Saturday, March 16, 2013

"The humble and hidden presence of the Lord in Mary, in the Church and in each soul, radiates light and hope to the world."

Hope does not disappoint. It has been an amazing week, with ups and downs, but through it all, the Holy Spirit so evident and working in mysterious ways in each of our lives and in the life of the Church at large. I want to share with you one of the most beautiful teachings of our new Pope Francis, given in 2008, as His Eminence Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, SJ, at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec (source The Sacred Page, translation from Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam). My heart is filled with gratitude for our new Papa, a humble, holy, and wise man. Let us pray for him together. You will want to read the entire catechesis, but here are a few of my favorite exerpts, showing both the Eucharistic and Marian heart of our new Pope Francis (emphasis from Michael Barber at The Sacred Page).

First, Mary as a Model of the Covenant, and how she helps us live the Eucharistic Mystery:
Desire and self-offering are the two anticipatory attitudes that convert the Church and also each faithful soul into “new wineskins.” By desire and self-offering we become, like Mary, vessels suitable for the Word to take on flesh within us. The humble and hidden presence of the Lord in Mary, in the Church and in each soul, radiates light and hope to the world. John Paul expresses this beautifully, speaking of the Visitation:

“‘And blessed art thou that hast believed’ (Lk 1:45): Mary has anticipated, in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eucharistic faith of the Church. When, in the Visitation, she carries within her the Word made flesh, she becomes, in a way, a ‘tabernacle’ – the first ‘tabernacle’ in history – where the Son of God, still invisible to the eyes of men, is offered for the adoration by Elizabeth, as ‘radiating’ light through the eyes and the voice of Mary.”

Mary, therefore, is a model of the Covenant, between the Lord and His bride the Church, between God and each man. Model of a Covenant that is company of Love, confident and fruitful abandonment and fullness of hope that irradiates joy. All of these virtues become music in the Magnificat of which John Paul II gives us a beautiful Eucharistic vision:

In the Magnificat, after all, is present the eschatological tension of the Eucharist. Each time the Son of God is presented under the ‘poverty’ of the sacramental species, bread and wine, the world has within it the germ of the new history, in which ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat’ and ‘hath exalted the humble.’ (cf. Lk 1:52). Mary sings of the ‘new heaven’ and the ‘new earth’ that are anticipated in the Eucharist and, in a certain sense, allows a glimpse into its programmed ‘design.’ Given that the Magnificat expresses the spirituality of Mary, nothing helps us live better the Eucharistic Mystery than this spirituality. The Eucharist has been given to us for our life, as that of Mary’s, all one Magnificat!”
And, the great personal joy of receiving the Eucharist as Mary receives:
Throughout this catechesis, as we contemplate in Mary the mystery of the Covenant, it has been gradually revealed to us the riches of the Eucharist and of the Church. In our Mother all becomes concrete and “possible.” In her school the ineffable mysteries of God are given a maternal face and tone and they become comprehensible to the faith filled with Love which, as God’s faithful people, we profess to Mary. The conclusions to be drawn for the personal spiritual life, I believe, each of us must select from among those in which one finds the greatest joy, as Saint Ignatius asserted in the Spiritual Exercises. Uniting the Eucharist and the sacramental communion with Mary is something that we do intuitively, and deepening our understanding of this is something which does us all good.

For this we might ask the Grace of receiving Communion as Mary received the Word and allow it to take on flesh anew in me; the grace to receive the Eucharist from the hands of the Church using ours as a paten (meaning “manger”), aware it is our Lady who places it there and entrusts us with same; the grace of singing with Mary the Magnificat in that moment of silence that follows Communion; the grace of anticipating in the Eucharist all that will be our day or week, with all the good and positive offered jointly with the bread, and all that suffering and passion offered jointly with the wine; the grace of believing and placing with Love all our hope in that premise and token of salvation we already have in each Eucharist, to later conform our life in the image of that which we receive. Thus, each of may derive benefit from that upon which we have meditated.
And, finally, on going forth to be light of the world and salt of the earth:
It is the incommensurable, unreturnable nature of the gift that has been transmitted to us which compels the Lord to sanctify the Church in an indefectible manner, as He did with His Mother, in such a way that it is assured this gift can be both received and transmitted “for the life of the world.” the mystery of the Covenant that makes the Church all-holy is a mystery of [both] service and of Life. It should never cease to amaze us this definite aperture to the Trinitarian life itself is given and is poured forth not just for some but for the life of the world. This is the case even if not all know it or take advantage of the fruit of the incomprehensible Liberty of the Uno and Triune God whose self-giving is total and for all.

In uniting to Christ, instead of sealing itself off, the People of the new Covenant are converted into a “sacrament” for all humanity, sign and instrument of salvation, in a work of Christ, into a light of the world and salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-16), for the redemption of all. The mission of the Church continues that of Christ: “As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.” (Jn 20:21). Therefore, the Church receives the spiritual strength necessary to accomplish its mission of perpetuating in the Eucharist the sacrifice of the Cross and being in communion with the body and the blood of Christ. So, the Eucharist is the source and, at the same time, the summit of all evangelization, given that its objective is the communion of men with Christ and, in Him, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.

H/T Father Andrew for posting the article on twitter.

Cross posted at Heart for God


  1. Can't help loving the spiritual depth of our new Holy Father, and his Marian orientation.

  2. Me too Barbara! I love our Holy, Catholic Church and our Shepherd Pope Francis.

  3. This is so beautiful, Kathryn! Thanks for posting it!