Eucharistic miracles reveal Christ’s real presence

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ walked the earth, performed miracles and was eventually crucified, offering up his life for the salvation of souls.

Jesus had a body just like us. And it’s possible we know his blood type.

The Church teaches and has taught since the time of Christ that something miraculous happens at every Mass.  When the priest offers the bread and wine during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, something called transubstantiation takes place — the bread and wince become the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Though they look like normal bread and wine, Christ is in fact present in every morsel of bread and every drop of wine.

But sometimes the appearance of the bread and wine change, too. Christ’s true presence has been revealed over the centuries through several Eucharistic miracles.

As the Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi on May 31, in which we celebrate the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, our faith in the mystery of the sacrament is not in vain.

Lanciano

One of the most famous miracles took place in Lanciano, Italy during the eighth century, when a priest was doubting the real presence during Mass. As he consecrated the bread and wine, the bread began to bleed, literally turning into flesh and the wine into blood.

Soon after, the blood coagulated into five globules, and the flesh remained unchanged.

In 1971, Pope Paul VI permitted scientific studies be done on the relics — which still remained unchanged after centuries — and scientists discovered the flesh has the structure of the myocardium and endocardium.

The blood is human and type AB.

Buenos Aires

Three Eucharistic miracles occurred in Buenos Aires during the 1990s. In 1996, then-Bishop Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) was auxiliary bishop when a consecrated Host was found on the floor and soon after placed in water.

A few days later, the Eucharist had turned into bloody flesh. When the flesh remained unchanged years later, it was taken for sampling, and those who tested it weren’t told what it was or where it came from.

The findings revealed the sample was part of a heart muscle, specifically from the myocardium of the left ventricle. The blood was discovered to have human DNA and the AB blood type. Further study found the heart had been tortured, and the samples were even pulsating while they were studied.

Other Miracles

Not all Eucharistic miracles consist of the Host turning into flesh and blood. A more unusual miracle occurred in Bordeaux, France in 1822, when witnesses claimed they saw an apparition of Jesus giving a blessing during adoration.

And in Trivandrum, India in 2001, the pastor at the time exposed the Eucharist in a monstrance for adoration. Shortly after, three dots appeared on the Host.

A week later, the priest looked inside the tabernacle to see what happened to the Host, when he and those present noticed a figure that looked like a human face, and the image grew clearer as time went on.

The priest then read a passage from the day’s readings, and it happened to be from John 20 when Jesus appears to Thomas, showing him his wounds.

Like the apostle Thomas, we sometimes long for substantial proof of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. It’s easy to doubt such an extraordinary event could take place. Let these miracles revamp your trust in Jesus on the upcoming feast of Corpus Christi and beyond.

COMING UP: Swole.Catholic helps people strengthen body and soul

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St. Augustine once said, “Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

Humans are both body and soul and both must be strengthened. This is the reason for the existence of Swole.Catholic, a group of people who dedicate themselves to nurturing their soul while strengthening their body, and through their ministry, motivate others to do the same.

According to Paul McDonald, founder of Swole.Catholic, they focus on encouraging faithful fitness. “We must take care of our temple of the Holy Spirit, because our bodies are one of God’s greatest gifts to us,” he said.

McDonald solidified the idea of faith and fitness when he was a sophomore in college. While “going through a huge moment in my life, at the same time I was really learning about the gym and learning ethical statements on my own. Both things clicked together,” he told the Denver Catholic. As a young guy, he started bible studies, and in those studies, he always had an analogy back to the gym.

He decided to make shirts for him and the guys in the bible study during his senior year. The shirts ended up becoming good conversation starters, and he decided he needed to do something with it — evangelize and motivate others to take care of their body and soul.

Thus Swole.Catholic was born. “Swole” is a slang term for bulking one’s muscles up from going to the gym, and of course, the Catholic part is self-explanatory — not only because of the Church but also for our faith and how it defines us in all we do. Swole.Catholic launched officially in Jan 2017.

The ministry consists of a website which provides resources to helps people with Catholic gyms, Catholic workouts, Catholic trainers, podcasts as well as workout wear.

The workout wear works as an evangelization tool. The word “Catholic” is printed on the front of the shirts and a bible verse is placed on the back.

“This raises questions or interest in others. It also works as a reminder of the purpose of the workout,” McDonald said. He added, “Most of the gyms we are going to have mirrors and all that, making you focus into yourself.” But the real purpose of the workout, as the members of Swole.Catholic say, is to strengthen your body and soul to live a healthy life.

Swole.Catholic also has rosary bands, a simple decade wrist band that people can wear while they workout and be flipped off at any time to pray a quick decade.

“Because everyone’s faith journey is different and everyone’s fitness journey is different, what we are trying to do is connect people with people [for them] to be able to have the correct support with their faith and fitness,” McDonald said.

That is why Swole.Catholic now has outposts around the country, with passionate Catholic members who love to help and inspire others in the fitness world while pursuing God in everything they do.

“Each one has its own flavor,” McDonald said. “In Florida we have a rosary run group where a bunch of girls meet up and pray rosary while they go for a run.” Among the outposts, there is also a group of guys in North Dakota who do a bible study and lift together. Similar to these two groups, members from other states have formed their own Catholic fitness groups and are now part of Swole.Catholic, including in Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Wyoming and more.

“We encourage faithful fitness,” McDonald concluded. “We think your fitness fits in your faith as much as faith fits in your fitness. We are body and soul and we need to be building both.”

To join a group or a workout, visit swolecatholic.com or find them on Facebook.