Our Lady and the Holy Eucharist: Quotes from the Saints

From a reflection on St Maximilian Kolbe:

Considering the importance of the Eucharist in the spiritual life, Maximilian offered his own preparation and thanksgiving to the Immaculate. He addressed this point, first in a letter written in Nagasaki in 1935, and subsequently in an article for the Polish edition of the Knight of the Immaculate written in 1938.

“There is no better preparation for Holy Communion other than offering it to the Immaculate…She will prepare our heart in the best way possible, and we will be sure to give Jesus the greatest of joys and to show him the greatest of loves.

“After Holy Communion let us pray to the Immaculate once more, so that she herself may welcome Jesus into our soul and make him happy as no one ever before has been able to do.”

These citations reveal the Polish martyr’s attention to prepare himself to the utmost for the celebration of the Mass and follow it with a serious and devout act of thanksgiving. All of this is done with the help of the Immaculate, whose loving presence guarantees a fervent and fruitful participation in the liturgy through which the believer is called to give maximum glory to God. Love for the Immaculate also has a Eucharistic purpose, since through drawing close to her and thanks to her example and intercession, the believer can experience the mystery of the Lord’s real presence in the sacrament with greater attention and, therefore, with greater freedom, conviction and concentration.

From St Peter Julian Eymard:

“Where on earth shall we find Jesus but in the arms of Mary!  Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist?  It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation 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… We can only go to Him through her. The more we love the Eucharist, the more we must love Mary.”

[The following are a few excerpts from the book, Jesus Living in Mary—Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, by Rev. Corrado Maggioni, S.M.M.]

The French school had a deep insight into the role of Mary at the Incarnation and, therefore, in all the mysteries of Christ. It is not surprising that Montfort experienced a further deepening of the mysteries through the Blessed Virgin. St. Louis Marie highlighted the Mary/Eucharist relationship. The Sacraments, rooted in the economy of salvation, are essentially the actualization of the historical mysteries of Christ. Since Mary gave the Redeemer his flesh and blood, it follows that she cannot but be involved in the mysteries that are a unique memorial of the same flesh and blood, that is, the Eucharist.

In light of these theological principles, Montfort elaborated his teaching, which is full of grateful admiration for the Father, that the Father through the Holy Spirit has entrusted His Son to Mary. This praise extends to Mary as well, as her fiat made it possible for us to share the Eucharistic body and blood of her Son: “It was you, Virgin Mary, /Who gave us this body and blood / Which raises our status so high / that it is beyond the reach of the angels. May you be blessed throughout the world / For giving us such a great gift” (H [Hymns] 134:11).

The Blessed Virgin’s motherly care and concern for her faithful servants is epitomized in the fact that “she gives them the Son she has born, the Bread of Life” (TD [True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin] 208, which is full of scriptural quotations and allusions and is concerned with this particular term)… With great sensitivity and in great depth, Montfort draws attention to the presence and action of Mary in the Eucharist without detriment to the excellence of the redeeming work of Christ. Mary is mediatrix of Communion: “As Mary is the treasurer and dispenser of the gifts and graces of the Most High God, she reserves a choice portion, indeed the choicest portion, to nourish and sustain her children and servants. They grow strong on the Bread of Life; they are made joyful with the wine that brings forth virgins. They are carried at her breast” (TD 208).

In the conviction that sacramental Communion necessarily involves the presence of Mary, Montfort concludes TD with an exhortation to receive Holy Communion in union with Mary. She receives in us and for us the Word of God made Bread. The reason for this is that she received the Word of God “in her heart and in her body,” as the Church Fathers put it. In the last few pages of TD (266-273), Montfort tells us why and how we should unite ourselves with Mary before, during, and after Holy Communion; his aim is to demonstrate clearly that in us and through us Holy Communion binds Christ and Mary together again. In other words, the union between Christ and Mary, which took place at a definite time and place, is repeated in a sacramental way when the faithful united with Mary receive Holy Communion.

In accordance with the thinking of the time, Montfort made no explicit mention of the ecclesial aspect of Holy Communion; if we make allowance for this, we can safely say that Montfort’s teaching on the Christ/Mary/faithful relationship is extraordinarily clear from the theological standpoint. In practice, the relationship reflects the mystery of the oblation and communion that united in one heart Christ, Mary, and John at the time of the supreme sacrifice, which redeemed humanity (cf. Jn 19:25-27). It was precisely because he had in mind the conformity of the faithful to Jesus Christ, with Mary playing an all-important role, that Montfort envisaged and introduced the Consecration to Jesus through the hands of Mary, which he meant to be made in close connection with Holy Communion…

Finally, a theme dear to the heart of the missionary: the Eucharistic life of Mary, which he mentions in the hymn to the Blessed Sacrament on Saturdays (H 134). Jesus instituted the Eucharist in order to remain with Mary even after his death on the Cross and his Ascension; so he keeps coming back to her “nourishing her with his own body which she nourished when he was an infant”; “in exchange for the milk of her most pure breast, he strengthens her with his divine Blood”; the Blessed Virgin is the perfect model of all who receive Holy Communion.

About Father Joseph

I am a priest and monk currently serving with the Contemplatives of St Joseph in South San Francisco, CA. I am in my 33rd year of monastic life and in my 24th as a priest.

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