Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The 'Most Holy Eucharist'- God's Loving gift.

The importance of ‘Holy Eucharist’ in our daily life:

We all need the love of our Parents; our friends and people around us- to grow into a sound human being. In addition to this, we also need the love of God- to nourish our spirit and soul. The ‘Holy Eucharist’ is the living presence and loving gift of God’s love for us.
2000 years ago, Christ manifested HIS physical presence on the earth. In today’s times, HE is present to us in the form of the ‘Holy Eucharist’. Jesus Christ gave us the precious gift of HIS Body- the ‘Holy Eucharist’, as a spiritual nourishment for our body and soul. 
In this world of bad faith, we are surrounded by too many instances of lukewarm; unbelieving; immoral and sinful people- good faith is the spiritual property of only a few . In order to keep our faith in God alive, we need the daily presence of Jesus in our life. The ‘Holy Eucharist’ purifies our body and soul from the stains of sin. It unloads the burden of sin from our daily life. Consequently, we feel our life worth living- we feel free- our spirit becomes bright- because we are freed from the bondage of sin. The ‘Body of Christ’ is the salt of everlasting life, which protects us from the influence of sin and leads us on the path of salvation. Daily nourishment of this ‘living bread’ makes us more and more ‘Christ-like’ and Holy. Away from God, we become vulnerable to every kind of sin and evil tendencies. The ‘Body of Christ’ gives strength to our mortal flesh, to wade through the difficulties and trials of our life- and to persevere in our faith and love in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is our constant help and faithful friend in times of need. The living ‘Body of Christ’ is our constant Peace; our faith; hope and salvation. The ‘Body of Christ’ is the source of abundant Joy- which strongly manifests itself in the most difficult moments of our life. The ‘Holy Eucharist’ gives us the opportunity and satisfaction of living with Jesus- which the Apostles enjoyed 2000 years ago. The ‘Body of Christ’ protects us from the influence and effects of sin. It dispels the darkness of sin from our mind and heart and helps us to see and understand everything clearly- in the light of God.
The ‘Body of Christ’ is the source of spiritual strength to our heart- and life to our soul. It makes us worthy of being God’s children. Furthermore, it prepares our soul for Eternal life. Receiving the ‘Body of Christ’ in complete Faith and Humility, grants us the pardon of all our sins and punishment due for our sins- purgatory. The ‘Holy Eucharist’ earnestly urges to walk our life in the direction of God. The ‘Body of Christ’ reconciles us with God. It preserves our life and soul. Also, it heals the brokenness of our sinful self and renews our spirit in God. The ‘Holy Eucharist’ grants us the Grace of love to live in the love of God.

Is the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist- real?

The sacramental bread is made out of only four ingredients: fine (white) wheat flour, pure water, yeast, and salt.
During the consecration when the bread is blessed by the Priest, it appears as if nothing really happened. In truth, God’s love transforms the earthly nature of the bread into Divine nature of Christ (“this is my Body…this is my Blood…”). That which is perishable passes away- that which is Divine, lives- now. The appearance of the bread remains the same.
At wedding in Cana- Jesus’s words transformed the mere substance of the water into wine. Jesus Christ, Himself is the ‘word incarnate’. HIS words are spirit and Life. At the last supper, when Jesus (the word incarnate; the living Truth; the Life) blessed the bread, saying: “this is my Body…” In truth, at that very instant HE gave the totality of HIS self to us in the form of the bread. In the manner, God’s word became flesh; likewise, Jesus’s words- “this is my Body…” turned into a living presence of Himself- this is God’s gift of love for us.
For in the manner, Christ’s humanity was visible to us 2000 years ago, but HIS Divinity was invisible. Likewise, HIS humanity is visible now, in the form of bread; but HIS Divinity( HIS Divine flesh) remains hidden from our mortal eyes- because of our lack of faith.( At Emmaus, Jesus opened the eyes of faith of his slow-to-believe disciples- and they were able to recognize him). Only when God opens our eyes to see HIS Divinity (HIS Divine flesh) - only then, we’ll see and understand the truth of HIS words- “this is my Body…”
I’ll like to cite three Eucharistic miracles to enliven your faith in the living presence of Jesus in the ‘Most Holy Eucharist’.

Eucharistic miracle of Siena:
At Cascia, in the basilica dedicated to St. Rita, is preserved the relic of the Eucharistic Miracle, which happened near Siena in 1330. A priest was asked to bring Communion to a sick peasant. The priest took the consecrated Host and irreverently placed it in the pages of his breviary and went to the peasant. After hearing the confession of the sick man, he opened the book to take out the Host- to his great surprise, he found that the Host was stained with the living blood. The priest, confused and penitent, went immediately to Siena to the Augustinian Priory to ask the counsel of Fr. Simone Fidati of Cascia, known by all to be a holy man. Fr. Fidati, having heard the story, granted pardon to the priest and asked to keep the two pages marked by the Blood. Many Popes have promoted veneration, conceding indulgences.

Eucharistic miracle of St. Peter Damian:
St. Peter Damian (Doctor of the Church) recounts an important Eucharistic miracle, of which he was the direct witness. It took place in the year 1050. A woman, urged by an evil temptation, was about to take the Eucharistic Bread home, to use the Sacred Species for sorcery. But the priest noticed what she had done and ran after her, and recovered the Host which she had sacrilegiously stolen. When he unfolded the white linen cloth in which the sacred Host had been wrapped, he found that the Host had been transformed in such a way that half of it had become visibly the Body of Christ, while the other half preserved the normal look of a Host. With such a clear testimony, God wanted to win over the unbelievers and the heretics who refused to accept the real presence of the Eucharistic mystery: in one half of the consecrated bread the Body of Christ was visible, while in the other half, the natural form- thus highlighting the reality of the sacramental transubstantiation taking place at the Consecration.

The Miracle of Lanciano:
One day in the eighth century, in the church dedicated to Saints Legontian and Domitian in Lanciano, a Basilian monk was celebrating the Holy Mass in the Latin rite, with a host of unleavened bread. The monk started doubting the real and substantial presence of the Flesh and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated Holy Species. After having pronounced the words of Consecration (“This is My Body... This is My Blood”), as Jesus had taught it to His Apostles, the monk saw the host change into a living piece of Flesh, and the wine change into real blood, which thereupon coagulated and split into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size. Over the last twelve centuries, different Bishops of the diocese of Lanciano made authentifications of the holy relics. All testified that these facts were miraculous and true.
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 analysis were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision, and they were documented with a ngseries of microscopic photographs.
 These analysis 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 a 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 and the Blood have the same blood type: AB (The 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 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 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.

Preparing our heart to receive the ‘Body of Christ’:

We must enter the Church with Faith and Humility. Being aware of the weakness of our faith; sinfulness of our being, we must humbly acknowledge ourselves before God. As Zacchaeus was eager to meet Jesus- we must be eager to meet God with all our heart.
We must be in a state of Grace, to receive the ‘Holy Eucharist’- if we have committed a mortal sin, then we must confess that sin to a Priest and seek pardon from God. If we have ill feelings (anger; grudge; jealousy) in our heart against anyone, we must first reconcile with that person and then approach the altar of God. No one should receive the Lord’s Body unworthily.
Our attire should not be disrespectful of the presence of God- we must observe modesty and decency in our attire. It will be much helpful to prepare ourselves spiritually before attending the Holy Mass. We must always come early for the Holy Mass. To derive spiritual benefits from the Holy Mass, we must take active participation- be present with our whole self in the Holy Mass- keep distractions away. 
The Holy Mass is a celebration of Mount Calvary; it is a loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation- be grateful to God for redeeming us; remember to thank God for all the good things HE has done in our life; pray for our beloved ones; remember to offer our prayers for the deceased family members. Furthermore, pray for the Grace to grow and stay united in the love of God.

In the beginning, Jesus Christ condescended into human form and now HE condescends and presents to us in the form of simple bread. This act of greatest humility and greatest love, HE performs for love of us- we should be mindful of this truth and be grateful to God for HIS loving gift. When receiving the ‘Holy Eucharist’, we must approach God, with the faith of the ‘centurion’; humility of the ‘tax collector’ and eagerness of ‘Zacchaeus’.

(References: Eucharistic Miracles from around the World.)