The Real Presence
In Italy there is a little town called Lanciano. It is halfway between San Giovanni Rotondo and Loreto. The name Lanciano, means “The Lance” and Tradition has it that the centurion Longinus, who thrust the Lance into the side of Jesus and who exclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mk 15:29) was from this town. Catholic history states that after the Crucifixion he became a believer and was eventually martyred for his faith. In 700 this little town became renound for the phenomenon which occurred there.
In the 8th Century a Basilian monk was struggling with the belief in the real presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. He prayed constantly for relief from his doubts. One morning he began the Consecration of the Eucharist (using the large-sized host which is sometimes still used in the Latin Rite masses today). What he beheld as he consecrated the bread and wine caused his whole body to shake. He stood for a long time with his back to the people, and then slowly turned around to them.
He said; “O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God, to confound my disbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in this Most Blessed Sacrament and to render 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.”
The host had turned into Flesh. The wine had turned into Blood.
The people, having witnessed the miracle for themselves, began to wail, asking for forgiveness, crying for mercy. Others began beating their breasts, confessing their sins, declaring themselves unworthy to witness such a miracle. Still others went down on their knees in respect, and thanksgiving for the gift the Lord had bestowed on them. All spread the story throughout the town and surrounding villages.
To many that may very easily sound like a story passed around by the Roman Catholic Church in order to perpetuate its belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Yet, the story does not end there.
The miracle is still ongoing. Without the use of any preservatives of any sort this 1250 year old phenomenon has remained intact. In fact, the Host-become-Flesh and the Wine-become-Blood remained exposed to the elements for a very long time without deterioration or change in elements. In the 1700’s they were finally retained in what is called an Ostentorium (pictured below).
The properties of the Host and the Blood were examined in 1971 by Dr. Edoardo Linoli who said the flesh was unequivocally cardiac tissue. He stated, “as regards the flesh, I had in my hand the endocardium. Therefore, there is no doubt at all that it is cardiac tissue” when he examined the relics of the Eucharist. Dr. Linoli is a professor of anatomy and pathological histology, of chemistry and clinical microscopy, and former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo. His report states foremost that the flesh and blood were of human origin. It contained the following points:
The Flesh is Human Flesh and the Blood is Human Blood.
The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart. In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium. (This is a complete cross-section of the human heart with all areas of the heart necessary for function being present.) Dr. Linoli also stated, “Though it is alien to my task strictly speaking, I feel I should insert the following reflection into the study just completed: the clarification, which comes through in these studies, of the nature of the flesh gives little support to the hypothesis of a ‘fraud’ perpetrated centuries ago. As a matter of fact supposing that the heart may have been taken from a cadaver, I maintain that only a hand experienced in anatomic dissection would have been able to obtain from a hollow internal organ such a uniform cut (as can still be glimpsed in the flesh).” In other words, it would not only have been difficult but nearly impossible for a hand to dissect the internal part of the heart in the manner which was presented in the Host ruling out a fraudulent act.
- The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB. (The blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin.*) In regard to the blood, Dr. Linoli emphasized that “the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it is particular because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions. The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area (Lanciano) in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%.”
- In the blood, there were also found these minerals: Chlorides, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. What makes this an unusual characteristic of the blood is that when liquified, it has retained the chemical properties of freshly shed blood. When we cut ourselves and stain our clothes, the chemical properties of the blood are gone within 20 minutes to a half hour. If blood is not refrigerated within an hour maximum, the composition rapidly breaks down. If blood were taken from a dead body, it would lose its qualities quickly through decay. This blood is over 1250 years old and still contains all its properties, chemicals and protein of freshly shed blood and yet in the testing, it was determined that no preservatives of any kind were found in the blood. Also, the blood has coagulated into five globules. The five clots of blood are of unequal size, however, they all weigh the same weight whether each one is weighed separately or all together. Put in the same plate of the balance, the weight remains identical without variation at 15.85 grams.
In 1973, the Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed a scientific commission to verify the Italian doctor’s conclusions. The work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. The conclusions of all the researches confirmed what had been stated and published in Italy.
The extract of the scientific research of WHO’s medical commission was published in New York and Geneva in 1976, confirming science’s inability to explain the phenomenon.
“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.” John 6:54-56
* In 1978, a group of scientists performed an intensive examination on the Shroud of Turin, using all the sophisticated scientific equipment available to them at that time. Among the many findings the scientists made in support of the authenticity of the Shroud, a very significant discovery was found regarding the blood type on the Shroud. It was AB positive.
Selections from this article were obtained from
http://www.ewtn.com/library/CHISTORY/ZLANCIAN.HTM in turn selected from www.zenit.org