Last week, I reflected on the reality of transubstantiation, the moment when the substance of bread and wine are changed to the substance of body and blood. This happens at the Consecration, just before the priest lifts the host and chalice to show the people. Strictly speaking, a miracle occurs at every Mass when the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus, even while the appearance of bread and wine remains. However, sometimes God also allows the appearance of bread and wine to be changed. God usually allows this type of miracle to occur to strengthen the weak faith of an individual or even a whole community.
The first recorded Eucharistic miracle took place in 750 AD when a Catholic priest was having serious doubts about Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist. At the time of the Consecration, the consecrated bread and wine turned into human flesh and human blood right there on the altar. This occurred in a town called Lanciano, which was named after the lance that pierced Jesus’ side, allowing blood and water to pour out. Amazingly, this flesh and blood has not decomposed to this day, and visitors to Lanciano can still visit and venerate them. In 1973, the World Health Organization did a series of tests on this flesh and blood and the findings were astounding. The flesh is a piece of heart tissue from the left ventricle. The blood is type AB which is the universal recipient. Both the flesh and blood showed signs of being alive.
More recently, there have been several similar miracles around the world. Two of these miracles occurred in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires when Pope Francis was the bishop of that diocese. In 1992, some particles of the Eucharist were placed in the tabernacle to dissolve and be properly disposed of, and they were later found to have changed into a red substance. In 1996, another Eucharistic host in Buenos Aires was placed in the tabernacle to dissolve, and later it was found to be bloody. Not all Eucharistic miracles have been scientifically investigated, but the ones that have been investigated produce similar results: the flesh is from the heart and the blood is type AB.
Blessed Carlo Acutis was just declared “Blessed” by the Church in October. He was an Italian teenager who died at the young age of fifteen from leukemia. Young Carlo was known for two things by his family and friends: his great devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and being a total computer geek. He combined these two passions and made a website in which he catalogued all known Eucharistic miracles from church history. He had a goal of making a pilgrimage to all these sites in his lifetime, but he did not have the chance to do so because of his cancer. He started this project when he was eleven and finished when he was fifteen.
Blessed Carlo was greatly inspired by these Eucharistic miracles. Even though he had the strong faith of a saint, his faith was still nourished by this manifestation of God’s power and his great love for us. This can give us a clue as to why Jesus sometimes allows Eucharistic miracles. He wants to draw even greater attention to the Eucharist in the Church and he wants us to make the Eucharist the center of our Christian lives. On his website, Carlo 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.” How true this is! Blessed Carlo, please pray for us, so that we can love Jesus in the Eucharist as much as you did.
The stories from this article were paraphrased from an article entitled, “The Amazing Science of Recent Eucharistic Miracles: A Message from Heaven?” by Jeannette Williams. For more information, see media.ascensionpress.com.