As we watch so many boys and girls receiving their First Communion in this season, here are 5 quotes to help us prepare our own hearts.
Little is known about the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary after Pentecost, but one can imagine that Mary would have been present at the early celebrations of the Holy Eucharist presided over by the apostles. It is an intriguing idea, one that Saint John Paul II took up in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia. In it he ponders what it would have been like for Mary to receive Holy Communion.
What must Mary have felt as she heard from the mouth of Peter, John, James and the other Apostles the words spoken at the Last Supper: “This is my body which is given for you” (Lk22:19)? The body given up for us and made present under sacramental signs was the same body which she had conceived in her womb! For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross.
Mary had already anticipated the Eucharist when she said her “fiat” and accepted Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity into her virginal womb. For these reasons, John Paul II called her the “Woman of the Eucharist,” calling to mind the traditional title of Mary as “Our Lady of the Eucharist” (which was historically celebrated on May 13). Her experiences and special connection to Jesus make her a unique example for all those who desire to receive the Holy Eucharist at Mass.
Throughout the centuries many saints have written about Our Lady and how she in particular can prepare our hearts to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
In this season of First Communions, here are five quotes from different saints who show us how the Blessed Virgin can better prepare us the next time we receive the Eucharist.
- At the moment of Communion I sometimes liken my soul to that of a little child of three or four, whose hair has been ruffled and clothes soiled at play. This is a picture of what befalls me in my struggling with souls. But Our Blessed Lady comes promptly to the rescue, takes off my soiled pinafore, and arranges my hair, adorning it with a pretty ribbon or a simple flower… Then I am quite nice, and able, without any shame, to seat myself at the Banquet of Angels. – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
- [Is] not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion? – Saint John Paul II
- The best preparation for Holy Communion is that which is made with Mary … When you receive Holy Communion, clothe yourself with the virtues and merits of Mary, your Mother, and you will thus Communicate with her faith and with her devotion. O how happy Jesus will be to find in you the image of His lovable and holy Mother! – Saint Peter Julian Eymard
- There is no better preparation for Holy Communion other than offering it to the Immaculate … She will prepare our heart in the best way possible, and we will be sure to give Jesus the greatest of joys and to show him the greatest of loves. After Holy Communion let us pray to the Immaculate once more, so that she herself may welcome Jesus into our soul and make him happy as no one ever before has been able to do. – Saint Maximillian Kolbe
- Implore Mary to lend you her heart so that you may receive her Son [in Holy Communion] with her dispositions. Remind her that her Son’s glory requires that he should not come into a heart so sullied and fickle as your own, which could not fail to diminish his glory and might cause him to leave. Tell her that if she will take up her abode in you to receive her Son – which she can do because of the sovereignty she has over all hearts – he will be received by her in a perfect manner without danger of being affronted or being forced to depart. – Saint Louis de Montfort