Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blessed Imelda Lambertini

Today is the historical feast of Blessed Imelda Lambertini. The daughter of a noble family, Blessed Imelda was born in 1322 in Bologna, Italy. She was an only child and grew up going to Mass frequently with her family.  When she was nine, Imelda entered the Dominican Convent in Val di Pietra. As the youngest one there, she prayed with the others and wore a modified Dominican habit, but was unable to receive Communion, which was not permitted by Church law until the age of twelve. This hurt her very deeply. She prayed that Jesus would grant her wish and allow her to receive Him sooner. She even asked the convent priest, but he refused to make an exception.To receive Jesus in Communion became the consuming desire of her heart. She would even sometimes exclaim: "Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die? "

When Imelda was eleven years old, on the eve of the Ascension,  she  remained behind after Mass, praying silently in the chapel. As the other sisters began to leave the chapel, a great miracle occurred. Suddenly, a heavenly fragrance filled the air and a luminous host had emerged from the tabernacle and was hovering above Imelda’s head. The sisters told the the priest and upon seeing the host, he knelt in adoration and received the host on the paten. He immediately gave Communion to Imelda. Upon receiving Jesus, Imelda was so overcome with joy that she had died in a loving state of ecstasy.

Imelda was beatified in 1826. In 1910, Pope St. Pius X began to allow children to receive Holy Communion at age seven. He also named Imelda the patroness of First Communicants. Her body is incorrupt.

Lord Jesus Christ, you received into heaven Blessed Imelda who loved you in the Eucharistic banquet. By her prayers may we learn to approach your holy table with that same fervent love and so fulfill our longing to be with you, who live and reign with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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