Handpainted Manna Bottle, Bari image
St. Nicholas Center Collection
You’re probably wondering if the title of this post contains a typo. It doesn’t. I’ll explain why in a moment. As many of you know, today is the feast of St. Nicholas, the fourth-century Greek Bishop of Myra in Lycia (part of modern-day Turkey) who in the United States and other parts of the world has become identified with Santa Claus.
In the last few days, in anticipation of his feast as well as Christmas, a number of bloggers have commented on the many fantastical legends associated with this most beloved saint, most of which are apocryphal. However, there is one little-known fact about old St. Nick that I think you will find fascinating: The bone relics of St. Nicholas secrete manna.
St. Nicholas died December 6, A.D. 343 in Myra, and his bones were later transferred to a tomb in Bari, upon which the Cathedral of St. Nicholas was built. From the time of his death to the present day, an oily substance, known as the manna of St. Nicholas (Manna di S. Nicola), which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to come forth from them.
“San Andrés” by Jusepe de Ribera (ca. 1616) Wikimedia Commons
At a recent Parish Evangelization Seminar I conducted, I shared with the participants on the vital importance of prayer in evangelization, and more specifically, the power of intercessory prayer.
When we pray for those in need of evangelizing, we are asking for nothing less than divine intervention, because conversion (as the Catechism teaches) is a work of grace.
The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!” God gives us the strength to begin anew. (CCC 1432).
The Solemnity of All Saints (November 1st) is fast approaching, wherein we honor all of the Saints in heaven and celebrate their heroic witness and powerful intercession for all of us “saints in the making” here on earth. The following is an Audio recording from an apologetics seminar that I delivered a few years ago on “The Biblical Basis of the Communion of Saints”. I hope you find it helpful in understanding more deeply this beautiful doctrine of our Catholic faith.
I’d highly recommend, if possible, that you to follow along with your Bible and Catechism handy.