Secrets of the Eucharist 
Michael Brown
Heart-felt reflections on the Holy Eucharist, fresh new insights, and miracles.  What did Padre Pio say? How did saints adore? What's the "real presence"? (bestseller)


The rage in Christian publishing this summer has been The Prayer of Jabez -- a remarkable book that was named Christian book of the year and thus far has sold more than seven million copies -- topping even secular charts.

The premise of the book is that God responds when we ask. He responds to our faith. It cites the "prayer of Jabez" in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 ("Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil.")

It's a powerhouse of a prayer. It seems to work miracles. And it has an historic connection. In 1830 a nun named Catherine Laboure (since canonized) was meditating in a chapel when she heard the rustle of a dress near the tribune and a picture of St. Joseph. Turning in that direction, she witnessed the Blessed Virgin standing there, of medium height and clothed in white, so beautiful that St. Catherine found it impossible to describe her beauty. 

"All at once I saw rings on her fingers, three rings to each finger, the largest one at the base of the finger, one of medium size in the middle, and the smallest one at the tip," noted the nun afterward. "Each ring was set with gems, some more beautiful than others. The larger gems emitted greater rays and the smaller ones, smaller rays. The rays bursting from all sides flooded the base so I could no longer see the feet of the Blessed Virgin."

It was a pose later struck in the famous "Miraculous Medal".  The rays, said Mary,  were "the symbols of graces that I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask."

This is also the message of Jabez: that to receive we have to request.

As it says in Scripture: ask and you will receive. We don't want to get to heaven only to find out that there had been many graces we could have requested. The Virgin has a storehouse for us; she is granted them by her Son; she is "full of grace." What a splendid vision. And what an admonition: In heaven are storehouses of grace that await our faithful and unselfish asking. 

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[We thank an Albany, N.Y. priest, Father Al Pehrsson, for bringing this to our attention and also the book A Woman Clothed With the Sun edited by John Delaney]