed bread at the Last Supper; that the blood He received from His Mother is the same blood into which He changed wine at the Last Supper. Had she not given Him His flesh and blood there could not be a Eucharist.

We are to believe that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ - simply, without qualification. It is God become man in the fullness of His divine nature, in the fullness of His human nature, in the fullness of His body and soul, in the fullness of everything that makes Jesus Jesus. He is in the Eucharist with His human mind and will united with the Divinity, with His hands and feet, His face and features, with His eyes and lips and ears and nostrils, with His affections and emotions and, with emphasis, with His living, pulsating, physical Sacred Heart. That is what our Catholic Faith demands of us that we believe. If we believe this, we are Catholic. If we do not, we are not, no matter what people may think we are.

Father John A. Hardon

The Real Presence and Perpetual Adoration Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Errors regarding the Real Presence crept into the Church starting in Europe about 30 years ago. By now it has had a devastating effect all over the world. The work of the Evil Spirit has been phenomenally successful during this period. Re-conversion by natural means is not just inadequate, but absolutely impossible. The more convinced we are that human beings cannot solve the problem, the more we will wake up to the truth that God became man to help us cope with, and like St. Michael the Archangel, conquer this evil. What do we mean by that? Let's hear it from a mind that is confirmed in the truth, Fr. Hardon. Suppose we start with a prayer. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Seat of Wisdom, pray for us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our conference this evening is on the Real Presence and perpetual adoration. Although I have said this before, I wish to emphasize that what I have been doing in these teleconferences, and surely in today's, is carrying out an explicit order of Pope John Paul II. The order is to do everything in my power to restore faith in the Real Presence where it has been lost. Strengthen that faith where it is weak. In the plainest language, Pope John Paul II declares, I repeat, unless faith in the Real Presence is strong, stronger than it is now, I fear for the survival of the Catholic Church in many dioceses in the United States.

We ask ourselves why. Why has there been such massive weakening and loss of faith in the Real Presence? The reason is because errors have crept into Catholic circles, originally in Germany, Holland, and France. But by now these errors have penetrated into the whole certainly Western world. Many who call themselves Catholics openly disclaim that Jesus Christ, the son of God who became the Son of Mary, is physically, corporally present in the Blessed Sacrament. Without identifying a widely circulating Catholic magazine in our country, I never dreamed that a manuscript on the Blessed Sacrament that I submitted would be drastically changed. The Diocesan censor officially removed every place in the manuscript where I identified Christ's presence as real, corporal, physical, bodily. After some fifteen years of writing for this, otherwise good Catholic periodical, I sadly had to tell the editor I will never again submit a manuscript for publication in your magazine until that Diocesan censor is changed and the new one allows me to express my Catholic faith without reservation.

Notice our subject for this evening's conference is the Real Presence and Perpetual Adoration. Even 30 years ago I don't believe it would have been necessary to address ourselves to this topic. As long as people believed in the Real Presence there was Perpetual Adoration. But what a difference, what a mountain of difference between believing in the Real Presence and having men seduced by one after another of shrewd, very shrewd Eucharistic heresies. For generations in our own country there were holy hours and forty hours. There were flourishing religious institutes whose members vowed themselves to worship our Lord in the Holy Eucharist during the day, and not a few, even throughout the night. Every Catholic Church was considered the home of Jesus Christ. Tabernacles were at the center of every Catholic Church. From childhood, Catholic parents taught their offspring to genuflect before Jesus, really present in the Holy Eucharist. Bells were rung announcing the Mass. Bells were rung during the Mass. Processions of the Blessed Sacrament, was an all but universal practice. No one except a priest ever gave Holy Communion or carried with him the Blessed Sacrament. So the litany could go on illustrating the assumed faith of loyal Catholics in the Real Presence of Jesus, present on earth the same identical Jesus who Mary conceived at Nazareth at the Annunciation. That's the prelude.

Now the warning of Pope Paul VI, there are two documents of Pope Paul VI's that by any calculation are historic. I dare say 100 years from now, 300 years from now, those two documents will be recognized as historic in the doctrinal history of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1965 Pope Paul VI published the document Mysterium Fidei, which in a literal translation reads, The Mystery of Faith. Three years later the same Roman pontiff issued Humanae Vitae. We'll say more in future conferences on the close relationship between faith in the Real Presence and the practice of Christian chastity as I've just said. In 1965, before the Second Vatican Council closed, Pope Paul VI did what I honestly believe was absolutely unique. On his own Papal authority, he issued the document we've just identified the Mystery of Faith. It was all on the Real Presence. Pope Paul expressed, and how prophetic this was, the fear that the document on the liturgy, the first of the sixteen documents issued by Vatican II, would not only be useless but would be positively harmful to the Catholic Church unless professed Catholics believe in and understand the meaning of the Real Presence. He could not have been more prophetic. In the last 30 years one professional theologian after another, as I've said, beginning first in Europe, and now penetrating our own continent, the United States and Canada. Theologians have now reinterpreted what has been for 2000 years the Church's unchangeable doctrine on the Real Presence. The Real Presence is being reduced to mere symbolism. These theologians, how well I know, I have lived with too many of them not to know what I'm talking about. They might continue using the words Real Presence, but they have drastically changed the meaning of these words. At root has been the claim that nothing really happened on Holy Thursday night when Jesus took bread and pronounced the words, "This is my body." Took the Chalice, not cup, not cup! The Latin word is Calix. Chalice. The Latin word for cup is poculum. No poculum in the Church's official teaching. As a consequence we know priest who pronounce these same words of Jesus, nothing really happens. Bread remains bread and wine remains wine. They will tell you often in thick books and sadly with big shining Imprimaturs, they will tell you what we call the Eucharist inspires our faith in Christ's love for us. Thanks, but I can be inspired by Christ's love by a beautiful picture or a crucifix. Or again, same word, Eucharist, an almost universally lowercased Eucharist, reminds us, so we are told of Christ's generous love for us by dying on Calvary for our redemption. Eucharist, and this is in book after book, and not a few of these are textbooks used in seminaries. The Eucharist we are told is a symbol of our union with one another, but it is emphatically not a reception of the Living Christ, of his Body and Blood, of his Soul and Divinity being received by us in Holy Communion thought this introduction was necessary, why? Because much more is at stake, I assure you, than meets the eye. Let us be clear, Adoration of the Real Presence is not in competition with the sacrifice of the Mass, or with Holy Communion. On the contrary, Adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a profession of faith in what the Blessed Sacrament really is, or rather, who is the Blessed Sacrament. It is Jesus Christ. As Pope Paul VI makes so clear, without faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, there could be no sacrifice of the Mass. There can be no Holy Communion, there can be no priesthood, and there can be no Catholic Church. This is one reason for the widespread removal of even the words Mass or even more so the sacrifice of the Mass, to combine Eucharist and Sacrifice. These words almost 2000 years in use in the Catholic Church have been removed from the Catholic vocabulary of millions in so-called developed countries like our own.

Thus, it is the explicit teaching of the Catholic Church that a person except in the state of grace may not receive Holy Communion. But, what's the story in our country, to name just one nation? As the present Holy Father on his first pilgrimage to the United States, speaking to the combined American hierarchy, in Chicago, he pleaded with them in the name of God, have your people receive the Sacrament of Penance. I'm told that on a Sunday just about everybody goes to Holy Communion, but during the week almost nobody has gone to Confession. To receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin is a sin of blasphemy. All of this is a precondition to what? Again, Pope Paul VI was most deeply concerned about…He saw the faith in Christ's Real Presence being weakened by widespread erroneous ideas under the guise of "the new liturgy." It is in this context that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament becomes so indispensably not just important, but imperative in the Catholic Church today. Those who adore our Lord in the Holy Eucharist believe he is really present on earth.

And this, this, this, is the mystery of faith, which as long as people have this faith, they are still Catholic. What is it? That Jesus Christ is on earth. Notice and notice carefully, the issue at stake is not liturgical preciseness. It is the survival of the whole Catholic faith. It all depends, what a statement… The whole gamut of the Catholic faith depends on faith in Christ's Real Presence. Is Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, or is he not? If he is, but notice, if he is, then we have the Mass and we have Holy Communion. Only then as Paul VI tells us, only then do we have the Eucharistic liturgy. Without faith in the Real Presence, the liturgy is a minstrel show. Dare I use the words, it is a comic opera.

We continue our next subsection. Motivation for promoting Eucharistic Adoration. What I'm doing is as I told you at the beginning of this conference, is sharing with you the explicit orders of the present Vicar of Christ. But, I'm hoping and praying that what I share with you, you in turn will share with others. Back to our subtitle: Motivation for promoting Eucharistic Adoration. Here we ask ourselves, how do we convince people that Eucharistic Adoration is, to say the least, desirable? It is far more than desirable. It is necessary. In order to place this conference into context, we need to look honestly at the world situation in our day, and ask, how can the global problems of the modern world be resolved or even coped with? Then, we will join with St. Peter and answer. Remember in the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, where Christ predicted that he would give his own flesh to eat and blood to drink, and many of Christ's own disciples walked away. This is too much, they said to themselves. As many of Christ's disciples were walking away, Jesus turned to his Apostles. What about you? Do you want to walk away also? Then Peter spoke, "Thanks Lord, but if we walk away from you, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." The whole sixth chapter of John's Gospel is on faith, all on faith, a long chapter. Because Christ was predicting the most demanding mystery of our Catholic faith, namely faith in His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Now we get closer to why we're having this conference. Our next subtitle is the world situation in modern times. As an objective viewer looks at the modern world, what does he see? And this is especially in nations like our own. Speaking at the end of a special synod, again Pope Paul VI told the assembled bishops that the world today is in a large measure a Godless and Christless world. Said the Holy Father, "In many parts particularly among the young the Christian faith is almost unknown." Why, because of the widespread dissemination of atheism. Why because the process of secularization has gone so far that evangelization has to be begun all over again in nations that were once professedly Christian and even Catholic. But, "even where the presence of the Church has previously been very strong, only a small number take an active and full part in the life of the Church." Pope Saint John Paul II., December 1991.We don't begin to begin to understand how desperately faith in the Real Presence must be restored unless and until we realize how widely and deeply one once Christian nation after another has become de-Christianized. What are just some symptoms of this widespread de-Christianization? The almost universal legalization of the murder of the unborn, and not just of the unborn, but now as we know in our country, of those being born. I never thought I'd live as a member of the Society of Jesus, to read of one of my own colleagues publicly at length defend what is being called partial birth abortion, but is shameless infanticide. What are some of the symptoms of the secularization of our culture? The breakdown of family life to the point where in some countries divorce is automatic on the request of either one of the married partners. How do we know that one country after another is becoming paganized? In the all but universal practice of contraception as an accepted way of avoiding the responsibilities of child rearing and, especially, in affluent nations like our own. In the growing practice of murdering the aged and those who are suffering physical pain. All of this and much more gives us some idea of how widespread has been the secularization of the modern world. All of this surprisingly, was still a prelude to my principle message.

First another subtitle: The inadequacy of natural solution. There is no way, no way, that secularized nations like our own can be re-Christianized by merely natural means, and the reason is obvious. Because the work of the evil spirit has been so phenomenally successful. We are dealing, as St. Paul tells us, with powers beyond those of human nature. But we'd better see clearly what's going on and be convinced that natural means cannot, and the verb is cannot, I don't say convert, countries like ours back to Christ. But for even any significant change in our legal structure, natural means are absolutely inadequate. Hence the following statement. The more convinced are we that no natural earthly or human means can solve the problem the more we will wake up to the means that God became man precisely to provide us to cope with the world. The answer that St. Paul gave the at the Roman in the first Century, I'm quoting St. Paul, "Where sin abounds, the grace has even more abounded." St. Paul knew providing of course, first Century A.D., he knew the chaotic condition of the world of his day. Only with the coming of Christ could the chaos of the ancient pagan world even be lived with or survived in, not to say resolved. It is not only a question of converting the pagan world, but even remaining alive in the pagan world.

That is why one audience after another, I keep telling people there have been more martyrs for Christ since 1900 than all the 19 centuries before, put together, including I'm so happy to say that not a few of my own blood relations behind the iron curtain, and my two-week and two-day stay in Calcutta last month and the beginning of this month, a country controlled by what I consider the most intellectual culture in the world of India where the great Mahatma Ghandi made sure when India became freed from Great Britain that Christian missionaries from outside of India would be forbidden to evangelize in his nation.

If the Roman Empire of the First Century of the Christian era needed conversion, surely our own age needs to be converted. Faith tells us that in God's providence grace will even more abound. Remember our question, how do we motivate people to take themselves to Christ's presence on earth today. That's the underlying theme of today's conference. In other words, is worship of the Holy Eucharist, Adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, well, just another act of piety? Oh no, dear Lord! It is absolutely necessary for the restoration of our nation, dare I say to sanity. Remind people, as I am here reminding you and asking our Lord through you, to remind others.

Remind people that Jesus Christ transformed the ancient world, a world not only before Christ, but a world previously without Christ. The key word, of course, is Christ. It is he who transformed the ancient unbelieving world of the Roman Empire, an empire, as we know that was so ungodly, and by law, I never tire repeating, and by law, no woman could give birth to a child without immediately, the moment the child was born, bring that infant to the father and asking him, "Do you want this child to live or die," prescribed by Roman law.

Christ, it was he, who converted the pagan world of the Roman Empire, and it is only he, no one else but he, who can do the same in our day. That is why I like to quote the statement of our present Holy Father, given the massive evil of the Twentieth Century beyond human deception, despite this widespread godlessness, our Holy Father believes that the Twenty First Century will be the century of the great renaissance in Christian history. But on one condition, hear it and please do not forget, on one condition, that we have faith in his Real Presence on earth. The Holy Father keeps repeating and shall I say, he adds, the obvious proviso, there will be a marvelous renaissance since, and this is not my statement, but that of one modern Pope after another that the Twentieth Century is the most sin laden century in human history. No one but Jesus Christ can convert this godless world. However, we must have faith in Jesus Christ and not just Jesus Christ in the abstract or in Jesus Christ, who lived, past tense, on earth, back in the first century. NO. Faith in Jesus Christ alive on earth today with us, among us. In other words, and this is the present Pope, we Catholics are the hope of the world. That, by the way as I think I've mentioned in more than one conference, that was a name which the fathers of the Church gave to Christians in the first three centuries of Christianity, when to become a Christian meant to expect martyrdom. The phrase was coined, it is part of the history of the Catholic Church, we are the anima mundi; we are the soul of the world. The world without us who have the faith, the world without us is a cadaver. It's a dead corpse. In other words, this is now the Vicar of Christ telling us, you are the salt of the world. You are the one hope for the world coming back to life again. Needless to say, this hope must be founded on faith, and faith in Jesus Christ. The grace, and it has to be miraculous grace, the grace is available and Christ will do the miracles of conversion that must be performed on one condition. That we have the faith, faith in what? Faith in Jesus Christ. May I be more clear, faith in Jesus Christ on earth. To be still more clear, faith in Jesus Christ on earth in the Holy Eucharist. I'm now in my 50th year in the priesthood, you don't teach theology to my own Jesuits for a quarter century without learning a great deal. Faith in Christ's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament is indispensable for the conversion of the modern world.

We go on. Christ the miracle worker on earth, we are liable to overlook or minimize the signs and wonders that Christ performed during his visible stay on earth. He calmed the storm at sea. He cured the lame and the blind. He raised the dead back to life, but and this is my principal message, Christ wants to continue working miracles. The wonders he performed during his visible stay on earth are only a prelude to the kind of miracles here, more miracles of conversion, that he is ready, eager, and dare I say anxious to perform in our day. But, we must exercise our faith, faith in Jesus Christ present on earth today. We who believe in Christ's abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist are to become apostles of the Real Presence to our generation. And that my friends is not piousity. How brainwashed millions of Catholics have become. To work miracles is available in our day on one condition. That we come to him in the Eucharist and confidently beg him to give us, us as individuals, us as families, us as a nation, the graces that we so desperately need. Where Eucharistic Adoration is practiced and promoted, the results are phenomenal. I know this from Bishop friends of mine, phenomenal. But, we must believe. Lord Jesus, our world today desperately needs to recover and rediscover the faith that millions have lost. Help us, dear Jesus, to become apostles of faith in your Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament so that the most sin-laden century in human history may be the vigil for the most glorious century in Christianity. We believe, Lord Jesus, we believe, help our unbelief. Amen. Suppose we close with a Hail Mary. Mother of the Holy Eucharist, Pray for us. Perpetual Adoration, True Peace in the World Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. We begin by making a simple statement. The true peace about which we are speaking is peace of heart. There is no need to explain why we should talk about peace of heart. If there is any single recommendation, and even mandate, that His followers received from Christ, it was to be at peace.

Before the birth of Christ, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit to prophesy the Benedictus, which he concluded with the promise to us that “the rising Sun will visit us, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” When Christ was born at Bethlehem, the angels sang the first Gloria in excelsis with the promise again of “peace to men of good will.”

During His public life, when Christ forgave sinners and healed the sick., He told them to go in peace. Before His passion, when the Savior wept over Jerusalem, He was overcome with sorrow because its inhabitants did not heed “the things that are to your peace.” And at the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples (and through them He was telling us what we are so prone to forget):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.” “Peace I bequeath to you, my peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

Then, on the evening of His resurrection from the dead, Christ’s first word to the frightened apostles was the command, “Peace be with you,” which He repeated: “Peace be with you.”

True to the spirit of the Master, the apostles, especially St. Paul, never tired of telling the faithful to be at peace. And finally, in the opening verse of the last book of the Bible, John pronounces the invocation, “Grace and peace to you from Him who is, who was, and who is to come,” that is, from Jesus Christ.

So the theme goes on, and so the Church in her liturgy keeps praying to the Lord to give us peace. And so the heart of man keeps hungering and searching for that peace which Christ promised to those who serve Him. Now we ask: If peace of soul is such a precious commodity, is it inevitable for those who believe in God, or do we have to strive to achieve it?

There seems to be no need to say what everyone knows only too well. Peace is not automatic even with the possession of faith or, for that matter, with the possession of considerable virtue. Peace must be achieved to be acquired. It is the fruit of grace, no doubt, but also and very much the result of our cooperation with the grace we receive. Kinds of Peace Before we look more closely at the kind of peace we are mainly concerned with, it may be useful to place it in context by seeing what different kinds of peace there are.

There are, in general, two kinds of peace that, for want of better terms, we call external and internal. External peace is outside of us and has to do with harmony between people. Thus when two or more nations cooperate with one another and are not at war, we say they are at peace. When different classes of people having different religions, or different languages and culture, or different races and colors work together without conflict, we say they are at peace. And when individuals, like husband and wife, or parents and children, or brothers and sisters, relative and neighbors, respect one another and get along together, again we say they are living in peace. Internal peace is different. Here the absence of conflict and the presence of tranquility are inside of us. Thus we are at peace with God when our hearts do not reproach us for being in sin or at odds with His known will in our regard. We are interiorly at peace with others when we hold no grudge against them, no ill feeling or enmity, and when they do not disturb us. We are finally at peace with ourselves when the two parts of our being, the higher and the lower, are in harmony; when our desires do not exceed our needs; when our passions are responsive to reason and our freedom is in control; when our conduct agrees with our conscience and our conscience is totally subject to God.

Among these different kinds of peace, it is clear that some are more primary then others and that there is, as it were, a hierarchy of importance in the peace that we possess and correspondingly there is a scale of priorities to cultivate if we wish to not only hear or read about peace, but be at peace as God and His Church want us to be. External peace is the effect of internal peace. Without the one, the other is impossible. There cannot be agreement between people unless there is first tranquility within people. We project what we are, and we produce only what we personally have. If we are at peace within, we shall be at peace with others; no more and no less. Hence the first conclusion we may draw from our reflections so far; Be at peace inside your own heart; otherwise, you will never be truly at peace with others or, what is less obvious, they cannot be with you. Peaceful people are peaceable people. People who are in conflict in their own hearts are in conflict with others, no matter how well they may try to disguise the fact, or how negatively quiet their interpersonal relations may seem to be. After all, peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Otherwise two pieces of stone would be at peace, whereas they are only two lumps of inert matter that happen to be near each other. True peace is eminently positive; it is an active harmony between two or more people who work together in the spirit of Christian charity.

Internal peace, then, is the cause of all external peace among nations as within families or communities, whether secular or religious. It is also the unique source of peace within the Catholic Church. So much so that we can say without fear of contradiction that the main cause of unrest in the Church today is the conflict within the hearts and minds of those who form the Church. Their internal unrest is the seed of the conflict that is now rocking the Mystical Body of Christ to its foundations. The Way to Interior Peace Having said all of this, we still have to consider that most important area. If interior peace within us is the cause and/or condition of external peace between us, how do we achieve internal peace of soul? I doubt if any subject of the spiritual life has been written on more often. Yet, the answer is not complicated, although putting it into practice may not be easy. Let me capsulize what I am going to say in a series of principles, which I will first state and then, in each case, briefly explain.

1. Our fallen human nature means that we have unruly passions. This may sound like a platitude, but it is not. The root of our inner conflicts and the battleground which we must cross to attain peace is our fallen human nature with its disorderly passions and drives.

No one, except as faith tells us for certain Christ and His mother, is exempt from this form of military service, that is, of struggling with our passionate urges that are consequences of original sin. You name the urge and we have it. Not everyone has all of them in the same degree, or to express it another way, not all of them are equally strong. Moreover, some of them may be dormant for years, and then suddenly spring up like a wild beast to try to destroy us.

With some people, the besetting passion is pride, they feel superior to other people and unwilling to admit to anyone, including themselves, that they are wrong. With some people, the dominant passion is lust; they are constantly or frequently or easily aroused to indulge their sex impulses contrary to their state of life. With some people, the strongest passion is envy; they instinctively feel sad when they see or hear of someone having what they lack or succeeding where they have only failed.

And so we could go down the litany of our maddening impulses in order to identify our own predominant ones. But there is no need. It is enough for the present to remind ourselves that we begin to acquire peace of soul once we realize that this peace is the result of victory over ourselves, which means over that part of us which is not sinful but is the result of sin and may lead to sin. With God’s grace, we must battle against the forces of disintegration that are the common lot of a fallen human race. 2. Our effort to master these passions is a large part of our labor of sanctification. Too often, I am afraid, we picture the process of sanctification in romantic colors, whereas its bedrock foundation is self-mastery. This is all the more important to stress in our day when the world around us seems to have lost all sense of self-control; when self-expression is the watchword and self-denial is ignored, if not ridiculed to scorn. I have read perhaps a hundred books and articles directed to the religious education of children, all nominally published under Catholic auspices. In only a small fraction, and they are not those commonly accepted by the religious establishment, did I find more than a token awareness of the fact that the child has a fallen human nature and that essential to its growth in Christian maturity is the effort required to overcome these sinful impulses. For us adults the same principle of the spiritual life is true. Certainly we are to love God and our neighbor, but we shall do so only as effectively as we have struggled, and won, in our contest with the selfish desires that are deep, deep down in our inner ego.

3. Part of this effort is the use of our minds to anticipate, to plan, and to carry out in practice what we have with His grace decided to do for God. What am I saying? I affirm that the mastery of our passions is possible only if we use our minds. This is perfectly described by our Lord in the Sermon on the mount in a little-known allegory. Here is what He said: “The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, what darkness that will be!” (Mt.6:23-24)

What Christ is saying is that just as the lamp of our body is the eye, without which we could not see where to go, so the lamp of the soul is our mind, without which our passions will take over. How do we use our minds to obtain that self-mastery which is the precondition of internal peace? We do so by watching our thoughts to make sure they are those that bring us peace.

Let me take this in stages, since in practice it is so important for achieving peace of soul. -First of all I look back. With my mind’s eye I look back over the recent past, the last hour, or last half-hour or day. I ask myself: what have I done which, as I now reflect in my past action, brings me peace of mind in the presence of God? I make a mental note of this action and decide it was a good action that should be repeated. Or as I reflect, I am disturbed in God’s presence and decide there was something wrong about what I have done, so I decide to avoid this in the future.

-Then I look in, again with my mind’s eye. I scan my present state of soul. Is it at peace in God’s presence? If it is, fine. If it is not, I know something is wrong, because God wants me to be at peace. It cannot be that He is not giving me the grace. It must be that I am not sufficiently cooperating with the grace offered me. So I ask Him to let me know where I am wrong. He will tell me, provided I am ready to listen to His words.

-Finally and most critically, I look ahead. I anticipate what I am going to do and watch what happens to me while I quickly preview my plans. Those which evoke peace in my soul I trust are approved by God; those which cause me disturbance or worry, I postpone to further reflection, and if the anxiety persists, I conclude that what produced the worry by anticipation must not be according to the will of God. How do I know? Because if I am sincerely trying to do His will, I am sure He would not discourage me in advance. Where peace prevails, I am confident that is the direction God wants me to go – and I go! Peace of Heart from the Eucharist The most powerful means of obtaining peace of heart is from Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. What are we saying? We are saying that in order to obtain that self-mastery which is the precondition of internal peace, we need nothing less than God’s miraculous grace.

Today’s world is so filled with confusion that nothing less than supernatural grace can provide us with the peace of mind without which there can be no peace of heart. Where do we go; to whom do we turn; whom do we ask to give us that peace of mind which is so tragically wanting in the modern world? Who alone can give us that serenity of spirit which is another name for peace of soul? Who, but Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace. We do not normally think of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament as food for the mind and the will but we should. To be at peace, what we first need is to know the truth; what we next need is to do the will of God. On both counts, Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is our principal source. Christ could not have been plainer than when he told us to eat His Body and drink His Blood. What we may overlook however, is that the spiritual nourishment from the Eucharist does not end with Holy Communion. There is also a nourishment that takes place in what we casually call “spiritual communion.” How cheap the phrase sounds. But it is neither casual nor cheap. It is deeply meaningful.

As we pray before the Blessed Sacrament our souls are fed by the Person of the Savior in the two faculties of spirit that need to be constantly fed. They are the mind and the will. In the mind we need light; in the will we need strength. Both needs are met in an extraordinary way through prayer before the Holy Eucharist.

We might ask, why not? Is it not the same Christ who taught the multitude, who gave the sermon on the mount and who took time, and a lot of time, to tell His disciples and to further share with them the secrets that until then had been hidden from the minds of men? It is Jesus and He is here. We would not expect His lips to be sealed. He has a message to give and we have a lot to learn. Did He not say He was the Truth and the Way – the Truth who knows what we should know and the Way who knows how we should serve almighty God? It is this Truth and Way become Incarnate who is with us and near and available to us. All we need to do is to believe sufficiently, to come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament and ask very simply, “Lord, teach me. I am dumb.” And that is no exaggeration! “Your servant is listening and ready to learn.”

In the will we need strength to supply for the notorious weakness that by now we know how really stupid and weak we are. What a precious secret! But again, is it not the same Christ who encouraged the disciples, who braced up the faltering Peter and promised to be with us all days? That promise is to be taken literally. He is here. Jesus is here telling us today, “Peace I bequeath to you. My own peace I give you.” Thanks, Lord I sure need it! “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” How well you know, Lord, I am scared. “Have courage; I have overcome the world.” No less than then, so now Christ is not merely encouraging us in words, which we appreciate, but strengthening us with grace. His words, being those of God, are grace. And the words and the grace are once more accessible to all who come to Him as He foretold, “Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened and I will give you strength.” Jesus, that is me. But we must come to Him, the Emmanuel, in the Eucharist to tell Him what we need. If we do and as often as we do He will do the rest. Eucharistic Miracle

Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk's doubt about Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist. During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size. The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back. The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre. Various ecclesiastical investigation ("Recognitions") were conducted since 1574. In 1970-'71 and taken up again partly in 1981 there took place a scientific investigation by the most illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy. He was assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena. The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs. These analyses sustained the following conclusions:

  • The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.

  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.

  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.

  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.

  • The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure.

  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).

  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.

  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

  • The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

Fig. 1 - Eosine x 200. Overall histological aspect of a Flesh sample with fibers collected in bundles with longitudinal orientation as it occurs in the outer surface layers of the heart. Fig. 2 - Miracle Heart in Lanciano. Mallory x 250. An artery and, very close, a branch of the vagal nerve. Fig. 3 - Miracle Heart in Lanciano. Mallory x 400. Evidence of the "Rough" aspect of the endocardium; the syncytoid structure of the myocardial tissue Fig. 4 - Elution-absorption test x 80. Above: Hemagglutination test on blood sample in Lanciano: on the left, anti A serum used; on the right, anti-B serum. Below: hemoagglutination test on a Flesh sample in Lanciano: left, with anti-A serum, right,with anti-B serum. It appears thus that the Flesh and the Blood in Lanciano belong to AB blood group. Fig. 5 - Electro-phoretic pattern of Blood proteins (Cromoscan photometer). The profile of serum fractions is normal and superimposable to that of a fresh serum sample. In conclusion, it may be said that Science, when called upon to testify, has given a certain and thorough response as regards the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.


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