“This is my body, take it and eat it” said Jesus Christ on the night before he was crucified. Then he took the wine and said, “This is my blood…” For believing Catholics the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a divine moment when Jesus Christ, the Son of God comes down in their midst, transforming the bread and wine into His own body and blood. This faith is the foundation of Catholic faith. Holy Masses celebrated all over the world proclaim this truth. Many people are still in doubt of this mystery – the mystery of transubstantiation. But, the history has many instances in which God himself has proved the validity and authenticity of this mystery through supernatural miracles. Here are a few of them.
In Lanciano, a piece of flesh belonging to 8th century is preserved to this day. General belief is that it is the flesh of Jesus Christ. The story goes thus. In 8th century AD, there was a priest in Lanciano, who even though was celebrating Mass, found it difficult to believe that the host really turned to the flesh of Jesus Christ. One day, while consecrating the host with his doubt pricking his mind, he saw the bread and wine transform into real human flesh and blood. The blood coagulated into five globules! In 1971, an anatomy professor named Odoardo Linoli conducted a scientific analysis of the flesh and concluded that the flesh was a real cardiac tissue and that the blood appeared fresh even after 1200 years with no trace of preservatives! This miracle is approved by the Catholic Church. The miraculous flesh and blood is preserved in Church of San Francesco on Lanciano, Italy.
The second incident occurred at Orvieto, Italy. Here was another priest who doubted transubstantiation. One day, as usual, he was celebrating Mass with pricking doubt within. The consecration was barely over, when the host started bleeding profusely. The corporal, liturgical cloth, was all wet with blood. This corporal with blood stains is displayed in the Orvieto Cathedral.
Another incident occurred in 1730 in Siena. On August 14th that year, the people of Siena were busy attending a special festival for the eve of the feast of the Assumption. Meanwhile, some thieves entered the Church of St. Francis and stole the golden ciborium with hundreds of consecrated hosts. After two days, the lost hosts were discovered from another church nearby, from the offering box. The inside of the box was all dirty and messed up within. Cleansed to certain extent, the hosts were placed in a new ciborium and were taken to the original church.
The priests were hesitant to consume the hosts, which once remained in dirt. So, they decided to leave it for gradual deterioration. The most amazing thing happened afterwards. They hosts remained fresh for decades. They remain fresh even after 285 years. You can see them at St. Francis Basilica in Siena.
The fourth incident happened in Santarem, a place in Portugal. When she approached a sorceress with a plea to assist her to redeem her unfaithful husband, the sorceress asked her to bring a consecrated host as the price. The next day, the woman attended Holy Mass at St. Stephan’s Church and received the Eucharist on her tongue. When she made sure that people are not noticing her, she took out the host from her mouth and quickly raced out of the church. Surprisingly, she felt her hands becoming wet. The host was bleeding!
Eventhough aghast at first, the women somehow managed to reach home, and hid the host in a trunk. But that night, a strange light began to emanate from the trunk. The woman was awestruck, and she repented on the sin she had committed. He approached the priest and confessed all that had happened. Today, this host with blood stains remains on display in the church which is today renamed as the Church of Holy Miracle.