The Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary

Updated: May 30, 2020

The Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Holy Eucharist, is the “source and summit of the Christian life.” (1) Furthermore, it is “the sum and summary of our faith.” (2) The Eucharist is most properly “(the) true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine, in order to offer himself in the sacrifice of the Mass and to be received as spiritual food in Holy Communion.” (3)

As the “true Body and Blood” of Jesus Christ, the Eucharistic species of bread and wine are “Christ himself, living and glorious… present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.” (4)

As John Paul II wrote in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “Mary can guide us toward this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it.” (5) The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary—most especially in connection with her roles as Mother, Co-redemptrix, and Mediatrix of All Graces.

Mary’s Motherhood and the Eucharist

Mary’s primary and foundational role in the area of motherhood is that of Mother of God, or in the Greek, Theotokos. “This doctrine proclaims that the Virgin Mary is the true Mother of Jesus Christ who is God the Son made man.” (6) This is seen in Luke’s Gospel when Mary is addressed by the Angel who says, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,” (7) and later on adds, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (8)

The validity of this title can then be logically seen in “the following simple theological syllogism: Mary is the Mother of Jesus; Jesus is God; therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.” (9)

This doctrine is further elucidated in the Apostle’s Creed which states, “Jesus Christ, (God’s) only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” The title of Mother of God was “canonized by the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) in defense of Mary’s divine maternity against Nestorius, who claimed she was only the mother of the man Christ (Christotokos).” (10)

In drawing a connection between the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Eucharist, the first stop is with Mary’s role as Mother of God. Through her “fiat” at the Annunciation, Mary “offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood.” (11) It can be said, then, that “Jesus’ Body and Blood (is) taken from the body and blood of the Blessed Virgin.” (12) That is, “it is the very same body born of Mary which is glorified and present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.” (13) In other words, “in Jesus is always the Immaculate flesh and the Virginal blood of His Most Holy Mother.” (14)

This is attested to by the saints as well. Saint Thomas Aquinas states that “(taken) from the ‘intact Virgin’ … the Flesh of Jesus is the maternal flesh of Mary, the Blood of Jesus is the maternal blood of Mary. Therefore it will never be possible to separate Jesus from Mary.” (15) Saint Augustine states that “Jesus took His Flesh from the flesh of Mary.” (16) Going further, he says “that in the Eucharist ‘Mary extends and perpetuates Her Divine Maternity.'” (17)