Eucharistic Encounter 15: The Marlboro Man

Can you see faith? Can you hear faith? 

Hi everyone. This is Father Rocky in the Chapel of the Nativity at Relevant Radio in Green Bay, WI with another story about the Holy Eucharist in our Eucharistic Encounters series. 

Can you see faith?  

Well, I’ve got a story to tell you. But first, it begins with a story from the Bible.

Remember that story about the woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years and she heard Jesus was passing through the town? I think it was in Jericho. And she said to herself, “if I could just touch the hem of his cloak, I’ll be cured.” So she pushed her way through the big crowd and managed to touch the hem of the cloak of Jesus, and she was immediately cured. And Jesus turned around, looked around and said, “who touched me, who touched me?”

And everybody said, “What do you mean, who touched you? Everybody’s touching you.” It’s like being in the Green Bay Packers game against the Bears and somebody gets tackled. They say who tackled me?Well, there’s ten people on top of me,” Jesus said.Who touched me?” 

Oh, everybody touched Him. He said, This was different. I felt power coming out of me.” 

Power. The woman knew she had been discovered, so she works her way up to Jesus, we’re told in fear and trembling. Why was she trembling? Because she knew she was in the presence of God. She wasn’t afraid: she was astonished. “I touched You.” 

And Jesus said, “Oh, woman, great is your faith.”  

I saw something like this once while in Rome at the Seminary of Opus Dei. The man who oversaw our building was Javier Sanchez Isguerdo, and we called him the Marlboro Man (from when people used to smoke Marlboros): he had a handlebar mustache, could kick a soccer ball the length of the field, and serve a tennis ball 115 miles an hour right up and down the mountain! 

What everyone liked about him was that he never said foolish things. Everybody respected him. He was ordained a Deacon, and about two weeks after that was the first time he got to hold the Sacred Host and deliver Holy Communion to the faithful. I was up in the choir loft, playing the organ and watching. I said, “Oh wow, here comes the Marlboro Man! Really tough guy.” 

He was there in his cassock and his alb and a surplus, holding the ciborium in his left hand. His hand was shaking! It had to be embarrassing for him – everybody noticed, but nobody said a thing. 

What was going on? The Marlboro man really believed he had God in his hands, and it’s hard to wrap your head around that! 

We should all ask Jesus for the grace to have reverence for the Holy Eucharist because the Eucharist, as Benedict VXI wrote in his last book, “The Eucharist is at the center of absolutely everything.” 

That’s why the National Eucharistic Congress and Revival is so important and vital, not just for the Church, but for each one of us individually and for our entire country. So I hope to see you at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in 2024. Let’s all show up for Jesus.

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Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.