Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M.
The Church dedicates the entire month of July to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. And during this past month of June, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the U.S. Bishops kicked off a two year long Eucharistic Revival. So perhaps this is a good time to reflect upon the miraculous power of the Eucharist in our lives and to consider how we might better share the good news of this tremendous gift of the Church.
When he was just 11 years old, Blessed Carlo Acutis wrote, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of Heaven.”
Many now know the story of Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 at age 15 from leukemia, and many have seen or at least heard of the traveling exhibition dedicated to his study of Eucharistic miracles throughout history. Carlo documented over 136 Eucharistic miracles approved by the Church, and he built a website to share his findings with the world.
What an amazing project for a young man to undertake, and we know from the stories of his life that it was his faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist that strengthened Carlo to face the crucible of illness that beset him at such a young age. It is the power of this kind of life story that has inspired the U.S. Bishops to initiate their Eucharistic Revival within our nation because so many people today are in need of a way to grow closer to the peace of Christ.
One of the most famous Eucharistic miracles in history occurred in Lanciano, Italy, in the eighth century, when a Basilian monk with doubts about the Eucharist was pronouncing the consecration. That’s when the host was tangibly transformed into flesh in the form of a heart and the wine into blood. The relics have been preserved ever since, and in 1970, extensive scientific tests revealed that the flesh is indeed human heart tissue, while the blood is human blood. And both are from the same blood type: AB.
It’s important to highlight that Eucharistic miracles have continued to take place in modern times, such as the one that occurred on Christmas Day, 2013, at the Church of Saint Hyacinth in Legnica, Poland. A consecrated host fell on the floor and was put in water to dissolve, but then it turned red. The local bishop ordered an investigation and samples were sent to the Department of Forensic Medicine in Szczencin, which found heart muscle subjected to extreme trauma.
These miracles are a gift from God to remind us of the truth of Christ’s words when He instituted the Eucharist and promised to be with us always. It’s interesting that a young Catholic like Carlo Acutis would have been drawn to study Eucharistic miracles and to dedicate himself to sharing these amazing occurrences with others. It seems that Blessed Carlo understood the world needed to be reminded of the miraculous in our midst so that more people could find their way to communion with Christ through regular reception of the Eucharist.
The U.S. Bishops are right to dedicate the coming two years to a Eucharistic Revival, which will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress in 2024. We should support and participate in this revival so that people throughout our nation can come to know the healing power of Christ in the miracle at the heart of the Catholic Mass.
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