John 6: 48-66, The Body and Blood of Christ
48 “I am the bread of life.
49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
50 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60 Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
61 Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
62 What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
66 As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1413 - 1417
1413 Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).
1414 As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God.
1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.
1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.
1417 The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year.
The Eucharistic Miracles of the World
Below are a few from numerous miracles recorded by "The Eucharistic Miracles of the World, Catalogue of the Vatican International Exhibition".
Skete, Egypt, Third-fifth centuries
In the sayings and deeds of the Desert Fathers, we find a description of an ancient Eucharistic miracle. Fr. Daniel the Faranite attest: "Our Fr. Arsenius told us of a monk of Skete who was a hard worker but lacked instruction in the Faith. In his ignorance he would say: 'The Bread we receive is not really the Body of Christ, but a symbol of that Body.' Two of the more experienced monks heard his statement and, knowing that he was a good and pious monk, decided to speak to him since they attributed his words to ignorance rather than to malice. So they went to him and said: 'Father, we heard someone saying something contrary to the Faith: that the bread we receive is not really the Body of Christ, but a symbol.' The priest said, 'I am the one who says this!' They then began to exhort him, 'You must not believe that, but rather believe what the Catholic Church teaches. We believe that this bread is the Body of Christ, really and truly, and not a symbol.' The accused replied: 'Unless you can show me evidence, I will not change my mind.' The other monks told him: 'This week we will pray to God about this mystery, and we believe that God will show us the truth.'
At the end of the week, on Sunday, all three went to the church and stood together. The priest was between the two monks on a step. Their eyes were opened: when the Bread was placed on the altar in sacrifice, in place of the Host, the three of them, and only they, saw a Child. When the priest reached towards the Bread to pick It up and break It, an angel appeared with a sword and pierced the Boy, Whose Blood ran into the chalice. When the priest broke the Bread into pieces, the angel cut little pieces from the Child. When the three monks came up for Communion, the priest was offered bleeding Flesh. At this the doubter was overcome with fear and cried out, 'Lord, I believe that the Bread is Your Body, and that Your Blood is in the chalice!' Immediately the bloodied Flesh he had in his hand took on the appearances of bread, and he communicated, giving thanks to God."
Chirattakonam, India, 2001
Fr. Johnson Karoor, pastor of the church where this Eucharistic miracle took place, recounts in his deposition: "On April 28, 2001, in the parish church of St. Mary of Chirattakonam, we began the Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus as we do every year. At 8:49 AM, I exposed the Most Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance for public adoration. After a few minutes I saw what appeared to be three dots on the Holy Eucharist. I then stopped praying and began to look at the monstrance, also inviting the faithful to admire the three dots. I then asked the faithful to remain in prayer and reposed the monstrance in the tabernacle. On April 30th, I celebrated Holy Mass, and on the following day I left for Trivandrum.
"On Saturday morning, the 5th of May 2001, I opened the church for the usual liturgical celebrations. I vested for Mass and went to open the tabernacle to see what had happened to the Eucharist in the monstrance. I immediately noted in the Host a figure like that of a human face. I was deeply moved and asked the faithful to kneel and begin praying. I thought I alone could see the face, so I asked the altar server what he noticed in the monstrance. He answered: 'I see the figure of a man.' I noticed that the rest of the faithful were also looking intently at the monstrance.
We began adoration, and as the minutes went by, the image became clearer and clearer. I did not have the courage to say anything, and I began to weep. During adoration, we have the practice of reading a passage from Holy Scriptures. The reading of the day was the one from Chapter 20 in the Gospel of John, which narrates the story of when the Risen Jesus appears to St. Thomas and asks him to look at His wounds. I was only able to say a few words in my homily, and, having to leave for the nearby parish of Kokkodo to celebrate Mass, I immediately summoned a photographer to take pictures of the Holy Eucharist with the human face on it. After two hours all the photos were developed; with the passing of time, the face in every photo became clearer and clearer."
Boxmeer, Netherlands, 1400
The Eucharistic miracle of Boxmeer took place in the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1400. Father Arnoldus Groen was celebrating Mass. Immediately after having consecrated the Eucharistic species, the priest doubted the Real Presence of the Lord in the consecrated Bread and Wine. Without warning, the consecrated Wine, as though the Precious Blood were boiling, began bubbling out of the chalice and onto the corporal.
The Wine was changed into Blood and coagulated in a great lump. The relics of the corporal and the Precious Blood are preserved to this day, and the anniversary of the miracle is celebrated with a solemn annual procession. There are many documents describing the miracle, among which are many stone tablets and paintings. Pope Clement XI, Benedict XIV, Pius IX and Leo XIII all showed particular devotion to this miracle.
Eten, Peru, 1649
The first apparition of the Divine Child in the Most Blessed Sacrament took place on the night of June 2, 1649, during Vespers and solemn exposition in honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi. At the end of the service, the Franciscan friar, Fr. Jerome de Silva Manrique, was about to return the monstrance to the tabernacle, but he suddenly stopped. In the Host there had appeared the radiant face of a Child, framed by thick, light brown curls falling to the shoulders. All the faithful present in the church saw the same vision.
The second apparition took place a few days later, on July 22nd of the same year, during a celebration in honor of St. Mary Magdalene, patroness of the city. According to the testimony of Br. Marco Lopez, superior of the convent in Chiclayo, during exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, "the Divine Child Jesus again appeard in the Host, dressed in a purple tunic. Beneath it he wore a shirt up to the middle of the chest, according to the custom of the South American Indians." Through this sign, the Divine Child wanted to identify with the native inhabitants of Eten to demonstrate His love for them.
In the same apparition, which lasted about 15 minutes, many also saw appearing in the Host three small white hearts joined to each other. These symbolized the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, present in the consecrated Host. To this day, the yearly feast in honor of the miracle of the Divine Child of Eten continues to attract thousands of the faithful.
Tumaco, Colombia, 1906
On January 31, 1906, on the tiny island of Tumaco, at 10 o'clock in the morning, the earth shook violently for about ten minutes. All the inhabitants of the village ran to the church and begged the pastor, Fr. Gerard Larrondo, and Fr. Julian to lead a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. The sea was rising and had already engulfed part of the beach. A huge wall of water was building up into one gigantic wave, a tsunami.
Frightened, Fr. Gerard consumed the small Hosts in the ciborium and set the large Host aside. Turning to the people, he called out: "Let us go, my children. Let us all go toward the beach, and may God have mercy on us." Comforted by the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, they began their march, weeping and crying out to God.
Scarcely had Fr. Larrondo reached the beach with monstrance in hand when he advanced courageously to the water's edge, and just as the wave came rushing in, he calmly raised the Sacred Host, his heart filled with faith, and traced the sign of the Cross in the air. It was a moment of tremendous solemnity. The wave came a little closer, but before Fr. Larrondo and Fr. Julian, who was beside him, realized what was happening, the people, amazed and moved, shouted, "Miracle, miracle!" In truth, an invisible force beyond that of nature prevailed. The mighty wall of water which had threatened to wipe the village of Tumaco off the face of the earth had suddenly halted and begun to recede, and the sea quickly returned to its normal level. The inhabitants of Tumaco were overcome with joy at having been saved from death by Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Prayers of fervent thanks arose on all sides.
News of the miracle of Tumaco spread through the world, and Fr. Larrondo received numerous letters from Europe asking for his prayers.
Ludbreg, Croatia, 1411
In 1411 at Ludbreg, in the chapel of Count Batthyany's castle, a priest was celebrating Mass. During the consecration of wine, the priest doubted the truth of transubstantiation. Just then the wine in the chalice turned into Blood. Not knowing what to do, the priest sealed up the relic in the wall behind the main altar. The workman who did the job was sworn to silence.
The priest also kept it a secret and revealed it only on his deathbed. After the priest's revelation, news spread quickly and people started coming on pilgrimage to Ludbreg. The Holy See later had the relic of the miracle brought to Rome, where it remained for several years. The people of Ludbreg and the surrounding area, however, continued to make pilgrimages to the castle chapel. In the early 1500s, during the pontificate of Pope Julius II, a commission was convened in Ludbreg to investigate the facts connected with the Eucharistic miracle. Many people testified that they had received marvelous cures while praying in the relic's presence. On April 14, 1513, Pope Leo X published a bull permitting veneration of the holy relic which he himself had carried in procession several times through the streets of Rome. The relic was later returned to Croatia.
In the 18th century, the northern part of Croatia was ravaged by the plague. The people turned to God for help, and the Croatian parliament did the same. During the session held on December 15, 1739, in the city of Varazdin, they vowed to build a chapel at Ludbreg in honor of the miracle if the plague ended. The plague was averted, but the promised vow was only fulfilled in 1994, when democracy was restored in Croatia.
In 2005, in the votive chapel, the artist Marijan Jakubin painted a large fresco of the Last Supper in which Croatian saints and blesseds were drawn in place of the Apostles. St. John was replaced with Blessed Ivan Merz, who was included among the 18 most important Eucharistic saints in the Church's history during the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in 2005. In the painting, Christ is holding in His hand a monstrance containing the relic of the Eucharistic miracle.