(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
I believe everything the Church teaches about the Holy Eucharist. I believe, even if I do not understand, even if I do not see. I know that those are blessed who do not see and yet believe. The Savior said so. It reminds me of the story that is told about St. Louis IX of France. One day a miracle took place in a nearby church. Someone came rushing to the King and said: "Hurry, Your Majesty! Jesus has appeared in the Host in human figure during Mass." But the King did not hurry. He did not even go. He said: "Let those go to see the miracle who have any doubt about the Real Presence. I need no miracle. I believe."
Of course, I will treasure more than anything else the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is often said that it is the Mass that matters. This means that Mass is the most important thing in the world. It is very true. But I really think that sanctifying grace matters most of all. Still, where do I get that from if not through the Sacrifice of the Cross which is continued in the Sacrifice of the Mass. I am afraid I do not think as highly of Holy Mass as I should. And this reminds me of a story I have often read about the sacred linen in Greenland.
It was in the sixteenth century. There had been a religious persecution in the island and all priests had been killed or driven out, so that for fifty years there was no Mass at all in Greenland. After fifty years, there were still some scattered Catholics left. They used to meet every year for a Christmas celebration in a lonely house almost covered by snow. On one such night they all gathered together in the house. First they said some prayers. Then an old man arose, went to a bureau, and took from it what used to be a white cloth, like a big, square napkin. Now it was yellow with age and tattered. It was a corporal, that linen cloth on which, during Holy Mass, rest the Body and Blood of Christ. The old man said: "Brethren, fifty years ago Mass was last said in this country. I served that last Mass. Let us kneel down and thank God for this precious relic, on which rested the Body and Blood of Jesus. And let us pray that God may send us priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice in our midst again." Tears streamed from all eyes as they knelt to pray. And all around me there are now so many churches and so many Masses are being offered. I do not think I value enough the chances that I have to assist at Holy Mass. Where there is a persecution and hearing Mass is forbidden under pain of torture or death good Catholics nevertheless go to Mass, even if it is in caves under the ground.
Those good people in Greenland knelt down and thanked God for that precious sacred linen. How happy and how devout they would have been if they could have bowed down before Jesus Himself in the Blessed Sacrament! And I am often so careless and thoughtless in my genuflections and in my way of kneeling or sitting or standing in the presence of my Eucharistic Savior. And it seems that the more I have to do around the Blessed Sacrament, the more like a pagan I become.
(From The Way to God by Father Winfrid Herbst, S.D.S.)