Dear Brothers and Sisters,
One day many years ago, in a little town in Luxembourg, a Captain of the Forest Guards was in deep conversation with the butcher when an elderly woman entered the shop. The butcher broke off the conversation to ask the old woman what she wanted. She had come to beg for a little meat but had no money. The Captain was amused at the woman and the butcher. “Only a little meat, but how much are you going to give her?”, he wondered. “I am sorry I have no money but I’ll hear Mass for you,” the woman told the butcher. Both the butcher and the Captain were indifferent about religion, so they at once began to scoff at the old woman’s idea. “All right then,” said the butcher. “You go and hear Mass for me and when you come back I’ll give you as much as the Mass is worth.” The woman left the shop and returned later. She approached the counter and the butcher said. “All right then, we’ll see.” He took a slip of paper and wrote on it “I heard a Mass for you.” He placed the paper on the scales and a tiny bone on the other side, but nothing happened. Next he placed a piece of meat instead of the bone, but still the paper proved heavier. Both men were beginning to feel ashamed of their mockery but continued their game. A large piece of meat was placed on the balance, but still the paper held its own. The butcher, exasperated, examined the scales but found they were alright. “What do you want my good woman? Must I give you a whole leg of mutton?” At this he placed the leg of mutton on the balance, but the paper outweighed the meat. A larger piece of meat was put on, but again the weight remained on the side of the paper. This so impressed the butcher that he was converted and promised to give the woman her daily ration of meat. As for the Captain, he left the shop a changed man and became an ardent lover of daily Mass. Two of his sons became priests, one a Jesuit and the other a Father of the Sacred Heart. Father Stanislaus finished the story by saying to an elderly nun, “I am a priest, and the Captain was my father.” From this incident the Captain became a daily Mass attendant and his children were trained to follow his example. Later, when his sons became priests, he advised them to say Mass well every day and never miss the Sacrifice of the Mass through any fault of their own.
There are also many Eucharistic miracles in the history of the Church. One of them was when a priest who was having his doubts about his vocation in 1263 and made a pilgrimage to Rome and when he stopped 70 miles north of the city, he said Mass and the host started to bleed and blood dropped on the cloth on the altar, called the corporal. This priest brought it to the Cathedral of Orvieto and this corporal with the blood remains there today. The following year, 1264, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus, today’s feast. The Pope asked St. Thomas Aquinas, living at that time, to write hymns for the feast and he wrote two, which are very well known to many Catholics, the Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris. A few years ago we took 100 youth to that beautiful city in Italy and I had the privilege of seeing this blood stained cloth.
Often the difficulties we experience in life can lead us to God. He allows us to experience the desert so that we can find him, or at least have the desire to look for him. Be patient when these troubles come along and pray that we God gives us faith to see them as a gift, not as a punishment, not as a curse. Who is the one who treats us badly? It is not God. It is the Evil One who says, you will never change, God has forgotten about you, your life is a mess, he is punishing you. God says the opposite: I love you, I forgive you, I have something beautiful for you!
Where there is a Christian, there is Christ. A Christian makes Christ present for the world, for those around him. My flesh is the life for the world. The Eucharist is the true Bread of Life, not money or beauty or success or sex. These are all passing. Sickness will take it away; all the things you worry about are passing. The important point is that you be the Body of Christ for others. When your spouse or a friend insults you or ridicules you and you take it, you are the Body of Christ. You are making Christ present to the world. When your kids are making a mess and you react calmly with faith, you are making Christ present to those around you. How is the one who never goes to church, or doesn’t believe in the Eucharist, or the forgiveness of sins, how are they to see Christ? Only through you, when you are being killed and you react with love. God is the only one who can change your heart, and the heart of your spouse or friend. With cancer or with no money, you can live in peace. Christ gives himself to us today, and everyday, in the Eucharist to feed and sustain us. Now that the coronavirus is under control, don’t miss the opportunity that you have to attend Mass often, and to receive the Eucharist. God will give you peace.