As I was driving with Jesus buckled into my lap in His pyx, on my way to preside over a Communion service this past Sunday, I was trying to prepare some thoughts for the reflection after the Gospel.
Although I had just gone to Mass that morning, the readings and homily seemed a vague memory, as it had been pre-second cup of coffee. What was it that the priest said? What was the Gospel again? Something about the Body of Christ, probably…
What do I say to residents on Corpus Christi Sunday, whose holiness and devotion far exceeds my own? Well, since I am no expert, I thought, I must consult the saints!
Of course Our Lady came to mind. But then, along with that thought, a much older and much more vivid memory than that morning’s homily popped into my head. I recalled how my mom told me that my name, Maureen, means “little Mary.”
Never did I find my name among the turnstiles of souvenir pens or plaques with it’s meaning and origin, which so often populate gift shops and craft fairs. I used to search fruitlessly among the Marissas, Megans, Michelles, but no Maureens. My mom, however, told me she named me Maureen for a few reasons, one of which was because it meant “little Mary.”
This happy thought called to mind an image of the Visitation, as I imagined how Mary carried Christ inside her body.
As I prayed with this image, the Lord reminded me that this phenomenon is not unique to Our Lady, since we do this whenever we receive Christ’s Body and Blood. We all become “little Marys,” bringing Jesus to all of the corners of the world.
This reality remained with me throughout the day, long after the Communion service.
What a privilege it is to be a Christ-bearer like Our Lady. And how blessed we are to have such a model and guide as we seek to reveal Him in our daily lives! It is easy to think that we must feel His Presence or seek Him and take Him in in order to become a Christ-bearer. But by nature of our Baptism, the light of Christ shines from within, not from without, and is amplified and fortified each time we receive the Sacraments.
I often wait for Christ to come to me, and wait to love or do ministry until I feel prepared by His Grace, thinking myself to be too weak. But it is precisely then, when we are empty, when we are least full of ourselves, that we are disposed to carry the One who can do all things.
May we all be like Mary, carrying Christ to all around us. Every human person suffers and we get to be healers of divine love. It is easy to forget that Christ’s presence dwells with us long after we have consumed the Eucharist. We may feel His throne is vacant within us at times, as Mary surely felt the pain of his absence during Christ’s apostolic years, and most certainly at the Cross. Yet, she and so many before us trusted and hoped in His fidelity.
Let us be strengthened by the witness of the Saints who recognized their own powerlessness and at the same time the power of the presence of Christ in our souls. From one Christ-bearer to another, I pray that God blesses you each time you receive His Sacred Body and Blood, and that you receive a special gift of His Grace this Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart – the proof of His Love for you.