A few days ago I was at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The first thing I do whenever I enter a church is to look for Jesus in the tabernacle to greet him. There, in his presence, in front of that beautiful tabernacle, I remembered a particular and incredible event from the past.
It was some years ago, when I was younger and more naive. I was at 6:00 p.m. Mass and the priest invited us to line up to receive communion. I had in mind the words of St. Josemaría Escrivá that I always think of before receiving our Savior:
I was particularly happy that afternoon. I was looking forward to receiving communion and praying fervently in my heart.
The priest was in a wheelchair and a deacon was assisting him. The priest sent the deacon to fetch the consecrated hosts reserved in the tabernacle at the side of the altar.
Suddenly I noticed that something unusual was happening. The deacon was making vain attempts to turn the key in the lock of the tabernacle door and was unable to do so.
The lock was jammed and the key was stuck. There was no way to open the tabernacle.
We waited in line for a while. He kept trying. He tried with both hands with all his might, but it was useless. The key refused to turn and the tabernacle remained locked with the consecrated hosts inside.
While this was happening, the line in the central aisle of the Church was growing and those who were preparing to receive communion were growing more restless.
“An urge of the soul”
Don’t ask me why I did it; it was an urge of the soul. At that moment before the astonished gaze of everyone, I stepped out of line and walked with determination towards the tabernacle. The deacon looked at me, surprised by my presence.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Can I help you with something?” I asked.
“The key is stuck inside the lock. It won’t turn and won’t come out,” he said. “I’ve tried every possible way. I’m afraid some part of the lock has gotten out of place.”
“Will you let me try?” I asked.
He stepped aside. “Of course, you can give it a try.”
A small miracle
I tried turning the key every which way, and sure enough, it was stuck inside the tabernacle lock.
Then I tried my best with both hands, being careful not to break it, but it didn’t work. I looked back at the line. They looked at me wondering what was going on.
“Maybe Jesus can help us,” I said to myself, knowing that he was in that tabernacle.
I knelt down with fervor and humility in front of the tabernacle and said a prayer aloud:
“Look, dear Jesus, at all these people who want to receive you; are you going to let them leave without receiving communion?”
I stood up with an inner certainty.
I took the key again by the handle and it turned smoothly in the lock — so smoothly that the deacon looked at me in amazement as if to say, “This isn’t possible. It can’t be.”
I knelt down and gave thanks to Jesus, and motioned to the deacon. “It’s fixed … I’m going back to the communion line. You stay with Jesus.”
He thanked me with a gesture, opened the door, carefully took out the ciborium and brought it to the priest. I returned to my place in line, with gratitude in my heart … and we were all able to receive communion.
I am the living bread, come down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I will give him is my flesh for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
Long ago I put aside all doubt. “I believe, Lord, your every word. I believe when you lovingly tell us: ‘I am the bread of life.’ (John 6:48)