Friday, April 22, 2011

The Resurrection, Our Blessed Mother and Mary Magdalen

Where does Mary, the Mother of Jesus fit into the Mystery of the Resurrection? Sacred Scripture does not record Our Lord's Resurrection in detail. The fact is mentioned that Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty. Mary Magdalen was the first character in the Resurrection drama. She stirred the other women to visit the sepulcher; she first discovered the tomb empty, and in her distress Jesus appeared to her to comfort her. She did not recognize Him until He said her name, then He entrusted her with a mission. “Go to my brethren and say to them I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:18)  Mary Magdalen is recognized for her profound devoted love of Our Lord. Many sins were forgiven her because she loved much. Indeed, she had chosen the better part!
So why did not Mary Magdalene also run to tell Mary, the Mother of Jesus the wonderful news? Pope John Paul II in a Wednesday General Audience taught that it is wholly reasonable to believe Our Lord appeared first to the Blessed Virgin Mary, even though Scripture does not record this intimate moment between them. This is the official Vatican news release May 21, 1997, on Mary and the Resurrection:
VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 1997 (VIS) - The Holy Father focused the catechesis of today's general audience in St. Peter's Square on "Mary and the Resurrection of Christ," and recalled that "the Gospels narrate different apparitions of the Risen One, but not the meeting between Jesus and his Mother."

"From this silence," he continued, "one must not deduce that Christ, after his Resurrection, did not appear to Mary." This omission might be attributed to the fact that "what is necessary for our saving knowledge is entrusted to the word of those 'who were chosen by God as witnesses,' that is, the Apostles," he said, citing the Acts of the Apostles.

John Paul II asked how the Blessed Virgin, who was "present in the first community of the disciples, could have been excluded from the number of those who encountered her divine Son risen from among the dead. On the contrary, it is legitimate to think that the Mother may really have been the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not the absence of Mary from the group of women who approached the tomb at dawn constitute an indication that she had already met Jesus?"

"The unique and special nature of the presence of the Virgin at Calvary," added the Pope, "and her perfect union with the Son in his suffering on the Cross, seem to postulate a very particular participation on her part in the mystery of the Resurrection."

The Blessed Virgin, who was present at Calvary and at the Cenacle, "was probably also a privileged witness to the Resurrection of Christ, in this way completing her participation in all the essential moments of the paschal mystery. Embracing the risen Jesus, Mary is, in addition, a sign and anticipation of humanity, which hopes to reach its fulfillment in the resurrection of the dead."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mary, Woman of the Eucharist

Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" called Mary, the Woman of the Eucharist.  "The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery.”  He also reminded us that among the Mysteries of Light of the Rosary, he included the institution of the Eucharist. Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it.

He goes on to tell us that Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the Institution of the Eucharist. She conceived the Son of God in her womb physically, and thus anticipated “within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord's body and blood.” (55)

He spoke about the analogy between Mary's Fiat and the Amen, we pronounce at the reception of Holy Communion. We are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary, becomes fully present body, blood, soul and divinity under the signs of bread and wine.

Mary anticipated in the mystery of the incarnation, the Church's Eucharistic faith. “In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of “anticipated Eucharist” – one might say a “spiritual communion” – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion.”

Let us ask Mary to help us prepare for the coming of Our Lord into our hearts each time that we receive Holy Communion.  To share in her faith, love and reverence for this special time of union with Christ.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Month of the Eucharist

"The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23) instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his body and his blood. The words of the Apostle Paul bring us back to the dramatic setting in which the Eucharist was born. The Eucharist is indelibly marked by the event of the Lord's passion and death, of which it is not only a reminder but the sacramental re-presentation. It is the sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated down the ages. This truth is well expressed by the words with which the assembly in the Latin rite responds to the priest's proclamation of the "Mystery of Faith": "We announce your death, O Lord!" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia)

April is the month of the Eucharist!  And the month in which we celebrate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord.  It is appropriate to begin Pathways to Peace, as a reminder to us that Jesus in the Eucharist is our true source of peace.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian Life. (1324)  And Our Lord has told us that He will give us His peace and refreshment if only we come to Him. 
  • Come to Me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you...”  “Cast all of your anxieties upon the One who cares for you....” “My peace is My gift to you.”  (Mt. 11:28; 5:7; John 14:17)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our whole Christian Life. 1324). Daily in community we pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, to draw us closer to Himself, His Church, and one another as His own people.  
Eucharistic Adoration is an expression of our love for Jesus, who loves us so much that He never wants to leave us.  He is always there in the tabernacle to hear our needs. Our Lord asked Peter, James and John, “Could you not spend one hour with Me.”  As we celebrate the commemoration of the Last Supper, the night that Our Lord gave Himself to us in the Eucharist, let us show our love and spend some time in prayer, adoration and contemplation of the great gift of Himself. He promised to be our source of peace. 
Each moment that you spend in His Eucharistic Presence will increase His Divine Life within you and deepen your personal relationship and friendship with Him. If more people would realize this, they would never pass up an opportunity.
If you care to share your experience and blessings received through Eucharistic Adoration, perhaps it would inspire others to spend time with the Lord.