What is the Greatest of all Miracles?

Many people are surprised – and with good reason – by the apparent “Eucharistic miracles”, but they do not properly appreciate the miracle of transubstantiation.

Newsroom (05/31/2022 09:30, Gaudium Press) The Eucharistic mystery was often suggested in the Old Testament as having greater or lesser evocative force. For example, it is undeniable that the Paschal lamb or the manna in the desert are prefigures of the Eucharist.

In the same way, other passages of Sacred Scripture are suggestive which, in telling of the expectation of the Chosen People awaiting the Messiah, point to what would crystallize in its moment with the institution of the Eucharist. This is the case with some passages of the Historical or Sapiential Books, which we see allude to the dimensions of sacrifice, nourishment and presence that are present in the great mystery that we are interested in. Let us look at one example:

Saint Elijah and the pre-figure of the Eucharist

In the First Book of Kings, there is a man who stands out who is quite extraordinary: the Prophet Elijah. Among other events of his journey, three particularly impressive ones stand out: his decree of drought that struck Israel for three years as punishment for her prevarications; the slaughter of four hundred and fifty priests of Baal that he alone beheaded, one by one on Mount Carmel; and his prodigious elevation in a chariot of fire to a mysterious place, from where he will return at the end of time to fight against the antichrist and die. Elijah is definitely no ordinary character.

But this colossal man had weaknesses, like every mortal, and experienced misfortunes. Let us look at the sacred text and follow it with comment.

More by Gaudium Press  Where is Peace?

“Then [Elijah] walked in the desert for a day, until, sitting under a juniper tree, he begged death saying, ‘It is enough Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’ He lay down and fell asleep under the juniper tree, but an angel touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat.’ He looked around and on his head was a loaf of bread baked under the ashes and a jar of water. He ate, drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him and said again, ‘Get up and eat, for you have a long way to go.‘ And Elijah arose, and ate and drank; and with the strength of that food he walked forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:4-8).

These verses tell of the Prophet’s march through the desert, fleeing from the wicked Queen Jezebel, who swore to kill him, enraged because of the killing of the priests of Baal by this man of God. Elijah was afraid, felt helpless and even asked to be put to death.

Does such an attitude not bear resemblance to that of so many discouraged believers who walk through the “deserts” of today’s world and go to sleep – in other words – ignore the struggle of life? In them, after a springtime of fervour, the winter of disenchantment follows.

An Angel comes to Elijah, wakes him up and encourages him to eat and drink. Applying this fact to our time, let us consider the movements of our Guardian Angel, of some friend, or of one’s own conscience, inviting the one who is overburdened to the Eucharistic table, to “arise and eat”.

More by Gaudium Press  Sudan Civil War Leaves no Seminarians as Catholic Church 'has practically disapeared'

Elijah eats and… goes back to sleep. This is what happens to many Catholics in the midst of the surrounding chaos; suddenly they “wake up”, approach the Holy Host to adore it or to receive it in Communion, and then they are conquered again by sleepiness, and they go back to sleep. Thus it happens, for example, with so many boys and girls who piously and with great enthusiasm make their First Communion, only to be later overcome by indifference, forgetfulness and sleep.

But the Angel observes. “The angel of the Lord returned a second time, touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat, for you have a long way to go.’ Elijah arose, ate, drank, and on the strength of that food he walked forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.”

The Eucharist: mysterious food that gives strength

Here we seem to have a picture of the rebirth of the soul after a heavy dream, when it becomes aware that it must realize its life’s purpose in order to attain eternal reward. That long forty-day walk is the daily requirement of Christian witness; the mysterious food that gives strength is the Bread from Heaven; and the reward to be obtained is the heavenly Paradise, an authentic Mount Horeb where the Lord is contemplated in a beatific way, without veils.

Let us note this highly decisive affirmation: “and with the strength of that food he walked forty days”. We agree that it is humanly impossible to walk all that time through a desert after having eaten, once at the beginning, only bread and water. It is, therefore, a miraculous food that works the marvel of reaching the goal without eating anything during the journey.

More by Gaudium Press  Iraqi Cardinal Returns to Baghdad After 9-month Protest Absence

Now, the fruit that the Eucharist produces is precisely that of giving that energy which overcomes the difficulties of life’s journey, achieving the divinization of the faithful through identification with Christ and, finally, reaching Heaven.

It has been proven that for the full accomplishment of baptismal duties to occur, people are powerless on their own. But these commitments can be fulfilled with the help of the Bread of Life: the invigorating food for pilgrims, and a true miracle that also produces miracles.

How little is it to make a mute speak, restore sight to a blind man or raise a dead man from the dead, if we compare it with turning a small piece of wheat bread into God Himself and multiplying it prodigiously! To what extent are those who go to Mass clearly aware of witnessing the greatest and most amazing of miracles?

Many are surprised – with good reason – by the so-called “eucharistic miracles”, but they do not properly appreciate the miracle of transubstantiation, nor the Christian’s divinization.

But there is something even worse: our brothers in the Faith come to trust in horoscopes, to believe in the power of amulets or in the fatality of fate, completely disinterested in the omnipotent, sure and benevolent help of the One who said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles