During this time that the Church has set aside for focused energy on Eucharistic revival, I have made an effort to put many of our doctrines into the context of the Eucharist to shed light on how everything we believe directs us toward the Eucharist as the “source and summit of the Christian life.” Now, with the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis just days away, I thought it might be time to reflect on the Blessed Mother’s relationship with the Eucharist. With titles such as Mother of the Eucharist, Mother of the Blessed Sacrament, and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, the honor with which the Church regards Mary extends to her relationship with her Son in the Blessed Sacrament and is therefore worth exploring.

Mary’s Fiat and the Incarnation

Mary’s role as the Mother of the Eucharist is rooted in the Incarnation. At the Annunciation, Mary responds to the angel Gabriel’s message of conceiving the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit with her fiat, or “yes,” to cooperate with God’s salvific plan (Lk 1:26 – 38). At the time of this exchange, God had no flesh and no human nature. Through her willful participation in God’s work, the Word of God was able to take on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus received the divine parts of himself from his heavenly Father and the human parts of himself from the only biological human parent he had, Mary!

Furthermore, although she did not yet have full knowledge of all that God’s plan entailed, by aligning her will with God’s through her “yes,” she also aligned her mission with her Son’s. The body that Christ received from Mary at the Incarnation is the same body that would be sacrificed on the cross for our salvation and the same body that becomes truly present in the Eucharist. So, the significance of Mary’s fiat does not begin and end with simply giving birth to the Messiah but is present through everything Jesus did and offered in his human flesh, received from her, all the way up to his presence in the Eucharist. It is proper and fitting then to be grateful for her cooperation in bringing about this wonderful gift we share in the present. Mother of the Eucharist

Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Mary’s role as Mother of the Eucharist is further illuminated by her presence at the foot of the cross. As I stated before, saying “yes” to cooperating with God’s plan meant his entire plan without knowing all the details. Mary journeyed with Jesus throughout his life, beginning with the Visitation to Elizabeth while he was still in her womb, up until she accompanied him during his passion and stood at the foot of the cross as he offered himself as the Eucharistic sacrifice. During those dreadful hours, she offered her own sacrifice in union with his as she suffered the grief and agony of a mother watching her innocent Son being tortured and murdered. Now, at every Eucharistic celebration, she journeys with us to Calvary, where she brings us to stand with her at the foot of the cross. Mary’s role, then, is to continually bring us to the Eucharist, the perpetual memorial of Christ’s sacrifice. She serves as a model for how to receive the Eucharist with undivided love and a heart conformed to the will of God, despite any suffering it may bring us.

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity and the Eucharist

The Church has always taught that Mary remained a virgin before, during, and after giving birth to Christ. (You can find my article about Mary’s perpetual virginity here.) This teaching highlights the miraculous nature of Jesus’ conception and birth and the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing about this miracle. This virginal conception points to the unique and miraculous way in which Christ becomes present in the Eucharist — not physically, but through the miracle of transubstantiation. Just as the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and allowed her to conceive the Son of God while preserving her virginity, so too the Holy Spirit is invoked at every Mass to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Mary’s perpetual virginity, then, foreshadows the miraculous reality of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Model for Eucharistic Adoration

Mary adores Jesus in his flesh. As she held her baby in her arms, nursing him, rocking him, and singing to him, she adored him. As she and Joseph fled to Egypt to keep Jesus safe from the murderous Herod, she adored him. As she presented him in the temple for circumcision and shed his first blood as the sign that he was set apart for God, she adored him. When she was distraught at having lost him for three days before finding him in the temple when he was 12 years old, she adored him. As she revealed her confidence and trust in him at the wedding in Cana, she adored him. As she accompanied him in his public ministry for three years, she adored him. As she watched him suffer and die, she adored him. Finally, as he was taken down from the cross and his body was placed in her arms, just as she first held him as an infant, she adored him. In her time with Jesus, all her actions and emotions were motivated by a mother’s love and adoration for her Son. Mary shows us how to love Jesus in his body and exemplifies how we are called to Eucharistic adoration. Mother of the Eucharist

St. John Bosco’s Dream

St. John Bosco was known for having symbolic and prophetic dreams that he would share with others and were recorded. One dream — The Two Columns in the Sea — revealed a link between Mary and the Eucharist. In the dream, the pope was steering a ship, representing the Church, through a stormy sea. As if the storm and rough waters weren’t enough, the ship was being attacked by enemy ships. Ahead, the Pope saw two pillars rising from the sea. One was topped with a statue of the Blessed Mother with the inscription “Help of Christians,” and the other was topped with a large Host with the inscription “Salvation of the Faithful.” To get to safety, the pope maneuvers the ship between the two pillars and anchors it to them with chains, at which point all enemy ships either retreat or are destroyed. St. John Bosco explained that the enemy ships represented the persecution, attacks, and trials the Church would undergo. To survive through so much confusion, she must be firmly anchored to devotion to Mary and frequent reception of the Eucharist. Perhaps we are experiencing some of what this dream represents today. We can take the symbolism of the prophetic dream to heart, as we know Mary will always point us to her Son, and his presence in the Eucharist will sustain us for the battle.

Reflect on Mary’s profound and intimate relationship with the Eucharist and ask for her intercession in bringing about many miracles, conversions, and other fruits from the National Eucharistic Congress. She wants nothing more than for people to know her Son and to believe in the truth of the Eucharist so they may fully receive the salvific grace he offers.

Pray the Chaplet to the Mother of the Most Holy Eucharist.

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