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The Eucharist and Mary
by Fr. S. P. Visuwasam, S.C.

If we want to have an experience of Jesus in the Eucharist, just go to Holy Mother Mary. We can learn many things from her life-experience. In word and deed she displayed sincerity of heart. That is why God had chosen her to be the Mother of Jesus.

Let me give an example from Mary’s life. I personally admire her because of her sincerity and her self-surrender to God. She accepted the plan of God as it came. She had her own doubts and hesitation at the beginning when the Angel Gabriel approached her for her help; but then she sought to clarify God’s will saying to the angel, "I am a virgin. How, then, can this be?” (Luke 1:34).

Many people might ask, “How is Mary the woman of the Eucharist? She was not present at the Last Supper when Jesus instituted the Eucharist. Well, even before the celebration of the first Eucharist, Mary was the living-tabernacle of Christ as she brought forth Jesus into this world. The Greek word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” Mary had an extremely grateful heart for the blessings and graces she had received from God. In Mary’s prayer of praise known as the Magnificat, Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord.” (Luke 1: 46f). A person who is generous and grateful always finds meaning in the Eucharist and draws inspiration from the same.

Our Blessed Mother stood at the foot of the cross, witnessing the ultimate Eucharistic Offering of her Son on Mount Calvary. Mary greatly treasured every moment the life of her Son Jesus. In the New Testament we come across her last few words: “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5). This makes her a person of faith and a person for others. Every Eucharistic celebration is a treasure and a source of inspiration. Likewise, Mother Mary is a model of faith in our Christian life.

When we live the values of Jesus in our lives, we gradually become more like Christ. When we closely admire Mother Mary, we will realize that the qualities found in Mary are the values Jesus stood for. Obedience to the will of God, humility, fidelity, love, etc. easily made her cooperate with the plan of God. Our visit to the Blessed Sacrament should lead us to be more humble, more loving, more other-oriented, more sensitive to the needs of others, more forgiving, more gentle, and, above all, more human lest we waste our time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

... Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord.” A person who is generous and grateful always finds meaning in the Eucharist and draws inspiration from the same.

(From Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter, Mane nobiscum Domine, Article 3)

The “breaking of bread” – as the Eucharist was called in earliest times – has always been at the centre of the Church’s life. Through it Christ makes present within time the mystery of his death and resurrection. In it he is received in person as the “living bread come down from heaven” (Jn 6:51), and with him we receive the pledge of eternal life and a foretaste of the eternal banquet of the heavenly Jerusalem.

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