See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Miraculo! Miraculo!



It could happen.
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With the secular press now reporting on it, I guess it is safe to mention there just might be a Eucharistic miracle that took place in South St. Paul not too long ago.  It's currently under investigation by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.
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Story. 
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The mystery centers on a consecrated host that the Rev. John Echert of St. Augustine Church said fell to the floor last month during Holy Communion and turned "blood red" after being placed in a cup filled with water. It has yet to fully dissolve, he said.
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"It was notable enough that, clearly, it was some phenomenon and not the ordinary way in which a host would dissolve...that we're familiar with," Echert said.

The archdiocese, which now has the host, is taking a "very cautious stance on the matter," spokesman Dennis McGrath said.

"I make no claims, and the archdiocese makes no claims, as to the likelihood of this being supernatural," Echert said. "But it is enough of a phenomenon, or unusual, that we will continue to examine this host."
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He added: "I've never in my 24 years as a priest seen or been aware of a phenomenon where a consecrated host placed in water turns to this bright-colored red and continues in what I would call the blood-red color."

Word of the wondrous wafer eventually landed on several Catholic websites and blogs, sparking discussion and conjecture by some that it resembles the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. Others suggest a bacterium may be the cause. - TwinCities.com
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The photos.
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I looked closely at some photos of the remains of the consecrated host a friend sent me, and I was impressed by what I saw.   On closer examination of the above photo, the 'bloodied' portion resembles a heart surmounted by what appears to be a small cross.  Of course, believers know a miracle takes place at every consecration at every single Mass, and that when they communicate they receive the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the real miracle of the Eucharist which takes place daily around the world. 
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If the situation discovered at St. Augustine's is determined to be miraculous, it will be for the glory of God, the edification of the faithful, and a sign to strengthen the faith of those who doubt or disbelieve the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.  For it to be authentic, it would seem to me the elements would have to remain stable and insoluble, or at least be shown to be consistent with human tissue and blood.  I don't know the discernment process of course, but that is why diocesan authority has to finally rule and define what has actually taken place. 
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The anti-Catholic angle.
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Oddly enough a couple of people have already cried fowl on the secular media because of how they have written about the possible 'miracle'.  Believers themselves can maintain skepticism and reserve without incurring sin, thus one ought not to expect too much from secular non-believers.  One particular criticism I encountered seems to be focused upon the photograph I've shown here of Fr. Echert.  Unflattering as the photo may be, I see nothing anti-Catholic in the article I linked to, nor in the photo.  Echert actually looks like that.  Reason enough not to let one's self be photographed for any purpose.  - yet I doubt the intention was anti-Catholic.

13 comments:

  1. You'd have to be chicken to cry fowl on this.

    ;)

    I see nothing wrong with the photo either. In fact, I barely noticed the priest - I just noticed what a lovely church he was standing in.

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  2. Well, he does appear to be rolling his eyes. Probably from having to explain to skeptics that the host really is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.

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  3. "Of course, believers know a miracle takes place at every consecration at every single Mass, and that when they communicate they receive the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the real miracle of the Eucharist which takes place daily around the world. "
    You said it all right there.
    If there is, or isn't, an additional miracle here, it's all good.

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  4. My computer won't take me to the Twin Cities Link. From the little I remember of microbiology, the only "red" bacteria I saw was a specially created medium called blood agar which was used to help differentiate strains of strep.

    If this was the result of bacteria forming from the breakdown of the accidents of bread remaining after consecration, I'm pretty sure the result would be black and resemble mold, not red, particularly a red like this. Maybe it's a reminder to all those who take the Sacred Mysteries casually and for granted, including the two priests I encountered this week, just Who is present in the Blessed Sacrament.

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  5. Actually there is a common bacterium, serratia marcescens, which is this color. As I understand it, this host had been placed in a bowl of water, which is a usual practice of taking care of a host which has been dropped; when it no longer has the appearance of bread, then it is poured down the sacrarium. This bacterium grows in wet conditions, it is found everywhere; I have seen it myself when I keep something in the fridge too long.
    Not saying that is or isn't what happened; just that it is a likely possibility.

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  6. I would trust anyone's recollection of micro more than my own, but I did find the following in Wikidpedia, of all places:

    "Because of its red pigmentation, caused by expression of the pigment prodigiosin,[13] and its ability to grow on bread, S. marcescens has been evoked as a naturalistic explanation of medieval accounts of the "miraculous" appearance of blood on the Eucharist that led to Pope Urban IV instituting the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1264. This followed celebration of a mass at Bolsena in 1263, led by a Bohemian priest who had doubts concerning transubstantiation, or the turning of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass. During the Mass, the Eucharist appeared to bleed and each time the priest wiped away the blood, more would appear. While it is possible that Serratia could generate a single appearance of red pigment, it is unclear how it could have generated more pigment after each wiping, leaving this proposed explanation open to doubt. This event is celebrated in a fresco in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, painted by Raphael.[14]"

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  7. Thanks Little Way and Melody.

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  8. Melody is a scientist, and I appreciate her perspective. She said it best when she said, "If there is, or isn't, an additional miracle here, it's all good."

    Amen.

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  9. I'm not so sure that if this supernatural occurence is verified that some Protestants will see it as a reason to believe. Rather, I think they'll just chalk it up to diabolical influence, seeing as the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon and all.

    Their loss.

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  10. Austringer1:23 AM

    I don't see anything unflattering in the photograph of Fr. Echert. As you say, he does look like that, and my bet is that the photographer was struck by the beautiful sanctuary and was simply trying to include the sweep of those little alcoves (windows, perhaps, in the past?). If I am remembering correctly, the mosaics or paintings in those alcoves symbolically depict the sacraments -- but it's been a few years since I've been there so maybe I'm misremembering.

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  11. Austringer - see that is what I thought. I'm also convinced Fr. E is the furthest thing from a vain man anyone can get - I'm sure he could care less about how he looks in photos. He's a good guy.

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  12. What's wrong with how he looks?

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  13. Anonymous9:15 PM

    It's no miracle. That uberConservative priest (he is!) probably ginned it up. But maybe ol Neinsteddy can pull some strings and we'll have a good old fashioned miracle! A miracle would be a new priest for that poor parish.

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