7.17.2008

Don't Bogart The Host, My Friend - Pass It Over To Me

On Sunday, June 29, 2008, Webster Cook attended the Catholic Campus Ministry mass at the University of Central Florida Student Union building. Upon receiving communion, instead of swallowing, Cook held the consecrated sacrament in his mouth and brought it back to show a friend who had never seen a holy cracker before. A confrontation with church leaders ensued and Cook escaped with the wafer. Within a week, the headline appeared: Body of Christ Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student. Predictably, two days later, the next headline read ‘Body of Christ’ Returned to Church After Student Receives Email Threats. At the same time, Catholic League president, Bill Donohue, said in a press release “For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage – regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance – is beyond hate speech.”

So, the holy sacrament was returned and all should be well, at least as far as the UCF incident goes. However, it is likely that the UCF Catholic Campus Ministry missed out on a tremendous opportunity for glory (in the highest). Cook, in his incident report (still searching for the link), wrote “I attempted to affiliate myself with the Catholic Campus Ministry. In the process of doing so, I was forced to consume a food item.” Other than potential allergic reactions, there was the distinct possibility of him puking the body of Christ all over the place. Recall, if you will, a little incident that happened in Gerona, Spain in 1297. During a mass, the priest, upon placing the sacrament in his mouth,
“…was impeded and demonstrated bewilderment. A nun that followed the rite from above the altar saw the priest remove something from his mouth, and afterwards wrapped it in the corporal and placed it on the corner of the altar. After the Mass, the nun went immediately to the altar to verify what the priest had hidden in the white cloth and with great amazement discovered that it contained a small piece of Flesh, dripping with Blood. Questioned, the priest confessed to doubting the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. And just as he put the Holy Host in his mouth, the size increased to such a volume and consistency that he was not able to swallow the Sacred Species. (ref-pdf warn)”
Cook took the holy host back to his chair. The priest in Gerona spit the actual flesh and blood of Christ into a napkin and balled it up like common trash. In one case it’s desecration while in the other it’s a miracle.

Cook was not the first to take the holy host back home with him. I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking: Augsburg, Germany – 1194. The smell of schnitzel in the air, feces in the street. A woman, who we’ll call Gretchen, received Communion but, without being noticed, put the Host in a handkerchief, took it home, and placed it in a container of wax inside a cupboard. There really weren’t many places back then that you could go to to worship the Eucharist and it way easier to do it if you have your very own Eucharist…you get the picture.
Five years passed and on the 11th of May 1199, the woman, tormented by remorse, confessed to the superior of the convent of the Heilig Kreuz, Father Berthold, who had her bring the Host back. The priest opened up the wax covering that enclosed the Host and saw that the Holy Eucharist had been transformed into bleeding Flesh. (ref - pdf warn)
The Vatican calls it a Eucharistic Miracle. Like I said, the Catholic Pompous Campus ministry missed out on a Eucharistic Miracle of their own, and a Eucharistic Kerfuffle doesn’t really have that staying power quite like a miracle does.

The Eucharistic Miracles Around The World can be found here. They make for fascinating reading. Some of them will weird you out, like when Christ reached down from his cross and took up the chalice from a hesitant priest. I’ll have to read that to some scouts over the campfire. Guaranteed to keep them awake.

1 comment:

melior said...

I picked one at random. From the Eucharistic Miracle of Scete, Egypt:

Fr. Daniel the Faranite attests: “Our Fr. Arsenius told us of a monk of the Scete who was a hard worker but lacked instruction in the Faith. In his ignorance he would say: ‘The Bread we receive is not really the Body of Christ, but is a symbol of that Body.’
Two of the more experienced monks heard his statement and, aware that he was a good and pious monk, decided to speak to him since they attributed his words to his ignorance and not to malice. So they informed him: ‘What you are saying contradicts our Faith.’
The accused replied: ‘Unless you can show me evidence, I will
not change my mind.’ The older monks told him: ‘We will pray to God about this mystery and we believe God will show us the truth.’

A week later, on Sunday, all went to the church. At the consecration, in place of the Host, a Young Boy was seen. When the priest raised the Eucharistic Bread an angel appeared with a sword and pierced the Boy and when the priest broke the Host, Blood ran into the chalice. At the Communion, the angel took Bloodied Particles from the Host and brought them to the monks to receive. At this the doubter cried out ‘Lord, I believe that the Bread is Your Body, and that Your Blood is in the chalice.’ Immediately the Bloodied Flesh he had in his hand became the Eucharistic Bread and he communicated reverently.”


The Young Boy motif seems to be a recurring theme.