This was an article I wrote for this week’s newsletter.
REAL PRESENCE: The feast of Corpus Christi is an opportune time to reflect on the great gift of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist – his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. As Catholics we have a number of practices that help us to remember this great gift. When we pass a church, we make the sign of the Cross to ask Jesus’ blessing; when we come into church, we genuflect to Jesus in the tabernacle before we move into our seat and do the same as we leave. (If we can’t genuflect then we can bow – it’s the attitude of the heart that really matters.) When we do these actions we should make a conscious effort to acknowledge and speak to Jesus in our hearts. We keep a reverential silence at all times in the church and if it is necessary to say something, we keep it as short as possible and in the lowest possible voice. Jesus who is truly present should be our main focus while in church. We can help each other by waiting until we are outside to start a conversation. We point out to our children the significance of the red light on the sanctuary that indicates that Jesus is present in the tabernacle. With regard to our reception of Jesus in Holy Communion, we give him a big welcome – a Cead Mile Failte (a hundred thousand welcomes) – after we return to our seats. It goes without saying that if we are aware of a serious sin, we make a good confession before receiving. If we are passing a church with some time on our hands, it is a holy thing to drop in and visit Jesus. To talk to the HIDDEN JESUS (St Francesco of Fatima) and make our petitions directly to him is far more important than just lighting a candle and then leaving. Last but not least, we have the wonderful privilege of worshipping Jesus in a very direct way when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, like during our weekly holy hours. During such times we genuflect on both knees if we pass before the monstrance or leave our seats. If we can’t genuflect, then we bow.
EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES have happened down through the ages to affirm our belief in the Real Presence. Perhaps the most impressive of these was at Lanciano, Italy in the 8th century where the sacred host and contents of the chalice changed into flesh and blood after the Consecration. Modern forensic testing showed that it was living human flesh and blood that has remained intact without any sign of preservatives. To read about it in detail GOOGLE miracle of the eucharist lanciano.