By Lenora Grimaud

One day, someone remarked to me that miracles happen every day, right under our noses, but we fail to recognize them. It often happens that very ordinary and natural experiences that happen to people turn out to be miracles. They are miracles because, through them, God produces extraordinary, or supernatural, changes in the people who experience these events.

For instance, a man with a hardened heart who has blocked his relationship with God because he is unable to forgive someone who hurt him, may find himself in a place where the Word of God is preached in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, and suddenly that Word penetrates his hardened heart and he is able to forgive and to receive God’s love in a way that radically transforms him. This is a miracle.
I believe that there are also visible, supernatural miracles that occur everyday, right under our noses, but we fail to recognize them because we do not expect to see miracles in our times. For example, we could walk down the street and pass a close relative that we have not seen for years, and not recognize them because we don’t expect to see them in that place and time. Perhaps, this was the disciples’ experience of Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
I recall a miracle that I witnessed many years ago. I was part of a non-denominational charismatic prayer group—I was the only Catholic in the group. I felt very close to these women and shared wonderful fellowship with them. One of the women, the leader of the group, was a special inspiration to me. Her relationship with the Lord was very deep, and she seemed to have all the fruits of the Holy Spirit. After awhile, she challenged me on some of my Catholic beliefs, especially in regards to the Eucharist, the Pope, and the Saints.

I was very defensive at first, and found myself reacting by trying to convince her of the validity of my beliefs. She would gently say, “Just take it to the Lord in prayer”—convinced that the Lord would show me the error of my ways.

I did take it to prayer. I experienced a lot of turmoil and struggle. I always believed that the Eucharist was a very important means of grace in order for us to grow in holiness. But, she didn’t partake in the Eucharist, and she seemed to be much holier than I was. I found myself faced with doubts about my faith. I began to think that maybe the Eucharist wasn’t as important as I thought it was—or—she wasn’t as holy as I thought she was. One minute I was judging her and looking for faults in her, and the next minute I was doubting my own beliefs.
It was a very painful and difficult struggle.
I felt so confused. Finally, with many tears, I cried out to the Lord and told him that all this was beyond my understanding—I prayed that He would not let me doubt or reject any gifts He gave to me, especially my faith in the Eucharist, and that I would continue to love my friend and not judge her. I turned it over to God, and believed that He would straighten everything out for me because He knew my will was good. I felt peace.
The next day I went to Mass. Our Chaplain had a particular problem with controlling his anger. Before mass started, he would always set out a plate for unconsecrated hosts—for those who wanted to receive Communion. He did this because he did not want to consecrate too many hosts and wanted to have enough. Invariably, people would forget to put a host on the plate and then come to Communion—he would have to break the hosts in halves or quarters. This made him furious. This particular day was the same. He was so angry throughout the Mass.
I put my hand on his shoulder and he pulled away in anger.
After the Mass, he came to me and said, “you are going to have to pray for me—I get so angry when this happens and I can’t control myself—I feel like such a hypocrite saying the Mass while being so angry.”

I told him I would pray for him. In the meantime, we were preparing to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. There were about 15 people from our parish going, including our Chaplain. When we got to Rome, our priest prepared to say the Mass for us in the little chapel over the tomb of St. Peter. Father started by asking us how many wanted to receive communion.

He counted out the hosts. After he began the Mass, and other people--not in our group—saw that there was a Mass going on, they began to pack into that little chapel. After communion, I said to my husband, “the Lord multiplied the hosts!” My husband said, “No, I didn’t go because I didn’t think there would be enough, and others probably didn’t go either.”

I said, “No, the Lord multiplied the hosts!”

After Mass, our priest came up to my husband and myself and said, “You don’t have to believe this, but—I counted out 15 hosts to consecrate, and at communion time, I broke 5 in half—then, I got angry and thought to myself, if there isn’t enough, they can just go without. There were at least 60 people that came up for communion and I had exactly enough for everyone.

I think the Lord is trying to tell me that all those who come to me hungry, will not go away empty.” The priest was healed of this problem of anger—it no longer bothered him if there was not enough hosts.

Two days later, my husband and I went to Sunday Mass at St. Peters on our own. Every altar in the Basilica was packed with people. Finally, I saw two young priests carrying a ciborium. I told my husband, “lets follow them—they must be going to say mass.”

They found an empty altar and began to prepare for Mass. They were American. People began to gather around the altar, and the young priest asked, “How many would like to receive communion?”

Then he counted out the hosts. After he began the Mass, more people arrived and packed around the altar. When the young priest got to his homily, he seemed to trip over his words—nothing came out right.

I thought to myself, “I’ll bet this is his first Mass.” It just seemed to me as though the priest looked up to God and said, “Why did you ever choose me?”

This priest also ended up with exactly enough hosts for everyone who came up to receive. This time, my husband recognized the miracle and acknowledged that the Lord had multiplied the hosts. The next day, our group—led by our priest—went on a tour of the North American Seminary. Suddenly, our priest came running up to us—he had been talking to one of the priests who were at the Mass that my husband and I had gone to the day before.
Our priest said, “You’ll never believe what happened! I was talking to that young priest, and he said that his friend was saying his first Mass at St. Peters’ the day before, and the Lord multiplied the hosts. I told him that the same thing happened to me.”

As far as I know, no one other than my husband, myself, and the priests that celebrated the Masses, noticed these miracles. In both of these miracles of multiplication of the hosts, the priests experienced spiritual healing—which was the greater miracle.

It amazed me that these miracles could take place right under our noses—with so many people present—yet, only a few of us were able to see it. Not only were the priests healed, but I also experienced a healing. It was as though scales fell from my eyes. I realized that the Eucharist is a gift, and my faith in it is a gift.

I realized how powerful a gift this is to those who have faith. At the same time, I realized that the Lord meets everyone where they are at—that He will use any means He can to give grace to those who believe in Him. I realized that my friend could become holy—become a great saint—as long as she is faithful to what the Lord gives to her—with or without the Eucharist. My healing was from the effects of dualism—a black and white, either, or mentality.

The best interpretation of the word “heresy” that I have heard is: “Heresy is when one truth is so magnified that it excludes another.”

When I returned home, I was able to love and accept my friends without giving up my own faith or beliefs. In fact, my devotion to the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist was increased a hundred fold.

No comments: