Since making the decision to take Vince to Mass with me, I've gotten to see a much calmer side to him. Ha.
This weekend, he was gold for me. I was surprised, because he'll typically wanna get down and run around the cry room. Since we were the only family in there, he didn't have any bad examples to follow, so he calmly sat in my lap the entire time and watched the Mass unfold quietly. He didn't even want to read his books!
When I'd hold him in my arms during those parts where we stand, he happily played with my hair / veil, or he'd simply put his arms around my neck and lay his head on my shoulder. I could've snuggled him happily forever!
During the Offertory, we had a few folks come back to use the bathroom (which is in the cry room). Vince simply waved and said "Hi!" to everyone, but remained content in my arms. There was one little girl, probably about 6 years old, who entered with her family. She skitted all over the place and eventually hurt herself while her father tended the younger sister in the bathroom. I thought for sure Vincent was going to fight to get down and run with her, but to my happy surprise, he didn't! Soon they left and we were left to ourselves again.
For Communion, I led Vince to Father's line. We could've gone to the deacon's line (which was closer), but now that I've got Vince, I want the added bonus of his special blessing over Vincent. Until he's able to receive Communion himself, I want Vincent to understand that the Communion line is a special blessing, even for him. Vincent patiently walked up the aisle with me, beaming at everyone, calling out the occasional "Hi!" During his blessing, he smiled up at Father while trying to grab the altar server's robe. Ha ha.
Anyway, upon settling back into our seat, I kissed Vincent. It's something that I've done ever since reading about Little Nellie Organ, who wished that her "Mudder" would kiss her upon coming from Communion so she could pay reverence to the Holy Sacrament. Little Nellie, for those unfamiliar with her saintly story, was only 4 years old at the time of her 1st Communion. In fact, it was through Nellie that Pope St Pius X received the signal he was waiting for to drop the age of 1st Communicants! Upon completion of Mass, I led Vincent to the back door, crossing the center aisle. As always, I genuflected and said to Vincent, "Say 'bye-bye' to Jesus! 'Bye, bye Jesus! I love you!'"No sooner did I make that motion than Vincent, himself, stooped to the floor saying "Bye bye." Granted, he didn't genuflect, but he attempted to follow my lead, and it made me so proud of him. :) Our kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for, as I'm quickly learning. Ha ha ha. He's such a blessing, this one!
So yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. My regular church didn't have a mass that I was able to attend, so I checked out a neighboring church that I had found on the way to my son's daycare. I'd been eyeing it for some time now, curious to know what the inside looked like (because the outside was unique to me). Also, since it's dedicated to the Blessed Mother, I felt her feast day was the best time to find myself there.
I am so glad I did! It is a beautiful church! Truth be told, it is very small and has more of a "modern" feel (something I don't typically like, but can appreciate when it's done tastefully). The artwork was beautiful, and their statues were different from those I'm used to seeing. For instance, as opposed to Our Lady of Grace (typically the version of the Blessed Mother seen on her side of the church), there was a large state of Our Lady cradling Baby Jesus. Actually, if you take the following two pictures and combine their poses, then add infinitely more beauty, you've got the statue I'm referring to.
Anyway, aside from absolutely loving that statue of Our Lady (so maternal towards and adoring of that angelic little God-Child she held in her arms), I really liked the statue of her Assumption that was used during the Mass. Again, it was as if a painting were somehow sculpted into life so realistic she was!
The Stations of the Cross were full (though muted) colored, large and adorning the walls. A few smaller statues of St. Rita, St. Joseph, and St. Anthony were present. A beautifuly little Infant of Prague held Vincent's attention for much of the Mass. Finally, and MOST exciting for me, was the Adoration Chapel in the back of the Church. An ADORATION CHAPEL!!!
I didn't think I had one anywhere near me!!! BUT I DO! I almost cried!
Again, truth be told, I was emotional anyway. It's a feast of thanksgiving for Our Lady - a gift I am endlessly grateful for. I realized it was fitting this feast is during Advent. The coming of Our Lady marked a true Advent of sorts. With the Mother of God on her way into the world, Jesus was not far behind. God is certainly a Master of time, right? :) I smiled at that realization.
This Mass also made my heart sing due to the love the priest had for Our Lady. He used much Latin in the Mass (something new for me, but I loved it!), and he spared nothing in his homily lauding this gift of the Blessed Mother. He praised her with such fondness, such gratitude, such conviction that folks were in the pews nodding their heads in agreement. When he solicited a Hail Mary at the close of the homily, folks really put their heart into the salutation. It is a true blessing to partake of a Mass with so loving and charismatic a priest.
Because of the feast, the priest also chose to distribute Communion under both species! BOTH! I haven't been so privileged in years. I hadn't realized that until last night. Also, I noted that Father relegated the two EMs to the chalice, only allowing himself and the deacon to distribute the Hosts. I LOVE THIS GUY!
I took Vince up during the Eucharist and Father was kind enough to impart a blessing. I then moved to take my place in the chalice line. I was the last person there, and luckily there was just enough left for me to partake of. Vincent was gold the entire time, and I almost cried again from feeling so honored to have been graced with such a gift. I said to Our Lady "This is YOUR feast day, and here I am getting all the gifts!"
An adoration chapel close to home, a traditional, Marian priest who truly teaches when he preaches, the Eucharist under BOTH species, and a son who was beyond exemplary for the first time during a Mass... I was beyond grateful!
I can't wait to take advantage of that chapel now. Goodness... I could even go for a half hour during lunch it's so close!
Anyway, what a wonderful celebration of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. I truly hope all of you who practice enjoyed a similarly beautiful experience!
I cannot properly describe the depths of pride and tenderness I have for my class. I really can't. Their behavior Tuesday night astonished me.
Let me back up a bit.
Last week I had hoped to spend the entire class teaching them about Eucharistic Adoration (in preparation for last night). A scheduling conflict forced the entire Religious Education department to set aside lesson plans in lieu of Christmas Pageant practice.
As a result, I was left with 15 minutes of class time with which to impart to them the importance and value of this gift. After that, we had to make our way across the lot to the Church where Father Piotr patiently awaited our arrival so we could begin.
As my children found their seats at the start of class, they found their "prayer packets" waiting for them on their desks. I explained that they were my personal "Thank You" for their stellar and exemplary behavior during last week's rehearsal. I explained their uses and advised them to keep their Divine Praises handy for Benediction later on. Finally, I gave myself a few moments to delve into the purpose and privilege of Eucharistic Adoration.A couple children thought the Eucharist was a representation of Christ... simply a symbol of His Sacrifice. Sadly, many adults misunderstand this as well, so I did my best to correct that. Next, I then asked them to really think about what it would be like to see God face to Face. What would they say to Him? What would they feel like? Would they want to hug Him? Would they want to ask Him questions? They came up with some wonderful responses, all of which provided meditative materials for their first Holy Hour. Finally, when questions were answered and my points were made, we quickly made our way into the church. Upon seeing my class seated, Fr. Piotr began.Oh, to see my class willingly take part in this expression of love! They participated in the prayers, listened patiently as Father lead us in meditative thanksgiving, sang the two hymns slated for the evening, and knelt upright in their pews, looking nowhere but upon the monstrance and our God encased within.When it was time to relax in our seats to contemplate Christ through personal prayer, my class continued their participation. Each of them could be seen paging through their new Pieta books. One boy, in particular, almost brought tears to my eyes. He was repeatedly blessing himself, over and over. It took me a second to realize why he was doing that - he was praying the Prayer Against Storms. I actually do the same thing when I pray that prayer because of the little crosses that follow each line. I was never sure if that meant to bless myself or not, so I always figure "better safe than sorry" and bless myself. He was doing the same thing! My heart just about burst I was so proud of his humble effort to ask God's assistance with the horrible weather we were having that night. Another young man had his hands folded in prayer for most of the time. As he knelt and looked upon the Host, his expression was... I don't know. I can't even describe it. This particular child is special, indeed. In my heart I can't help but wonder if I'm not looking at a little priest-in-waiting. His grasp of things theological astounds me. His questions are astute and his understanding of the answers speedy. Even with that knowledge, however, I was floored by his piety during Adoration. One of my young ladies, too, made me smile (truthfully, all of them did!). Normally one of my "rougher" children (not abrasive or rude... just more willing to test the waters), she was surprisingly willing to let her guard down and emphatically take part in the prayers. You see, in the beginning of the school year, I had to address this very issue with her. She was too "cool" to pray. Prayer was something the other kids did... not her. Prayer - at least of the public, communal variety - was embarrassing. Instead of singling her out, the class and I had the following discussion:"Do you think Jesus is your friend?""Yes.""Do you talk to your friends?""Yes.""Would you ever be embarrassed to talk to a friend?""No.""Is prayer a way we can talk to Jesus?""Yes.""And Jesus is your friend, right?""Yes.""So why are some of you embarrassed to talk to your friend, Jesus, through prayer? Don't you think that hurts His feelings? Please don't ever let me see any of you refuse to pray because it is embarrassing."After that, I never had a problem with her participating with the class. However, I didn't expect her to participate with such gusto at Adoration. It truly touched me to see her kneeling with her Pieta book, looking for prayers and then casting her eyes upon the Host as she completed them. At one point, another class came in to take part. They were loud... very loud... and I was surprised to see that only two or three of my students turned to see the racket. The rest simply continued on in their private conversations with Jesus. Again... I was astonished by their maturity and gentle love. I doubt even they realize just how astonishing they were!The other class left within minutes of entering. I don't know if it's due to the teacher's time restraint or realization that the class was unprepared for the privilege, but I think the congregation felt relieved at the return of peace. I couldn't help but wonder what Jesus felt like as He watched those students leave after having spent only a few moments there. No doubt He was somewhat hurt by their lack of reverence, but even a parent who is upset by a child's actions doesn't want to love them any less. Anyway, upon completion of the Holy Hour (which also completed my class time), my class stood up and exited their pews, each one genuflecting towards the tabernacle, where they now understood God reposed. As we made our way to the back of the church, another parishioner commented on how well-behaved and prayerful they were. I positively beamed for them, and graciously thanked her for complimenting them in such a way. A few of them smiled, too, proud, I think, to have been commended in such a way.Oh my... I am so beyond grateful for that experience. How kind of God to grant me such a special group of kids. I am beyond blessed. I really hope they understand just how much I appreciate them. May God grant me the grace to repay their kindness (and His) by continuing to help them develop spiritually. Oh, that I may help them love Him more!
I attended Mass Sunday morning and witnessed - for the first time - a priest "sit out" the distribution of Holy Eucharist! He was a visiting missionary priest, and he gave a wonderful talk about his mission and offered quite a nice Mass otherwise. But to sit out the Eucharistic Procession???
I've heard others lament it... I've read the blogs of those who decried it. I've always counted myself lucky to be one of those who had never experienced that incomprehensible lack of appreciation for the gift of the priesthood before.
I was dumbfounded. I haven't accepted the Eucharist from a Eucharistic Minister since my reversion. I had even made Jesus that special promise after He was kind enough to send Father Piotr my way on His Corpus Christi Feast. I was absolutely heartbroken. I didn't know what to do!
I wasn't sure if I should even partake of the Eucharist, but then I remembered what Jesus repeatedly told St. Faustina. Always accept the Body of Christ because nothing should keep the soul away from Christ unless there is a stain of mortal sin. I couldn't think of any mortal sin I might be in the shadow of, so I accepted the Eucharist from an EM... feeling my heart sink for the priest who passed up on his obligation to feed His people!
I was so upset for this priest that I was near tears as I walked back to my seat. The poor guy next to me noticed my facial expression and wasn't sure what to say to me. I wouldn't have known what to say either. All I could do was repeat the Hail Mary and Our Father over and over again, asking that the Holy Spirit open this priest's heart to the importance of distributing the Eucharist personally.
Bah. I was seriously tempted to wait in my seat and ask for him to distribute to me after Mass, but I felt as though that'd be presumptuous on my part. Then I wondered if I'd be able to make it up to 40th street (30 blocks north) in time for their Eucharistic Procession. That thought got knocked over by virtue of my own fear that I'd miss it. Bah! So up I went to accept from one of the Eucharistic Ministers while I shot pleading looks at Father Missionary to reconsider out of love for Christ.
No such luck... and I'm still a little upset. I felt off for the rest of the day, like I did something wrong or had something wrong done to me. I don't really know. I can't properly express it. Bah. Please pray for these priests. May they open their hearts to the great grace of being chosen to personally deliver the Christ of Salvation to the faithful.
Typically I utilize prime sources when linking articles, letters or other documents, but in this case, I'm going to connect you to Fr. Z's blog entry on an article regarding Cardinal Canizares' rather straightforward teaching that all Catholics should accept the Eucharist while kneeling.
Simply put, it doesn't get ANY better than Fr. Z's commentary. So enjoy, take heed, and accept while KNEELING! Don't be afraid to humble yourself before the Presence of Christ, Himself! Even though the folks in line may snicker or chide you, remember Who it is that you kneel before, Who it is that you accept! Also know that you are not alone in your humble act of adoration - all the angels and saints are kneeling with you.
Amen! Amen! Amen!
I really hope I'm able to take my own advice on this one. I have a feeling my pastor may think I'm way off my rocker this time, though...
I attempted to enlarge this mural so you can see some of the details a bit better.
Beautiful! I think I am in love with this picture! I almost want to bow my head in gratitude and adoration of the most holy and blessed Sacrifice that renders our salvation! What hope and comfort the offering of the Eucharist must give to the souls in Purgatory!
At the base of this holy card we see an Angel of God descending into Purgatory to provide comfort to those souls who long for the Face of their God. The offering of the Mass is a huge benefit to them. Indeed, Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that each time a person receives the Eucharist (while in the state of grace, of course), something good happens to EVERY soul on Earth, in Heaven and in Purgatory.
Wow!!! Yet again, this brings a whole new appreciation for the term "Communion of Saints." The Eucharist truly does unify all in blessing.
Representing the souls of Earth are, of course, the clergy (via priest and nuns in adoration). They are central to the Eucharist, and are, as a result, closest to Christ. Just outside this nucleus are a nurse and hospice patient, a student, and a worker (scientist, maybe?). I find this wonderful. These particular persons were chosen wisely to represent the gifts the Eucharist brings each of us.
Nurse: Patience and charity
Patient: Strength and healing
Student: Knowledge and fortitude
Worker: Industry and prudence
In the background, behind these people, are images of a city (industry) and what appears to be farmlands of grain (agriculture), hinting that even these things are blessed and given to us through the bounty of God. These things, too, as part of creation, also acknowledge the Divinity of God (smoke rises and turns sharply towards the Host as the grain waves upwards towards the Sacrament).
And most importantly, taking up half the image itself is the Triune God, crucified together upon the Cross. God the Father upholds the Arms of His Son while the Holy Spirit supports both from above. The Blessed Mother offers Her unfathomable sacrifice in union with Theirs as does the Angel (representing, I'm sure, all angels), who collects the blood from Christ's heart.
The "rays of glory" take on the faces of saints and cherubs who adore and unite with Christ in Heaven. It even looks like some of the cherubs (at His Feet) are trumpeting this Mystery!
I think we sometimes forget that this Sacrifice is one and the same as that which was first offered upon Calvary. This depiction, however, brings that full circle for us, most especially by the "clock" encircling the Sacrifice. Each ray of grace and light touches upon one "hour" of the clock, signifying the timelessness of each Mass. Each offering, no matter when or where it is given, enters into the timeless miracle of the Sacrifice on Calvary.
I'm still not entirely sure what the words are in between the hours, but I'm currently attempting to ascertain those. If I ever do, I'll let you know. If YOU already know, please share the knowledge!!! :)
For those of you wondering where I came across this picture, it was originally found here. I contacted Father Byres regarding it, but being a hermit, he may or may not get back to me on this. Ha ha. So I did some more research and found it here as well. According to Father's blog, he originally came across this mural at a monastery in Northern Italy (I did a search of all monasteries in Italy and was unsuccessful in figuring out which one this came from - boo). Once I find out, I'll solicit proper usage confirmations, but in the spirit of sharing so awesome an image with all of you, methinks it'll be OK. At least I hope so!
UPDATE: A friend of mine was kind enough to solve the puzzle for me! Special thanks to you, Pete. The words that I thought were Latin weren't Latin at all! They're cities and countries. It's almost like a circular time-zone indicator, with each city representing an hour on the "world clock."
I apologize if this is redundant, but I can't help myself. I am beyond thrilled with the knowledge that Our Blessed Mother is the 1st living tabernacle of Jesus. After being confused about this for over a year and a half, to FINALLY reach the conclusion and have my "A-HA!" moment still gives me tummy-flutters!
I've been doing more research into this, trying to uncover more images of the Blessed Mother bearing the Eucharist and came away with more than I could have imagined! I actually found the most massive tabernacle / monstrance I've ever seen. Apparently, St. Stanislaus Parish in Chicago, IL, unveiled what is thought to be the largest monstrance in the world back in May of 2008.
What I love about this monstrance is the message. Through Mary, we are given the New Covenant. Through Mary, we see Jesus. Oh, how happy the heart that understands this blessing! The Blessed Mother fulfills the promises of the Old Convenant by establishing the New Covenant with her Fiat to God, the Father, giving birth to and suffering with God the Son, and establishing the early Church and protecting it through all of time with God the Holy Spirit. I apologize for the run-on, but I'm floored by this! It is incredible to me!!!
The glass monstrance you see to the right is an image of Our Lady of Medjugorje, as always, holding her Son within her heart. This beautiful monstrance was a gift to Medjugorje by Polish pilgrims to mark the 30th anniversary of her apparitions. I can think of no more fitting gift to mark her pleas for prayer and faithful following of her Son's teachings than a vessel that signifies her power as intercessor, her grace as Mother of God, and her love as Our Lady of the Eucharist, calling others to adore her Son as she does in perpetuity.
Finally, I think this this one might just be my favorite. Yup, definitely. This wooden monstrance, created by Simboli Studios
, depicts the Blessed Mother holding, close to her Immaculate Heart, Christ Jesus. The look of adoration on her holy face says it all. This singular monstrance teaches us exactly what the Blessed Mother is: The 1st, most perfect, most holy, and most loving monstrance of God. She teaches us to adore Him as she does, to hold Him close to our hearts as she does. She teaches us to gaze upon Him always, fully trusting that His Love and His Will are forever and wholly perfect.
Oh, if only more churches had this monstrance! Eucharistic Adoration would be so beneficial, because it is the Mother of God, herself, who acts as our role-model!!!
OH! And before I forget, I need to point out that this little blessing was granted to me on the Feast of Corpus Christi!!!
I have to express thanks for the unique favor I received at Mass this morning. In addition to taking the veil, I've made it a point to always receive the Blessed Sacrament from the consecrated hands of a priest.
In my research travels, I've come to believe that accepting the Body of Jesus into my hands is simply not proper. I am unworthy to accept Him at all, let alone touch His Body with my hands. Only a priest, whose hands have been consecrated for the precise purpose of caressing the Host for Eucharistic dispersment, have been deemed worthy enough as they've been hand-chosen by Jesus, Himself. In fact, Pope John Paul II put it quite nicely in his Pastoral Letter, Inaestimablile Donum. On accepting the most Sacred Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament he writes:
The Holy Eucharist is the gift of the Lord, which should be distributed to laymen through the intermediation of Catholic priests who are ordained especially for this work. Neither is it permitted that the Consecrated Host and Chalice be taken or given into the hands of the faithful.
He goes on later, in the same Letter, to state:
The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte; when the priest is impeded or advanced by age; or when the number of faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long. Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave this task to the laity!
This echos St. Aquinas' teachings that out of reverence towards this Presence, the touching and administrating of the Eucharist belongs only to priest. After Vatican II, when this practice started gaining popularity in Europe, Pope Paul VI had to issue an Instruction titled Memoriale Domine. In it, he again states that Communion is to be given by priests to the laity on their tongue, NOT in the Protestant manner of accepting in the hand. Unfortunately, Bishops did not obey this (even though many decried administering Eucharist into the hands), and as a result, it became widespread and "legalized" (for lack of a better word).
In fact, I posed a question about this to my Catholic friends not too long ago. All of them were taught at their 1st Communion to accept in the hand. Not a one of us was taught to accept on the tongue. This is a tragedy! How can we say we believe that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus is present in the Host if we can't even show proper respect to His Presence? And just as Popes and Bishops warned, this practice has led to a complete lack of reverence for Christ! This practice has led to a disillusionment regarding the entire concept of transubstantiation (Christ is present, Body, Soul and Divinity, within the Host)!!!
Oh, when I understood what I was doing by accepting God so unworthily, I went to confession and wept. I literally wept. Poor Father must've thought I was insane, but I could not control the absolute grief I felt upon realizing how poorly I had been treating the God of the Universe. Even now I cringe at the memory.
Anyway, as a result of this newfound realization, I made it a point to always accept the Eucharist from a priest, and always on the tongue. It seemed to me, however, that every time I'd be situated where I thought Father would distribute, he'd surprise me by going to the opposite end of the Church. So I'd have to find my way over to his line, and I know he took notice of this (we're a small parish). After a few weeks of me doing this, I began to get the feeling that he thought I was being ridiculous, so I became very self-conscious. This past weekend, we had a baptism at our Mass. Every time there is a Baptism, I've noticed Father being sure to lead the line near the Baptismal font (I think so he can be sure to give special attention to the families of our newest arrivals!). So I made sure to sit on that side of the Church.
Don't you know at Communion time, he's on the OPPOSITE SIDE?! I actually looked up and said, "Okay, Jesus, is this your way of telling me that it really is OK to accept the Eucharist from a minister?" So I get into the line, against better judgement, and kept looking over at Father's line across the Church. I couldn't focus properly on who I was about to receive because I had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I really felt like what I was doing was wrong. It was torture!
Here's where my little blessing comes in. I had one person in front of me, about to accept the Eucharist when Father Piotr popped up in our line. Apparently his line had suddenly ended, so he came over to help with our side (which had significantly more people due to the family of the baptized infant). Just in time for ME!!!
I immediately accepted Jesus with a heart more thankful than words can ever express. I know in my soul Jesus was telling me I was to accept Him from a priest, and I truly believe He gave me this grace because I was struggling with the issue of obedience (if the Church allows it, then who am I to place myself above it's authority?). Oh, Jesus, you are so kind to me. Thank you for your Holy Spirit's guidance. I promise to always seek out a priest, even if he does think I'm a little looney. I do this for love of You - true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Help us to rekindle the reverence Your Divinity demands. Amen, amen, amen! I love You, I love You, I love You!
I can't help but pass this one around. Enjoy!!!
Okay, so I came across this video today courtesy of a friend of mine. At first, I was a little upset that the Monstrance was placed on the ground in a bag (ugh!), but after watching it to the end, and seeing several people really be touched by the adoration... I felt it was worth it. Jesus is always willing to condescend Himself for our benefit, and I believe that's what He allowed through this unique public adoration opportunity.
Even those who walked away baffled or annoyed... a seed was planted. Who knows when it will begin to sprout?
Keep an eye out for the little boy in a yellow hoodie towards the front - he looks so happy to be a part of the adoration. And the woman at the end who is so thankful for the chance to adore. How wonderful!
I wasn't sure what to write about tonight... so when in doubt, write about the Blessed Mother! :)
About a year and a half ago, my good friend, Frank, e-mailed me the picture to your right. The picture is of a stained glass window located in a seminary-turned-prep-school that was built in 1909. As you can see, it's quite unique. In fact, I've never seen anything like it in all my travels. The Blessed Mother is holding the Eucharist Host and Chalice while the Holy Spirit (in the form of a Dove) hovers above her halo. Now I don't know about you, but I've only ever seen the Blessed Mother holding the Child Jesus (who in turn holds the Eucharist). This depiction is very "priest-like" at first glance. I became so intrigued that I began hunting down who commissioned the window, why they chose this pose, and if there was any other example of this "set-up" anywhere else in the world! To make a long story short, no one was able to really help. I went to priests, figured out where the window was created (they weren't helpful with info - at all), and spoke with a few theologians who were all just as baffled by this depiction as me.Fast forward a year and a half later, and I come across Pope John Paul II's ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA
. Chapter Six deals solely with the Blessed Mother's vital part in bringing the Eucharist into being. She was, in fact, the VERY FIRST TABERNACLE. When she said "Fiat" to God, she accepted into her womb the physical presence of Jesus. That is why when we say "Amen" after the priest says "The Body of Christ" we echo Mary's original, trusting acceptance of this doctrine of faith. As she made her way to visit her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, she in effect became the VERY FIRST EUCHARIST PROCESSION! She was a living monstrance and through her, the Presence of God could be felt. This is why both Elizabeth, and the child she carried within her (St. John the Baptist) were overcome with joy as the Blessed Mother approached. Oh how beautiful that first greeting must have been. "Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!" Indeed, St. Elizabeth, indeed! All of the sudden, the stained glass window came to mind. This realization was a kiss from the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Mother wasn't being portrayed as a priest. She was being portrayed as the original bearer of the Most Holy Eucharist! She was being depicted in her role as the Mother of the Eucharist! Oh, what a beautiful and wonderful gift to understand this! To think I had never given the Blessed Mother's role in the Most Holy Eucharist a thought! Shameful! But this grace is a blessing as my participation in the Eucharist will always echo the Blessed Mother's "fiat" in a more profound way.
I'm so thankful for this that I'll post another picture, this time of the Blessed Mother depicted more concretely as the 1st Tabernacle of Christ... the first Eucharistic Procession. Fiat!