DO I BECOME A RELIC AFTER RECEIVING COMMUNION?
Story and Photos by Mike Dial
Relics of the True Cross and that of St. Faustina are held for veneration by Deacon Don DeHaven in the Cathedral of Sacramento, California.
“A relic is an object that is associated with a saint, which has spiritual value because it belonged to one of God’s saints.” I explained to my confirmation class. I further clarified that there are three classes of relics.
“If it is part of a saint’s body, then it is called a first-class relic,” I said. I gave examples of hair, or bones, and sometimes dried blood. I also pointed out that many churches would display or embed on top of the altar the relics of their church’s patron saint.
“A second-class relic is a piece of the saint’s clothing or something used by the saint, and a third-class relic is an object that touched a first-class or a second-class relic,” I said.
I then explained to my class that relics have an important place in our faith because our human body is supposed to be the sacred temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16-17) and we are commanded to honor God with them (1Cor6:19). Therefore, the remains of the saints who lived their lives in a heroic degree, deserve our respect and veneration because they are in heaven with God and can intercede for us.
That was my CCD teaching days twenty years ago. Now It all came back when the other day there was a big display of relics at St. Clare church here in Sacramento. A small piece of cloth that touched the relics are given out to those who viewed the displays. I got one and carefully placed the relic cloth in my wallet. I read somewhere that demons hate sacramentals like these and I need all the protection I can get.
Fr. George Snyder, Pastor of Saint Clare Church in Roseville, holding a relic of the incorrupt
heart of St. John Vianney for people to venerate.
There are several Biblical passages that support the use of relics. In the Acts of the Apostles, when handkerchiefs or cloths which have touched the skin of Paul were applied to the sick, their diseases were cured (Acts 19:11-12). Also, in the Old Testament passage (II Kings 13:20-21), some people hurriedly buried a dead man in the grave of the prophet Elisha, “but when the man came into contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet.”
Last week, my house plant looked dead. I don’t know anything about house plants but from the looks of it, water was needed but maybe too late. Instead of getting a pitcher of water, I opened my wallet and placed my relic cloth on top and prayed for the intercession of the Saints.
After three days, I was surprised to see the plant was erect and alive. But just like the story of Lazarus in the Bible, I know the plant will die again a natural death later.
These are side by side comparison of my house plant that was seemingly dead but
revived within 3 days after I placed a cloth relic on top.
Last year I remember Deacon Don DeHaven at the Cathedral using relics. After mass, he invites everyone to the Blessed Sacrament room. He could not walk or see anymore because of a medical condition, but he always led the rosary prayer and the Divine Mercy chaplet. After the prayers he would invite everyone to come up and be blest by the relics.
After he finished blessing me, I took my rosary and touched the relics he was holding.
I then meditated on what just transpired with these thoughts:
“I just touched the relic of the True Cross with my rosary beads.
My rosary has now become a relic as well.”
My thoughts wandered some more.
“What about the fact that I just received communion during mass a few minutes ago.
I just received the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.
“Does receiving Jesus in communion make me, a relic?”
“I may become like Jesus,” I said to myself.
As these thoughts floated in my head,
a small imperceptible voice, but more like
an audible inspiration within me said,
I shook my head not understanding what to make of it,
but the internal message continued…
“When properly disposed after receiving communion,
you do not become a relic,
you do not even become like Me…
You become Me.”
My heart and mind soared in astonishment as I realized
my inability to fully comprehend the message that was presented to me.
In thanksgiving I simply prayed, “Lord I do believe, help my unbelief.”