Mary leads us to the Eucharist Pope John Paul II 19th International Marian Congress Czestochowa, Poland August 15, 1996
We Are One Body, One Body in Christ !
1. "Hail, Jesus, Son of Mary, in the sacred Host you are the true God". Joining in spirit with those attending the 19th International Marian Congress, I recall the words from a hymn that in Poland often accompanies Eucharistic adoration and processions. I repeat them because they contain the truth that, together with praising Christ present in the mystery of the Eucharist, almost of necessity we recall the memory of the Mother of God. It is thanks to her generous fiat that the Word of God was made flesh by the work of the Holy Spirit. She offered her own body to the Word so that he might take it upon himself and the miracle of the Divine Incarnation would be accomplished. In her virginal womb Mary bore the Incarnate Word, awaiting "with love beyond all telling" the birth of the Saviour-as the liturgy states (Pref. of Advent II).
When she gave birth to the Son of God she was, in a certain sense, the first to worship his presence among men. Together with Joseph she took the Divine Child to the temple to offer him to God according to the prescriptions of the law. Even then, through the words of Simeon, God had revealed to her that the sword of sorrow would pierce her heart, when her Son became the sign of contradiction 'for the fall and rising of many!' (Lk 2:34). This was the announcement of Mary's participation in the saving work of Christ, Priest and Victim, which was to be accomplished on Golgotha. "At the foot of the Cross out of love for your Son, she extended her motherhood to all men, born again from by the death of Christ for a life that will never end.... Taken up into heavenly glory, with maternal love she accompanies the Church and protects her on the way to her homeland until the glorious day of the Lord" (Italian Missal, Pref. of the Blessed Virgin Mary III)
Every Holy Mass makes present in an unbloody manner that unique and perfect sacrifice, offered by Christ on the Cross, in which Mary participated, joined in spirit with her suffering Son, lovingly consenting to his sacrifice and offering her own sorrow to the Father (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 58). Therefore when we celebrate the Eucharist, the memorial of Christ's passover, the memory of his Mother's suffering is also made alive and present, this Mother who, as an unsurpassable model, teaches the faithful to unite themselves more intimately to the sacrifice of her Son, the one Redeemer. Through spiritual communion with the sorrowful Mother of God, believers share in a special way in the paschal mystery and are opened to this extraordinary action of the Holy Spirit which produces a supernatural joy because of communion with the glorious Christ, on the example of the joy granted to Mary in the glory of heaven, as the first person to share in the fruits of the Redemption.
2. Mary and the Eucharist. The organizers of the 19th International Marian Congress in Jasna Gora proposed this as a theme for study and prayer. And it is a correct choice, especially in view of the International Eucharistic Congress that will be held next year in Krakow. In this way, just as Mary is present at the beginning of the mission of the Incarnate Word, and thereby at the origins of the Eucharist as well, the Marian Congress this year marks the start of the Church's spiritual preparation to make the Eucharistic Congress a fruitful experience. May these days bring you all close to her who--throughout her life in communion with her Son, not only by ties of blood but especially by love--is the most perfect Teacher of that love which enables us to be united in the deepest way with Christ in the mystery of his Eucharistic presence. Let Mary lead us to the Eucharist!
I ask all of you who are gathered in Jasna Gora for the Marian Congress to pray for the intentions of the Church and the world. As we give thanks for 20 centuries of Mary's protection of the Church, let us together ask her to lead believers towards an ever more perfect knowledge of the saving power of the Sacrifice of Christ, who is present in the Eucharist. Let us pray that the living experience of communion with Christ may bear fruits of zeal in the hearts of all Christians as they build up a communion of love among men. May the Mother of God lead us into the third millennium, united around the Word of God who was made flesh in her.
With Mary Let Us Adore Him St. Peter Julian Eymard
Mary devoted herself exclusively to the Eucharistic Glory of Jesus. She knew that it was the desire of the Eternal Father to make the Eucharist known, loved and served by all men; that need of Jesus’ Heart was to communicate to all men His gifts of grace and glory. She knew, too, that it was the mission of the Holy Spirit to extend and perfect in the hearts of men, the reign of Jesus Christ, and that the Church had been founded only to give Jesus to the world. All Mary’s desire, then, was to make Him known in His Sacrament. Her intense love for Jesus felt the need of expanding in this way, of consecrating itself — as a kind of relief, as it were — because of her own inability to glorify Him as much as she desired. Ever since Calvary, all men were her children. She loved them with a Mother’s tenderness and longed for their supreme good as for her own; therefore, she was consumed with the desire to make Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament known to all, to inflame all hearts with His love, to see them enchained to His loving service. To obtain this favor, Mary passed her time at the foot of the Most Adorable Sacrament, in prayer and penance. There she treated the world’s salvation. In her boundless zeal, she embraced the needs of the faithful everywhere, for all time to come, who would inherit the Holy Eucharist and be Its adorers... Her prayers converted countless souls, and as every conversion is the fruit of prayer, and since Mary’s prayer could meet no refusal, the Apostles had in this Mother of Mercy their most powerful helper. “Blessed is he for whom Mary prays!” Eucharistic adorers share Mary’s life and mission of prayer at the foot of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is the most beautiful of all missions, and it holds no perils. It is the most holy, for in it all the virtues are practiced. It is, moreover, the most necessary to the Church, which has even more need of prayerful souls than of powerful preachers; of men of penance rather than men of eloquence. Today more than ever have we need of men who, by their self—immolation, disarm the anger of God inflamed by the ever increasing crimes of nations. We must have souls who by their importunity reopen the treasures of grace which the indifference of the multitude has closed. We must have true adorers; that is to say, men of fervor and of sacrifice. When there are many such souls around their Divine Chief, God will be glorified, Jesus will be loved, and society will once more become Christian, conquered for Jesus Christ by the apostolate of Eucharistic prayer.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
O Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the glory of Christians, the joy of the universal Church, and the hope of the world, pray for us. Kindle in all the faithful a lively devotion the the most Holy Eucharist, so that they may all be made worthy to receive Holy Communion every day.
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.
Let us with Mary Immaculate adore, thank, supplicate and console the most sacred and beloved Eucharistic Heart of Jesus!
History of the Title of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Feast Day, May 13
St. Peter Julian Eymard, of France, had a strong devotion to the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady and began his priestly life in the Society of Mary. “But his heart burned with the desire to establish perpetual adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament exposed upon a royal throne and surrounded by a large court of adorers. On February 2, 1851, at the shrine of Fourvière, the most Blessed Virgin had made him understand its necessity. ‘All the mysteries of my Son have a religious order of men to honor them. The Eucharist alone has none . . . .’ After several years of prudent reflection and interior combat, encouraged by Pope Pius IX, he founded the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Paris on May 13, 1856” (St. Peter Julian Eymard: Apostle of the Eucharist Novena, p. 20).
The title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was first given to Mary by St. Peter Julian Eymard in May 1868, while speaking to his novices. A few years later he described what her statue should look like: "The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant in her arms; and He holds a chalice in one hand and a Host in the other." He exhorted them to invoke Mary: "Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"
Later, Pius IX enriched the invocation with indulgences. Twice, St. Pius X did the same. On December 30, 1905, he granted a 300 days indulgence to the faithful who pray: “Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.”
"This title, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, is perhaps the most meaningful of all," said St. Pius X.
In 1921 the Sacred Congregation of Rite authorized the Blessed Sacrament Congregations to celebrate each year, on the 13th of May, a "solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin," with the intention of honoring Mary under the title of "Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament." And of course this Feast is still celebrated today with great joy by all the spiritual sons and daughters of St. Peter Julian Eymard.
Pope Bl. John XXIII codified the title of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament when he declared St. Peter Julian Eymard a saint on December 9, 1962, at the end of the last session of the Second Vatican Council.
OUR LADY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT
On May 13 we celebrate the most recent feast and title given to Our Blessed Mother, that of "Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament." Some believe this title to be prophetic, particularly for our times, and perhaps the greatest honor the church could bestow upon her. Let us ponder some of the reasons why this may be true.
St. Peter Julian Eymard, known as "The Priest of the Eucharist" and "The Apostle of the Eucharist" founded the "Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament" at Paris on May 13, 1856. Previous to this he served as a priest for sixteen years in the Society of Mary. He developed a very special love for the Eucharist at a very young age, which was inspired by his Mother's Eucharistic devotion. He also had a tremendous love for Our Lady. During the years of his daily prayer and adoration of our Eucharistic Lord, St. Peter Julian was given the awareness from Our Lady "All the mysteries of my Son have a religious order of men to honor them. The Eucharist alone has none..." With the encouragement of Pius XI, St. Peter Julian Eymard founded the new congregation to first, and foremost, perpetually adore Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and to spread Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration throughout the world; second, to honor Mary, The Mother of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
"Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament" was the title that St. Peter Julian Eymard gave Our Lady as Mother and model to his new Congregation, his new Eucharistic family. As he stated so often, the Blessed Mother was the first and most perfect adorer of Jesus, the Incarnate Word. Our Lady adored Jesus from the very first moment of conception in her womb. She continued her adoration throughout his earthly life. After Jesus ascended into heaven, according to our early church fathers and theologians, Our Blessed Lady continued to adore and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. St. John the beloved Apostle would have provided the Eucharist for Our Lady, as he cared for her and ministered to her wants. The early church historians write that Our Lady spent most of her days and nights in Adoration of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In the times of the early church the Eucharist was generally reserved in the homes of Christians. Our Lady's daily communion and adoration united her to Jesus even more closely than during His thirty years with her at Nazareth.
St. John Damascus points out, in his 6th century writings, "the body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is the very same body born of the Virgin Mary." When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we receive the Son of Mary. Where we find the Son we find the Mother, in adoration.
Let us consider another May 13 occurrence of great importance. In 1916, preceding the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, an Angel appeared three times. The first apparition of the Angel to three children, Jacinta, Lucia, and Francisco, frightened them. The Angel said,
"Fear not, I am the Angel of Peace, pray with me: My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee."
During the Angel's second apparition the message to the children, in part, was "Pray, pray a great deal! The Heart of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you." At the third apparition the Angel, while holding in his hands a chalice surmounted by a Host from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice then leaving the chalice and Host suspended in the air, prostrated himself on the ground and repeated this prayer three times:
"My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended, and by the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners."
After the harbinger's three apparitions and messages, Our Lady appeared on May 13, 1917. She asked the children to pray the following prayer with her,"O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, My God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament!" There were six apparitions of Our Lady over the next six months, culminating in the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917, witnessed by seventy thousand people. This miracle, is foretelling the coming glory of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament! Then finally, in 1929, Sister Lucia was given the famous great vision of the Most Holy Trinity. God, our Father and the Holy Spirit were present with Jesus, Who was hanging on the Cross.
A Chalice with a Host above it was suspended alongside of Jesus. Blood was flowing from the head of Jesus and His wounded side over the Host and into the Chalice. From the left hand of Jesus water flowed down on the Altar forming the words "Graces and Mercy". Our Lady was beneath the right hand of Jesus, holding her Immaculate Heart in her left hand and the Rosary in her right hand.
Clearly, heaven is communicating important messages to us! The most significant messages and directives of Fatima, according to many Marian scholars, can be summarized into two primary ones:
1. We are urged to frequently receive and adore the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, Who is truly present to us on earth today Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament!
2. Jesus wants devotion established to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The primary devotion requested is the Rosary. Secondly, the Five First Saturdays of the month with confession, reception of Jesus in Holy Communion and recitation of the rosary while in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
According to the Fatima messages, if these requests and directives are headed, there will be great graces and mercy poured upon our world resulting in a new era of peace. The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph, and these promises will be fulfilled, when the Eucharistic Heart of her Son Jesus reigns throughout the world in Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament!
"Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament" is the channel by which Jesus comes to us! She is also the channel by which we go to Jesus, heaven has ordained it thus. Our heavenly Mother is our most powerful intercessor with her Son Jesus, our most persuasive advocate. When we pray the Holy Rosary we ask her to pray for us, and pray she does. Many Mariologists have noted that devotions to Mary lead us to Jesus in the Eucharist. Wherever there are shrines dedicated to Mary her Son reigns in the Holy Eucharist where he is received, worshiped and adored. Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, wrote in his Marian encyclical of 1988, "The piety of the Christian people has always rightly sensed a profound link between devotion to the Blessed Virgin and worship of the Eucharist." He later stated in a public address in Rome in June of 1994, while talking about the Eucharist, "I would also like to repeat my invitation to you to make Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament a habitual practice in all Christian communities."
Our Eucharistic Lord is the center of all other devotion within our church and the primary source of grace and mercy. Only heaven knows for sure if the Mary 13, 1856 founding of the "Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament" by St. Peter Julian Eymard and their entrustment to Our Lady under the title of "Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament" was a prophetic foreshadowing of her May 13, 1917 Fatima apparition. What is of importance is that we receive and adore Jesus in the Eucharist. Let us pray that the role and title of "Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament" be properly understood by her children so that we can honor her in the way she most desires, by giving adoration and glory to her Son in the Most Blessed Sacrament!