I had a conversation the other day with my very wise, almost 95 year old, friend John. A devout Catholic, John has for decades inspired and taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have learned about our beautiful Catholic faith and life. I had stopped in for a short visit, and he insisted that I stay for a few minutes to chat. I am glad I did.
John posed a very probing question to me – “Who are you closest to?”. I immediately answered “My family and a few of my inner circle of girlfriends”. John then challenged my answer and proceeded to suggest that as a Catholic there was a better answer to that question. “Well, I am working on being closest to Jesus”, I sheepishly responded. John replied that I was getting there, but was still not quite there. Stumped, I asked him to explain.
John proceeded to discuss the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and expounded upon the reality of the miraculous effect of the Blood of Christ. Because Jesus is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, through our reception of the sacrament, Christ literally enters our very selves, and those other devout Catholics who receive. We truly become “blood brothers and sisters of Christ”. Our brotherhood and sisterhood is rooted in this exchange and is spiritually closer and more powerful than our human “blood” brothers and sisters for what is more powerful than Christ Himself. The Blood becomes part of us, just as regular food and drink become part of our bodies. This union with the Eucharist brings the meaning of our “Catholic” family to a whole new level. Christ, our Brother, all the holy saints that have gone before us, and the church militant here on earth, are a part of the communion of saints. We are part of this family and it will last for eternity. This mystical union of family is even closer, more profound, more powerful, and more binding than our earthly family.
And, who is our Mother in this huge and expansive family – Our Blessed Mother, of course. By virtue of this mystical sharing of the Eucharistic Body and the Blood of her Son, Mary becomes our mom. The perfect mom.
Recently I have heard Our Blessed Mother described as the “Mother of the Need” – remember the wedding at Cana. Mary saw the need, and presented it to her Son, and He acted miraculously. So many times in my life I have asked for her help when desperate, or for her intercession when a need had presented itself, or to simply ask her to help me grow closer to her son. Rarer is the time when I have just said “Thank you Mother for all you have done for me”. This Mother’s Day will be different for me. I will still honor my earthly mother who was also named Mary, but I will also be shifting my gaze heavenward and do something significant for my perfect mother who I am confident has always heard my cries for help and responded in ways that I cannot not even begin to imagine this side of heaven.
Just thinking here – wouldn’t it be wonderful when I meet Jesus after my earthly life is done, and He would approach me and say, “Karen, I have longed for you to be here, and our Mother has mentioned you so many times”.
member of the Sisterhood of Mary, the Mystical Rose of God