Anger

Go Forward On Your Way

the-alps-3264223_1280

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

          St Margaret Mary is a saint I’ve become acquainted with only in recent years. I cannot recall exactly when, but I suspect it was since I began a sincere devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – for St Margaret Mary is the saint of the Sacred Heart.

          Since God sent her to be my friend, I’ve found that she comes just when I’m about to reach a fork in some road. And so it was this time too. She had come last week, on a very happy Friday, after I had an hours long call with my beloved godmother, talking, sharing and laughing over so many things. I had come out of that call suddenly aware that the deep drying out of my spirit had lifted and that I could feel and touch the sun~joys once more. Happy to be back to my old self, I was nevertheless visited by disquiet when I saw St Margaret Mary’s words,

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.

 

          Oh, what could she mean? I agonized. Incidentally, there had been a number of things we had been discussing as a family. Decisions were being made and we were weighing everything. But suddenly comes this,

Thus without reasoning or swerving…

          I was so very troubled. Were we wrong about the working decisions we had made? How could we have gone so wrong in discerning? What had we missed? Every time I pondered that together with St. Margaret Mary’s words, my anxiety deepened. Even as tickles and laughter found me, I remained afraid and troubled deep inside.

          Today, just after receiving some sweet news about work, just as I was about to celebrate it, the ground beneath me cracked open slightly with a shocking turn of events. I was cut to the core by what my government had done, by its cruel deceit. Once again, just as it had been with the defenseless old man’s death, anger and hurt found easy entry into my heart. I knew I had every right to be angry.

          But deep down, I also knew it wasn’t God’s way.

          So, I went before the Blessed Sacrament, and deep into Jesus’ Heart, I placed every thorn and wound, every fear and weight. I had barely begun when I sensed an unmistakable lightness. Where there had been a painful heaviness before, it was now light and quiet, swept clean. Greatly surprised at this, I instinctively sought out St. Margaret Mary’s words once more.

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.

          Suddenly, her words filled me with a deep peace! Where there was tension and anxiety before, now there was only relief and gentle quiet within me. I was stunned by the change. Over and over, I read the saint’s words. And then, I understood. Her words were meant for now, not last week.

 

Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.

They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.   ~  Luke 4: 24 – 30

 

          The mob will take us to the brow of the hill, they will move to hurl us down headlong. 

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.

          But by fixing our gaze upon God, in trust and in loving obedience to Him and only Him, without giving in to the mob, without attempting to engage with them, we will pass through the very midst of them.

          And we will go forward on our way.

 

Let Go and Let God

wind-1518441363255-8699.jpg

          In another stew yet again. I had, some weeks back, heard about Reparation Mondays – one Monday a month for 9 months – where the sufferings for that day were offered for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For some reason, I felt drawn towards it – although I have a great fear of suffering. And knowing just how bad my memory is getting, I figured why wait for a Monday every 9 months. Why not just offer every Monday up for reparation and get the 9 over with. And if God wants more than 9, well, ….well, I will try to obey.

          So, timidly, I offered up my first Monday. It turned out to be a rather rough day but I got through it without maiming anyone. After that was the next Monday – a rather tame affair.

          Then, came the next. A hit when I least expected it. And ensuing almighty stew of emotions.

          I struggled and struggled with myself over the bitter sting of unfairness. I tried to pray but my anger over what I had received was so great. Yet, cognizant of my sin, I kept returning to heaven’s door – anger in tow. Every time it surged, I buried it clumsily into the Holy Hearts.

          After several hours, Someone gently nudged Our Lady of Guadalupe towards me.

Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.  Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under My shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”       Our Lady’s words to Her servant Juan Diego in the 1531 Guadalupe, Mexico,  apparitions

 

          Are you not under My shadow and protection? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? 

          Still in the binds of anger, I beseeched Mother Mary, Take me under the folds of Your mantle. Bind my heart in Your mantle.

          And then, as an afterthought, knowing how intent I was on avenging the wrong done to me, I tacked on, Bind my tongue with Your mantle too.

          Much later, busy with dinner preparations, I slowly sensed the firestorm within abate. Not trusting myself, I continued speaking to God. I told him of my anger, my disappointment with the person who had hurt me. But I also told God I wanted to do His will. Or at least, a small part of me did.

          In the midst of cooking, I suddenly saw the words, Reparation Monday. It had slipped my mind completely. So, this was why it was so bad, I acknowledged. My suffering was needed someplace.

          What do You want me to do? I asked God again. I had a couple of plans lined up.

          I heard the softest whisper,

Let Go and Let God.

          I felt the fight go out of me.

 

 

 

 

The King’s Poverty

the-mechanical-arm-of-a-specialized-bark-removing-machine-strips-the-bark-from-a-freshly-chopped-tree-trunk-in-a-forest_rof-izjpwe_thumbnail-full01.png

          Since the tumble of hard days in weeks past, a gent~ling came to my days, a respite I was much thankful for. Things that needed to get done – did, and the tightness that bound so many hours before, loosened its grip.

          But not for long, yet again. Another storm hit out of nowhere and I lost my footing once more.

          At work, in a workstation reorganization conducted by a junior co-worker not overly endowed with much commonsense, I lost the space I had had for many years. Granted, it was not the most comfortable of crannies to begin with, but it had given me some measure of privacy and I had made the most out of it, over the years, creating a workspace that worked for me.

          But within a single day, despite all precautions taken, I got pushed out into the open. If before this, I was on the sidewalk, now I was right in the middle of office traffic. Gone was my little crook of privacy, gone was the little bit of sky I had. People brushed right against my desk and happily trotted back and forth right behind me. The light behind me gifted me with its shadow as well as its glare, not to mention the heat from the open doors people can never remember to shut.

          In my younger days, I might have been able to take this in stride. But the day this happened, it was just one thing too much, and I keeled right over.

          My kids stared at me dumbfounded as I stormed and raged and then, cried into my soup at dinner that night. I couldn’t bear the look in their eyes but I couldn’t rise above my anger and frustration either.

          Later, in an ill-timed phone conversation with a friend from work who was also upset over the changes, I let my anger get ahead of me again. I spoke ill of that co-worker and my words were harsh.

          All through the journey to church for Mass the next day, I sure had God by His ear. The year was already proving to be so much harder than I felt I could bear, and here, was yet another avalanche I was ill-prepared for. I felt God was unfair and I let Him know it. Why? Why? Why? I asked Him.

          By the time I got to the church, I had a prayer~cart filled to the brim with hurt and recriminations and bewilderment. This time, there was no one else’s need in my heart; it was filled with me. I went before the Divine Mercy image and tipped my prayer~cart over.

          Then, almost as a grudging afterthought, I felt I needed to make a stab at humility. But I felt no remorse over my anger. So, I made a clean breast of it to Jesus. I want to repent but I have no remorse, Lord, I said. I’m sorry, I added.

          Sitting back in my seat, I was about to go over my prayer to see if I had left anything out.

          Suddenly, I saw my prayers lifted away, and something new take its place. My heart was suddenly claimed by a strong desire to be punished. I stared dumbfounded at my heart. Nothing else mattered in that instant except that I receive the lash for calumny against my co-worker.

          Closing my eyes shut, I tossed aside every concern. I found myself praying that God give me what I deserved. All I wanted was that my soul be right.

          About to deepen that prayer some more, again, I sensed yet another change – even that prayer was lifted away from my reach! However hard I tried, I could no longer find that prayer, – or even any of the others – I had brought before the Divine Mercy.

          I knew then that something was at work. I decided to let God take charge. I sat back and opened St. Faustina’s Diary of My Soul, as I always do before Mass, to get my spirit lines in order before the Lord.

          Speak to me, Lord, even if don’t deserve to hear Your voice, I prayed. I need to understand why You allowed this to happen. St. Anthony of the Desert, one of the Desert Fathers, had made my acquaintance a few days before, and I sought his aid as well in those brief minutes before Mass began.

          Then, like so many times before, it happened. My eyes were taken to an entry:

          Today, penetrate into the spirit of My poverty and arrange everything in such a way that the most destitute will have no reason to envy you. I find pleasure, not in large buildings and magnificent structures, but in a pure and humble heart.  ~ Entry 532, Divine Mercy In My Soul, St. Faustina Kowalska.

 

          Spirit of My poverty. My own spirit quietened before those words.

          I next saw St. Faustina’s reflection on Jesus’ words to her:

          I began to reflect on the spirit of poverty. I clearly saw that Jesus, although He is Lord of all things, possessed nothing. From a borrowed manger He went through life doing good to all, but Himself having no place to lay His head. And on the Cross, I see the summit of his poverty, for He does not even have a garment on Himself. ~ Entry 533, Divine Mercy In My Soul, St. Faustina Kowalska.

          Borrowed manger. Not even a garment on the Cross. And here I was, turning the world upside down over a workstation moved 3 feet in the wrong direction.

          But I was not filled with remorse as I anticipated, as I had hoped.

          Instead, my entire being was now flooded with a surge of strength at the words, Penetrate into the spirit of My Poverty. Once more, it was no longer Jesus’ words to St. Faustina; they were Jesus’ words to me. I turned back to my hurt and applied His words to the situation. I grimaced at the uncovering of the wound again. Not surprisingly, the pain still remained. I was not healed of it. But I had a calm certainty that God wanted the pain to remain in place as a misted grace to suffer for Jesus.

          No bargaining did I enter into. No backing away either. I gave my heart over to His poverty of Spirit, every crease and fold of it.

          At work the next day, the pain and anger lay in wait, their traps set in readiness. My triumphant co-worker did not make my adjustment any easier. All through the day, I had to fight myself and bite back words that begged release. I clung to my promise to penetrate into the Poverty of Jesus and I clung with all my might.

          Because all the King had was a borrowed manger and no garment even on the Cross.

 

 

 

 

When the Seas Wild

Storm_wallpaper19.jpg

Those pursuing the spiritual way must always keep the mind free from agitation in order that the intellect, as it discriminates among the thoughts that pass through the mind, may store in the treasuries of its memory those thoughts which are good and have been sent by God, while casting out those which are evil and come from the devil. When the sea is calm, fishermen can scan its depths and therefore hardly any creature moving in the water escapes their notice. But when the sea is disturbed by the winds, it hides beneath its turbid and agitated waves what it was happy to reveal when it was smiling and calm; and then the fishermen’s skill and cunning prove vain. The same thing happens with the contemplative power of the intellect, especially when it is unjust anger which disturbs the depths of the soul. ~ St. Diadochos of Photiki

         

          This was a week of struggling with spots of red anger, but yesterday, the ante was upped. My children told me of a hurt caused by a teacher, and it roused my anger against her. It was not the first time this woman had strayed into personal territory. The hurt this time was a culmination of thorns she had glibly sown in my heart, and last night, it was one thorn too many.

          I decided it was time to deal with her. To give her a memory she would never forget. So, I plotted. I planned the words.

          Then, I recalled the word: ECLIPSE.

          We had just passed one of the greatest events of our lifetime, the Total Solar Eclipse of the US. I had clearly been told by God that the actual event itself held no spiritual weight for me. But in the throes of flaming anger, when I put my rebelling heart at the feet of God, God bade me recall the word, ECLIPSE.

          Then, He stepped back. No comfort. No other word. No direction. Just ECLIPSE.

          I didn’t need to be told what to do because I knew what God wanted of me. I also knew He was not going to push me towards that decision. I had to go to it of my own accord.

          So, I left my mutinous heart hell bent on revenge, and dragged my resisting mind to ECLIPSE. Clumsily, I fashioned a prayer from ECLIPSE for my anger:

Grant me the grace to love this Cross. Give me a Love that eclipses all.

          My mind sought to follow the path of my heart’s desire to vent the anger that bubbled black from its wellsprings. So, it had to be lashed to the prayer because my mind had no interest whatsoever in the prayer. 

          Over and over, alone and woven through the Rosary,

Grant me the grace to love this Cross. Give me a Love that eclipses all.

          I awakened today to a gentle rain that softly pearled the morning air. As I rested my heart against the rain~diamonds that sequined the leaves and boughs, the skies’ tears gently flowed into my spirit. Quietly the streams slipped in and smoothed its silver cold over seas whipped wild by the trouble~winds.

          No trace of the night’s fires remained. I was clothed in calm.

          The trouble~winds sent back to their pits, I went before God. I realized I could now place wounds and wound-ers into His Wounds.

         Then, He spoke. Words for me. Words for my family.

          And I heard Him. I heard every still and little whisper.

 

 

 

 

Lent 9 ~ St Basil’s Prayer

big_thumb_91ed21b0056354ad88710f3e941d70a4

Steer the ship of my life, good Lord,
to Your quiet harbour,
where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict.
Show me the course I should take.
Renew in me the gift of discernment,
so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go.
And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course,
even when the sea is rough and the waves are high,
knowing that through enduring hardship and danger,
in Your name, we shall find comfort and peace.

 

 

Lent 8 ~ Seeking Power

          Today, I was forced to face someone who had physically hurt one of my children last year. I was speaking to a friend when this man rudely butted into our conversation, to ask my friend something. He left shortly after.

          And I was left to choose whether to flee to the mountains of prayer, or to remain on the plains of anger and dislike.

         Oh, I chose the mountains, alright, but I also spent the rest of the day’s hours in a mildly unpleasant catapult-cycle, going back and forth from the mountains to the plains.

          The anger wasn’t as potent as before – when he had hurt my child – I have the Hail Mary prayer to thank for that. Nevertheless, the anger was there, like a dark shadow by the sidelines, waiting for the right moment to uncoil its tentacles into me. The moment that man showed his disdain for me through his rudeness and arrogance, I knew what was coming for me.

          It was a pot-on-a-fire situation I wanted to avoid at all costs.

          I could not escape entirely. In any hurt, my tendency to seek the blackfires of anger and vengeance is my thorn in the flesh. It is a constant battle I am seldom free from. Today was no different.

          And yet, different it was.

          In many unguarded moments today, when I allowed the fiery darts to penetrate my spirit, they felt like they were falling onto wet moss. They couldn’t light the fires they usually do. Still, I would give anything to have an impenetrable shield. To not ever be troubled by these poisoned nibs fashioned out of my own weaknesses.

          But till that day of glory comes, I will struggle on. I am not alone, though. I have the Army of the Rosary behind me and before me. It is up to me to seek its power.

          And seek it I must. On bended knee, with contrite spirit and steadfast heart.

Lines in the Sands

sand

          Wary of what a Saturday can bring, after the experience of the previous weeks, I greeted the morning of the new day reluctantly. I looked out at the dark sky, still blanketed in the purple~blue of a sleeping night, and a lone star chimed its flickering light at me.

          I thought of my youngest children and our present struggles with the school head, which began in January. New to her position in the school, from the first day of school, the woman had introduced a new rule: every time a child ran back to the class after the midmorning break, the whole class would be caned – as a deterrent and a warning to both offender and would-be-offender, and an exhortation to students to correct their classmates and stop them from….running. As parents we immediately protested against the unfairness, stupidity and cruelty of such a rule, but we were ignored. Then, my husband and I sat down to draft complaint letters to the relevant education and Union authorities. It didn’t go well. We found ourselves in a Babel situation, both of us misunderstanding each other on certain points. Frustrated and angry, the final draft of the letter was a mess of facts and hurt and pleas.

          A few days after that, I received a Word, that our actions were wrong – because they were motivated by wild anger against this head of the school.

          And by an unspoken desire to hurt her back as much as possible for hurting our innocent children.

          When this happened, I had been reading my friend’s book~gift, Left To Tell, by Rwandan genocide survivor, Immaculée Ilibagiza, and I felt God speak through the words in the book – to take our pain to prayer, and to let the power of God work through the prayers to distill our actions of the sin of anger and revenge. We reluctantly acquiesced and for a few weeks, every thing quieted down.

          But on Friday, the downcast wee faces were the first indication it had begun again.

          And this morning, staring at the new Saturday sky, I began to feel the familiar wellings of anger.

          But something had changed. There seemed to be something holding down my anger, like a Hand held up against the inevitable red tide because our defenseless little ones were hurt. Despite the dark welter of emotions I knew I had stocked somewhere, revisiting the Sodom and Gomorrah of my wounded-ness was no longer an option.

          Into Your Hands I commend my spirit. Not trusting myself, I nevertheless prayed my spirit into heavenly safekeeping. Then, I hunted for a Novena to God the Father. I wanted to place our family’s wounds into our Heavenly Father’s Hands and to seek His help. It was dark and we needed the Light more than ever now.

          I found the prayers and sank my heart desperately into them, burying our family’s wounds and wills into the word~vessels, willing them into the refuge of the Heart of the Father.

          Then, I prayed a prayer I did not in the least want to: Father, You love this woman who is hurting our children; please help us to love her too.

          I badly longed for a tender sign that He knew how much it had cost me to pray this. I wanted my Father’s comfort to tell me all would be well now.

          But there was none.

          I moved on.

          And suddenly felt myself plucked off my intended path by Our Lady of Fatima, and taken to the most unlikely of places: Ancient Eucharistic Miracles.

          The stories of those miracles were so removed from what I was going through. I didn’t see the connection, I still don’t. And yet, they shook me to the core. I knew it was by no accident that I was taken to read of these particular Miracles that happened hundreds of years ago, miracles I had never before heard.

          Miracles wrought by Sacrilege redeemed and purified through repentance.

          After I read them, I spent the hours in prayer even as I worked around the house. I beseeched heaven for discernment. I knew it was no coincidence that I was led to read about those miracles – I clearly felt the Hand of God taking me to them.

          I didn’t understand why, yet, yearned to. While the younger children wreathed the home in laughter and giggles, I prayed to understand why those Eucharistic Miracles were so important, and I also prayed for the solution to my children’s school problem.

          And then, I tacked on, Lord, Tell me what to do.

          In the afternoon hours of rain~misted breezes, I received a reply that seemingly contained no answers. It was from St Pio, and he told me, Go Ahead.

          God has drawn lines in the sands. They form a path, with signposts I do not yet see. I understand none of this- what they portend, where they lead to.

          But I know what I have to do.

          So, here they are, those 4 Eucharistic Miracles I was taken to after I put my heart into God’s. Miracles that transformed the sin to Good, from Glenn Dallaire’s website, Miracles of the Church:

Three extraordinary miracles of the Eucharist – Santarem, Amsterdam & Offida

The miracle of the Eucharist in Santarem, Portugal (1225) -An ongoing miracle
Around the year 1225 there was a woman living in Santarem, who was very unhappy with her marriage. She was convinced that her husband did not love her, and was unfaithful. She initially tried numerous things to win back the affection of her husband, but to no avail. As a desperate last attempt, she went to a sorceress. The sorceress promised the wife that her husband would return to his loving ways, if the wife would bring her a Consecrated Host.

This of course greatly frightened the woman, because she knew it was sacrilege, but nevertheless she finally gave in. She went to Mass at the Church of St. Steven, and received Communion, but did not consume the Host. Instead, she left the Church immediately, and took the Host out of her mouth, putting It into her veil. She then went to the sorceress.

Along the way, the Host began to bleed inside the veil. The wife was not aware of it until passersby brought it to her attention, thinking she herself was bleeding. Panic struck the woman and instead of going to the sorceress’ house, she rushed home. She then put the bloody veil containing the Host into the bottom of a trunk, not knowing what else to do. When her husband came home, she said nothing.

Later in the night they were awakened by mysterious bright rays of light coming from the trunk, penetrating the wood and illuminating the entire room. The wife then confessed her sin to her husband and both of them knelt in adoration for the remaining hours until dawn, when the parish priest was summoned.

News of the mysterious event spread quickly and attracted countless people who wanted to contemplate the miracle. Because of the furor, an episcopal Church investigation was promptly organized.

A miracle upon a miracle
The bloody Host was taken in procession to the Church of St. Stephen, where it was encased in wax (to contain the blood and the Host) and secured in the tabernacle. Some time later when the tabernacle was opened, another miracle was discovered. The wax that had encased the Host was found broken into pieces, and the Host was found miraculously enclosed in a crystal pyx, along with the precious Blood. This was later placed in a gold and silver pear-shaped monstrance with a “sunburst” of 33 rays, in which it is still contained today.

After the investigation and approval by the Church authorities, the Church of St. Stephen was renamed “The Church of the Holy Miracle.” The little house where the miracle occurred was on Via delle Stuoie in Santarem.

From the time of the miracle until now, every year, on the Second Sunday of April, the incident is re-enacted by local actors. The actual Eucharistic Miracle is processed from the house, which was converted into a Chapel in 1684, to the Church. Miraculously, after 750 years, the precious blood still remains in liquid form, defying the natural laws of science. The Host is somewhat irregularly shaped, resembling real flesh with delicate veins running from top to bottom, where a quantity of blood is collected in the crystal.

The miracle of the Eucharist in Amsterdam (1345) –Thrown into a fire, the Eucharist miraculously is not burned

In 1345, Amsterdam was a tiny fishing village consisting of four streets and a few alleys lined up along the main canal. There were small modest fishermen’s huts, a church, and a monastery. The monastery was the largest building in the city. The Eucharistic Miracle given to this tiny village on March 13, 1345, was the beginning of the growth for which Amsterdam is now famous. In fact, on the 600th anniversary of the miracle, March 13, 1945, the Dutch Catholics attributed all the growth and progress of their city to the Eucharistic Miracle which we will now present.

The Eucharistic miracle occurred in a house on Kalverstreet where a fisherman named Ysbrant Dommer on his deathbed called for a priest to come to his home to give him the last rites of the Church and Holy Communion. After having heard the man’s confession, the priest blessed him with the oils of Extreme Unction, and gave him Communion.

The priest had no sooner left than the sick man began coughing violently. His wife ran over to him in an effort to help him, but the husband, gagging and choking beyond control, vomited the contents of his stomach, including the Host, still intact. The wife reacted instinctively. She swept up the Host and threw It into the fireplace. She soon realized her grave mistake, but the fire was raging, and she was not about to put her hands into it for fear of burning herself. That night she slept fitfully, tossing and turning. She was afraid she had committed a terrible sin and had nightmares about the Sacred Host that she had thrown into the fire.

The following morning, as soon as she got out of bed, she went over to the fireplace. The fire was not extinguished yet, and the coals were still quite hot. She stoked the coals, looking for the Eucharist. To her amazement she suddenly saw the Host sitting atop a burning ember. It was not burned at all. It had not even turned color. The Host was fresh and brilliant, lying among the coals. She immediately snatched the Host from the fire, and carefully wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in a chest for safekeeping.

She then called the priest who had been to her house the previous night and told him the story. The priest then placed the Host into a pyx and washed the cloth in which it had been wrapped. He then carried the Host to the parish church of St. Nicholas. The priest thought it best not to tell anyone about the incident, so as not to stir up gossip involving the woman or her husband. He took the Host, wrapped in the cloth, and returned It to the church, where he placed It in the tabernacle.

The following morning, the priest found the pyx empty to his amazement, but the Host was soon discovered by the same woman when she opened the chest to remove some linens. She was stunned and confused as she knew the priest had taken It away the day before. Had she committed such a terrible sin, that the Lord brought back the proof to punish her with the sight of It? She ran to the Church, and explained what had happened to the priest. Again the priest placed the Eucharist into a pyx and returned it to the church. Then, after yet another disappearance and discovery, the priest contacted other members of the clergy for consultation. All agreed that the occurrences were a direct proof of God’s intercession, and apparently a sign that the miracle should be openly honored. Jesus wanted to use this miracle to awaken His sleeping people. The Miraculous Host was a light which was to shine all over Europe.

The priest told his fellow friars about the miracle, and the story of which soon spread about the town and the surrounding countryside. When the priest formed a procession to go to the fisherman’s house for the Sacred Host, a huge crowd followed him and his fellow priests. They carried the Sacred Host back to the church of St. Nicholas affording Our Lord the honor He deserved for giving such a rich gift to these humble people.

Another wonderful element to the story is that the fisherman who had been dying, the one whom the priest brought the Eucharist on that first night, didn’t die. To the contrary, he recovered, thanks be to God. However, when word of the miracle reached the ears of the townspeople, and those from other villages, they all went to the fisherman’s house to see where the miracle had taken place. It soon became sort of a shrine, and soon afterwards, a Chapel.

Official inquiries were made by the civil magistrate and also the city council, and upon investigation all were satisfied with the truthfulness of the witnesses. They affirmed the occurrence as fact and also endorsed the miracle in official City documents. The Church authorities, too, headed by the Bishop of Utrecht, held an extended inquiry before permitting the clergy to spread information about the event.

In a Pastoral letter, the Bishop officially declared that an authentic miracle had occurred in the little town of Amsterdam. In the same pastoral letter, he authorized veneration of the Eucharistic Miracle of the Host. The little house of the fisherman was soon converted into a Chapel, called Nieuwe Zijds, or Holy Place and the Miraculous Host was placed upon the main altar, for the adoration of the people. The fireplace of the fisherman’s hut was kept intact, and became a permanent part of the new shrine.

Miracle upon Miracle –The second miracle of 1452

A second miracle took place 100 years later. Amsterdam had grown considerably in the century since the first miracle had taken place. On May 24, 1452 the entire city of Amsterdam was engulfed in fire. Most of the buildings were destroyed by the blaze. When the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament (the former fisherman’s hut) caught fire, some of the parishioners made an at¬tempt to save the Miraculous Host from destruction by the flames. They tried to force open the tabernacle. The Host had been placed in a beautiful monstrance, which was inside the tabernacle. The heat of the Church was becoming unbearable. The workers worked feverishly, but to no avail. The heat of the fire had made it impossible to get the door open. As the roof of the Chapel began to cave in, the men ran out of the Church to safety, their mission a failure.

The entire Church collapsed and burned to the ground, including the tabernacle. Upon seeing this, there was a great sadness among the faithful of the city, especially those who had tried in vain to rescue the Eucharistic Miracle. The next day, they sifted through the ashes of the Church, hoping against hope, that something remained of their precious Host. Their grief turned to joy as soon they spotted the Monstrance, completely unscathed, there among the ashes of the Church. Even the silk veil which covered the Monstrance had been saved from the fire. So, once again the Lord saved the same Host from fire in the same house in Amsterdam.

Soon afterwards, a new chapel was built, more elaborate and more beautiful than the previous one. The fame of the Eucharistic Miracle of Amsterdam, now recognized as a twofold miracle, spread beyond the Netherlands to all of Europe. The Hapsburg Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Maxmillian, went to Amsterdam in pilgrimage to the Eucharistic Miracle. He prayed for a healing at the shrine, which was granted to him because of his faith. He showed his thanksgiving by donating beautiful gifts to the Chapel of the miracle. Amsterdam and the Eucharistic Miracle became a major place of pilgrimages and processions.

In 1665 the city council authorized Father Jan Van der Mey to convert one of the houses of the former convent of the Beghine into a chapel. After completion, the precious monstrance was transferred, but unfortunately was shortly afterwards taken by unknown thieves. Even today there is perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in memory of the miracle. The only objects that remain from the Eucharistic miracle are the case that contained the Sacred Host (pictured in the photo to the left), the documents that describe the miracle, and some paintings housed in the Historical Museum of Amsterdam. Every year there is a silent procession (Stille Omgang) in honor of the miracle on the eve of Palm Sunday.

The miracle of the Eucharist in Offida, Italy (1280) –The Story of Newlyweds, a Sorceress and a Mule.

The Eucharistic miracle of Offida actually took place in the city of Lanciano, the site of another extraordinary miracle not related to this one. This miracle, which is now kept in Offida some 60 miles north of Lanciano, occurred in 1273 to a newlywed couple named Ricciarella and Giacomo (James) Stasio, their mule, and a witch.

The Eucharistic miracle of Offida has similar beginnings to that of Santarem Portugal as they both involved wives who were seeking to get more love and affection from their husbands. Unfortunately the newlyweds marriage was not off to a very good start as Giacomo was not very affectionate towards his new bride. Ricciarella, the wife of Giacomo Stasio, was deeply afflicted by her unhappy marriage, and she tried everything possible to win the love of her husband. Finally someone suggested she seek the advice of a nearby sorceress. who claimed to know of a way for her to achieve the marriage that she desired. The sorceress gave Ricciarella the following advice for a “love potion”:

“Go to Communion, but don’t swallow the Host. Take it home, put it in the stove, and burn it. Take the ashes, and throw them into his wine or soup. Then let me know the effect. You’ll see that he will immediately become more affectionate and loving towards you”

This description of how her husband would react to the potion gave Ricciarella just the incentive she needed to justify committing this sacrilegious act. She knew, of course, that this was wrong, and how she must have wrestled with her conscience before she made the decision to perform this horrible act. Eventually she worked up the courage and she set out for the church to take part in the Holy Mass. In desperation for relief from her sad situation, Ricciarella received the Eucharist, and secretly let the Host fall from her mouth into the top of her dress. After taking it home she placed it on a coppo, which is a semi-circular tile. She then placed the tile over a fire. As soon as the sacred Host was heated, instead of turning into powder it began to turn into a piece of bloody flesh. Horrified at what was taking place, Ricciarella attempted to stop the process by throwing ashes and wax onto the tile, but without success. The tile soon bore a huge smear of blood, and the flesh remained perfectly sound and blood came forth from the Host turned flesh.

Understandably Ricciarella panicked. She didn’t know what to do. Frantic for a way to dispose of the evidence of her sacrilege, Ricciarella took a linen tablecloth decorated with silk embroidery and lace and wrapped it around the tile and the bloody Host. Carrying the bundle outside, she went to the stable and buried it in the place where garbage from the house and filth from the stalls were heaped.

When her husband returned home that evening accompanied by his work mule, he noticed that the mule was acting more stubborn than usual. The animal did not want to go into the stable. Giacomo tried pushing the mule, and then slapping him, all to no avail. Finally he got a whip and began beating the animal. The pain being more than the mule could endure, he reluctantly went into the barn, all the while staring at the dung heap. The animal fell prostrate near the dung heap, almost in a position of adoration.

The mule had never done such an extraordinary thing before and Giacomo knew for certain that something was causing this mysterious behavior in his mule. Giacomo then accused his wife of placing a spell on the stable that made the animal fearful of entering it. Ricciarella, of course, denied everything and remained silent about the cause of the difficulty.

For seven years the Blessed Sacrament remained hidden beneath the garbage, and for that period of time the mule and the other animals went in or out facing the dung heap, keeping their attention to the heap of refuse. For Ricciarella, this was the beginning of living hell. She felt great pangs of conscience for her sin. She came to realize more and more the seriousness and consequences of her actions. She was instead tormented day and night with remorse for her sin. Finally she decided to confess what she had done to a priest from the monastery of St. Agostino in Lanciano, Prior Giacomo Diotallevi, a native of Offida.

After Ricciarella confessed her grave sin to the priest, he accompanied her back to her home. They went into the stable, and dug through the dung which had accumu¬lated over the seven years. When the friar pulled the table cloth out, and uncovered it, he found that the contents of the tile, the bleeding Flesh and the Host, had remained incorrupt over the years.

He took the tile and the table cloth containing the Host with him and he returned to his monastery. Initially he told no one of the incident. Ricciarella was relieved because her scandal would not be spread all over the province, and her deteriorated relationship with her hus¬band would not worsen. No one is sure what the friar’s motives were but he wanted the Eucharistic Miracle taken away from Lanciano, that is known. Was it because he was sincerely afraid that if the miracle were revealed, Ricciarella would be implicated? Or did he want the glory of an incorrupt Eucharistic Miracle to be given to his home town Offida?

On a pretext, the Friar received permission from his superiors to leave the monastery. He left Lanciano in secrecy a few days later. He took the Sacred Host to a Fr. Michael Malli¬cani, who was the prior of the Augustinian monastery of Offida. Father Mallicani embraced the miracle as the property of Offida, and immediately created a sanctuary for It in that town. This was in the year 1280, seven years after Ricciarella had committed the Sacrilege.

Father Mallicani moved quickly. He and another friar went to Venice in the same year to have a beautiful reliquary built which was to become the home of the Eucharistic Miracle. They commissioned a silversmith to do the work under secrecy. For this reliquary a large amount of silver was donated and it was decided that the reliquary would be made in the shape of an artistic cross, and it was to contain not only the miraculous Host, but also a piece of wood from the true cross of Christ.

After he had finished the beautiful reliquary, and the priest had placed the Eucharistic Miracle inside, the friars left by boat to return to Offida. It was then that the silversmith decided to tell the local Duke of Venice what had transpired.

The Duke, anxious to get hold of a genuine Eucharistic Miracle for his own province, ordered a ship to intercept the one carrying the two friars back to Offida. But in the end it was the Lord who intercepted! As the Duke’s ship was about to overtake the friars, the Adriatic Sea became violent, allowing the friars to disembark at Ancona, and return safely to their monastery in Offida. The reliquary was installed in the Church in Offida and it remains there to this day. And so it is that today atop the main altar of the Sanctuary of Saint Augustine in Offida, also known as the Sanctuary of the Miraculous Eucharist, is found silver cross containing the miraculous Host. The tile on which Ricciarella heated the Host, still showing the smear and splotches of blood, is kept in a rectangular glass-sided case. The tablecloth in which the tile and the bloody Host were wrapped is also kept under glass. Paintings depicting the events of the miracle can also be found within the beautiful Church.

 

LENT 35 ~ Jesus Fought My Battle

St. Sebastian, St. Sebastian (41)[1]

          Yesterday, the Lord called me to a fast from anger.

          Never before have I felt such tenderness in a call. Never before have I found the firmness of will to obey. 

          The moment I sensed the call, there arose like mushrooms after the rain, endless pops of situations that tested my patience, and tempted me to anger. Seeing the end of Lent in sight, and not wanting to gift my Lord on Easter with the usual mess of red darts, I willfully chose to rest my heart and will in Jesus.

          And He fought my battles for me.

          I came to evening weary and listless from physical tiredness, but also with a relief that no one did I maim with my anger. Neither did it find a refuge within my soul in the sultry hours of yesterday.

          Because, for once, I fasted from myself and let my Jesus fight for me.

LENT 24 ~ Breath In The Shadows

xCBhr0uY7ttJY7yxGGd2dL31WNg7NimqqUo64e5IyFCUiIiSbp-Yzmytj05W8ZI9-hrb=h500[1]

          A saint loved by millions, it was only late last year that St Francis of Assisi came to mean something to me, as I wrote in Why Him and Call of the Blue King. I will forever remember him as the saint who led me to Our Lady of Guadalupe. And after that, he left.

          After a silence of three months, on Sunday, at Mass, I felt a quick but firm tug of spirit towards St Francis again. I should have been ecstatic, but instead took a deep breath in wariness. Since last year, I have come to learn that when he ‘appears’ to me, it always means – Quieten Down, Listen Up.

          Oh dear, I thought guiltily, I haven’t been good.

          I went towards him, Speak to me, St Francis, signaling my readiness to listen. And I trudged back to the sentry post I had deserted over much of the weekend.

          I didn’t have to wait long. St Francis spoke through a commenter’s sharing that her favourite book was The Little Flowers of St Francis of Assisi. I had never heard of it. But something about flowers and St Francis lit a burst of sudden joy within me. To feel this way for no discernible reason could only mean one thing, and one thing only: get the book.

          My first day on Little Flowers, expecting a downy pillow for my spirit, St Francis spoke with an unexpected firmness:

          Beware of being angry, as thou appearest to be; for anger woundeth the soul, preventing it from discerning the truth.  ~ The angel at the gate to Brother Elias, Little Flowers of St Francis of Assisi, Part 1, Chapter IV

          Having a low boiling point, anger is always a struggle for me. Of late, sensing something ahead but caught in a shifting fog, not being able to discern, I’ve been praying for discernment. The fog clears, but for a wee while, before it’s waved back again by some entity. I blamed my discernment blights on people, situations.

          Now I know the culprit by its name: ANGER. The red mist that blocks the light of discernment.

          Unseen hands continued to lead me on.

          …the pride of Brother Elias made him unworthy to converse with an angel  Little Flowers of St Francis of Assisi, Part 1, Chapter IV.

          I had hidden a yearning in the deepest folds of my heart:  to see and be able to speak to my angel. I spoke about it to no one. But it was brought to the light. And now, I am told in the silver lance of truth that my pride puts me in the shadows, away from the counsel of angels.

          The arrow has found its mark again….yet again. There’s a part of me that seeks breath in the shadows. It’s not a fight I can ever win on my own.

          For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on me and on the whole world.

LENT 19 ~ When The Red Goes

         branches-trees-sunrise-nature-thorns-hd-wallpaper[1]

          From my waking, all through to the waning hours of sunset, the gentle hymn, Bread of Life, played in my consciousness. I began my day in a cheery gentleness, with a skip in my step, but soon my blue-gold day was snagged by the thorns of difficult human behavior, and I had to bite down my anger and frustrations.

          I failed more than I succeeded because not once did I bring God into the redness of my day.

          Back home, I was safe from the stings of the workplace. Yet, I felt scratched. Not from the challenges of the day, but from the angry thoughts that I had allowed to nestle and burgeon unchecked within me. Anger was now gone, but for the hours it found a willing home in me, it left me a parting gift of sand in my wounds for my sinfulness.

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:9

          Sore. Nettled.

          So, this is what fool  feels like when the red of anger has gone, and the Holy Spirit vexed.

1. Bread of life and cup of hope,
we come as gift to you.
Change our hearts; fill us with peace.
Transform our lives anew.
Open our eyes so that we might see
your presence in one another.
Your life, poured out in love today,
unites us all in you.

2. Loving Lord, Creator God,
open our eyes to see
the good that lives in each of us,
that called the world to be.
And when we fail to see the good,
when friendships falter and crumble,
give us the courage to forgive
that we may live in peace.

3. Living Word, O Son of God,
your love shows us the way
that we may live in harmony,
and from you never stray.
Wipe all oppression from our midst;
give us a love for all people.
Your song of justice sing in us,
to live for peace today.

Savoring Sixty and Beyond

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16

Scraps of Joy

- a Joy infused view of the world

CatsinCambridge

Life with cats, and other things...

Oceans in the Desert

God saturates our desert places with the ocean of His love

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

Going Towards the Light

chopkins2x3

Life, love, photos, poetry, prayer,and personal musings: a bit of everything

rabbitpatchdiarycom

comfort and joy from my home to yours

Reflections from an Open Window

Linda Raha's Writing Corner

Muddling Through My Middle Age

Definitely older, possibly wiser....

Peaceful Heart, Open Mind

Going Towards the Light

The Breadbox Letters

Going Towards the Light

The Invisible Scar

raising awareness of emotional child abuse and offering hope for adult survivors

%d bloggers like this: