As we begin the beautiful season of Advent, I would like to offer a reflection on Mary and the Eucharist since Advent is the season in which Mary was pregnant with Christ’s Presence within her. Let us ponder a few ways that Mary can teach us to more fully receive Christ into our lives as she perfectly did throughout her life. First of all, Mary teaches us to live the Eucharist by uniting our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Communion leads to the cross, to co-redemption, to a passionate love for all of mankind. Mary teaches us how to fully participate in the Eucharist at Mass. She entered into the mystery and gave her full consent to her Son’s gift of Himself on Calvary. She loved humanity so much that she consented to her Son’s sacrificial death in order that all of mankind could be saved. Our Lady teaches us to receive Christ well, with complete openness to God’s will. She teaches us to be completely vulnerable in God’s Presence. She teaches us to pour out our hearts to the Lord in prayer; to lay all of our difficulties, burdens, afflictions that are weighing heavily on our hearts, minds, and souls at the feet of her Son, especially during those precious moments when He is sacramentally present within us during Holy Communion.
As we contemplate the Eucharistic mystery we are urged to imitate Christ’s self-gift on the cross. Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament radiates peace and calm to our hearts. Whenever storms arise in our lives, whether exams are stressing us out, or family or relationship problems, or personal difficulties seem to take our peace, Jesus can refill our peace if we but place ourselves in His Presence and open our hearts to Him. Being in the Presence of Jesus also encourages us to reflect on our lives and what things we could change in order to be more faithful to Him. We have many helps in the Church in order to grow in our unity with Christ, especially the sacraments. The greatest sacrament is the Eucharist, because although the other sacraments are signs of God’s grace, the Eucharist is the very life of God Himself. When we receive the Eucharist a sort of reversal takes place. Normally when we consume food it becomes a part of us; on the contrary, when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we actually become incorporated into Him; we are divinized, made God-like in our capacity to love through the faithful reception of the Eucharist. One way that we can be filled with God’s love is by participating in Eucharistic adoration. One cannot place themselves in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, especially with Jesus in the Sacred Host exposed on the altar, without being changed for the better. It is as if the Lord’s Holiness is infused into our very being as we gaze upon Him. In the Sacred Host Jesus also gazes upon His with His gaze of mercy, inviting us to a deep communion and friendship with Him. Mary had the most intimate friendship with her Divine Son; therefore she can, above everyone, appreciate the supreme gift of the Most Blessed Sacrament and thus teach us reverence and love for the Eucharist.
As I have been privileged to live this charism of Perpetual Adoration, I see the fruits of living a life totally focused on the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus has formed me through hours of adoration; He has taught me to seek Him in my joys and sorrows; He has helped me mature as a disciple and enlarged my heart for the capacity to love more and more. As I receive Jesus often, my love for Him is deepened and that love penetrates my whole life and sends me in service to others, realizing that “the love of Christ urges me on”. I do not pretend that I can do anything on my own, but united to the Lord I begin to see opportunities to help others. Our Lady teaches us to make a gift of ourselves by living the passionate love of our Lord for souls. My greatest hope is that the Lord may touch your hearts this Advent season and set them on fire with love for Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Sr. M. Mercy