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The Dazzling Bread from Heaven

Matthew Harrison

August 11, 2009
stclareThere is a wonderful story from the life of St. Clare of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate today. I'll grab it from New Advent's Catholic Encyclopedia entry on St. Clare:
When, in 1234, the army of Frederick II was devastating the valley of Spoleto, the soldiers, preparatory to an assault upon Assisi, scaled the walls of San Damiano by night, spreading terror among the community. Clare, calmly rising from her sick bed, and taking the ciborium from the little chapel adjoining her cell, proceeded to face the invaders at an open window against which they had already placed a ladder. It is related that, as she raised the Blessed Sacrament on high, the soldiers who were about to enter the monastery fell backward as if dazzled, and the others who were ready to follow them took flight.
What a dramatic scene to consider! An army thrust back in supernatural shock -- "dazzled" is the way the encyclopedia excerpt describes it!
Over the last few Sundays, the Mass readings have been discussing the Eucharist -- from its foreshadowing in the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:24-35), to our's Lord proclamation "I am the bread from heaven" (John 6:41). There's been a stress on consuming the food that lasts. Jesus is that food. The Eucharist is Jesus given for us!
In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." (CCC 1374)
Just that thought should have us falling to our knees in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, ourselves dazzled!
Let us pray to St. Clare today that we may always behold our Lord in the Eucharist with awe. That we may always come before Him reverently, turn to Him in our needs, and adore Him Him always in this most Holy Sacrament!
To learn more about St. Clare, we invite you to tune into a documentary about this great saint, tonight at 9pm ET and tomorrow, August 12th, at 1:30pm ET.