GOD’S HOLY ANGELS AND THE EUCHARIST
In the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord came twice to give bread and water to the Prophet Elijah. This was a sign of the Eucharist to come. (Kings 1:19, 5-8; 2:2, 11)
Since the time of Jesus on earth, many devout and holy saints received the Holy Communion from the angels. One of the first great saints on record to receive this privilege was St. Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, who suffered much torture during a long spell in prison at the time of the persecution of Christians by the emperor Diocletian. While in prison in Rome, he greatly impressed his fellow prisoners by his faith, teaching and great kindness to them. Many of them were baptised by him in secret during the night so as not to arouse the suspicions of the guards.
During one of these nights, the prisoners saw the cell lit up by an extraordinary light. Through this light stepped a handsome young man clothed in shining garments. Walking towards the bishop, the heavenly being gave him a chalice and a large Host, and then disappeared. St. Clement divided the Host among the astonished witnesses and shared the Precious Blood in the chalice.
St. Pascal Baylon was a Franciscan lay brother who lived in 16th century Spain. As a young adolescent, he looked after his father’s sheep on the mountainside. While there he could not attend Holy Mass, something he loved to do as he longed to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. From where he was with the sheep he could hear the bell ring during Mass and this meant it was the time of the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Pascal would then fall on his knees in adoration knowing that Jesus in the Sacred Host was being elevated for the congregation to adore. The young man had an ardent love of the Eucharist, and when he was able, he would spend hours on his knees before the tabernacle. God was aware of the great love that Pascal had for Him.
During those times when his work prevented him from attending at Mass, the Lord sent an angel to give him Holy Communion.
The young Polish Saint Stanislaus Kostka was another person who was privileged to receive the Eucharist from the hands of an angel. His story is one of those included among our list of Young Martyrs and Saints of the Eucharist.
Stanislaus had been badly bullied but his love for Jesus helped him to cope with this. He had spent some time in bed due to ill health. One night, he saw two beautiful angels, one on each side of his pillow and they were each holding a ciborium. The good Lord had sent them to bring Holy Communion to him, and after he had received Jesus in the Eucharist, the angels left.
Once when St. Bonaventure who lived in the 13th Century, was feeling that he was not a good enough person to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, Jesus let him know otherwise. Jesus does not want people to receive Him when their soul is in a state of sin, but He knew that Bonaventure was a good, holy man. One day at Holy Mass when he was meditating on the passion of Christ, he decided he was too unworthy to receive Jesus. However, Jesus sent to him an angel who, after taking a particle of a Host from the hands of a priest, put it into the saint’s mouth.
Many other Saints have been visited by the angels who brought the Eucharist to them. Among them are: Saint Catherine of Siena, patroness of Europe; St. Agnes of Montepulcino, and Blessed Frederick of Regensburg.
In many holy pictures, as well as in story books, the angels are to be seen surrounding the Blessed Sacrament which is another name for the Eucharist. This is because, as well as the fact that saintly people like those mentioned can testify to the angelic presence close to Jesus in His Blessed Sacrament, numerous other saints have had visions of the angels in adoration of Jesus at Holy Mass. In fact, The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that in her Liturgy, the church joins with the angels to adore God and she calls on their assistance throughout the Mass (CCC, no. 335). The Church also tells us that Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and they “work together for the benefit of all.” (CCC. No. 351). So we can safely say that, although invisible to us, the angels are always present where Jesus is and are in constant adoration of His Divine Person, as well as watchful of His people.
In August 1879 at Knock, Co. Mayo in Ireland, people aged from six to seventy-five years had a vision of the Lamb of God on the altar. This was the only time in the world that Jesus appeared as the Lamb of God, and in the vision He was surrounded by angels.