AT THE SCHOOL OF MARY,
“WOMAN OF THE EUCHARIST”
In addition to her sharing in the Eucharistic banquet [of the first generation of Christians], an indirect picture of Mary’s relationship with the Eucharist can be had, beginning with her interior disposition. Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life. The church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship to this most holy mystery.
Pope John Paul II, On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church
Her motherhood is particularly noted and experienced by the Christian people at the Sacred Banquet, the liturgical celebration of the mystery of the Redemption-at which Christ, his true body born of the Virgin Mary,, becomes present.
The piety of the Christian people has always very rightly sensed a profound link between devotion to the Blessed Virgin and worship of the Eucharist: this is a fact that can be seen in the liturgy of both the West and the East, in the traditions of the Religious Families, in the modern movements of spirituality, including those for youth, and in the pastoral practice of the Marian Shrines. Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist.
(Pope John Paul II : Redemptoris Mater)
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament:
(a meditation from St. Peter Julian Eymard, Founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers)
THE MONTH OF OUR LADY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT
The Month of Mary is the month of blessings and of grace for as St Bernard, in company with all the Saints, assures us, all grace comes to us through Mary. The month of Mary is a continuous festival in honor of the Mother of God, which prepares us well for the beautiful month of the Blessed Sacrament which follows it.
Because our vocation calls us to give special honor to the Holy Eucharist, we must not for that reason give any the less devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Far from it, he would be guilty of blasphemy who would say, “The Most Blessed Sacrament suffices for me; I have no need of Mary.” Where, then shall we find Jesus on earth if not in Mary’s arms ? Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist? It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word in her womb that inaugurated the great mystery of repa?ration to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during His mortal life, and that He continues in the Eucharist.
Without Mary, we shall never find Jesus, for she possesses Him in her heart. There He takes His delight, and those who wish to know His inmost virtues, to experience the privilege of His intimate love, must seek these in Mary. They who love that good Mother find Jesus in her pure heart. We must never separate Jesus from Mary; we can go to Him only through her.
I maintain, moreover, that the more we love the Eucharist, the more we must love Mary. We love all that our friend loves; now, was ever a creature better loved by God, a mother more tenderly cherished by her Son, than was Mary by Jesus? Oh yes, our Lord would be much pained if we, the servants of the Eucharist, did not greatly honor Mary, because she is His Mother, Our Lord owes everything to her in the order of His Incarnation, His human nature. It is by the flesh that she gave Him that He has so glorified His Father, that He has saved us, and that He continues to nourish and save the world by the Blessed Sacrament.
Let us, then, honor the Blessed Virgin by a daily sacrifice. Let us go to our Lord through her; shelter ourselves behind her, take refuge beneath her protecting mantle; clothe ourselves in her virtues. Let us be, in short, but Mary’s shadow. Let us offer all her actions, all her merits, all her virtues to our Lord. We have only to have recourse to Mary and to say to Jesus: “I offer Thee the riches that my good Mother has acquired for me” and our Lord will be very much pleased with us.
From Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortatation Sacramentum Caritatis, Part One:
The Eucharist and the Virgin Mary
33. From the relationship between the Eucharist and the individual sacraments, and from the eschatological significance of the sacred mysteries, the overall shape of the Christian life emerges, a life called at all times to be an act of spiritual worship, a self-offering pleasing to God. Although we are all still journeying towards the complete fulfilment of our hope, this does not mean that we cannot already gratefully acknowledge that God?s gifts to us have found their perfect fulfilment in the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. Mary’s Assumption body and soul into heaven is for us a sign of sure hope, for it shows us, on our pilgrimage through time, the eschatological goal of which the sacrament of the Eucharist enables us even now to have a foretaste.
In Mary most holy, we also see perfectly fulfilled the sacramental way that God comes down to meet his creatures and involves them in his saving work. From the Annunciation to Pentecost, Mary of Nazareth appears as someone whose freedom is completely open to God’s will. Her immaculate conception is revealed precisely in her unconditional docility to God’s word. Obedient faith in response to God’s work shapes her life at every moment. A virgin attentive to God?s word, she lives in complete harmony with his will; she treasures in her heart the words that come to her from God and, piecing them together like a mosaic, she learns to understand them more deeply (cf. Lk 2:19, 51); Mary is the great Believer who places herself confidently in God’s hands, abandoning herself to his will. (102)
This mystery deepens as she becomes completely involved in the redemptive mission of Jesus. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, the blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son until she stood at the Cross, in keeping with the divine plan (cf. Jn 19:25), suffering deeply with her only-begotten Son, associating herself with his sacrifice in her mother?s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim who was born of her.
Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus, dying on the Cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: Woman, behold your Son. (103) From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary is the one who received the Word, made flesh within her and then silenced in death. It is she, lastly, who took into her arms the lifeless body of the one who truly loved his own to the end (Jn 13:1).
Consequently, every time we approach the Body and Blood of Christ in the eucharistic liturgy, we also turn to her who, by her complete fidelity, received Christ?s sacrifice for the whole Church. The Synod Fathers rightly declared that Mary inaugurates the Church’s participation in the sacrifice of the Redeemer. (104) She is the Immaculata, who receives God’s gift unconditionally and is thus associated with his work of salvation. Mary of Nazareth, icon of the nascent Church, is the model for each of us, called to receive the gift that Jesus makes of himself in the Eucharist.