The Indestructible Relationship Between
Mary and the Eucharist
by Rev. Armand Dasseville, O.F.M. Cap.
At Lourdes, Fatima, Loreto and other Marian shrines most miracles occur when the sick are blessed with the Most Holy Sacrament. This shows plainly how closely Mary's solicitude is united with the healing and sanctifying power of the Holy Eucharist. This close union is grounded on the unique relationship between Mary and the Eucharist, a relationship which stems from the two great hours of grace in Her life, Nazareth and Calvary.
How often have artists depicted the scene of the Annunciation! And yet no one has ever been able to put all its beauty on canvas. Preachers have described this glorious event, and yet no one has ever fully expressed its greatness. The Gospel narrative is so simple, yet so significant; the greeting of the angel and the first Ave spoken on earth, the first greeting of peace brought from Heaven to a daughter of Eve, Mary’s wonderment and the angel’s message: “Fear not! Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son!” Mary’s question, arising from Her chaste humility, and the angel’s answer, revealed the great mystery of the overshadowing by the Holy Spirit with Mary’s humble and generous surrender: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord!” And finally the stupendous event: “And the Word was made Flesh!”
That was the first Holy Communion on earth — a most unique Holy Communion, in which the Son of God took up His abode in the womb of the Virgin. She became His Mother, He became Her Son. This first Holy Communion was the source of our sacramental Communion, for it was from the virginal flesh of Mary that the Holy Spirit formed the Body and Blood of the God-Man, which was sacrificed on the Cross and which nourishes our souls unto eternal life as sacrificial Flesh and Blood. St. Augustine therefore says: “Christ took flesh from the flesh of Mary. In this flesh He walked on earth and He gives us the same Flesh as the food of salvation.”
We owe therefore the great gift of the Holy Eucharist also to the motherly co-operation and love of Mary. Her Fiat was a freely-willed, loving yes to God’s offer, Her bridal consent to His divine wooing. Mary was active as loving Mother in the miraculous conception of the Son of God, in His growth and development in Her virginal womb. Let us therefore thank Her also for the Holy Eucharist with its inestimable treasures of grace! When the newly ordained priests sing the Magnificat on leaving the altar after their ordination, they are offering thanks to Mary for Her co-operation in giving the Holy Eucharist to the world, and with Her, they are offering thanks to God for this greatest of treasures! Let us make every Magnificat which we say a hymn of thanks to Mary and through Her to God for the Most Holy Eucharist!
There are very few representations of the crucifixion in which Mary is missing. This is in harmony with the Gospel narrative: “There was standing by the cross of Jesus His Mother,” (John 19:25). This standing by the cross was not a mere presence. It was a communion of sacrifice uniting Mother and Son. Jesus was indeed the sole sacrificing priest on Calvary. He fulfilled there what He had said on entering the world: “Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, but a body Thou has fitted to Me: Behold, I come to do Thy Will, O God!” (Hebrews 10: 5-7). But Mary, too, fulfilled what She had declared at Nazareth: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to Me according to thy word,” (Luke 1:38). As at Nazareth, so then on Calvary She entered fully into the plans of the Holy Spirit, Who consummated in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross what He had begun in the Incarnation (Hebrews 9:14). It was the first co-offering of the sacrifice of the God-Man, most unique and made but once. The victim which Christ and Mary with Him offered to the Father was something Her very own, Her dearest possession, Her Son.
The sacrifice of Calvary is essential for the Eucharistic sacrifice and repast. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the death of Christ is renewed sacramentally; in the Eucharistic repast the sacrificial Flesh and Blood of Christ becomes the food for our souls. Thus Mary, by Her singular co-operation in the sacrifice of Calvary, by Her co-offering of this sacrifice, entered into a new, indestructible relationship with the Holy Eucharist. We owe the latter to Her mother-love which is not only so generous in giving, but also completely self-sacrificing.
Mary has therefore another claim to our gratitude. Her great concern, moreover, is that we utilize fully this glorious gift of Her mother-love, that we offer this sacrifice with Her spirit of self-immolation, that we receive Her divine Son with Her purity of soul, Her humble faith and Her trusting love. We should therefore always recommend ourselves to Her before participating in Holy Mass and before receiving Holy Communion. We should ask Her to “assist” us in offering the Holy Sacrifice, as She once “assisted” Her Divine Son on Calvary. Our visits to the Blessed Sacrament, too should be made in company with
|Our Lady of Fatima showed the close relationship between the Eucharist and Herself. During the first apparition, the three children were inspired to say together, “My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.” Again, in 1929, Our Lady reaffirmed Her intimate relationship with the Blessed Sacrament, as pictured above in the apparition to Sister Lucy.|
Her, because as Saint Bonaventure says, it is only through Her that we can penetrate into “the marrow of the Eucharist.”
In the company of all angels and saints let us give thanks to Mary, Our Dearest Mother, and with Her to the Triune God for the priceless treasure of the Holy Eucharist. May our Blessed Mother obtain for each of us the grace that we may revere this holy mystery that we may always enjoy its most precious fruits.