Presentata Curia 24th May 2012

Allocutio: Let us enter the Eucharist with Mary’s heart

In his letter “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” the late Blessed John Paul II said that Mary is a woman of the Eucharist in her life. He wonders at the lack of reference to her at the Last Supper. But he notes that she was gathered in prayer with the first community that gathered after the Resurrection and Ascension. And he adds she must have been present at the first Eucharists celebrated in the early Church. And in that context the whole Church can come to learn with her how to pray the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the mystery of Faith. And if we are to learn about faith then the inner disposition of Mary can help us before the mystery of the Eucharist. For example Christ said that we were to do this in memory of him. Our Lady says to us, “Do whatever he tells you” at the wedding feast of Cana. So with the same maternal concern she showed in Cana Mary seems to say to us: “Do not waver; trust in the words of my Son. If he s able to change water into wine he can also turn bread and wine into his body and blood and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of his Passover, thus becoming the bread of life”.

Mary lived her Eucharistic faith from the time she offered her body at the Annunciation. The Eucharist has a link to that moment in that Mary received in her the physical body and blood of Jesus whereas we receive him when we receive communion. Then under sacramental signs of bread and wine we receive the body and blood of Jesus.

Just as she said her fiat in great faith we too should say with great faith our Amen at the moment we receive communion. At the Annunciation she was asked to believe with great faith that the one she conceived through the Holy Spirit was the Son of God. Likewise at the moment of communion we are asked to believe that the one we receive is the same Son of God and also Son of Mary.

When she conceived Jesus Mary became a living Tabernacle carrying within her the Lord we have in the Eucharist. The Pope comment on the Gaze of Elizabeth who adored this Lord within her womb and also the gaze of love with which Mary herself looked upon her Son when he was born. And he comments should not this inspire us each time we receive communion. It is the very same one.

Mary’s life was an offering to God, a sacrificial offering. Once she consented her life was changed. Before Simeon she heard that a sword would pierce her own heart and so she continued her fiat which would come to its supreme moment as she stood at the foot of the Cross.

And when after the Resurrection the Apostles continued to do as he told and celebrated the Eucharist at which she was present, that effect must those words, “Do this in memory of me” have had one her, she who most vividly would have recalled the horror of the Cross, the Stabat Mater? In fact I see a great meditation to be done there in which we try to envisage Mary at one of these early Eucharists and Peter recounting the events of the Last Supper. “This is my body given up for you”. How she must have pained with the memory. But the pain would have been compensated for by her receiving him again in a new way in communion. Must she not have cradled him in her heart of hearts in a way we cannot understand? Indeed I think the more we reflect on celebrating that early Eucharist with Mary the better we’ll come to understand how we should partake in it.

Since the Eucharist brings us back to Calvary all that Christ did by his Passion must also be present not least regarding his mother for our sake. In other words to us too he says: Behold your mother. So let us also accept the one he gives us as a mother. That is why from far back the commemoration of Mary has been part of the Eucharist in both East and West.

Finally the Pope comments that the Magnificat expresses Mary’s spirituality. And there is nothing better to help us experience the mystery of the Eucharist than this spirituality. There is another mediation there for us to contemplate. Let our souls glorify our Good Lord, Mary’s Lamb, as we celebrate this greatest of acts done for the human race and for creation.
Fr Paul Churchill

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