It sometimes takes a mystic to pierce through the familiar aspects of our Catholic faith and help us appreciate them anew.
That’s what St. John Paul II did for me and my Eucharistic devotion.
I had long appreciated the gift of the Eucharist. Through my young-adult years, I frequented Holy Communion and regularly visited adoration chapels. When I started as a professor, I taught many classes on the mystery of the Mass. But in 2003, St. John Paul II wrote something that transformed they way I viewed — and personally experienced — Holy Communion.
He once wrote about what it would have been like for the Blessed Virgin Mary to receive the Eucharist for the very first time.
Whoa — I had never thought about that before!
We don’t know for sure when Mary’s first Communion would have taken place. Perhaps it was sometime after the Ascension or after Pentecost. But imagine being Mary in that moment: One of the apostles offers the Eucharistic sacrifice somewhere in Jerusalem or Galilee. Many of the original disciples are present. Mary is there, too, attending her first Mass.
She had not been at the Last Supper. She would have heard from the apostles what Jesus commanded them that night: to take bread and wine, to offer his Body and Blood, and to “do this in memory of me.” Now she participates in these sacred mysteries of the Eucharist for the very first time.
Imagine her watching the apostles take the bread and the wine and then hearing them say those words, “This is my body. … This is my blood.” Then imagine her receiving the Eucharist: the Body and Blood of her own Son dwelling inside her again!
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