Eucharistic Miracles (17)


Eucharistic Miracle of Rimini, ITALY, 1227.

              

In  the  city  of Rimini,  it  is  still possible today  to visit the  church built in  honor of the  Eucharistic Miracle  worked  by  St. Anthony  of Padua in  1227. This episode is  cited as  well  in  the  Begninitas,  a work considered  to  be among the most ancient sources  for  the  life  of  St. Anthony:

This holy  man was conversing with a Cathar heretic who was against the Sacrament  of the Eucharist, and  the Saint was  on the point of leading him to the Catholic  Faith. But  this heretic, after  the many and  varied arguments, declared:  

‘If  you, Anthony, succeed with  a miracle in  proving to  me that  the Body  of Christ  is  truly  present  in Holy Communion, then  I,  after totally renouncing  heresy, will immediately convert  to  the Catholic  Faith. Why don’t we issue a challenge?  I will close up  one  of my  animals for  three days in a cage,  and will  make it feel the torment of  hunger. After three days,  I will  lead  it  out  in public and will show  it  some  prepared food. You will stand  out  in  front with  a monstrance containing  the Body  of Christ. If  the animal, passing  up  the fodder, hastens to adore his God,  I will embrace the faith of your  Church.’

St. Anthony, enlightened  and inspired from  on high, accepted the challenge. The appointment was set in  the Piazza Grande or Grand Plaza, (now the Piazza Tre Martiri or “Plaza of the Three Martyrs”), attracting an immense crowd of curious observers. On  the day appointed, at the hour agreed upon, the  subjects of this unusual challenge made their appearance  at the Piazza Grande, followed  by their supporters  – Saint Anthony by the Catholic  faithful, Bonovillo (this was the  Cathar heretic’s name) by his  disbelieving allies. The Saint stepped forward, holding in  his hands the consecrated Host enclosed  in  a monstrance, the heretic holding  the starving  mule by his  hand.  The Saint, after asking  for and obtaining silence, turned  to  the mule  with  these words: 

“By  virtue of and  in  the name  of your Creator, Whom  I, however unworthy  I  may be,  hold in  my hands,  I tell  you and command you: come forward at once  and render homage to  the Lord with due respect, so  that evildoers  and heretics may understand  that  all creatures should bow  before  their Creator, Whom  the priests  hold  in their hands on the altar.”  

And at once the animal, disregarding his master’s food, obediently approached  the saint:   it  bent  its front paws  before  the Host  and remained  there  in humble adoration. Anthony  had not  been deceived  in respecting the  sense of fairness  on the part of his opponent,  who fell  to  his feet and publicly  renounced  his errors, becoming from  that  day forward one of the most zealous cooperators of the wonder-working Saint.

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