MARY LEADS US TO EUCHARIST
Pope John Paul II
Message To 19th International Marian Congress Czestochowa, Poland 15 August 1996

1. "Hail, Jesus, Son of Mary, in the sacred Host you are the true God". Joining in spirit with those attending the 19th International Marian Congress, I recall the words from a hymn that in Poland often accompanies Eucharistic adoration and processions. I repeat them because they contain the truth that, together with praising Christ present in the mystery of the Eucharist, almost of necessity we recall the memory of the Mother of God. It is thanks to her generous fiat that the Word of God was made flesh by the work of the Holy Spirit. She offered her own body to the Word so that he might take it upon himself and the miracle of the Divine Incarnation would be accomplished. In her virginal womb Mary bore the Incarnate Word, awaiting "with love beyond al1 telling" the birth of the Saviour-as the liturgy states (Pref. of Advent II). When she gave birth to the Son of God she was, in a certain sense, the first to worship his presence among men. Together with Joseph she took the Divine Child to the temple to offer him to God according to the prescriptions of the law. Even then, through the words of Simeon, God had revealed to her that the sword of sorrow would pierce her heart, when her Son became the sign of contradiction 'for the fall and rising of many!' (Lk 2:34). This was the announcement of Mary's participation in the saving work of Christ, Priest and Victim, which was to be accomplished on Golgotha. "At the foot of the Cross out of love for your Son, she extended her motherhood to all men, born again from by the death of Christ for a life that will never end.... Taken up into heavenly glory, with maternal love she accompanies the Church and protects her on the way to her homeland until the glorious day of the Lord" (Italian Missal, Pref. of the Blessed Virgin Mary III)

Every Holy Mass makes present in an unbloody manner that unique and perfect sacrifice, offered by Christ on the Cross, in which Mary participated, joined in spirit with her suffering Son, lovingly consenting to his sacrifice and offering her own sorrow to the Father (cf. Lumen gentium, n. 58). Therefore when we celebrate the Eucharist, the memorial of Christ's passover, the memory of his Mother's suffering is also made alive and present, this Mother who, as an unsurpassable model, teaches the faithful to unite themselves more intimately to the sacrifice of her Son, the one Redeemer. Through spiritual communion with the sorrowful Mother of God, believers share in a special way in the paschal mystery and are opened to this extraordinary action of the Holy Spirit which produces a supernatural joy because of communion with the glorious Christ, on the example of the joy granted to Mary in the glory of heaven, as the first person to share in the fruits of the Redemption.

2. Mary and the Eucharist. The organizers of the 19th International Marian Congress in Jasna Gora proposed this as a theme for study and prayer. And it is a correct choice, especially in view of the International Eucharistic Congress that will be held next year in Krakow. In this way, just as Mary is present at the beginning of the mission of the Incarnate Word, and thereby at the origins of the Eucharist as well, the Marian Congress this year marks the start of the Church's spiritual preparation to make the Eucharistic Congress a fruitful experience. May these days bring you all close to her who—throughout her life in communion with her Son, not only by ties of blood but especially by love—is the most perfect Teacher of that love which enables us to be united in the deepest way with Christ in the mystery of his Eucharistic presence. Let Mary lead us to the Eucharist!

I ask all of you who are gathered in Jasna Gora for the Marian Congress to pray for the intentions of the Church and the world. As we give thanks for 20 centuries of Mary's protection of the Church, let us together ask her to lead believers towards an ever more perfect knowledge of the saving power of the Sacrifice of Christ, who is present in the Eucharist. Let us pray that the living experience of communion with Christ may bear fruits of zeal in the hearts of all Christians as they build up a communion of love among men. May the Mother of God lead us into the third millennium, united around the Word of God who was made flesh in her. I cordially bless you all.

Castel Gandolfo, 15 August 1996.


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