The Month of Mary is the month of blessings and of grace, for, as St Bernard, in company with all the Saints, assures us, all grace comes to us through Mary. The month of Mary is a continuous festival in honor of the Mother of God, which prepares us well for the beautiful month of the Blessed Sacrament which follows it.
I. Because our vocation calls us to give special honor to the Holy Eucharist, we must not for that reason give any the less devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Far from it! He would be guilty of blasphemy who would say, “The Most Blessed Sacrament suffices for me; I have no need of Mary.” Where, then, shall we find Jesus on earth if not in Mary’s arms? Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist! It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word in her womb that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during His mortal life, and that He continues in the Eucharist.
Without Mary, we shall never find Jesus, for she possesses Him in her heart. There He takes His delight, and those who wish to know His inmost virtues, to experience the privilege of His intimate love, must seek these in Mary. They who love that good Mother find Jesus in her pure heart.
We must never separate Jesus from Mary; we can go to Him only through her.
I maintain, moreover, that the more we love the Eucharist, the more we must love Mary. We love all that our friend loves; now, was ever a creature better loved by God, a mother more tenderly cherished by her Son, than was Mary by Jesus?
O yes, our Lord would be much pained if we, the servants of the Eucharist, did not greatly honor Mary, because she is His Mother! Our Lord owes everything to her in the order of His Incarnation, His human nature. It is by the flesh that she gave Him that He has so glorified His Father, that He has saved us, and that He continues to nourish and save the world by the Blessed Sacrament.
Our Lord wishes us to honor her so much the more now, for that during His mortal life He seemed to neglect to do so Himself. Our Lord certainly gave all honor to His Mother in His private life; but in public, He left her in the background, since He had ever and before all else to assert and maintain His dignity as God. But now our Lord wishes us, in a manner, to make up to the Most Blessed Virgin all that He did not do for her exteriorly: and we are bound (our eternal salvation is at stake) to honor her as the Mother of God and our Mother.
II. But since as adorers we are most especially consecrated to the service of the Eucharist, it is by virtue of this vocation that we owe a particular devotion to Mary. Religious of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, Associates of the Blessed Sacrament; we are, by reason of our profession, adorers of the Eucharist. This is our beautiful title, blessed by Pius IX. Adorers—what does this mean? It means that we are attached to the Adorable Person of our Lord living in the Eucharist. But if we belong to the Son, we belong to the Mother; if we adore the Son, we ought to honor the Mother: therefore we are obliged, in order to continue in the grace of our vocation and participate fully in it, to give very special honor to the Blessed Virgin under the title of our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
This devotion is not, as yet, much known, nor explicitly defined in the Church. But since devotion to Mary follows the worship of Jesus, it will also follow its various phases and developments.
When we honor our Lord on the Cross, we pray to our Lady of Seven Dolors. When we honor our Lord’s humble, retired life of obedience at Nazareth, we may take for our Model, our Lady of the Hidden Life. The Blessed Virgin shares all the experiences of her Son.
We have not as yet invoked our Lady under this beautiful title, our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament; but devotion to the Eucharist is now spreading; it was never more vigorous or more widespread than in this our day. The devotion is growing everywhere, by day and by night; the Holy Eucharist will become a means of salvation for this age. The worship of the Eucharist is the glory, the power of this century.
And devotion to our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament will grow with the worship of the Eucharist.
I have not found this devotion treated of in any work; nor have I ever heard it spoken of, except in the Revelations of Mother Mary of Jesus, where I read something about Mary’s Communions; and, again, in the Acts of the Apostles, where we find our Lady in the Cenacle.
III. What did the Blessed Virgin do in the Cenacle? She adored. She was the Mother and the Queen of adorers. She was, in a word, our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Our occupation during this month will be to honor her under this beautiful title, to meditate on what she did, and to see how our Lord received her adoration. We shall discover the perfect union of these two hearts—that of Jesus with that of Mary—so merged as to seem one heart, one life. It is by our piety that we shall be enabled to penetrate that mysterious veil which surrounds the life of adoration of our Blessed Mother.
It is surprising that the Acts of the Apostles say nothing about this, but are satisfied with barely stating the fact that Mary dwelt in the Cenacle. Ah! it is because her whole life there was one continuous act of love and adoration.
But how describe this love and adoration? how express that reign of God in the soul and that life of the soul in God? It cannot be portrayed. Language has no words wherewith to express the delights of heaven, and the same is true concerning the life of Mary in the Cenacle. Saint Luke tells us simply that she lived and prayed there.
Let us study her interior life at prayer, at adoration. We may picture to ourselves all that is most intense in love, all that is holiest and best in virtue, and then attribute all to Mary. And because Mary lived in the Cenacle in union with the Most Blessed Sacrament for some twenty years, all her virtues bore the Eucharistic stamp. They were nourished by her Communions, by her adoration, and by her continual union with Jesus Eucharistic. Mary’s virtues during her sojourn in the Cenacle reached their highest perfection—a perfection almost limitless—and were surpassed only by those of her Divine Son.
Let us ask our Lord to reveal to us what passed between Him and His Blessed Mother during those years in the Cenacle. He will make known to us some of those wonders— not all, for we could not bear to know all, but a few—and this knowledge will fill us with joy and admiration.
Oh! how happy I should be if I could but write some meditations on A Month of Mary Adoratrix! Much study would be necessary for that, much prayer, also. One must understand, furthermore, the thanksgiving of Mary’s love. I greatly desire this, but for such a work a longer preparation would be required.
IV. All the mysteries of Mary’s life are re-enacted in the Cenacle. If we meditate on the birth of her Son in Bethlehem let us continue the Gospel narrative, and soon we behold the Eucharistic birth of that same Son on the altar. Or if we take The Flight into Egypt: do we not see that our Lord is even now in the midst of strangers and barbarians, in those cities and countries in which the churches are closed and no one goes to visit Him? And then—His hidden life at Nazareth: do we not find Him even more hidden here? In this way consider all the other mysteries in the light of the Eucharist, and reflect on the part that Mary took therein.
The essential thing is to try to practice some given virtue of the Blessed Virgin’s. Begin at once with the lowest, the smallest of these. When you have made them your own, you will go on, little by little, till you come to her interior virtues, even to that of her love.
Then let us daily offer up some sacrifice. Let us foresee something that will cost. There are some sacrifices that we can plan in advance: to see such a person, to perform such an act. Offer this sacrifice; the Blessed Virgin will be much pleased with it. It will be an added flower to the crown she wishes to offer to her Son, in our name, on His feast day—the beautiful feast of Corpus Christi.
If we foresee no particular sacrifice, let us maintain ourselves in the generous disposition to accept all that God will send us. Let us be vigilant in order that no occasion of denying ourselves may pass by us unnoticed. These are messengers from heaven, each bearing a grace and a crown of thorns.
We must welcome both. A sacrifice anticipated makes us reason, and reasoning diminishes its merit; but those that we accept generously without premeditation or deliberation are of more value. God wants to surprise us. He says to us: “Hold thyself in readiness!” and the faithful soul is ready to accept all that God wills. Love delights in surprises. Let us never lose these opportunities for sacrifice; all that is necessary is to be generous. A generous soul! What a beautiful thing in God’s sight! God is glorified by such a one, and He says of her as He said of Job—with joy and admiration—”Hast thou seen My servant Job?” The soul that loves allows none of these daily sacrifices to pass. She is ever on the alert, her eyes heavenward. She feels that a cross is coming and she prepares to receive it.
Let us, then, honor the Blessed Virgin by a daily Sacrifice. Let us go to our Lord through her; shelter ourselves behind her, take refuge beneath her protecting mantle; clothe ourselves in her virtues. Let us be, in short, but Mary’s shadow. Let us offer all her actions, all her merits, all her virtues to our Lord. We have only to have recourse to Mary and to say to Jesus: “I offer Thee the riches that my good Mother has acquired for me”—and our Lord will be very much pleased with us.
This article was excerpted from Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Readings for the Month of May. From the Notes of Blessed Peter Julian Eymard, The Sentinel Press, 1948.