As I wrote in my last article, the US Catholic Conference of Bishops has officially inaugurated the National Eucharistic Revival, a three year grassroots effort taking place across America, with the aim of restoring the Eucharist as the center of our lives. The Revival calls for conversion not just from the “top down,” at the national, state, and county levels, but more particularly from the ‘bottom up,” in our neighborhoods, families and personally, individually, in the way each of us responds to the Heart of Jesus.
The Divine Heart
In fact, a good way of thinking about the Eucharist is by perceiving it as the Heart of Jesus, that divine heart beating at the center of the Church. In recent years, several miracles have attested to the fact that, indeed, the Eucharist is the very heart of Jesus, himself. One of the most complete Eucharistic miracles took place in Argentina in the late 1990s, when Pope Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
A host was discovered in the tabernacle of the Church of Santa Maria y Caballito Almagro which appeared to have changed into a piece of bloody tissue. A small part of the host was eventually sent to New York for analysis, without revealing the particulars of where it had come from, so as not to influence the results of the testing in any way. Cardiologist and forensic pathologist, Dr.Frederic Zugibe, testified that:
"The analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest." (emphasis mine)
This one host, miraculously changed, speaks volumes to us. First of all, it tells us that it is Jesus, acting as the heart, who supplies the blood to the entire body. In the ancient world, blood was seen as the sustaining principal of life, a mysterious force which somehow kept a person alive. Even today, we know that if one loses too much blood, life will eventually fade away. So, when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we are also receiving his very life, literally. Secondly, the tests showed that this piece of heart muscle showed signs of extreme stress. This implies a couple of things. Not only does it remind us of Jesus’ crucifixion, when we know he endured great suffering, but it also tells us that the Heart of Christ is still suffering today, right now. How do we know this? Because of the third finding - the sample was taken from a living heart. The Heart of Jesus is still suffering, and suffering greatly, today, in our time.
Other tests performed on recent Eucharistic miracles have revealed that the blood in this heart tissue is consistently the rare AB blood type, the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin, and DNA tests showed that half of Jesus’ chromosomes came from his mother, Mary.
What is Jesus Saying?
The abundance of Eucharistic miracles that have taken place in our times, some as recently as 2013, invite the question “What is Jesus saying?” What does he want us to understand from these miracles? The answer is pretty simple. In the Bible, Jesus performs miracles in order to show he is God, to prove that he is who he says he is. Because he is God, Jesus has power over nature, the ability to forgive sins and especially the ability to give health to the sick and life to the dead. So today, the Eucharistic miracles are telling us once again, Jesus is God. He is who he said he is and he is doing what he said he would do. He is again showing that he has power over nature, by transforming simple bread and wine into his body and blood, through which he can forgive sins and bring health to the sick and life to the dead. And just as the miracles in the Bible caused a reaction by the people who saw them, so too, the Eucharistic miracles are calling us to respond.
How Can We Respond?
We can respond to the call from the Heart of Christ through Prayer, Service and Learning. Sign up to be a Prayer Partner for the Eucharistic Revival. Serve by volunteering to help your parish or diocese host and promote the Eucharistic Revival. Finally, learn more about the Eucharist and the many Eucharistic miracles in our time. For more information about the findings of these miracles, consider purchasing the 2021 book A Cardiologist Examines Jesus: The Stunning Science Behind Eucharistic Miracles, written by cardiologist Dr. Franco Serafini, available through my blog. Just remember that how we respond to Jesus’ self-revelation is as important as what Jesus is doing. Jesus' miracles are always an invitation, just as much as they are a revelation.
Blessed Carlo Acutis, patron saint of the Eucharistic Revival, pray for us!