The other day I was assisting as deacon at mass at a local parish. Before communion, I helped the priest divide the communion hosts between all of the vessels so we could give communion to the people. This can be a tricky procedure, because it’s always difficult to transfer the hosts with none falling out of your hands. But usually you just take your time, and there are no problems.
But this mass was different. As soon as we started moving the hosts, one fell to the floor. This is no small matter, since as Catholics we believe that a consecrated host is the body of Christ, as Jesus explained in the Last Supper. Father quickly stooped and picked it up. Then another host fell, and another. I picked up one that rolled behind father and put it back on the altar. “This is getting really hard!” Father said. I agreed. It wasn’t like we were being overhasty or disrespectful. It just seemed that the hosts wanted to roll away for some reason.
Anyway, communion afterwards went as normal. Mass ended, and everyone went there ways. I had to help at another mass, so I sat in the front of the Church to pray a little as I waited.
But I couldn’t really pray and I thought to myself, “I wonder if we found all the hosts. I better double-check.” So I went up and looked around behind the altar. No hosts. I was about to go back to the pew when a little flap of carpet caught my eye. It was a service panel for the microphone. I fidgeted with the handle and managed to pull it up. There, in the bottom of a small electrical box I saw something white covered with dust. I reached down and fished it out. It was a large piece broken from a big host, maybe 2 inches across.
I was kind of flabbergasted. When you find a host like this, there’s a very specific set of rules you’re supposed to follow out of respect for Our Lord. And first I decided to check with Father to see what he wanted to do.
Father raised his eyebrows a lot when I told him my story. As I held the host up for him to see, he raised his eyebrows even more. “That’s the kind of host that was used before I got to this parish,” he said.
It turns out that was over four years ago. The host had been there for at least four years, if not longer. And it was definitely a consecrated host, because you don’t break the host until after the consecration.
No bugs or mice had gotten to it, miraculously.
It was like Jesus was jumping off the altar so that we’d know he was also trapped in the floor. Like he was saying, "Rescue me!" Wow.
Makes me grateful that he still wants to stay with us even after all he’s been through!
May God bless you, and come into your life,
PS - Here are some photos of the kind of thing I'm doing a good bit of now - running weekend retreats for boys. We had one last weekend at a family's ranch in southern Indiana, and it was a blast. The boys played all kinds of sports, including some we've invented, and there was time for the sacraments and spiritual talks. I love these retreats, not only because I get to play capture the flag, but because you can touch how God works in the lives of these boys. In one of the pictures I'm giving Benediction ( a blessing with the Eucharist) to the boys. It makes me feel so little to be able to serve our great God in this way.
|getting to know eachother|
|tug of war|
|playing the game of civil war|
|prayer before benediction|