VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Is the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist a convention or a fact?
Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the Pope’s vicar general for Vatican City State, has asked himself this question and responds in this interview, which comes as the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist draws to a close this Sunday.
“Some years ago, I published an investigation on Eucharistic miracles,” he says. “To my surprise, I received a letter that challenged the documents collected, stating that the phenomenon of the Eucharistic Blood was the fruit of a naive age. …
“This affirmation made me suffer, and the reason was very simple: It wasn’t so, and the facts speak unequivocally.”
Q: What do you think of the accusation of obscurantism leveled against those who have devotion to the Eucharist?
Archbishop Comastri: Much more than being important, devotion to the Eucharist cannot be omitted. There is no Church if there is no Eucharist.
Moreover, we must not pay attention to what the newspapers write or what the first person we meet thinks.<br>
We must listen to Jesus who has endowed the Church with the Eucharist as the greatest gift of this time of pilgrimage toward eternity, toward the new heavens and the new earth.
Jesus waited for the most overwhelming moment, when he was preparing to ascend the cross, to go to Calvary, the moment of greatest love.
In that moment, Jesus put in the hands of the apostles this enormous gift, in which he enclosed the act of love which is the root of the whole of salvation that exists in history; because the Eucharist is not an alternative to the cross; the Eucharist is the cross present in history.
It is the cross that, by a miracle that only God can bring about, is present throughout time, is broken in time, is present in time and saves it.
As believers, we understand these things immediately. What do we need other than the cross of Christ? What can save us other than the cross of Christ? Who can liberate us other than Jesus Christ?
In the Eucharist, that salvific act is present, which is the greatest good, the only true good in the history of humanity.
Q: What can you say about the Eucharistic miracles? Are they proofs for people of little faith?
Archbishop Comastri: Precisely because the Eucharist is the most precious gift, many miracles occur around it because of God’s mercy. The Eucharist is the presence of Christ the Savior. I would be surprised if miracles didn’t occur.
The greatest miracles are those of conversion, of the change of heart, of the healing of despair. Great miracles happen in persons who come into contact with the Eucharist.
Together with this, in his mercy the Lord wills to create, to effect other miracles that confirm us in the faith and make us understand that Jesus’ words are absolutely true.
There have been very many Eucharistic miracles. For example, Marthe Robin, a living Eucharistic miracle, was nourished for more than 40 years only by the Eucharist. Theresa Neumann, in Germany, was nourished for more than 36 years only by the Eucharist.
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was a man who had the miracle of the Eucharist imprinted on his body. It could be said that in his body was reflected, as in a mirror, the mystery that he celebrated on the altar, in order to say: “Believe in what is happening” — just to cite three great contemporary miracles, but there are very many.
The problem is that many don’t have the humility to look at the facts, to bow before history and to face these miracles.
Blaise Pascal was right when he said: “There is enough light in the world for those who want to believe, but enough shadow for those who do not want to believe.”
The responsibility lies in not wanting to see, because the Eucharist is full of light, and if one wants to see, if one wants to open one’s eyes and accept the light, one cannot avoid falling on one’s knees and giving thanks to God.