Each passing day of Advent marks another step towards the celebration of the day the world first received the gift of Jesus, our Savior. The Lord has been showing me how very similar are the steps I take up the church aisle each time I receive the Gift of Jesus in Holy Communion. He is showing me the reality that every single day is a Christ-Mass day!
My prayer this Advent season is “Teach me, Lord, to approach every Mass with the same expectant joy that I feel on Christmas!” The Lord has responded by asking me to gaze upon the Host. Gaze upon the chalice. Look beyond the appearance of bread and wine and to ponder the mystery that what I am actually gazing upon is the Heart of Jesus! God’s very heart, broken and given to me and to you.
His Living Heart
Hundreds of miracles involving the Eucharist have been documented and authenticated over the centuries. Two in particular give me major goosebumps, as they clearly reveal the mystery of God’s heart given in the bread and wine.
The first of these two occurred in 700 AD in Lanciano, Italy, and the second in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1996. In both instances a consecrated host took on the appearance of human flesh. The host in the Lanciano miracle has undergone numerous authentications. The last, in 1970, shows that the flesh is human heart tissue, is of the AB blood type, contains human DNA, and that the sample was taken from living tissue. The sample showed no decay or damage even though it was 1270 years old!
After the 1996 miracle, samples taken from a bloody host were tested at two independent labs: the San Francisco Forensic Institute and at Columbia University of New York by a world-renown cardiologist. Both tests concluded that the sample is of human heart muscle from the left ventricle, contains human DNA, is of the AB blood type, and contains numerous white blood cells, indicating that the heart was alive when the specimens were taken!
The sample from Buenos Aires when compared to a sample from Lanciano were found to contain the exact same DNA and the scientists concluded they were taken from the same person. The DNA matched – 1300 years later!
What we receive as Eucharist at every Mass is God’s Living Heart!
Steeped in Mystery
We want to tell Jesus that we accept his unmerited and unique visit, repeated all over the world, which is made even to us, to each one of us. We want to tell Him also that we feel amazed and unworthy. But we feel happy too – happy at what He has granted to us and to the world. And we want also very much to tell Him that such a great marvel does not leave us indifferent or unmoved; it does not leave us with a tenuous and wavering faith, but arouses in our hearts such a warmth of enthusiasm that it will never cease to burn. – Pope Paul VI
Receiving the Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist is a great and mysterious Gift to us! And our Lord wants us to know that we too are GIFT to Him. The Eucharist is a mutual giving and receiving. He loves us deeply and takes great delight in coming to us in the Eucharist. His heart’s desire is to be received into our hearts; to be welcomed with enthusiasm and expectant joy, just as we welcome Him on Christmas morning. The gift of the baby Jesus is only the beginning! And the gift-giving will never end! He gifts Himself to us at every Mass, one host at a time, one sip from the chalice. In every host and every sip exists the fullness of Jesus. He offers 100% of Himself to me at every single Mass! It is left to me to decide how much of His gift I will unwrap and receive.
Journey of Faith
My Advent journey will surely not take me through the hilly terrain and the arduous experience of winter in the Judean desert as Mary and Joseph’s Advent journey did.
But similar to their journey, I will be asked to see and experience the God of the universe coming to meet me wearing an unlikely disguise. Mary and Joseph met God as a vulnerable infant. You and I will meet God as a simple piece of unleavened bread. Impossible! No, actually. For nothing shall be impossible for the Lord your God. During Advent, God asks me to journey deeper, to step further into faith. To boldly give Him permission to remove my doubts and fears, and help me to look – to see Him – with the eyes of my heart.
O King of glory, though you hide your beauty, yet the eye of my soul rends the veil. I see the angelic choirs giving you honor without cease. – St. Faustina
Copyright 2019 De Yarrison