The Holiness of Thursday and the Blessedness of Mary
â€œIt was [Mary] herself who on that morning of the 8th of May placed her Jesus into my soul.”
â€“ St. ThÃ©rÃ¨se of Lisieux
“The priest is Mary’s privileged child. It is she who trains him to piety in youth and shields his virtue; she it is who nourishes his fervor, who leads him by the hand to the foot of the altar and presents him to the Bishop, as once she offered Jesus in the Temple.”
â€“ St. Peter Julian Eymard
Today is Holy Thursday. Today, we celebrate the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist and the beginning of the Catholic priesthood. Today we are given everything, and the Ever Blessed Mother of God is an inextricable part of that gift. Not as if she were an addition to these gifts, that is, we are not given the Eucharist, the Priesthood, and Mary, but rather we are given the Eucharist and the Priesthood by way of Mary according to the fruit of her spousal union with the Holy Spirit. The above quotes say it all. On the occasion of St. ThÃ©rÃ¨se’s first communion, Mary was there, reconciling her daughter to her Son. In every priestly ordination Mary is there, fulfilling her office of handmaid and presenting the priest, who ministers in the person of Christ, in the new Temple which is the Holy Catholic Church.
It was from Mary that the Word of God received His flesh and blood, and so it is from Mary perpetually and mystically that we receive His flesh and blood at every Holy Communion. This is an inexaustable mystery to reflect upon. By going to Jesus through Mary, the reality of the Incarnation becomes incredibly denseâ€”as through flesh and blood. It is that “density” that we are after in our Holy religion. You see, when God became man, it was His desire to become man eternally. His will was to establish an everlasting principle of communion between God and man. The theologians call this principle the “Incarnational” principle. This is why we have sacraments. This is why we have sacred images. This is why we have bells, incense, candles, holy oil, holy water, holy salt, chant, all those things that add that “density” to our worship are there for this purpose and because of this principle. And it is by the birth of our Savior through the heart and womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by extension in the Holy Eucharist, that this reality receives its density. In the words of St. Athanasius,
“The Saviour of us all, the Word of God, in His great love took to Himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, half way. He became Himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which He, the Word of God, did in the body”(On the Incarnation, Â§ 15).
Just as we cannot have Jesus without Mary, and thereby His flesh and blood in Holy Communion without her divine motherhood, we cannot have any of it without the Priesthood. “Do this in memory of me,” were the words of our Master to the Apostles on that first Holy Thursday. This mandate, was not merely a command to give and receive bread and wine in the same manner, but to speak the words of the Incarnate Word over bread and wine and transform them into His Incarnate self. In order to fulfill this charge, the Church teaches that the ordination of priests causes a change in there person that allows them to minister in the very person of Christ, the son of Mary. You see, it is all interwoven. Bread and wine cannot be transformed in and of itself into our Divine Savior without the priest. The priest cannot simply change bread and wine into our Divine Savior without the words of that same Savior. Our Savior couldn’t give us His words without first being given to us through the womb of His Ever Blessed Mother. And we would never have heard of such a thing without the ministry of Christ’s priesthood throughout the ages, which He established on that Thursday 2,000 years ago.
Pray for your priests, stay close to our Lord in Holy Communion, and do it all through Mary to her Son, the Eternal High Priest.
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us!
Categories: Mary and the Liturgy