by Nora V. Clemente-Arnaldo
The Eucharist is the most important truth of our Faith. This is what separates us from our brothers and sisters of the Protestant denominations, usually called our “separated brethren”. We believe in the everlasting gift of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist brought to us each day in miracle form on every altar in the world at the consecration of the Mass, just as Jesus commanded.
This Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy in 700 A.D. has been documented by the Church and supported by Papal Bulls. It is also the first recorded Eucharistic miracle.
In Lanciano, Italy, it is said that the one who struck the side of Jesus and hit His heart with a lance so that water and blood flowed out, came from this town. The original name of this town was Anxanum, in ancient times, and later changed to Lanciano, meaning “the Lance.” This centurion had poor eyesight and when he touched his eyes with the water and blood from the side of Jesus, his eyesight was restored. Christ’s incomparable mercy flowed out to a man who, only seconds before, pierced Him cruelly with a lance. The Roman soldier was healed and converted. This man, Longinus, gave up the army, went to Cappadocia and was martyred for the Fa
The site of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano was the Church of Lagontian and St. Domitian, and was under the custody of the Basilian monks.
There was this Basilian monk who entertained doubts regarding the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. At that time, there were many heresies cropping up which weakened his faith.
One morning, he celebrated Mass with doubts in mind. When he came to the consecration, something unusual happened that made his hands, in fact his whole body, shake. The Host had turned into Flesh. The Wine had turned into Blood.
The monk stood a long time with his back to the people and then slowly turned around to them. He said “O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God to confound my disbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in this most Blessed Sacrament or to render Himself visible to our eyes. Come brethren and marvel at our God so close to you. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our most Beloved Christ.”
The people having witnessed the miracle for themselves began to wail, asking for forgiveness, crying for mercy. And the doubting Thomases may have been dumbfounded.
The Basilian priest’s faith was renewed. The entire town, the whole country for that matter, became aware of the miracle. Pilgrims flocked to Lanciano to venerate the Host that turned Flesh. Belief in the Eucharist was reborn.
Through the years, many tests have been made to determine the authenticity of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano. Here are the results of the scientific tests done in 1970, using the most modern scientific tools:
Many Catholics are familiar with the Shroud of Turin, a linen sheet, still miraculously surviving today, on which can be found imprints of a man who died after being crucified. Tradition has held this Shroud as the same piece of sheet used to wrap the Lord Jesus when He was buried.
In 1978, a group of scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) performed an extensive examination of the Shroud using all the sophisticated equipment available to the space agency at that time. The findings of scientists supported the authenticity of the Shroud. A very significant discovery was also found regarding the blood type of the Shroud. It was AB positive, the same blood type found in the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano.
From the very beginning, the local church accepted this miracle as a true sign from heaven, and venerated the Eucharistic Flesh and Blood in procession on its feast day, the last Sunday of October.
In the Lanciano miracle, Jesus reveals to us His very Heart and His very Blood. It helps us understand the great sacrifice and generous love of the Perfect Lamb, Jesus, in the Holy Mass. He gives us His Body and Blood to heal and nourish our souls.
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