One of my favorite titles for Mary is Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. The devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is new to me. I came across the image when I was looking for a Holy Card to commemorate my ordination to the Priesthood. In selecting a holy card I was looking for an image that would summarize my spirituality. When I saw the image of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament I was hooked immediately. I would like to share a couple of the reasons why this image of Mary touches me so deeply.
First I love how Mary is looking directly at Jesus, and in doing so is illustrating that devotion to Mary always points us to Jesus. When we pray a Marian prayer Mary is not the end of the prayer. Pope John Paul II used to say, “to Jesus through Mary.” This saying illustrates that Mary always directs us and our prayers to her Son. It is fair to say that we do not pray to Mary but that we pray with Mary. In looking at Jesus, Mary is modeling the manner of discipleship for all Christians. No matter what we get ourselves into throughout life we always look to Jesus.
Secondly, I love the fact that in this picture Mary is not holding the baby Jesus close to her, instead she is holding baby Jesus out as if she is handing him off to be held by one of us. The lesson for us here is that as we live our faith, as Jesus is born into our lives, we eventually have to, “pass the baby.” Our spirituality is never completely individual but is always communal and always leading us to share our faith with others through service.
Lastly, the baby Jesus is holding the Eucharist out to us. In this season of Advent we not only recall Jesus’ birth, and the time when he will come again, but we also prepare for his coming to us through the sacraments, especially through the Eucharist. The closest we will ever get to Jesus on this earth is when we receive the Eucharist. How lucky we are to have a God who wishes to be so close to us!
Whenever I look at the depiction of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, I always feel inspired and recharged. The image always focuses me on what is important in my ministry and in my life: Jesus (through Mary), Service, and Eucharist. I’ve just shared a bit of my own spirituality. Let me ask a question for you to think about. How would you sum up your own spirituality, or means of getting closer to Christ? Is there a particular place, devotion, picture, person, etc, that always seems to recharge your spiritual batteries? In this season of preparing for Christ’s coming how does he make himself known to you?