|The Sokolka Eucharist|
According to an Associated Press report, "The communion wafer in question developed a brown spot in 2008 after falling on the floor during a Mass in the eastern Polish town of Sokolka." The priest who had been celebrating Mass when the host was dropped on the floor later placed the it in water, so that it would dissolve naturally. After a few days, though, a local nun discovered that the consecrated host had not completely dissolved and that the small potion remaining had become dark red in colour.
Many pilgrims and tourists flocked to Sokolka after the events surrounding the host became public knowledge. It was therefore decided to scientifically determine the exact nature of the red spot on the small piece of Eucharist. After some years, two medical doctors have now categorically confirmed that the coloured spot on the host is in fact human heart tissue. Although many believe this is proof enough that some sort of Eucharistic miracle has occurred in the small Polish town, some sceptics have pointed to the fact that the tissue could have come from human remains - being placed there by someone with access to the safe where the host had been kept. In fact, it seems that a "group of rationalists" has claimed that the human tissue might have come from an unknown murder victim, though - thankfully - the local police recently confirmed that they are not investigating any crime linked to the "miracle".
At yesterday's Mass and procession, Archbishop Ozorowski reminded those present that throughout history, the "substance of Christ's body or blood has become available to the human senses, and this also happened in Sokolka." He added that, "For God, nothing is impossible." After Mass, the small fragment from the 2008 consecrated host was then taken in procession to Sokolka's church of St Anthony, where it was exposed for veneration as about 1,000 lay faithful looked on.
Throughout the history of the Church, God seems to have granted rare Eucharistic miracles, such as the famous ones of Lanciano and La Rochelle. These confirmations of Our Lord's real presence in the Eucharist are powerful reminders of the great gift being offered in Holy Communion. These miracles also seem to occur at times when belief in transubstantiation is in doubt, or when sacrileges against the Eucharist are common. The recent rise in cases of Eucharistic miracles over the past few years might therefore be proof of the fact that the Church (it would seem) is currently experiencing a crisis of reverence when it comes to Holy Communion.
No-one can ever merit the immense gift of Holy Communion, and even saints are unworthy of such love. Being united with the Son of God when we receive him in the Eucharist is an act of pure and unbounded love on his part. Having said that, we all have a duty to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in a state of grace, having prepared ourselves through prayer, recollection, fasting and, if needed, sacramental confession. By such preparations, we can become living tabernacles of God's love and our own hearts will - either quickly or over time - become intrinsically one with the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. But as St Paul said, those who approach Communion in an unworthy manner - not in a state of grace - are "guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord ... [and] eat and drink condemnation upon themselves" (cf 1 Cor 11:27,29).
[Image: From yesterday's Mass and Procession; source: YouTube]