Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


On Point in Baltimore

April 11th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

“On the evening of the last day of his October 1995 visit to the United States, John Paul II was scheduled to greet the seminarians at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. It had been a very full day that began with a Mass at Oriole Park in Camden Yards, a parade through downtown streets, a visit to the Basilica of the Assumption, the first cathedral in the country, lunch at a local soup kitchen run by Catholic Charities; a prayer service at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore; and finally a quick stop at Saint Mary’s Seminary.

The schedule was tight so the plan was simply to greet the seminarians while they stood outside on the steps. But the Pope made his way through their ranks and into the building. His plan was to first make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

When his wishes were made known, security flew into action. They swept the building paying close attention to the chapel where the Pope would be praying. For this purpose highly trained dogs were used to detect any person who might be present.

The dogs are trained to locate survivors in collapsed buildings after earthquakes and other disasters. These highly intelligent and eager dogs quickly went through the halls, offices and classrooms and were then sent to the chapel. They went up and down the aisle, past the pews and finally into the side chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.

Upon reaching the tabernacle, the dogs sniffed, whined, pointed, and refused to leave, their attention riveted on the tabernacle, until called by their handlers. They were convinced that they discovered someone there.

We Catholics know they were right — they found a real, living Person in the tabernacle!”

What does it mean for a dog to be on point? After spending 30 years with hunting dogs, I can summarize “pointing” to mean being intently focused and staring straight at what is being pointed, a rigidity of body, tail usually extended straight out, and motionless until the handler reacts and acknowledges the presence of whatever the target is that the dog has been trained for — quail in the bush, or a body in the ruins.  There is no missing “being on point” with a well-trained dog.

After reading about St. Francis’ animal stories (wolf, donkey, fish coming up to hear his preaching) I have to say I would not be surprised at the report. Why isn’t it more widely spread? God sometimes means His gifts for a small audience. Maybe trying to share, with those who really don’t understand, is like throwing pearls before swine?  Peace!

Here is also a link to Chapter 9 on the Real Presence from Jason Evert’s book Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves.    


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