Miracle of the Eucharist of Langweise, 1400's:
All Creation Honors Him
The Lord gives us a new Cast of Characters leading up to the Eucharistic Miracle which took place in Langenwiese, in an area called Silesia, somewhere between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Again, He uses people from other countries to do His work in an area otherwise completely foreign to the people involved.
Enter a young man called Giantedesco, John the German, or better known, especially by Californians as San Juan Capistrano, John of Capistran. He was called John the German because his father was of Germanic background, and although John was Italian, he looked like a German count. A brilliant man, he got a degree in law in Perugia, near Assisi, and became Governor of Perugia at the age of 26. His priorities were anything but religious, until he was taken prisoner during a local war between the Perugians and the Malatestas. His story inside prison is much like that of St. Francis, although it took place some 200 years later. He began to consider the values of his life, and upon being released from priso, decided to change his life, and embrace the Franciscans.
The life of St. John is exciting enough on its own to write a story about, but in order to keep our focus, we have to limit ourselves to his involvement with this Eucharistic Miracle. Let it suffice to say, however, that he was so blocked in entering into the religious life, that men of lesser courage would not have endured. He was greatly helped during this time by St. Bernadine of Siena.
St. Bernardine of Siena, a driving force in the Franciscan Order, had a fervent devotion to the Eucharist. His symbol, a Host, with rays of Blazing Sun, and the symbol, IHS, are seen on many churches in Italy, mostly in Siena. As a matter of fact, in the famous Piazza Del Campo in Siena, the symbol is emblazoned on the top of the main building. It is also seen in Florence on the Palazzo Vecchio. A great part of St. Bernardine's ministry was devoted to defense and instruction of the Eucharist.
St. John became one of St. Bernardine's students. Through St. Bernardine's influence, he developed his passion for the Eucharist, and our Dear Lord Jesus. After he left St. Bernardine, he went out on his own to fight for the conversion of heretics, and to correct the grave errors they were spreading. He developed a reputation for holiness on his own. Crowds of faithful gathered to hear him wherever he spoke. He's been given credit for turning hundreds of thousands back to the faith by his sermons. He is also known to have had great healing powers.
Over the years, he was given uncommon authority by the Vatican to do battle with Heretics, Schismatics, and those involved with Witchcraft and the Occult. He was very stern in his dealings with enemies of the Church, and was considered an apostle, a prophet. No matter where he went, the faithful flocked to touch him, hear him, ask him to heal their sick. He gave credit for all healings to the intervention of the relics of St. Bernardine, which he carried with him.
Towards the end of his life, the Pope sent St. John to the area of Bavaria, Austria, and Poland to defend the faith. A group of heretics led by John Huss, called Hussites, were forerunners of Luther. Among the errors they spread was a disbelief in the physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This heresy had become very strong in the area of Austria and Poland. St. John spent all his time fighting these heretics. As if that was not enough, he also recruited an army to stop the onslaught of the Turks, which was eminent.
We have now set the stage for the miracle, and very possibly the reason for the miracle. While St. John was in Breslau, he celebrated Mass and spoke out strongly against the Anti-Eucharist movement, which was spreading in Breslau. After he left the church, thieves, greatly influenced by the Heretics, broke into the church, and stole some Hosts St. John had consecrated, from the Tabernacle. It is believed that their purpose was to desecrate and blaspheme the Sacred Hosts. They wrapped Them in a white linen cloth. The Hosts started to bleed profusely, the blood pouring out of the cloth. The thieves, fearing for their lives if they were caught, and realizing that they were not able to destroy the Hosts, went out onto one of the roads leading into Langenwiese. They hid the Hosts in the forest. They picked what they considered to be the most desolate spot around. There was no way, they thought, for anyone to find the Bleeding Hosts. They did not take into consideration the Lord, Whom they had blasphemed. He used this sacrilege to provide us with an additional miracle in the way the Hosts were found.
Shortly after the thieves hid the Hosts, a Polish man was traveling towards Langenwiese in a carriage drawn by four horses. At a certain spot in the road, the horses stopped abruptly, and knelt down. The driver could not understand what caused the animals to act in this manner. He got out to investigate. The horses remained in their kneeling position. As the man searched the area, he found the blood soaked bundle with the Hosts inside.
The Polish man contacted the local priest, who went out to the place where the Hosts were buried. The priest, followed by a contingency of local people, took the bundle with the Hosts and brought Them back in solemn procession to the Church of Langenwiese. The news of the miracle spread throughout the district.
We've learned that nothing is accidental with the Lord. When all the pieces finally fit together, we see that there is a Master Plan. We think to ourselves "Of Course. Why didnt' I realize that before?" It doesn't have to be in the same town, or even the same country. The plan which the Lord had into motion, the parallel event taking place at this time hundreds of miles away, was connected with this Eucharistic Miracle.
Constantinople had fallen to the Turks at the time of this miracle, between Easter and Pentecost in the year 1453. They were marching north to capture all of Europe, and enslave Christianity under the sword of the Muslims. Pilgrims were drawn to the Church of the Eucharistic Miracle in Langenweise. Prayers and petitions were offered to the Lord to halt the invasion of the Turks. The official feast was designated as the Fourth Sunday after Easter. At one time, as many as 50,000 pilgrims were reported to have come on Pilgrimage to Langenwiese, to pray for the forgivenness of the sins of man, and for deliverance from the Turks.
The turning point against the Turks was at Belgrade in 1456. The Europeans had prepared for their attack. St. John Capistrano, near death by this time, had finally gathered together his army of men. Armed with prayer on the battlefield, and an enormous amount of prayer and penance at the Shrine, the Turks were defeated, and Europe was saved from them.
We truly believe that the Lord has a teaching for us in everything that goes on in the world. Historians and military leaders throughout the centuries have been instructed by their predecessors. Caesar copied Alexander the Great. Napoleon copied Caesar. Hitler copied all three. We see a resurgence today in the power and aggressiveness of the Moslem Arab world. We see European leaders mimicking their forerunners of 40 years ago, reacting with fear and intimidation to bully tactics of Arab terrorists with the same philosophy they espoused in dealing with Adolph Hitler. If we ignore him, he'll go away. If we appease him, he'll leave us alone.
If all we learn from these Eucharistic Miracles is a lesson of the past, what have we really learned? What do you think the lesson of Langenwiese is for today's world? Our Lady has been pleading with us for centuries in her apparitions to listen to her Son. She vocalizes what the Lord has been trying to teach us in these supernatural manifestations. We keep looking for signs. In 1986, a nuclear reactor melted down near Kiev in the Soviet Union, raining radioactive dust, contaminating their grain and cattle for hundreds of years to come. We're still looking for signs.
Do you think we're ripe for a EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE today? If the Lord were to manifest Himself again today in a Eucharistic Miracle, would we pay attention to it, or keep looking for another sign? In Luke 16:31, Jesus says "They will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead". But then again, in the very next chapter, Luke 17:5, He tells us, "if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore `Be uprooted and transplanted into the sea', and it would obey you". So there is hope!