Monday, July 11, 2005

Mary, Woman of the Eucharist

VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2005 ( The "instrumentum laboris," or working document, for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, to be held in Rome Oct. 2-23, was published by the Holy See on Thursday.

The document may be consulted at ZENIT's Web page.

Under Part IV: The Eucharist in the Mission of the Church; and Chapter 1: Eucharistic Spirituality; there is a section titled, Mary, Woman of the Eucharist:

76. The Most Holy Virgin Mary stands out among all the saints as a model of holiness and Eucharistic spirituality. According to Church Tradition, she is commemorated with veneration in all the Eucharistic Prayers of the Mass and in a particularly significant way in the Eastern Catholic Churches. Various responses call for a clearer explanation of the role of the Virgin Mary in the Eucharistic liturgy.

Mary is so intimately bound to the Eucharistic mystery that she is rightly called “Woman of the Eucharist” in the Encyclical Letter
Ecclesia de Eucharistia. The life of Mary of Nazareth manifests in a sublime way the exclusive relationship between the Mother and the Son of God, who took his Body and Blood from her body and blood. In the same way, her life shows the intimate relationship uniting the Church to the Eucharist, since the Most Holy Virgin is the model and figure of the Church, whose life and mission have their source and summit in the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mary’s association with the Eucharist comes more from the interior disposition which characterized her whole life than from her active participation at the moment of the institution of the Sacrament. Her life, which has a profound ecclesial significance, also has a Eucharistic character. By offering her virginal womb in the incarnation of the Word of God, Mary lived the spirit of the Eucharist even before the Sacrament was instituted. For nine months she was the living tabernacle of God. She then acted in a Eucharistic and ecclesial way, when she presented the Child Jesus to the shepherds, the Magi and the High Priest in the Temple. She offered the blessed fruit of her womb to the People of God and the Gentiles, so that they might adore him and acknowledge him as Messiah. Analogously, this is also true in her presence as well as her concern and intercession at Cana, when the Son worked his first sign in which he made an offering of himself through a miracle. The Virgin Mary made a similar gesture under the cross, as she participated in the sufferings of her Son. Afterwards, she received Christ’s body into her arms and placed it in the tomb as the secret seed of resurrection and new life for the salvation of the world. She again made an offering—Eucharistic and ecclesial in nature—by her presence at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the first gift of the Risen Lord to the Church at her beginning.

The Virgin Mary was conscious of having conceived Christ for the salvation of all humanity. Her awareness became more evident in her participation in the paschal mystery, when her Son entrusted all the faithful to her in the person of the Apostle John, with the words “Woman, behold your Son” (Jn 19:26). Like the Virgin Mary, the Church also makes the Lord Jesus present through the celebration of the Eucharist and gives him to all, so that they might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).

Mary, Woman of the Eucharist, pray for us!

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