Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Pope’s Witness to a Transfiguration

“The transfiguration did not change anything, it revealed what was already there,” our pastor, Msgr. Tom Richter stated during his Sunday homily.  The story of Christ’s transfiguration had been the Gospel reading.  Peter, James, and John witnessed Jesus transfigured in magnificent light and glory on Mount Tabor.   Msgr. Richter then proceeded to speak of another transfiguration that occurred in 1996 under Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.
It was a story I had heard about a few years ago, but at the time, the name "Cardinal Bergoglio" meant nothing to me.  Only after Msgr. Richter’s homily, did I realize that our current Pope was the Cardinal connected to this amazing miracle.
Below is an excerpt of the story reported by Fr. M. Piotrowski SChr Eucharistic Miracle in Buenos Aires.
On Monday evening, August 18, 1996 in Buenos Aries, Argentina, Fr. Alejandro Pezet said Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos.  Afterwards, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a host left on a candleholder at the back of the church.  He went and retrieved it and placed it in a container of water to let it dissolve in water, planning to  bury it in the ground as is the proper way to dispose of sacred objects.
Fr. Pezet put the container with the host away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The next week, he opened the tabernacle and discovered that rather than dissolve, the host had become a fragment of bloodied flesh and had grown significantly in size.
Fr. Pezet notified his superior, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis). The Cardinal instructed the priest to have the host professionally photographed. This was done on September 6.

The host remained in the tabernacle for three years without decomposing.  On October 5, 1999, Cardinal Bergoglio arranged to have it analyzed.  Dr. Ricardo Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment to New York without letting the team of scientists know what it was. 
Dr. Frederic Zugiba, the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist was on the team. He determined that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body.
“The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”
Not until after the testing was Dr. Zugiba told, to his amazement, that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated Host (white, unleavened bread) that had turned into bloody human flesh.  
The white blood cells would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes if the tissue had been removed and kept in water.  Remember, this sample had been in water for  three years.  (Dr. Castanon, who took the sample for Cardinal Bergoglio, shares his story here.)
At the end of his homily, Msgr. Richter appealed to parents to teach their children to appreciate the Mass, because it is there where the bread and wine are consecrated in the real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.   Jesus told us that it was his Body and Blood, and we believe through faith.  The miracle in Buenos Ares is but one of many Eucharistic miracles that offers an extraordinary sign, documented by science, that God is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine.
* Mondays on this blog are dedicated to the uplifting and mystical connections with God.  Please consider sharing you own story or one that inspired you.  

For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families. Your children will laugh while learning big spiritual lessons with Dear God, I Don't Get It! and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious. 

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