Wildlife fills our life with joy and refreshment. Songbirds and birds of prey, squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and lightning bugs all carry a message worth discovering in early summer. Do we see and hear them, or do we overlook them, even despise them? Are they simply an annoyance, or do we come to know, love, and even serve these fellow creatures by providing protection and habitat?
June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus – The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the revelation of God’s immense love for us. It is often depicted as a fiery furnace, pierced and broken, but beating with love. The Sacred Heart is also a profound reminder of the humanity of our Lord, for his heart is not a mere symbol, but a true physical reality.
Overview of June
The month of June is dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. This month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time.
Appropriately June is considered the month for weddings where human hearts join and cooperate with the Creator in bringing forth new life. The family they create is a human reflection of the Blessed Trinity.
Following Pentecost, the Church begins her slow descent from the great peaks of the Easter Season to the verdant pastures of Ordinary Time, the longest of the liturgical seasons. Like the lush June growth all around us, the green of the liturgical season points to the new life won for us by the Redemption of Jesus Christ, the new life of Charity. For Our Lord came to cast the fire of His love on the earth, and to that end, sent His Holy Spirit at Pentecost in the form of tongues of fire. Ordinary Time is the hour to “go out to all the world and tell the good news.” The feasts of June highlight this expansion of the Church. At least ten times, the Church vests in the red of the martyrs whose blood is the very seed of her growth. She also celebrates the feasts of the apostles Peter and Paul, and the birth of St. John the Baptist, proto-disciple and prophet. We too are called to be witnesses like the apostles and martyrs. May the Heart of Jesus inflame our hearts so that we may be worthy of our Baptismal call to holiness. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of June is set apart for devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "From among all the proofs of the infinite goodness of our Savior none stands out more prominently than the fact that, as the love of the faithful grew cold, He, Divine Love Itself, gave Himself to us to be honored by a very special devotion and that the rich treasury of the Church was thrown wide open in the interests of that devotion." These words of Pope Pius XI refer to the Sacred Heart Devotion, which in its present form dates from the revelations given to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673-75.
The devotion consists in the divine worship of the human heart of Christ, which is united to His divinity and which is a symbol of His love for us. The aim of the devotion is to make our Lord king over our hearts by prompting them to return love to Him (especially through an act of consecration by which we offer to the Heart of Jesus both ourselves and all that belongs to us) and to make reparation for our ingratitude to God.
O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART
Devotion to the Sacred Heart was the characteristic note of the piety of Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), Benedictine nun and renowned mystic. She was, in fact, the first great exponent of devotion to the Sacred Heart. In our efforts to honor the Heart of Jesus we have this prayer as a model for our own: Hail! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, Oh my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen. Saint Gertrude
FOR THE CHURCH
O most holy Heart of Jesus, shower Thy blessings in abundant measure upon Thy holy Church, upon the Supreme Pontiff and upon all the clergy; to the just grant perseverance; convert sinners; enlighten unbelievers; bless our relations, friends and benefactors; assist the dying; deliver the holy souls in purgatory; and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Thy love. Amen.
A PRAYER OF TRUST
O God, who didst in wondrous manner reveal to the virgin, Margaret Mary, the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart, grant that loving Thee, after her example, in all things and above all things, we may in Thy Heart find our abiding home.
ACT OF LOVE
Reveal Thy Sacred Heart to me, O Jesus, and show me Its attractions. Unite me to It forever. Grant that all my aspirations and all the beats of my heart, which cease not even while I sleep, may be a testimonial to Thee of my love for Thee and may say to Thee: Yes, Lord, I am all Thine; pledge of my allegiance to Thee rests ever in my heart will never cease to be there. Do Thou accept the slight amount of good that I do and be graciously pleased to repair all m] wrongdoing; so that I may be able to bless Thee in time and in eternity. Amen. Cardinal Merry del Val
MEMORARE TO THE SACRED HEART Remember, O most sweet Jesus, that no one who has had recourse to Thy Sacred Heart, implored its help, or sought it mercy was ever abandoned. Encouraged with confidence, O tenderest of hearts, we present ourselves before Thee, crushes beneath the weight of our sins. In our misery, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, despise not our simple prayers, but mercifully grant our requests.
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
· Machu PicchuExplore the incredible Inca ruins of Peru’s Machu Picchu, often called “Lost city of the Incas.” Take an adventurous climb to see the Temple of Condor and Sun Gate -- the end point for the Inca Trail. Visit in June to take advantage of the dry season and to avoid the heavy crowds in July and August.
· Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank—May thru October-- Did winter come and go without you getting a chance to see whales? There’s still time: Between May and September, more than 400 orcas swim in the waters around Canada’s Vancouver Island. Or head to the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago about 1,000 miles from Lisbon, where sperm whales gather from May to October. Closer to home, Stellwagen Bank, a submerged sandbank between Cape Cod and Cape Ann in Massachusetts, attracts the endangered North Atlantic right whale to its waters.
· —June 3-5--Visit Hong Kong to experience the excitement of the Duanwu Festival, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The festival includes dragon boat races in Aberdeen -- one of the first places to host these races in Hong Kong. Fishermen believe that rowing dragon boats during the Duanwu Festival will bring them luck.
· Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic--June 4-5--Soar new heights in California’s beautiful Wine Country in this two-day event in Windsor, California. On Saturday and Sunday, set your alarm clock early to make sure you’re awake to catch approximately 30 colorful balloons launch around 6:30am.
· -June 9-12-Chicago is the place to visit in June, especially if you’re a fan of the blues. The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues music festival in the world. Over three days, more than 500,000 people converge on Grant Park to hear well-renown performers perform on the festival’s five stages.
· Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival—June 16-19--From indie rock to reggae, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, draws thousands of fans every year. Previous notable acts include Bob Dylan, Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, The Beach Boys and The White Stripes. During this four-day music festival, bands, rappers, musicians and singers perform from around noon until 4 a.m. or later at Great Stage Park, which is located on a 700-acre farm.
· June 19 Don’t forget about Dad this month. Spend some extra time with your father figure by planning a trip to go fly fishing, rock climbing or skydiving. For a getaway minus the adrenaline-pumping thrills, we have a few Father’s Day travel ideas like a brewery tour in Portland, Oregon, or game of golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
· June 8th Ember Wednesday
· June 10th Ember Friday
· June 11th Ember Saturday
· June 12th Trinity Sunday
· June 14th Flag Day
· June 19th Corpus Christi
· June 23rd Suppressed Feast of John the Baptist
· June 24th Sacred Heart of Jesus
· June 25th Immaculate Heart of Mary
· June 26th Third Sunday after Pentecost
· June 29th Feast of St’s Peter and Paul
JUNE 1 First Wednesday
Daniel, Chapter 13, Verse 1-3
1 In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the Law of Moses.
Susanna is included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details (cross-examination) of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.
In the Old Testament we already find admirable witnesses of fidelity to the holy law of God even to the point of a voluntary acceptance of death. A prime example is the story of Susanna: in reply to the two unjust judges who threatened to have her condemned to death if she refused to yield to their sinful passion, she says: " I am hemmed in on every side. For if I do this thing, it is death for me; and if I do not, I shall not escape your hands. I choose not to do it and to fall into your hands, rather than to sin in the sight of the Lord!" (Dan 13:22-23). Susanna, preferring to "fall innocent" into the hands of the judges, bears witness not only to her faith and trust in God but also to her obedience to the truth and to the absoluteness of the moral order. By her readiness to die a martyr, she proclaims that it is not right to do what God's law qualifies as evil in order to draw some good from it. Susanna chose for herself the "better part": hers was a perfectly clear witness, without any compromise, to the truth about the good and to the God of Israel. By her acts, she revealed the holiness of God.
In our modern secular world, it is often difficult to find a God-fearing woman and even recognize her. One wonders what the characteristics of a God-fearing woman are. An important thing to remember for all women of real beauty is that love is the inner sense of peacefulness and joy that casts out the outer reflection of beauty.
God Fearing Woman
These things aren’t things to add to your to-do list. They’re an opportunity to test your heart. If we have a right ‘fear’ or understanding of God, then these four characteristics will overflow in our hearts:
1. A woman who fears the Lord isn’t anxious about what’s going to happen in her life.
First, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future… “Strength and dignity or her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Our anxiety reveals what we think about God. Do we honestly think He’s a sovereign and good Father? Do we honestly believe He cares about the mundane details of our lives and is working everything out for our good? If so, it will affect our anxiety about how our kids are going to do in school this Fall or our fears about being single this time next year, or our obsession with how we’re going to pay our bills next month or worry about how we’re going to do in that meeting at work tomorrow.
2. A woman who fears the Lord speaks wisdom and kindness.
Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Proverbs 31, Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” I love this because I’m a big fan of women redeeming passive communication. This verse tells us that if we’re going to be good stewards of our words we have to know and love God. A right view of Him will affect the way we choose to spend the gift of language He has given us.
3. A woman who fears the Lord is strong.
Proverbs, Verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.”
Think for a second about how you define ‘strength’ Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have. True strength looks like contentment. Do you want to know if your fear of the Lord overflows into strength? Do you envy others? Threads of discontentment reveal a heart that does not fully grasp the greatness and goodness of our maker.
4. A woman who fears the Lord is for other people, not against them.
A woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others…Proverbs 31, Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.” Our view of God will play out in our interaction with others. If we trust that God is for us, it frees us up to be for other people. We can look out for their interests because we know God is looking out for ours.
All four of these characteristics overflow from a right understanding and relationship with God.
You can’t just get out of your chair and go do these four things to earn the ‘proverbs 31’ merit badge. If you want to be free of anxiety, if you want to speak kindness and wisdom, if you want to be strong and be for other people, the solution is gloriously complex: fear the Lord. My hope is that, like me you’ll see this list as a reminder of just how far you have to go in your sanctification. Let this list remind you of the opportunity you have to grow in your ‘fear’ of the Lord. Let that opportunity excite you. There’s more of Him to know. There’s more of Him to trust. As we grow in fearing Him we will be transformed – not to the image of some cool Proverbs woman. We will be transformed into the very image of His Son.
First Wednesday-St. Joseph Devotion
In 1994, while a student in Manaus, Brazil, 22-year-old Edson Glauber received an apparition of the Blessed Mother with Jesus and St. Joseph. The apparitions continued when he returned to his hometown of Itapiranga which is about 650 miles southwest of Sao Paulo and about 880 miles from Rio de Janeiro. Another 770-plus miles southwest happens to be the site of other approved apparitions in San Nicolas, Argentina. Edson’s mother Maria do Carmo would also receive some apparitions. Bishop Gritti, who died this past June, met with them several times. He celebrated Mass publicly at the site of the apparitions and helped to build the sanctuary there. Mary appeared under the title of “Queen of the Rosary and of Peace.” Much like Fatima, her messages stressed the need for conversion, praying the Rosary, Mass, Confession and Holy Communion and penance to save the world mired in unbelief and sin. She and Jesus urged devotion to St. Joseph’s Most Chaste Heart.
Revelations and Promises
St. Joseph’s major revelations began Mar. 1, 1998. He spoke about devotion to his chaste heart and made the first of several promises. He began, “My dear son, Our Lord God has sent me to tell you about all the graces the faithful will receive from my Most Chaste Heart which Jesus and my blessed spouse wish to be honored…Through devotion to my Chaste Heart many souls will be saved from the hands of the Devil. God our Lord has allowed for me to reveal to you the promises of my Heart.
“Just as I am fair and righteous in the sight of God, all who have devotion to my Heart will also be chaste, righteous and holy in His sight. I will fill you with these graces and virtues, making you grow every day on the road of holiness.”
Next day, St. Joseph came with the Child Jesus who reclined on his heart. Joseph revealed that God wanted to give countless graces through devotion to his heart. “My son and Lord Jesus, that I brought up here on earth, with a father's love, desires that all men practice devotion to my Heart, for all those in need of graces from heaven.”
In prior apparitions, the Virgin Mary and Jesus affirmed to Edson that Joseph has been given great power and glory and, in these times, God wants people and the world consecrated to the Heart of St. Joseph.
Then came a second promise.
“I promise to all that honor this Most Chaste Heart of mine and who do here on earth good deeds in favor of the most needy, especially of the sick and dying for whom I am a consoler and protector, to receive in their last moment of their lives the grace of a good death. I myself will be to these souls their petitioner to my Son Jesus and, together with my spouse, Most Holy Mary, we will console them in their last hours here on earth, with our holy presence and they will rest in the peace of our hearts
“Just as you saw my Son Jesus repose His head on my heart, this way myself and my spouse Holy Mary will take these souls to the glory of paradise, in the presence of their Savior, my Son Jesus Christ, so that they may repose, and incline themselves to His Sacred Heart…”
St. Joseph did not shy away from the state of humanity’s hearts. He explained “how sin spreads in a such a strong way! Men let themselves be led by the most insidious wiles of the Devil. The enemy of salvation wants to destroy all men so that, this way, all will be lost. He is envious and hates the entire human race. So many go through trials and temptations that the enemy of God throws at every moment, this way trying to destroy men’s mortal souls that were created by God.”
St. Joseph revealed a prime attack against us, something which has increased since 1998.
“The means that he most utilizes are the sins against holy purity, because purity is one of the virtues most beloved by God, and in this way, Satan desires to destroy the image of God present in each creature through this virtue. And it is because of this, that God asks all humanity to have devotion to my Chaste Heart. He wants to give men the grace to overcome the temptations and attacks of the Devil in their day-to-day lives.”
St. Joseph can protect us in these attacks. His litany calls him ‘most chaste” and “terror of demons.” St. Joseph made this promise. “The invocation of my name is enough to make demons flee! I promise to all the faithful that honor my most Chaste Heart with faith and love, the grace to live with holy purity of soul and body and the strength to resist all attacks and temptations by the Devil. I myself will preciously protect you.”
He said the grace would also be for their family members in need of divine help.
Hope for Sinners
St. Joseph desires all sinners to be converted and saved. “Many are those who are distant from God because of their grave sins. Many of those, my children, are in that state because they let themselves fall to the wiles of the Devil. The enemy of salvation makes them think there is no solution, nor return, because they have despaired and have not trusted in divine mercy. These will be easy targets for the Devil.”
But he says to “all sinners, even those who have committed the most terrible sins, to trust in the love and in the forgiveness of God and to trust in me also, in my intercession. All those who trustingly have recourse to me will have the certainty of my help to recover the divine grace and mercy of God.”
Not wanting sinners to despair, he promised those who trust in his most pure Heart and devotedly honor it, “the grace to be consoled by me in their greatest afflictions of the soul and in the danger of judgment, when by misfortune lose divine grace because of their grave sins. To these sinners, who have recourse to me, I promise the graces of my Heart for the purpose of amendment, of repentance and of sincere contrition of their sins. Now, I say to all sinners: Do not be afraid of the Devil and do not despair because of your crimes, but come throw yourselves in my arms and take refuge in my Heart so that you may receive all the graces for your eternal salvation.”
Help with Today’s Problems
St. Joseph focused on life’s difficulties and offered consolation. “My Son Jesus, through my Heart, wishes to impart to all men his divine blessings. I know many of you suffer many great difficulties because, in these last times, men no longer love or help one another but live with their hearts full of pride, falsehood, lies, intrigue, ambition, backbiting, pettiness, and many wrong things that are the consequences of living far from God.”
St. Joseph said to all who honor his Heart and trust in him and his intercession, “I promise they will not be abandoned in their difficulties and in the trials of life. I will ask Our Lord to help them with his Divine Providence in their material and spiritual problems.”
To mothers and fathers consecrating themselves and their families to his Heart, St. Joseph assured help in afflictions and problems, and assistance with raising up their children.
Sin: Consequences & His Protection
The spouse of Mary did not ignore the current world situation which in 1998 was still 18 years from the multitude of today’s multiplying spiritual chaos.
He emphasized, “[M]y Son Jesus is very indignant with the sins of humanity.
“He desires to pour his divine justice upon all men that do not want to repent and continue obstinately in their sins. Look, my son, I hold his right hand, preventing Him from pouring out his justice upon all humanity. I ask Him, through the graces of my Heart and for being worthy to live by his side, taking care of him with the love of a father in this world, and for Him having loved me with the love of a son, to not chastise the world for its crimes, but for all my little ones who honor and will honor this Chaste Heart of mine, should pour out his mercy upon the world.”
The world’s many sins call humanity to repent and do penance, he said, “because God receives continued offenses from ungrateful men. Today there are so many outrages, the sacrilege and indifference by all men. It is because of this that so many calamities like war, hunger and disease occur and so many other sad things man has suffered because of man’s rebellion against God.”
St. Joseph made clear rebellion’s consequences. “God lets men follow their own paths to show them all, without him, they will never be happy. He lets men go through so much suffering, to also show them the consequences sin brings to their lives and so then the divine justice punishes humanity because of their obstinance in not being obedient to God's Will.
He pointed out humanity is “increasingly obstinate in their crimes” because of concern for worldly pleasures “rather than the love of God and his Commandments. But God's justice is close at hand in a way never seen before and will come about suddenly upon the whole world.”
That should shake us, yet this most powerful saint extends a hope-filled solution. All those who honor his Chaste Heart “will receive the grace of my protection from all evils and dangers. For those who surrender to me will not be slaughtered by misfortunes, by wars, hunger, by diseases and other calamities, they will have my Heart as a refuge for their protection. Here, in my Heart, all will be protected against the divine justice in the days that will come. All who consecrate themselves to my Heart, honoring it, they will be looked upon by my Son Jesus with eyes of mercy, Jesus will pour out his love and will take to the glory of his Kingdom all those I put in my Heart.”
First Wednesdays — Request & Promise
When St. Joseph appeared on the first Wednesday of March 1998, he had a special request. With the First Friday and First Saturday devotions, he was giving us a companion devotion. He said,
“On every first Wednesday of the month, my Chaste Heart pours numerous graces on all who rely on my intercession. On these Wednesdays, men will not receive a shower of simple graces, but very strong torrents of extraordinary graces! I will share them with those who honor me and rely on me, all the blessings, all the virtues, and all the love I received from my Divine Son Jesus and my spouse the Blessed Virgin Mary while still living in this world and all the graces that I continue to receive in the glory of paradise.”
The request came with his great “promise to intercede before him for those who come to me, honoring this Heart of mine. I will give them the graces to be able to resolve the most difficult problems and urgent necessities, that to the eyes of man seem impossible, but that, through my intercession to God, will be possible. I grant the graces of my Heart to all sinners so they may convert.”
(St. Joseph had made this same request during Our Lady of America’s apparitions in March 1958, asking us to recite the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of his life with Jesus and Mary and the love he bore them and sorrow he suffered with them, plus receive Holy Communion with the love which he received the Savior and each time he held Jesus in his arms.)
Confirmed by Wife Mary
At the end of her husband’s appearances, the Blessed Virgin Mary made a promise herself. “All who honor the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph will benefit with my maternal presence in their lives in a special way.”
“To those who ask of his Heart with trust, I promise to intercede before the Eternal Father, my Divine Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I will obtain for them, from God, the grace to reach perfect sanctity in the virtues of St. Joseph, this way reaching the perfect love in which he lived. Men will learn to love my Son Jesus and myself with the same love as my Most Chaste Spouse Joseph, receiving the most pure love from our Hearts.
“My Son Jesus, my Chaste Spouse Joseph and I are at your side. Fear nothing, because our hearts will protect you always.”
Reward for Spreading Devotion to St. Joseph
There is yet something else St. Joseph said that’s we shouldn’t disregard.
“[A]ll those who propagate the devotion to my Heart, and practice it with love, have the certainty of having their names engraved on it just as my Son Jesus' cross and the "M" of Mary are engraved on it…”
After all, “That all may spread devotion to my Heart, it is God Himself who asks it.”
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I. The Graces of Holy Communion
ii. We become “One Body and One Spirit in Christ”
46. In Holy Communion, Christ is present in us. Holy Communion allows Christ through us to go to every corner and alley of the world so that where there is division and hate, He will bring love; where there is suffering and pain, He will bring comfort and consolation; and where there is discouragement and sin, He will bring healing and forgiveness. Imagine if each of us Christians makes the Eucharist the source and summit of our life? We would set the world on fire with Christ’s love!
II. Faith perceives what our senses fail to grasp
47. What must we do then, to assure that Holy Communion bestows these life-giving and transforming effects in our soul? If we receive Holy Communion out of routine only, without openness to the Lord, then we will not receive all the graces that God wants to give. But if we receive the Lord with the right dispositions, God’s grace will strengthen our resolve to follow, love and imitate Him. Our Lord Jesus deeply desires our union with Him in Holy Communion and through it He wishes to bring about our transformation into Him and the transformation of our society in which we live. But we, on our part, must ardently desire this union with Jesus Christ as well.
48. In today’s superficial and fast paced culture that is driven by instant results and gratification, it is easy for us to lose our sense of wonder when we come face to face with the miracle of the Eucharist. Living in a culture that seeks sensational headlines and attention-catching spectacles, we can easily take for granted the Eucharist and receive Jesus in Holy Communion with little to no expectation. Contrary to what our culture offers and seeks, the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is so quiet, so gentle, and imperceivable.
To be continued…
Four Approved Eucharistic Miracles from the 21st Century
In his writings on the Eucharist, Fr. Spitzer reminds us that a Eucharistic miracle occurs every day, at every holy mass across the world, when the substance of bread and wine is transformed into the substance of Jesus’ body and blood.
However, the term “Eucharistic miracle" can also refer to extraordinary empirical signs of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, such as bleeding hosts or the transmutation of a consecrated host into a piece of cardiac muscle tissue.
Some notable Eucharistic miracles happened years and years ago (i.e. the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy in the 8th century and the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem, Portugal in the 13th century). Others have happened in more recent history, such as the scientifically proven Eucharistic miracles of Buenos Aires in 1992-1996. However, there are a handful that have taken place in just the past 20 years. Below are four stories of approved and recent Eucharistic miracles.
1. Legnica: A Bleeding Host in Poland, 2013
On Christmas Day 2013, at the Church of Saint Hyacinth in Legnica, Poland, a consecrated host fell on the floor. The host was put into a container with water so that it would dissolve. Instead, it formed red stains. In Feb. 2014, the host was examined by various research institutes including the Department of Forensic Medicine in Szczecin who stated:
“In the histopathological image, the fragments were found containing the fragmented parts of the cross-striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle.”
Additionally, and similar to the findings of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy, research found that the tissue had alterations that would appear during great distress.
The bleeding Host in Poland was approved for veneration in April 2016, by Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Legnica who said that it “has the hallmarks of a Eucharistic miracle.” Learn more here
2. Tixtla: Eucharistic Miracle in Mexico, 2006
In Oct. 2006, a parish in the Chilpancingo-Chilapa Diocese of Mexico held a retreat. During mass, two priests and a religious sister were distributing communion when the religious sister looked at the celebrant with tears in her eyes. The Host that she held had begun to effuse a reddish substance.
To determine the validity of the event, Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro asked Dr. Ricardo Castañón Gómez (who researched the Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires) and his team to conduct scientific research.
In 2013, the research concluded that:
“The reddish substance analyzed corresponds to blood in which there are hemoglobin and DNA of human origin… The blood type is AB, similar to the one found in the Host of Lanciano and in the Holy Shroud of Turin.”
Learn more about the Tixtla eucharistic miracle here.
3. A Eucharistic Miracle at Chirattakonam, India, 2001
Though most Eucharistic miracles have to do with a bleeding host, the one at at Chirattakonam, India was a bit different. On an April morning in 2001, Fr. Johnson Karoor, pastor at St. Mary’s parish in Chirattakonam, India, exposed the Blessed Sacrament for adoration. Soon Fr. Karoor noticed three dots on the host and shared what he saw with the people, who also saw the dots.
The priest then left for a week and came back to find that the host had developed an image of a human face. To ensure it wasn’t his imagination, he asked an alter server if he saw anything in the host.
“I see the figure of a man,” the alter server replied. After mass, Fr. Karoor had a local photographer capture the image of the host:
Read more about the Miracle at Chirattakonam here.
4. The Eucharistic Miracle in Sokolka, Poland, 2008
Before the bleeding host in Legnica, there was another Eucharistic miracle in Poland that occurred in the city of Sokolka.
The miracle took place in 2008 at the church of St. Anthony. That morning during Mass, a priest accidentally dropped a host while distributing Communion. The Host was then put in a small container of water. The pastor, Fr. Stanislaw Gniedziejko, asked the sacristan, Sister Julia Dubowska of the Congregation of the Eucharistic Sisters, to place the container in a safe in the sacristy. After a week, Sister Julia checked on the host. When she opened the safe, she smelled something like unleavened bread and the host had a red blood stain on it.
Immediately, Sister Julia and Fr. Gniedziejko told the archbishop of Bialystok, Bishop Edward Ozorowski, about the host. The Bishop had the stained host taken out of the container and placed on a corporal, where it stayed in the tabernacle for three years. During this time, the stained fragment of the host dried out (appearing more like a blood stain or clot) and several studies were commissioned on the host. The studies found that the altered fragment of the host is identical to the myocardial (heart) tissue of a person who is nearing death. Additionally, the structure of the muscle fibers and that of the bread are interwoven in a way impossible to produce by human means.
Learn more about the bleeding Host in Poland here.
For more on Eucharistic miracles, see “The Eucharistic Miracle Overseen by Archbishop Bergoglio (Now Pope Francis)” and Fr. Spitzer’s article, "Contemporary, Scientifically Validated Miracles Associated with Blessed Mary, Saints and the Holy Eucharist.” See also,
“For us believers what we have seen is something that we have always believed… If our Lord is speaking to us by giving us this sign, it certainly needs a response from us.” –
Bishop Cyril Mar Baselice, Archbishop of the diocese of Trivandrum on the Eucharistic Miracle at Chirattakonam, India
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Article 9-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"
Paragraph 1. THE CHURCH IN GOD'S PLAN
I. NAMES AND IMAGES OF THE CHURCH
751 The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to "call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. By calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is "calling together" his people from all the ends of the earth. the equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means "what belongs to the Lord."
752 In Christian usage, the word "church" designates the liturgical assembly, but also the local community or the whole universal community of believers. These three meanings are inseparable. "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body.
Symbols of the Church
753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. the images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body. Around this center are grouped images taken "from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage."
754 "The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.
755 "The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.
756 "Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. the Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the comer-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones, we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
757 "The Church, further, which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our mother', is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ 'loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.' It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly 'nourishes and cherishes.'"
II. THE CHURCH'S ORIGIN, FOUNDATION AND MISSION
758 We begin our investigation of the Church's mystery by meditating on her origin in the Holy Trinity's plan and her progressive realization in history.
A plan born in the Father's heart
759 "The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life," to which he calls all men in his Son. "The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ." This "family of God" is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father's plan. In fact, "already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time."
The Church - foreshadowed from the world's beginning
760 Christians of the first centuries said, "The world was created for the sake of the Church." God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the "convocation" of men in Christ, and this "convocation" is the Church. the Church is the goal of all things, and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels' fall and man's sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world:
Just as God's will is creation and is called "the world," so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called "the Church."
The Church - prepared for in the Old Covenant
761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. the gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God's reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: "In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable" to God.
762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people. Its immediate preparation begins with Israel's election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations. But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant."
The Church - instituted by Christ Jesus
763 It was the Son's task to accomplish the Father's plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent. "The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures." To fulfill the Father's will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. the Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery."
764 "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ." To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself." The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is. They form Jesus' true family. To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a prayer of their own.
765 The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot. By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church.
766 The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. "The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus." "For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.'" As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross.
The Church - revealed by the Holy Spirit
767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church." Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun." As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.
768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit "bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her." "Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom."
The Church - perfected in glory
769 "The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven," at the time of Christ's glorious return. Until that day, "the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world's persecutions and God's consolations." Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will "be united in glory with her king." The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will "all the just from the time of Adam, 'from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,' . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father's presence."
III. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
770 The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only "with the eyes of faith" that one can see her in her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of divine life.
The Church - both visible and spiritual
771 "The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men." The Church is at the same time:
· a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ.
· the visible society and the spiritual community.
· the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches."
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element":
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.
O humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heaven's beauty has adorned her.
The Church - mystery of men's union with God
772 It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him." St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn. Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
773 In the Church this
communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the
purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to
this passing world.
"[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. and holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."
The universal Sacrament of Salvation
774 The Greek word mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms: mystenum and sacramentum. In later usage the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mystenum. In this sense, Christ himself is the mystery of salvation: "For there is no other mystery of God, except Christ." The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church's sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call "the holy mysteries"). the seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. the Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a "sacrament."
775 "The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men." The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this unity is already begun, since she gathers men "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues"; at the same time, the Church is the "sign and instrument" of the full realization of the unity yet to come.
776 As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all," "the universal sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God's love for men." The Church "is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires "that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit."
777 The word "Church" means "convocation." It designates the assembly of those whom God's Word "convokes," i.e., gathers together to form the People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ.
778 The Church is both the means and the goal of God's plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf Rev 14:4).
779 The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept.
780 The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 IOANNES PAULUS PP. II, VERITATIS SPLENDOR