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THE MIRACLE OF CORPUS CHRISTI

THE MIRACLE OF CORPUS CHRISTI

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Published by nat
O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!
O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

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Published by: nat on May 29, 2013
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07/08/2013

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My Catholic Faith 
THEMIRACLEOFCORPUSCHRISTI
 Nat
 
THE MIRACLE OF CORPUS CHRISTI
Over seven hundred years ago, in the year 1263, Bolsena witnessedthe Corpus Christi Miracle that left very deep traces in Church lifeand in Italian art. To this Miracle we can ascribe, in fact, thecelebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi (instituted by the Papal Bull“Transiturus” of 11 August 1264 ) as well as the construction of theCathedral of Orvieto, built to receive the Sacred Corporal with the blood of the miraculous Particle.In the XI and XII centuries Berengarius’ heresy, denying theconversion of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, hadspread throughout the Christian world, and many such heretics livedin Orvieto or in nearby caves. Among the many who had not acceptedthe heresy but were tormented by doubt, was a Nordic priest, whosename is said to have been Peter of Prague. Little is known about him,apart from his reputation of being very virtuous: he almost seemed tohave appeared out of nowhere and, once the Miracle had taken placethrough him, to have disappeared once more, as if no other  protagonist could remain on the scene dominated by the greatProtagonist of the Eucharistic Mystery: Jesus Christ.Peter of Prague could not bring himself to believe that, uponconsecration, bread really became the Body, and wine the Blood, of 
 
our Lord, and he prayed God to give him a sign to free him from soul-rending doubt. Each day on the Altar he raised to heaven the particle pronouncing the solemn formula; “Hoc est enim corpus meuus”, andhe raised the Chalice, saying: “Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei”, buthis mind was assailed by doubt and his heart tortured.One day he decided to go to Rome in pilgrimage, to invoke the gift of faith praying on the tomb of St. Peter and St. Paul. On his way toRome he reached Bolsena, where a church had been built in honour of the Martyr Virgin, Saint Christina.Peter wished to celebrate Mass on the Saint’s tomb and, having put onthe sacred vestments, came to the little altar, surrounded by four columns supporting a marble baldachin. He prayed, begging God togive him faith, Faith that would reach beyond reason, enabling him to believe without proof, not taking into account material appearances.Many times he had prayed thus, tortured, assailed by doubt, but nolight had come to him.The moment of consecration came and Peter raised the particle toheaven. And then -- behold -- there came the divine answer to hisdesperate prayer: the particle was not any more a piece of unleavened bread: it was living flesh, dripping blood. The priest, bewildered,wrapped the particle in the Corporal and left the Altar, taking refugein the Sacristy. A few drops of blood marked his progress on thefloor.At that time Pope Urbanus IV was in Orvieto: Peter of Praguehastened to see him, telling him of the miracle and also of his doubts.The Pope, having comforted him, ordered the Bishop of Orvieto to goat once to Bolsena to ascertain the facts and to bring back the signs of the miracle. While, the Bishop, was coming back from Bolsena, thePope, already convinced that this was indeed a miracle, came out tomeet him on the bridge which is known to this day as “the Bridge of the Sun”, followed by his court, the clergy and Orvieto’s entire population.

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