My brothers and sisters, we are in a time of great sorrow; we are in a time of great joy. Our church is at its most exciting juncture in its history. We are on the threshold of a new millennium, the third Millennium. We're into the twenty-first century. That is awesome. We can see great advances for the Church and the world.
We have an opportunity, through the gift of communications, to reach out and touch 7 billion people. It can be done; Jesus has given us the means to do it. It is up to us. That ís the Good News.
The world is in the most depraved state in its history. Never have we known of such wholesale evil being accepted as an alternate life style. All the things we have held sacred, for the thousands of years of our existence, are being taken away from us. We're being told that what has always been right is now wrong; what has been against the laws of our land and our church are now good and proper and legal, and we have to support them with our money and our lives. That's the bad news.
But we, the Body of Christ, have been through this before, or at least the near equivalent of it. Our history is one of the pendulum swinging to the far left, then to the far right, and back to the middle. But sadly, the middle doesn't last that long. It is just a short-lived rest stop on the way to the next big swing. Over the centuries, the world has been going down the tubes, and we have survived.
We've been hit in every century, with every possible piece of ammunition possible, by every monster imaginable, with the surety that this time, with this weapon, we would be destroyed, and we're still here.
We've got a major job to do, especially now when many whom we had always counted on to be our allies, our friends, are quickly turning out to be our enemies. We've got to save this world; we've got to turn it around, and give Jesus a new world, and a new people; the world He died for, and the people He lived for. How do we do it?
What weapons do we have that can compare to the great evil machines that have been created in this century, Satan's last century, his last stand?
We have the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the most powerful Weapon ever given mankind. We find ourselves in the front lines of the battle. Eight years ago, we wrote a book entitled, "This Is My Body, This Is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist"
At that time, we thought we were simply writing an exciting account of how God loves us, and the wondrous gifts He bestows on those who love Him. Most of the Miracles, we wrote about in that first book, occurred to renew the faith of priests who had lost their belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We never thought, we were defending the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We never thought the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist had to be defended. But little by little, we began to receive phone calls and letters from dear people, sharing war stories about how the Eucharist was being disrespected in their Churches, how the importance of the Eucharist was being belittled in some areas, and downright denied in others.
In the 1970's while on Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Italy, Bob and Penny Lord,
visited the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Siena, Italy.
Inside the Church they discovered one of the Blessed Sacrament Miracles - The Miracle of the Eucharist of Siena.
At that time they met the custodian of the Miracle, Father Antonio Giannini.
He immediately began to give them a lot of information about
Blessed Sacrament Miracles and other Eucharist stories all over Europe.
It turns out that Father Antonio was the foremost authority on Miracles of the Eucharist in the world.
He even wrote a book about them so years earlier and sold only a few copies.
A few years later after giving much information to Bob and Penny, he asked them the question,
"When are you going to write your book?"
At that time Bob and Penny were directing Pilgrimages
and had no intention to write a book, nor had they ever written one.
Sister Briege McKenna purchased a copy of Bob and Penny Lord's book Blessed Sacrament Miracles titled "Miracles of the Eucharist" and give it to a supporter in Europe.
That supporter was also a supporter of Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN Eternal Word Television Global Television Network.
He subsequently gave that book to Mother Angelica.
She read it and contacted Bob and Penny Lord and did an interview on her station and at the end of that interview, Mother invited Bob and Penny Lord to do a Series on Miracles of the Eucharist, which was the first series for both.
That was the beginning of the Catholic Church in America being exposed to the Miracles of the Eucharist
We appeared on Mother Angelica Live in December 1986, and shared about the Miracles of the Eucharist. The reaction from the viewing audience was so strong, we began receiving phone calls from all over the country, all affirming us and our message, and many complaining about lack of reverence for the Eucharist.
Since that time, 1986, we have traveled all over the world, sharing the power of Jesus in the Eucharist, as well as the strength we receive from the Eucharist. We found that there was a great hunger in the people to hear about Jesus in the Eucharist, and the Miracles.
We wrote a second book, "The Many Faces of Mary, a love story". The people loved it, but no matter where we went, people wanted to hear about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. For years, no matter what we wrote, or what we talked about, the subject always came back to Miracles of the Eucharist. We went to Monterrey, Mexico, and gave a huge rally to two thousand people in English, while Luz Elena translated into Spanish.
We went to Germany, to the Ramstein Air Force Base. They all wanted to hear about Miracles of the Eucharist. We made a television series for EWTN. It was very well received. Our first book was so overwhelmingly accepted, we thought it wasn't necessary to write another book on Miracles of the Eucharist.
We truly believed we had gotten the Lord's point across, the importance and power of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. We thought we could move on to other areas in our Faith. How simple that was of us. What is more important than the Eucharist? (The Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Section 1323 The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." Section 1324 - Pg. 334 Catechism of the Catholic Church)
We were appearing on Mother Angelica Live with Fr. Harold Cohen. He made a statement which shocked us to the core. He spoke about a Gallup Poll which had been taken among practicing Catholic people. It was reported in the Wanderer, a Catholic weekly newspaper, to which we all subscribe. The subject of the poll was the Eucharist. There were multiple choice questions, but they all boiled down to one question, which was, "Do you believe you are receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus when you receive Holy Communion?" I believe 1,500 young Catholics took part in the poll. We're not sure what cross-section of the Catholic population this covered, or their ages. But bottom line, the response was that only 30% of practicing Catholics believed that Jesus was truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Sacred Species. We were completely dismayed.
Remember now, we had written the book, "This Is My Body, This Is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist" in 1986. We made a television series of the same name for EWTN, which had been showing since 1987. EWTN reaches 35 million homes in the United States, Canada and Mexico. We have been going all over the world, the United States, Europe and Mexico, giving talks, Retreats, and Days of Recollection on the Eucharist and Miracles of the Eucharist. We have been leading Pilgrimages to the Shrines of the Miracles of the Eucharist. We could not believe that after all of that, only 30% of our practicing Catholic population believed in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This really depressed us.
We shared our disappointment and depression with Father Cohen that evening after the program. We told him we felt like we had accomplished nothing in the years we had been out on the road, proclaiming the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He's was saint of a man. He smiled that beautiful New Orleans smile of his, and said, "Just think what the percentages would have been, had you not been out there, promoting the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. You've made a real dent. You've put a spotlight on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. But your work is not over. It is only just begun."
Penny has always had a burning desire to write a second book on the mighty gifts the Lord has given us down through the ages, through Miracles of the Eucharist. If there was ever any doubt as to the necessity of writing more about the Eucharist, Fr. Cohen's statement about the Gallup poll has eliminated any of that. Then, to really get our attention, the Lord hit us with a 4x4.
We were at the Basilica of St. Francis in Siena, talking to Fr. Antonio Giannini, our mentor, the Franciscan priest who had given us so much information on the Miracles of the Eucharist, and directed us to so many places to visit and write about in our first book. He has been very proud of us, and of the American people, for embracing the Miracles of the Eucharist. On this particular meeting, he looked at us very seriously, and said, ìYou know, you haven't written about all the Miracles of the Eucharist. There are still many important Miracles, you haven't covered.
Then he brought us over to his files. This was reminiscent of how we had worked together in 1982 through 1985, gathering material, comparing notes. We knew what we were in for, even before we began. "But Father," we said, in our best Italian, "we have written about Miracles of the Eucharist. We have to write about other things. We're writing about heresies of the church right now (Scandal of the Cross and its Triumph). We want to write about the Martyrs of the Church, and our Popes."
He gave us that look, he gives us. You really have to be there to experience the look. Then he said those words which cut us to the heart, "Is anything more important than the Miracles of the Eucharist?"
We were finished and we knew it. There's no way you can come up against a statement like that. And so we began putting together all our research material which we had worked on since we wrote our first book, "This Is My Body, This Is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist."
When we went back to Siena last year, we showed him our progress. He had an urgency that we had never seen before. "There's not much time. You must get the book written now. Don't let anything distract you." We were with Fr. Giannini again this last summer. We told him what we were doing, that our sequel, the book containing all the Miracles of the Eucharist, we had not written about previously, would be out this Fall. He smiled his beautiful smile. He knew that if we said we would do it, we would get the job done. And so here we are. We really believe the Lord is speaking to us.
We can see that the urgency is greater than ever to bring His message, about His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, to the people. The Eucharist is many things to us. Our Lord Jesus gives us strength and power in the Eucharist. It's what holds the Church together. A Catholic historian of the early Church made a profound statement. He said the Church would not have lasted 100 years after the death of Jesus, had it not been for the Eucharist. Jesus gives us Himself in the Eucharist, not for Him but for us."I will be with you always, until the end of the world."
We wanted to show how the Lord battles the evil one every step of the way, and one of His most powerful weapons has always been the Eucharist. Nothing is coincidental. The Lord has a reason for everything. When we share with you all the facets of the Miracles, the time frame, the lack of belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, problems in the world, problems within the Church, all the elements trying to destroy the Church from within and without, and blot out the name of Jesus all over the world, you will understand, as we have come to understand, what the Lord had in mind when He gave us the mandate to write this second book. Our meeting with Fr. Cohen last year, and the very sad results of the polls, regarding the lack of belief of practicing Catholics in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, were just one more indicator from the Lord in a very loud and clear Voice, that there is still much work to do with regard to the Real Presence of Our dear Lord Jesus. It is the ultimate weapon; the ultimate ammunition. In the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, we are told that the Eucharist is the "source and summit of Christian life".
Jesus is gathering an army of believers, and Defenders of the Faith. We pray you gather strength from this book to boldly go forth and put on your armor of God to defend the Church, and possibly the greatest strength the Lord has given us, Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist.
We pray it touches you the way the Miracles of the Eucharist we have written about have touched us. Come with us now; live the message of Jesus in the Eucharist. As the Mexican Martyrs of the 1920's and 1930's cried out before they were executed for the Faith, "Viva Cristo Rey y la Virgen de Guadalupe", which translates to "Long live Christ the King, and Our Lady of Guadalupe."
Can we do less?
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