Years ago, a little girl of 8 or 9 came to see me after school. She was somewhat agitated and told me that her friend, her best friend had said that what she had done was very bad. I asked her to tell me what it was that she had done wrong and, in response to my question, tears welled up in her eyes and summoning up all the courage her little heart could muster, she said..."I took the Body of Christ to my house."
I waited for her to continue and as, with care, she watched my face for any sign of shock or anger, she went on..."I took it to my house instead of eating it."
I tried my best to appear nonchalant but my mind was already racing toward a very distressing conclusion. I suspected that this innocent child was being used to obtain Consecrated Hosts for use in some kind of Black Mass or other form of diabolical worship not uncommon in large cities.
Taking her hands into mine, I gently asked her to tell me who it was that had requested her to bring home the Body of Christ. "No one," she said, "I just thought that it would work." And with this, the tears which had been so bravely held in captivity spilled down her cheeks as between gut wrenching sobs, she told a story of parents whose frequent and violent arguments often went on into the night leaving a supposedly sleeping child wide awake and terrified.
In her genuine wisdom, she had determined that what her family needed was the presence of Jesus; and so the next time she went to Mass, she put The Host into her pocket and when she got home she put it into a little box which she had previously prepared and then she secretly taped it under her parent's bed.
I admit to having been eager to ask her the same question which I bet is on your minds as you read this. "Did it work?" However, I chose to remain silent as she explained how at first it seemed to work very well but then, after about three days, there was another major row.
She was much relieved when I explained that her Faith had not been misplaced nor had she done anything wrong. You will appreciate the delicacy of the moment as on the one hand the precious essence of her Faith had to be preserved and protected, but on the other hand I could not permit The Blessed Sacrament to remain removed from its sacred liturgical context and thereby be exposed to potential desecration. I took her into the church and showed her the bronze tabernacle, explaining that this was the most beautiful temporary box that we could find but that, for Jesus, it was nowhere near as worthy or beautiful as the place for which each consecrated Host is intended...our own bodies. That is where Jesus wants to be most of all and it is from there that He does His best work.
I suggested that we both go back to her home and then bring Jesus back to the tabernacle. Open to my suggestion she telephoned her mother and off we went. Both parents met us at the door. They were, to say the least, concerned. Having introduced myself, I asked to speak with them in private and told them the whole story. It was a chance that I felt I had to take. Their child had a lot of good in her. It had to have come from somewhere. Their shared reaction was all that I could have hoped for. They were having financial problems, their self-esteem was at a low ebb and they were venting their frustrations, fears etc. We all know how that can happen to any of us. In my heart I was saying to the little girl: "It worked, it worked, it really worked!"
At length my little friend retrieved from under her parent's bed, a small blue box with the Host carefully placed between two pieces of cotton wool. A finer tabernacle has yet to be designed. I placed the Host in my pyx and returned to the church.
As the days and months passed, I saw the girl from time to time in the school. I do not recall having seen her parents again.
I am not going to draw any conclusions from this story. I leave that to you. I assure you that it is true. It is a story that ranks among the most meaningful of my priesthood and was first recorded soon after it took place. I decided to share it with you as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Body of Christ. Deo Gratias!