The miraculous events surrounding Catholic religious holy items, sacramentals, or Sacraments are often times something that leaves a notable impression upon me. There are, of course, the famous and more well known events such as the Miracle of Lanciano which absolutely thrills and astounds me, yet it’s personal stories that are not so famous which really amaze me.
First of all, briefly, for those who are unfamiliar with the terms, I will explain the difference between sacramentals, Sacraments, and holy items. I separate holy items from sacramentals because, while holy items are sacramentals not all sacramentals are holy items. Rosaries, medals, Scapulars, and crucifix’s are holy items which are also called sacramentals (if blessed properly by a Priest). Sacramentals are items or actions (such as the Sign of the Cross, genuflecting, prostration, etc) which are powerful instruments to drive away evil spirits, and when piously used, remit venial sin and prepare the soul for grace.
The Sacraments are Christ implemented institutions such as Communion, Confession, Baptism, etc… whereas sacramentals are Church instituted (and mostly optional private devotions).
Many of these things have been the source or the gateway for amazing and miraculous signs or events. As I referred to earlier the Miracle of Lanciano
is an event concerned with the Sacrament of Communion whereby the bread and wine were changed in a visible way into the body and blood of Christ. Through examination and study the type of blood found in this ancient miracle is AB. Many years later the examination of the Shroud of Turin yielded the exact same blood type, AB. The examination revealed muscular tissue of the heart contained in the host (which is the bread). (click the link above for more information – or google it for fascinating information.)
Yet, as I mentioned, some of the most fascinating stories I am impressed with are the ones which are private stories of how sacramentals proved to be so powerful against unclean influences. I just read the other day a story posted by a priest regarding the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
(a confraternity of which I have been invested) posted below:
A friend of mine who I was ordained with in SOLT had a friend in college that this happened to. He was at a party with his friends and they pulled out a OIJA board and began conjuring up what they believed (VERY WRONGLY) was the spirit of a dead person. It scared him to death. The hairs on his arms literally stood straight up and he fealt a truly evil presence in the room… So, he ran out to his car and got his scapular (he was a wayward Catholic at the time) which he chose not to wear but merely kept on his rear view mirror. He put the scapular on underneath all of his clothing (so no one would notice and think him a freak) and went back into the house. When he opened the door, everyone stopped and glared at him… they went back to the OIJA board and asked “Why won’t you come back, why did you stop”…. and the board spelled out slowly and clearly: “I SMELL GOD.” Posted by Padre Scott SOLT
at 3:13 AM
It makes me feel all the more secure knowing that I am invested in the Brown Scapular. I have heard several similar stories involving Rosaries, Chaplets, Crucifixes, and Holy Water. A year or so back I read a book called Interview with an Exorcist with an excerpt about the power of Holy Water. Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea writes:
“A possessed girl I was exorcising could not be given water from the holy water fonts because it was several days old and many people had dipped their fingers in it. As I was preparing to gout out in search of water, I remembered that there was a bottle of lemonade that had been left over from a meeting of catechists. It occurred to me to bless the contents of the bottle, thinking that the type of liquid was of little importance since its power was rooted in the prayer attached to it. I discovered, though, that its effect on the demon was much less than normal. After a few minutes, I ordered the demon in the name of Jesus to tell me why this was so. He resisted, but in the end he told me that, while any blessed liquid might have some effect on the demons, holy water is more effective because it symbolizes purity and cleanliness. (In fact, every material the Church blesses or consecrates-water, wine, bread, salt, incense, oil, etc.-has deep and powerful symbolism.)”
This would definitely lend proof to the fact that the symbols of the Church (properly blessed) do, in fact, have extremely powerful uses in repelling evil. Another story from a former Satanist on his blog also testifies to this when he states that neither he nor most demons can stand to be in the presence of a Crucifix because the image of Christ crucified is too much for them since it is by His death on the cross that the Devil was conquered. I have also read, though maybe not from the same person, that demons have been ordered to say why they don’t like the image of Christ crucified and they state, “It is by this that we have met our defeat.”
That’s powerful, powerful stuff. Imagery, Catholic symbolism. It works. However, it is important to remember what Fr. Fortea says in his book when speaking of the objects. He says:
“Of course, the object itself has no power; rather, the power lies in that of Christ Himself which has been placed upon the particular object.”
This also leads to another off-shoot of this topic which is that Catholics do not worship inanimate objects nor do we believe they retain any powers in and of themselves, yet blessed by a Catholic priest with proper Apostolic authority these objects and the miracles recounted because of them come from the power and authority of Christ Himself who uses everyday objects like water as weapons against evil.