MEDITATION AS A PREPARATION FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE B.V.M., March 25, 2006

Mary

by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

When meditating upon the mystery of the Annunciation it is interesting to consider the connection between this great mystery that takes place within the body of the Virgin Mary and the mystery of Jesus present in the Eucharist. The late Great, Pope John Paul II, often referred to Our Lady as a "Woman of the Eucharist." This is a very profound statement and, in a certain sense, this title of Our Lady has its theological foundations in the mystery of the Annunciation.

In Catholic Tradition, particularly promoted within the Franciscan tradition and what theologians call the 17th century French School of Spirituality, there has been the understanding that Mary is the first tabernacle of the real presence of Jesus. This, of course, refers to Jesus living in Mary at the moment of the Annunciation and throughout her nine month pregnancy. Mary literary housed the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity within her womb for the duration of her nine month pregnancy. She was, in essence, a living, walking shrine containing the Divine Messiah. However, the greatness of this mystery does not end there.

Doctors and biologists note that such an intimate relationship exists between a mother and the child in her womb during pregnancy that they share cells and lymphocytes. Furthermore, it has been proven medically that even after birth some of the cells of the child will always remain with the mother. This is truly amazing when we consider Mary as the first tabernacle! What this means is that Mary, even after the birth of Jesus Christ, remains a shrine of the presence of the God-man! She remains a living, walking tabernacle, almost as if she is in a state of perpetual Communion with her Divine Son! This is truly amazing!

There is much food for thought here. Mary is totally possessed by the Holy Spirit, making her "Full of Grace." However, she is also, due to the mystery of the abiding presence of Jesus within her body, the everlasting tabernacle of the Second Person of the Trinity. What a mystery! And since the Eucharistic presence of Jesus is simply the extension of His Incarnational presence in the world (God with us), Mary, as John Paul II so rightly noted, is "Woman of the Eucharist."

All of this simply confirms the ancient axioms put forth by the saints: "O Jesus, living in Mary, come and live in Thy servants!" "To Jesus through Mary!" and "Hail, His palace; Hail, His tabernacle; Hail, His house; Hail, His handmaid; Hail, His mother!"