For many months now when I go forward to receive our Lord's body & blood in Communion, I have found myself praying, "Mary, thank you for saying 'yes' to God. Thank you for offering your body for the creation of the body of our Lord so that I may receive Him now. Help me to be like you in holiness, purity, and love and total surrender to our Lord."
This prayer organically sprung up from within me one day as I was in the Communion line and looking up realized that the church's lovely statue of Mary is directly behind where the priest stands and in my line of vision as I look ahead. I find this statue particularly beautiful; it is a welcome aid to my devotional thoughts on the historical reality of God's plan unfolding in human history and time through the lives of real people of day's past.
When receiving Christ's body, we are in a certain sense also receiving Mary's body. If (as the Church has held from the earliest days) the Eucharist is substantially, in essence, the actual body and blood of our Lord (although in it's accidental properties it remains bread) then we are consuming the body of Christ which was formed from Mary's flesh and no other person. It is an interesting thing to meditate upon. It just makes me appreciate her role and the special bond she must have felt with Jesus as she nurtured him, marveled at his growth in wisdom and grace, saw him begin His public ministry, saw him scourged and tortured, then encountered Him in His glorified, risen body. I find it very helpful to my own faith to try to view the Lord through her eyes, especially when contemplating His passion and the reality of the Eucharist.
Just this morning I was marveling at the gift of life which you and I have. (At least if you are reading this, I assume you are alive. :-) We get one shot, if you will, to live this life to the fullest. How we live here and now - in our particular time and place in human history, with our particular gifts, interests, family, and sphere's of influence and socialization - will affect how we live for eternity. It is a beautiful privilege. Life is so short; I do not want to squander it. I want to love well, and I want to be fully alive. I want to enjoy my time with those whom God has placed in my life, and to love them as best I can. I want to develop my mind to its fullest, and face things squarely as they are, and to face squarely the ability I may or may not have to change different things.
And lastly, I am very grateful that with God nothing is ever lost forever. A lover, a deceased loved one, innocence taken or given, youth and good times now become memories ... all continue to exist with God in an eternal present ... and if you and I will share eternity with Him, then we shall have all those things yet again in a fuller and permanent way.
So wherever we find ourselves today (i.e. unhappily single, up to our eyeballs in homework, in between jobs, in a financially precarious position, overwhelmed with the demands of being a parent, etc...), don't forget to lift up your anxiety, fears and dreams to God - however choppy or brief. He cares. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matt. 10:29-31) And realize that this is just one part of your story, your moment of privilege to be alive and trust in the Lord (and to act) as Our Lady did. This moment, although passing, matters in eternity. Pray for the ability to enjoy it for it is a moment that is shaping who you are and giving you an opportunity for faith and to love generously; it it will not remain forever.
May God bless you!
**This post dedicated to "Pete" - a fellow blogger whom I do not know - who recently insulted my weblogging or lack there of. Thank you. :-)