One time I went to an (I am embarrassed to say this) Engelbert Humperdink concert. (It was free and really good seats and accompanied by a great dinner.) Anyway, at a certain part of the concert, Mr. Humperdink would swipe sweat from various parts of his anatomy with a red handkerchief and ladies of a certain age would crowd the stage and he would toss the handkerchiefs out causing a mad frenzy of grabbing.
I would like to tell you it is not my thing, but it is. Not Mr. Humperdink's used hankies exactly, but i think humans tend to like things with connections. I just took a clock to the clock shoppe (no, not that one) to have it repaired. It belonged to my grandparents and because of that it means more to me than simply going out to Bob's Discount Clock Shop and buying another one. Besides, it makes the story better. Go to a flee market and the price goes up sharply when something has an interesting history. "This once belonged to . . . " Have two sailor's caps, one used by a sailor in WWII and another brand new - which do you think will be the greater purchase?
So we like things with history and Catholics are especially atuned to this, which is what made last Monday so special. We came into possession (very temporarily) of St. Padre Pio's chalice. As you can see below, it is a very simply piece but with some good weight to it.
We used to for Mass. I was suprised that meant as much to me as it did. My pinky caught on something on the bottom and a thought flashed through my head, "How many times did the saint's finger pass over the same familiar spot?"
I was a little concerned about the authenticity of the chalice. After all, what would his chalice be doing in Akron, Ohio? "What good ever came out of Nazareth" right? But it was sealed with all the proper seals and had a certificate "Certificato" of authenticity. I spent some time trying to translate it (not too shabbily I might add) before I found an English translation on the reverse. "This is a cup used by Fr. Pio in 1960 and shared with his brothers. It was donated to the museum on 1977."
So who knows how many times he actually used it. Maybe once. Maybe a thousand times. It appears as though it was also used by the community. I tried looking up an image of him using it but failed to do so.
So afterwards we had an opportunity for people to come forward and venerate this second class relic. But as absolutely cool as it was to hold onto what the saint did - to have that tie - what really gave the chalice worth is that it held, just moments ago - and at least since the 1960s, the precious Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In that way, every chalice should instill in us a certain amount of awe.
(But it was still cool.)