“Mondays with Mary” – Mary’s Relationship with the Eucharist

With yesterday’s celebration in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church of the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ), I felt the need to share with you some of the words from Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical, Eucharistia de Ecclesia, specifically where he focuses on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s relationship with the Holy Eucharist.

I think I have at least quoted some of these thoughts in previous blog posts, but have never brought them all together in just one article. The Holy Eucharist is a topic that I have written about numerous times in the past, most notably the article from my series, Quick Lessons from the Catechism.

If you are a faithful, devout, and practicing Catholic, the Holy Eucharist should be an important aspect of your spirituality, most importantly Sunday Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. If your parish has Perpetual or weekly Adoration, I can’t encourage you enough to sign-up for one hour to spend with Our Lord, particularly if you are involved with a liturgical ministry at your parish (sacristan, usher, lector, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist). I know countless people who have found a new love for their faith in an Adoration chapel.

If your parish does not have Eucharistic Adoration, I would highly encourage you to speak to your Pastor about bringing in this devotion to the life of the parish. For some reason, if you’re having a difficult time with this endeavor, ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist you. She knows exactly how important the Holy Eucharist is to the life of the Church, because she was there at its inception.

Knowing how important the Eucharist is to the life of the Church, here are 10 quotes from the aforementioned encyclical written by the great 20th century Polish Pope about Mary’s relationship to the Holy Eucharist –

1. “If we wish to rediscover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church. In my Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ’s face, and among the mysteries of light I included the institution of the Eucharist.  Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it.”

2. “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 with this most holy mystery.”

3. “With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary seems to say to us: “Do not waver; trust in the words of my Son. If he was 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’”.”

Our Lady of the Host by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

4. “Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s body and blood.”

5. “Mary also anticipated, in the mystery of the incarnation, the Church’s Eucharistic faith. When, at the Visitation, she bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a “tabernacle” – the first “tabernacle” in history – in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating his light as it were through the eyes and the voice of Mary.”

6. “In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of “anticipated Eucharist” – one might say a “spiritual communion” – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion.”

7. “For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross.”

8. “Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West.”

9. “Mary sings of the “new heavens” and the “new earth” which find in the Eucharist their anticipation and in some sense their programme and plan. The Magnificat expresses Mary’s spirituality, and there is nothing greater than this spirituality for helping us to experience the mystery of the Eucharist. The Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat!”

10. “…let us listen to Mary Most Holy, in whom the mystery of the Eucharist appears, more than in anyone else, as a mystery of light. Gazing upon Mary, we come to know the transforming power present in the Eucharist. In her we see the world renewed in love.”

During this week, let us contemplate these words and implement them into our daily prayer life. If you do spend time in Adoration, I would encourage you to do a “lectio divina” type of prayer with these words. Meditating and praying upon these saintly words might open for you another avenue in your devotion to the Holy Eucharist and in your relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is there always leading us closer to Jesus Christ in this sacrament of all sacraments.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament…Pray for Us

Pope Saint John Paul II…Pray for Us

5 Quotes on Pentecost from Pope St. John Paul II

Today, Pentecost Sunday is the day we celebrate the birth of the Catholic Church. From this day when the Holy Spirit enkindled the hearts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles, the Church began to grow. As the Apostles went out into the world to preach the gospel message to all the nations, Christ through his Church was with them.

Mary is the Mother of the Church on Pentecost

Before Pentecost they were simple men, but after the Spirit came upon them, they were men of self-sacrifice and full of great strength. In the book, The Spirit of Catholicism, Karl Adam says,  “Twelve simple, uneducated fisherman revolutionized the world, and that with no other instrument than their new faith and their readiness to die for that faith.”

On the day of Pentecost, the Table of the Nations in Genesis 10 is being reunited (reunification) and the Tower of Babel is being undone in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the restoration of the family of mankind under one language, not a literal language, but the “language” of the Holy Spirit. From that moment till today, the Church has become the universal means of salvation for all nations.

No one knew the message of Pentecost better than Pope St. John Paul II, who as Holy Father traveled far and wide across the globe, much further than any of the Apostles originally traveled, to bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to nations and continents.

Being that this is the first Pentecost since his canonization, below are 5 quotes from Pope St. John Paul on today’s solemnity. Each one is packed with great wisdom focusing on the importance of the Church as a mission.

Pope St. John Paul II - Pentecost 1982 in the United Kingdom.

Pope St. John Paul II – Pentecost 1982 in the United Kingdom.

“The Church of Christ is always, so to speak, in a situation of Pentecost: she is always gathered in the Upper Room in prayer, and at the same time, driven by the powerful wind of the Spirit, she is always on the streets preaching” (June 8, 2003).

“On the day when we celebrate the memorial of the Church’s birth, we want to express heartfelt gratitude to God for this twofold, and ultimately one, witness, which has involved the great family of the Church since the day of Pentecost. We want to give thanks for the witness of the first community of Jerusalem which, through the generations of martyrs and confessors, has become the inheritance of countless men and women down the ages around the world” (June 10, 2000).

“Mary Most Holy, since Pentecost you have kept watch with the Church as she prays for the Holy Spirit: remain with us at the centre of our extraordinary Upper Room. To you, whom we venerate as Our Lady of Divine Love, we entrust the fruits of the City Mission, so that through your intercession the Diocese of Rome may offer the world a convinced witness to Christ our Saviour” (May 22, 1999).

“How can we not give thanks to God for the wonders the Spirit has never ceased to accomplish in these two millenniums of Christian life? Indeed, the event of grace at Pentecost has continued to bear its marvellous fruits, everywhere instilling apostolic zeal, a desire for contemplation, the commitment to live and serve God and our brothers and sisters with complete dedication” (May 31, 1998).

“In the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke describes the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as a communication of the very vitality of God who gives himself to men. This divine gift is also light and power: light, to proclaim the Gospel, the Truth revealed by God; power, to infuse the courage of witnessing to the faith, which the Apostles begin at that very moment” (May 18, 1997).

Let us pray…Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle us the fire of your love. O Lord, on this day of Pentecost, give us the grace and strength to go forth from our homes and parishes to bring the Gospel message to the world we encounter each day of our lives. Amen.

 

8th Anniversary of the Death of Blessed John Paul II

I can’t believe that it’s been 8 years since Blessed John Paul II entered into Eternal Glory. I remember the days leading up to his death as if they were yesterday. I can even tell you where I was when the announcement of his death reached my ears. It was a sad day indeed for many of us who consider ourselves the “JP 2 Generation.” For those of you who follow my blog and read my posts, you know well that Blessed John Paul II is a major figure/subject I write about a lot on here. I would encourage you to read my others posts on him as well today. It will help you understand the man we lovingly refer to as: John Paul the Great.

Beatification Pic of JP II

With that being said, I give to you some great quotes from Blessed John Paul II. Please use these quotes on your Facebook, Twitter, or other Social Media sites to continue to promote the legacy of JP 2, his love for Christ and the Church, and his love for the New Evangelization. It’s on Social Media sites that we must reach out and evangelize (Synod on the New Evangelization).

“Everyone in the Church, precisely because they are members, receives and thereby shares in the common vocation to holiness. In the fullness of this title and on equal par with all other members of the Church, the lay faithful are called to holiness: “All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity”; All of Christ’s followers are invited and bound to pursue holiness and the perfect fulfillment of their own state or life.” – Christifideles Laici (The Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People)

“To begin with, it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right…that the parish community must continue to be the prime move and pre-eminent place for catechesis.” – Catechesi Tradendae (Catechesis In Our Time)

 “The first communion is the one which is established and which develops between husband and wife: by virtue of the covenant of married life, the man and woman “are no longer two but one flesh” and they are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.”  – Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World)

“Local ordinaries, and parish priests and rectors of churches and shrines, should periodically verify that the greatest possible provision is in fact being made for the faithful to confess their sins. It is particularly recommended that in places of worship confessors be visibly present at the advertised times, that these times be adapted to the real circumstances of penitents, and that confessions be especially available before Masses, and even during Mass if there other priests available, in order to meet the needs of the faithful.” – Misericordia Dei (On Certain Aspects of the Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance)

“The formation of future priests, both diocesan and religious, and lifelong assiduous care for their personal sanctification in the ministry and for the constant updating of their pastoral commitment is considered by the Church one of the most demanding and important tasks for the future of the evangelization of humanity.” – Pastores Dabo Vobis (I Will Give You Shepherds)

“In this perspective an expression which I have frequently employed finds its deepest meaning: the Church must breathe with her two lungs! In the first millennium of the history of Christianity, this expression refers primarily to the relationship between Byzantium and Rome. From the time of the Baptism of Rus’ it comes to have an even wider application: evangelization spread to a much vaster area, so that it now includes the entire Church.” – Ut Unum Sint (On Commitment to Ecumenism)

“…we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ’s Church, the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with the tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for each.” – Orientale Lumen (The Light of the East)

“You must also rethink – and very profoundly – the meaning of Baptism and Confirmation.  For in these two sacraments is contained the fundamental deposit of the Christian life and vocation. From these there begins the path towards the Eucharist, which contains the fullness of the sacramental gifts granted to the Christian: all the Church’s spiritual wealth is concentrated in this Sacrament of love.” – Apostolic Letter, To the Youth of the World, March 31, 1985

“Marian devotion, nourished by prayer, will keep families united and prayerful with Mary, like the disciples of Jesus before Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14). – Ecclesia in America (The Church in America)

“The Church in America must incarnate in her pastoral initiatives the solidarity of the universal Church toward the poor and the outcast of every kind. Her attitude needs to be one of assistance, promotion, liberation, and fraternal openness. The goal of the Church is to ensure that no one is marginalized.” – Ecclesia in America (The Church in America)

“We are now on the verge of understanding the ‘sacramental’ character of marriage. According to the teaching of the Church, it has been a sacrament from the beginning, that is to say ever since the creation of the first human couple. The ‘sacrament of nature’ was subsequently reinforced, in the Gospels, by the institution or rather the revelation of the ‘Sacrament of Grace’, which is connected with it.” – Love and Responsibility (Karol Wojtyla)

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).” – Fides Et Ratio (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason) 

“BE NOT AFRAID” – From his Homily, Solemn Mass of Inauguration of Pope John Paul II