The (Real) Heart of Jesus by Edward J. Barr (Guest Contributor to Roma Locuta Est)
“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ez 36:26
One of the biggest lies of the anti-Christian secular world today is that there is a natural and hostile divide between faith and science. While elements of Christianity and other religions may possess components of Gnostic tendencies, the Catholic Church has been at the forefront of science for millennia. Individuals such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Roger Bacon (inventor of the scientific method), Leonardo da Vinci, and Rene Descartes are but a few Catholics who have made their name in the world of science. The Church teaches that faith and reason cannot be in contradiction, for as the Catechism teaches, “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” (paragraph 159)
In 1988, St. Pope John Paul II wrote to the Director of the Vatican Astronomical Observatory, stating that, “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.” And so, it has – in the Catholic world, from the early Church Fathers to today’s Pontifical Academies studying science, the social sciences, and archaeology. Yet the United States is a Protestant nation, and has been influenced by the rejection of Catholic thought and synthesis brought on by Luther’s revolt. Hence Protestant progeny groups such as Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witnesses reject many traditional medical practices. This specific type of rejection, and the gnostic tendencies inherent in American’s Calvinist influenced history, give secular humanists fodder for maintaining the faith versus science fallacy.
While frequently sworn enemies, many secularists and Protestants join hands in condemning the Catholic belief in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. So influential is the combined Protestant-Secularist culture (yes, strange bedfellows) that according to a 2010 Pew Forum study only 63% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence. Other results show that number falling, some to about 40%. Whatever the reasons, the results surely must bolster the hopes and dreams of those forces aligned against Christ’s Church. Yet a supposedly unlikely ally is coming to the Church’s defence – science.
Eucharist miracles have been around for millennia, occurring in over 20 countries. Testimonies and scientific tests have “proven” these miracles based on the technology at the time, yet despite affirmation from secular and Church authorities even most Catholics are unaware of these gifts of the faith. These are not only ancient events; rather, many have occurred in the recent past (not surprisingly, as God often manifests His truth in periods of rejection of the Gospel).
Recently the most famous Eucharistic miracle, that occurred in Lanciano, Italy in the eighth century, has been scientifically linked to one that occurred in Buenos Aries, Argentina in 1996, when Pope Francis was an Auxiliary Bishop. The host in Lanciano was studied in 1970 and 1981 and determined to be a heart muscle and the blood type AB-positive. In the Argentine case, the host was tested several times and the tests showed the tissue was from a human heart, the blood was human, with human DNA, and of the rare AB-positive type. Of some interest is that the blood on the Shroud of Turin is AB-positive. Of major amazement is that the DNA of the heart host of Lanciano and that of the heart host of Buenos Aires are the same. Let that sink in for a minute. The 8th century heart and the twentieth century heart came from the same man!
A similar Eucharistic miracle in Cúa, Venezuela in 1991 revealed similar results. As did one in Tixtla, Mexico in 2006, and one in Sokółka Poland in 2008. In all cases tests showed human heart tissue and AB-positive blood types. When tested the heart tissue showed signs that the man was in great agony, and had been submitted to torturous inflictions of pain. In addition, the new Shroud of Turin fiber analysis (2017) found blood whose properties indicated the victim had been the subject of torture. God, through science, is trying to get our attention.
Faith can only come through grace, which is the gratuitous gift of God’s love for us. Yet God loves us too much to force us to accept the gift. In a time of religious persecution, rampart secularism, and a growing culture of death, will we accept the gift that Christ continues to give us, his Sacred Heart?
“Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Lk 16:3
Edward J Barr is an attorney, a Marine, an intelligence officer, and a university faculty member.