One of the age old questions that surface so often between Catholic and Protestant Christians is the Catholic devotion to the Blessed Mother of God, Mary. While praying the Rosary tonight some thoughts came to me–Part of the “Hail Mary” prayer are the words “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
Meditate on those words, directly from the Gospel of Luke, for just a moment. Mary’s own physical body actually, while Jesus “tabernacled” in her womb for 9 months, fed him and kept him alive. She actually nourished, and helped therefore to form and grow, the very physical cells that one day would feed the multitudes, first with the miracle of loaves and fishes, and later with his own precious body and blood given on the Cross. Her body, given by God, actually created the physical Jesus, who we now receive each time we come to him in Holy Communion.
When we say she is the “Mother of the Eucharist” this is why. Further, she is present in that Eucharist–and that is not heresy. It is, of course, Jesus whom we receive first and foremost. But his body and blood are an extension of hers also. We taste them both in Holy Communion. Spiritually as well we “taste and see that that Lord is good” as the psalmist (Psalm 34: 8) tells us. And she, Mary, is spiritually present in the everlasting communion of the Saints, particularly at the moment of reception of he who is King of kings and Lord of lords—her son Jesus Christ.
I once read that, each time we receive Christ in the Eucharist, in his glorified body, blood, soul and divinity, we are at that moment essentially in heaven itself–or heaven is in us. It is both actually. All of those who have ever gone before us, our loved ones, each saint, and yes, the Blessed Mother, “taste” of him every single moment just by dwelling in that heavenly realm. Thus at that moment we are closer to those gone on than perhaps even when we were living on earth together–because they are continually perfectly united with he who becomes impeccably united, at least for a time, with each of us in the consecrated host and holy cup–which are no longer just earthly “elements” but the very essence of God himself.
Transubstantiation is that Sacramental connection to Calvary which cleanses our sins, heals our wounds, and strengthens our souls. And the Mother of the very God who comes to us in the form of bread and wine is the same human woman who provided the earthly form of this body and blood when Jesus lived and walked on this earth 2000 years ago! Mind boggling yes, but truer than we can ever realize.
Do you have a loved one who lives across the country or world? At the moment when you receive the Eucharist, and they too are living their lives for God, your unity with them is absolutely as complete as if they were in the same room with you. And if that be true on this earth, how much more in heaven? “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When we receive the Holy Eucharist we begin to fulfill the Lord’s Prayer in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
That is why we as Christians can and should see Mary as our Mother too–the only human being whose womb bore Jesus and knit his body together, who lived and walked with him from the very moment of his conception until his natural death and then beyond to and through eternity. She was not just a “nice Jewish mother” but the very first believer in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord. She is the mother of God himself, yet without somehow being an uncreated goddess figure. She then gave him to us. Therefore we can indeed give ourselves to him through devotion to her. As my dear friend (and confirmation co-sponsor) Chris Padgett wrote, I am indeed “Mary’s Son.” And it only points me to the Cross and finally to the Father of us all–of Jesus, of Mary, the Saints, and yes, me too.