Greetings my sisters and brothers,

The month of May, the month of our Mother Mary, begins with the celebration of her husband, St.
Joseph, as patron saint of workers. May we all, as St. Joseph, always work to provide for Jesus and Mary,
that is the Church, the Body of Christ, to grow and flourish, as we continue to discern our vocation.

This summer we will be celebrating the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, the culmination of
our three year Eucharistic Revival celebration. Leading up to this, I would like to share some thoughts on
the beauty and importance of the Eucharist in our lives.

The Eucharist, as we know, is the true Body and Blood of Jesus. We also know in faith that the gift of
Jesus Body and Blood comes to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. John Paul II put it this way in his
Encyclical Letter on the Blessed Mother, Redemptoris Mater, written in 1987:

(Mary’s) motherhood is particularly noted and experienced by the Christian people at the Sacred
Banquet-the liturgical celebration of the mystery of the Redemption-at which Christ, his true
body born of the Virgin Mary, becomes present
. The piety of the Christian people has always
very rightly sensed a profound link between devotion to the Blessed Virgin and worship of the
Eucharist:… Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist.

Mary not only guides us to the Eucharist, she also shows us the proper disposition to have when
approaching and receiving this wonderful gift of life. In another Encyclical Letter, this one from 2003,
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, St. John Paul II says this:

Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound
relationship with it
…Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life. The Church, which
looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy
mystery…Mary, throughout her life at Christ’s side and not only on Calvary, made her own the
sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. Experiencing the memorial of Christ’s death in the
Eucharist …means taking on a commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the
school of his Mother and allowing her to accompany us… The Magnificat expresses Mary’s
spirituality, and there is nothing greater than this spirituality for helping us to experience the
mystery of the Eucharist. The Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary,
may become completely a Magnificat!

Mary helps us to see that receiving the Eucharist is a call to conform our lives to that which we receive.
If I receive Jesus Body and Blood and then do not live as he lived, then, as St. Paul warned the Christian
community in Corinth, I am eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus unworthily and am liable to
judgement. In Corinth, there were divisions in the community which were allowed to continue even
after the reception of the Eucharist, because “each one goes ahead with his own supper, and one goes
hungry while another gets drunk.” The custom was to have a meal together after the Eucharistic meal,
and yet they were not sharing with each other in this meal. They were clearly not being “conformed to
Christ” in the reception of his Body and Blood. Paul was calling them to repent of this and to be more
like Jesus, who gave his very life for us…the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist mentioned above by St.
John Paul in relation to Mary.

We can take a look at ourselves after having been at the celebration of the Eucharist, the Holy Mass. Do
I leave the celebration in the spirit of the Magnificat? Does “my soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord
and rejoice in God my savior”? Would this be something that others would say of me? Am I more willing
to give of myself, recognizing the great gift given to me by Jesus and by his Holy Mother? May our
blessed Mother intercede for us so that we can follow her example in receiving the precious Body and
Blood of her son, Jesus, and be more aware of his call and to more readily answer his call.

Fr. Brian, OSJ