Sacred Heart School
Reflection for High School Students during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
October 8, 2018
The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy
In the 700s, in the town of Lanciano, located southeast of Rome, some monks of had established a monastery under the patronage of St. Longinus, traditionally believed to be the centurion at the crucifixion who proclaimed, “Truly, this was the Son of God” (Mt 27:54) and pierced the side of our Lord with his lance (Jn 19:34).
One day, a certain monk was offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He was versed in the sciences of the world and had had been plagued by doubts about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist: he agonized over whether the bread and wine actually changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord at the words of consecration, and whether our Lord was truly present in the Holy Eucharist.
This time, when the monk pronounced the words of consecration, the host was miraculously changed into flesh and the wine into blood. The monk was awestruck. Weeping joyously, he regained his composure. He called the congregation around the altar and said, “O fortunate witnesses, to whom the Blessed God, to confound my unbelief, has wished to reveal Himself visible to our eyes! Come, brethren, and marvel at our God, so close to us. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our Most Beloved Christ.” Those who witnessed the miracle soon spread the news throughout the surrounding area.
Shortly after the occurrence, the Blood coagulated into five globs of different sizes, but the Flesh remained the same. The archbishop ordered an investigation. The testimony of witnesses was recorded. The Flesh and Blood appeared to be human flesh and blood. The archbishop sent a scale for the weighing of the globs: each individual glob weighed the same as the other individual ones (although different in size) or as all five together or as any other combination. Eventually, the Flesh and the globs of Blood were placed in a special reliquary, but were not sealed. Church authorities certified the miracle.
Since the first basic investigation, the Church has permitted other studies on the relics. In 1574, Msgr. Rodrigues once again weighed the five globs of Blood in the presence of witnesses and arrived at the same conclusion. Eight eight centuries had passed and no visible sign of deterioration had taken place.
The most thorough study occurred in 1970-71, less than 50 years ago. Pope Paul VI permitted a series of scientific studies on the precious relics to verify their nature. Dr. Odoardo Linoli, professor of anatomy and pathological histology, chemistry and clinical microscopy, and head physician of the hospital of Arezzo, conducted the study. He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, professor emeritus of human anatomy at the University of Siena. The analyses were performed in accord with scientific standards and documented, and Dr. Bertelli independently corroborated Dr. Linolis findings. In 1981, using more advanced medical technology, Dr. Linoli conducted a second histological study; he not only confirmed the findings but also gathered new information.
The major findings from this research include the following:
- The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
- The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
- The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
- In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium (heart wall), the endocardium (membrane of tissue lining the cavities of the heart), the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
- The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
- The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
- In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
- In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
- The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
Professor Linoli asserted that the blood, if taken from a cadaver, would have deteriorated rapidly. Given that these samples were centuries old, free of preservatives, and never hermetically sealed in the reliquaries, they should have deteriorated. However, he underscored that the samples had the same properties as fresh human blood and flesh.
The beauty of the miracle of Lanciano reflects the words our Lord spoke, “I am the Bread of Life. He who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood has life eternal and I will raise him up on the last day. For my Flesh is real food and my Blood real drink. The man who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in Me, and I in him” (Jn 6:35, 54-56). We must, therefore, never forget that when we participate at Mass, we witness a miracle, and through the reception of Holy Communion we share in the divine life of our Savior.
The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The name of our school and parish is “Sacred Heart”. We have placed ourselves under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Eucharist is the living, beating, Sacred Heart of Jesus…and he waits for you to come to him with the desires of your heart.
Slightly edited for brevity and reworded in order to put the text into the language of high school students, but taken almost verbatim from these sources: